Mike Fansler is Professor of Music and Director of Bands at Western Illinois University in Macomb IL, where he provides direction and leadership for its comprehensive band program. He serves as conductor of the university Wind Ensemble and Chamber Players and teaches graduate and undergraduate conducting. He has served Western Illinois University since 2001.
Fansler’s passion for music has led to performance invitations, conducting seminars, and workshops on five continents. He regularly conducts honor bands throughout the United States including his most recent engagements with the Pennsylvania All-State Wind Ensemble, Region 22 Texas Music Educators Association Honor Band, Las Vegas Honor Band, and All-Iowa Band. He has lectured on the music of Percy Grainger at the Midwest Clinic and, through a grant, visited the Grainger Museum in Melbourne, Australia to further study his music and life.
Under his leadership, the Western Illinois Wind Ensemble maintains a demanding performance schedule, presenting a range of repertoire from historically significant masterworks to exciting world premieres. In the past decade, the group has engaged audiences at multiple Illinois All-State Conferences, the College Band Directors National Association’s North Central Conference, twice at the prestigious Armour Stage in Chicago’s Orchestra Hall and internationally on a 10-day tour of Salvador and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Fansler has collaborated with the WIU School of Music studio faculty on many important engagements, including the recent lead commission and world premiere of James Stephenson’s “The Devil’s Tale,” a sequel to Igor Stravinsky’s “L’Histoire du Soldat.” In addition, the Chamber Players recently released the world premiere recording of Brahms’ “Variation and Fugue on a Theme by Handel, Op. 24” which was dedicated to Fansler by the transcriber, Joseph Kreines.
His education is from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Syracuse University, James Madison University, and Schenectady County Community College. Fansler remains actively engaged in the Macomb Community as conductor of the Macomb Municipal Band (est. 1852) and saxophonist in the American Legion’s Post 6 Big Band.
His professional memberships include the prestigious American Bandmasters Association (2012), College Band Directors National Association, National Association for Music Education, Illinois Music Educators Association, Phi Beta Mu International Bandmasters Fraternity, and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia. He resides in Avon IL with his wife Abby, and they remain busy chasing the countless activities of three kids: Jordan, Jessie, and Juliet.