Michael Burch-Pesses

Professor, Music



UC Box: A131

Office: Taylor Meade Performing Arts 207

Michael Burch-Pesses is Director of Bands at Pacific University in Forest Grove, Oregon, where he conducts the Wind Ensemble and Jazz Band, and teaches courses in conducting and music education. He holds Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees in conducting from the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC. Since coming to Pacific University in 1995 he received the Junior Faculty Award (1998) and was named a Wye Fellow of the Aspen Institute (1999). In 2006 he received the S.S. Johnson Foundation Award for Excellence in Teaching and the Citation of Excellence from the National Band Association. He is listed in “Who’s Who in America” and “Who’s Who in American Education.”


He enjoyed a distinguished career as a bandmaster in the United States Navy before arriving at Pacific University, enlisting as a hornist and working his way up through the ranks to become the Navy's senior bandmaster and Head of the Navy Music Program. During his Navy career he served as Leader of the Naval Academy Band in Annapolis, Maryland. He also served as Assistant Leader of the Navy Band in Washington, DC, and Director of the Commodores, the Navy's official jazz ensemble.


Dr. Burch-Pesses also is the Conductor and Musical Director of the award-winning Oregon Symphonic Band, Oregon's premier adult band. The Oregon Symphonic Band is composed primarily of musicians from the Portland/ Vancouver area. Men and women of many professions are represented in the ensemble, which performs three concert series annually and has appeared in concert at numerous state, regional, and international music conferences, including the All-Northwest MENC conference, the Western International Band Clinic, and the Midwest Clinic in Chicago.


In 2007 the John Philip Sousa Foundation awarded the band the Sudler Silver Scroll, recognizing them as one of the outstanding community bands in the nation.


Dr. Burch-Pesses is the author of “Canadian Band Music: A Qualitative Guide to Canadian Composers and Their Works for Band,” published by Meredith Music Publications; and is a regular contributor to the “Teaching Music Through Performance in Band” series.


His professional affiliations include the prestigious American Bandmasters Association, National Band Association, Association of Concert Bands, Oregon Music Educators Association, Music Educators National Conference, and Oregon Band Directors Association. He is the immediate past president of the Northwest Division of the College Band Directors National Association, and a founding member of the Oregon chapter of Phi Beta Mu.