Music and Artistic Director


Dr. Edward C. Harris

After an extensive national search in 2002, Dr. Edward C. Harris was appointed the conductor and artistic director for the San Jose Wind Symphony. Dr. Harris is only the second conductor in the group’s 62-year history. Under his leadership, SJWS has established itself as one of California’s premiere concert bands with performances at the 2009 Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic, the World Association for Symphonic Bands and Ensembles Conference, the California Music Educators Association Conference, as well as international and regional concert tours.

Dr Harris recently retired as the Director of Bands at San José State University. Born and educated in Santa Monica, Dr. Harris received his Bachelor of Music degree in music education and Master of Arts degree in clarinet performance from San Francisco State University. He received his Doctor of Arts degree in conducting and clarinet performance from the University of Northern Colorado, where he studied under Eugene Corporon. Before joining the San José faculty, Dr. Harris served in a similar capacity at California State University, Stanislaus; Humboldt State University; and the University of Wisconsin, Platteville. Preceding these appointments he served as Director of Instrumental Music at Sequoia High School in Redwood City, California, from 1971 to 1978.

Dr. Harris brings to his position a broad knowledge of both traditional and contemporary wind band literature. His ensembles have gained wide recognition for their diverse and creative programs. Dr. Harris also maintains an active schedule as guest conductor and lecturer throughout the United States. He has guest conducted honor groups and festivals in nine states and was selected to conduct the California Community College All-State Honor Band in 1983 and 2005, the California All-State Concert Band in 1988, the California All-State Symphonic Honor Band in 1996, and the CBDA California All-State Concert Band in 2004. In addition to his conducting duties, he has served as President of the Western Division of the College Band Directors’ National Association and has been on the Board of Directors for the California Band Directors Association and the California Music Educators Association. In 1995, Dr. Harris was honored to receive the “Stairway of the Stars” Award from the City of Santa Monica for distinguished contributions to the arts in California. In 2003, he was honored with the Gilbert T. Freitas Memorial Award for Music Education from the California Music Educators’ Association Bay Section and the CMEA Don Schmeer/Byron Hoyt Band Educator Award honoring excellence in instrumental instruction and performance. Dr. Harris received the 2006 CMEA John Swain College/University Educator Award for his progressive leadership at San Jose State University. In 2010, Dr. Harris was named the “Music Educator of the Year” by the Bay Section of the California Music Educators Association and received an Abby Award for distinguished arts leadership from the Silicon Valley Arts and Business Association. Dr. Harris was elected into the prestigious national organization the American Band Masters Association in 2011.