About the San Jose Wind Symphony

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The San Jose Wind Symphony (SJWS) is the West Coast's premier wind symphony, providing high-quality musical performances for audiences of all ages. SJWS performs six to nine concerts a year at venues throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. Each concert is a mixture of contemporary, classical and popular works for wind ensemble or symphonic band.

SJWS believes that music and the arts improve the quality of life for all citizens. SJWS has become a family-oriented, classical music mainstay for San Jose and the Silicon Valley. We strive not only to continue the grand tradition of concert bands and the legacies of Sousa and Fillmore, but to enhance and promote the wind ensemble experience in the 21st century. We do this by commissioning new works and by providing an opportunity for non-professional musicians to continue to perform at the highest levels.

In its 59-year history, SJWS has earned a worldwide reputation for entertaining programs and superb musicianship. The group has been invited to perform at conferences and festivals throughout the western United States, including Long Beach, Fresno, San Luis Obispo, Santa Rosa, Portland and Seattle. In recent years, SJWS has twice represented San Jose to European audiences with performances in Switzerland and Austria.

In December 2009, SJWS performed at the prestigious Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic in Chicago. Out of 177 applicants from around the world, SJWS was one of only 31 groups selected to perform at the Clinic. SJWS was the only group from California to be selected that year – and only the second Californian adult band accepted in the 63-year history of the Midwest Clinic.

In July 2015, SJWS appeared at WASBE, the biennial conference of the World Association for Symphonic Bands and Ensembles, which was held in San Jose that year. The Wind Symphony’s performance earned universal praise — WASBE president, William V. Johnson, called it “nothing short of stunning, as evidenced by the tremendous ovation you received... Personally, I was very moved, not only by the magnificent musical product your group created, but also the great love and integrity you demonstrated in its preparation.”

In 1998, SJWS received the prestigious Sudler Silver Scroll, the highest national honor that can be achieved by a community band. The Sudler Silver Scroll is awarded annually by the John Philip Sousa Foundation to recognize those bands which demonstrate a high standard of excellence over a period of several years and have played a significant role in the cultural and musical environment of their local communities.

SJWS was founded in September 1958 by Conductor Emeritus Darrell Johnston. Maestro Johnson graduated from the Eastman School of Music, where he studied under the legendary Frederick Fennell, the father of the modern wind ensemble. Inspired by his friend and mentor, Maestro Johnston had the vision, creativity, perseverance and talent to form a musical organization that would become a cornerstone of the Bay Area performing arts community for over half a century.

In 2000, Maestro Johnston announced his decision to step down from active leadership of the band. In 2001, after a nationwide search, Dr. Edward C. Harris was appointed to the role of Music and Artistic Director. As only the second conductor in the history of SJWS, Dr. Harris has continued the tradition of excellence in performance and presentation.

SJWS is an all-volunteer ensemble composed of approximately 55 woodwind, brass and percussion performers. The group rehearses once a week for two and a half hours; a typical concert requires six weeks of rehearsals. Although most SJWS members have day jobs in Silicon Valley, the group still achieves a consistently high level of musicianship.