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Michael J. Garasi

Visiting Assistant Professor
Music Department
Office: Bawcom 2101
UMHB Mail Box:UMHB Box 8012900 College St, Box 8012BeltonTX76513
Phone: (254) 295-4230(254) 295-4230
Subjects Taught: Wind Ensemble, Brass Ensemble, Black Shirt Cru Spirit Band, Conducting, Band and Orchestra Literature and Orchestration
Degrees Earned: M.M., B.M. Cleveland Institute of Music and Eastman School of Music

With a gift for understanding, motivating and conducting youth ensembles, Mr. Garasi has spent years investing in the lives of young musicians. Presently, he is on the instrumental conducting faculty at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor directing the Wind Ensemble, Brass Ensemble, Blackshirt Cru Spirit Band and teaching courses in Conducting, Orchestration and Band and Orchestra Literature.

Acclaimed by as one of the most formidable and reputable conductors in the world of Brass Ensembles and Brass Bands, most recently, Mr. Garasi was appointed the Principal Conductor of the internationally acclaimed professional Brass Band of Battle Creek.

For five years (2015-2020) Mr. Garasi was the Director of Bands at the North Broward Preparatory School in Coconut Creek, Florida. At North Broward Prep, he oversaw the Band Program consisting of the HS and MS Wind Ensembles, Marching Band, Percussion Ensemble, 4th and 5th grade Bands and a chamber orchestra for the musicals in collaboration with the NBP Theatre Program. During those five years, the HS Wind Ensemble received Straight Superiors at District and State Contests and perfomed at Carnegie Hall.

For seven years (2006-2012) Mr. Garasi was on the Instrumental conducting faculty of the School of Performing Arts at the University of Central Florida conducting the symphony orchestra, wind ensemble, chamber orchestra for the musicals in collaboration with UCF Theatre, and taught numerous undergraduate and graduate courses, including Ear Training, Music Appreciation, and Conducting.

Mr. Garasi has held positions as the Artistic Director/Conductor of the Brevard Symphony Youth Orchestra, the Conductor of the Florida Symphony Youth Orchestra’s Philharmonia, and has been actively involved as a guest conductor of youth orchestras and youth bands in Florida, Texas, Michigan, Indiana and New Mexico.

A committed advocate for the performance of new music, Mr. Garasi conducted at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music’s annual Contemporary Music Festival in 2014, conducting Bernard’s Rand’s Oboe Concertino featuring Oboe Professor, Robert Atherholt.  

During the 2011-2012 season, Mr. Garasi was invited to conduct the premiere season of the professional New Score Chamber Orchestra, performing the music of living composers of our day. He was also a part of the 1st “Young Composers Challenge” annual event, sponsored by the Orlando Philharmonic.

At the School of Performing Arts at the University of Central Florida, Mr. Garasi performed on piano in Steve Reich’s “Music for 18 Musicians”, was the Advisor for the formation of NewME (New Music Ensemble) which provided student composers and performers an opportunity to compose/perform contemporary art music, and implemented the UCF Annual Composition Contest for Band.

In 2016, Mr. Garasi conducted the American Philharmonic in a new video recording project called “Virtual Symphony” for Royal Caribbean Cruise Line’s Anthem of the Seas. The American Philharmonic was comprised of musicians from the National Symphony Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and Military Bands in Washington DC. The video project may be viewed only on the Anthem of the Seas in their performance venue, 270.

Mr. Garasi held the position of Music Director and Principal Conductor of the professional, Florida Lakes Symphony Orchestra for eight successful seasons (2006-2014). Under maestro Garasi’s baton, the FLSO became a significant profile in the Central Florida community. His creative contributions to the regular concert season included: side-by-side performances with local youth orchestras and college students in the area, the development of the FLSO Chamber Music Series and Meet the Musician Series, the formation of the annual Concerto/Aria Competition for Young Artists, and the programming of premiere works by local composers.

Previously, Mr. Garasi held the South Florida positions of Music Director/Conductor for the Treasure Coast Symphony, and the Broward Symphony Orchestra. In 2005, Mr. Garasi was invited to guest conduct the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra in five concerts throughout Central Florida.  During the holiday season, Mr. Garasi conducted the Epcot Candlelight Processional orchestra and 200 voice choir at Walt Disney World, having enjoyed this podium for seven consecutive holiday seasons.

Mr. Garasi was the musical director of the Brass Band of Central Florida for nine years, leading them to win both major titles at the North American Brass Band Championships and the US Open Brass Band Championships, two tours to England, recording four albums and leading the ensemble to a new level of national and international prominence. Mr. Garasi became the first American brass band conductor ever to be nominated by England’s for the “Newcomer of the Year” Award in 2004 and the “Conductor of the Year” award in 2006. Mr. Garasi also won the “Best New Arrangement” Award in the U.S. Open Brass Band Championships in 2004 and 2005. Mr. Garasi became the first American conductor to adjudicate at the two most prestigious entertainment competitions for brass bands in the world; the 2007 “Brass in Concert” Competition at the Sage in Gateshead, England and the 2018 SIDDIS Brass Band Competition in Stavanger, Norway.  Because of this international success, Mr. Garasi was invited to England twice to conduct the world famous Grimethorpe Colliery Band at numerous concerts and at the Brass in Concert Competition in 2008. 

Mr. Garasi studied at the Eastman School of Music and holds degrees from the prestigious Cleveland Institute of Music. In addition to his formal degrees, Mr. Garasi has studied advanced conducting with Kenneth Kiesler (Director of Orchestral Studies, University of Michigan) at the Conductors Retreat at Medomak, Michael Jinbo at the Pierre Monteux School for Conductors, attended masterclasses with Frederick Fennell, Allan Mcmurray, Roby George, Michael Votta and privately with Joseph Kreines.

Mr. Garasi is married to Cherry T. Garasi, published and Dove Award winning music composer, editor and curriculum writer and currently reside in Temple, Texas.

Publications (Recordings)

Battle Creek Transit Authority 2017 MSR Classics MS1634                                                           

Brass Band of Battle Creek, conducted by Michael J. Garasi

10th Anniversary CD 2009                                                                                                                 

Brass Band of Central Florida, conducted by Michael J. Garasi

Sing Sang Sung CD 2007   

Recorded in an 8th Century Abbey in England

Brass Band of Central Florida, conducted by Michael J. Garasi

Brass in Concert DVD 2006

(Recorded in the “Sage” Concert Hall in Gateshead, England)

Gala Concert and Brass Band Championships

Brass Band of Central Florida, Conducted by Michael J. Garasi

‘Tis a Gift CD 2005

Brass Band of Central Florida, Conducted by Michael J. Garasi

Best of the US Open Brass Band Championships CD 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007

Brass Band of Central Florida, Conducted by Michael J. Garasi

Brass-a-Peel CD 2003

Brass Band of Central Florida, Conducted by Michael J. Garasi