DR. BRIAN A. COFFILL, D.M.A., (he/him), is a conductor and pedagogue committed to equity and inclusion in student musical achievement, the performance of works by historically-excluded composers, and the development of twenty-first century performance experiences for musicians and audiences alike. Equally at home making creative and collaborative music with a wide variety of instrumental ensembles, this flexibility has served him well in his position as the Founding Director of Instrumental Ensembles and Assistant Professor of Music at Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, Virginia.
At Randolph-Macon, Brian created and conducts two new and innovative musical ensembles: the Randolph-Macon Chamber Orchestra (the R-M Ensemble) and the Jazz Improvisation Laboratory. These two flexible-instrumentation ensembles upend musical norms and utilize student collaboration to creatively explore historic and modern music from across the instrumental spectrum. The shared creative musicianship of the R-M Ensemble was awarded the 2020 Vytautas Marijosius Memorial Award for Orchestral Programming, a national juried award that "recognizes and rewards the best achievement in the unique field of orchestral programming." The R-M Ensemble is funded in part by a major grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
In his role at Randolph-Macon as Assistant Professor of Music, Brian serves as the coordinator of the music education curriculum and teaches additional courses in conducting, music theory, orchestration, recording technology, and the systemic influence of race and gender in music. In addition, he is the coordinator for instrumental applied lessons as well as the creator and coordinator of the January-Term Chamber Ensemble program. Beyond his duties at the college, he is also a member of the teaching faculty at the GreenSpring International Academy of Music in nearby Richmond, Virginia, where he conducts the GreenSpring Chamber Orchestra. He is also the State Chair of the Virginia Music Educators Association (VMEA) Student Composition Festival and serves on the VMEA Council for Creativity and Innovation. He maintains an active schedule as a guest conductor and clinician throughout the United States.
Prior to arriving at Randolph-Macon, Brian earned a Doctor of Musical Arts (D.M.A.) degree in Instrumental Conducting from the University of Maryland, while also serving as Assistant Conductor of the Maryland Wind Orchestra, Wind Ensemble, and Lab Orchestra. His studies included wind, orchestral, chamber, and opera conducting under Dr. Michael Votta, Jr., Prof. James Ross (Alexandria Symphony, & Orquestra Simfònica del Vallès - Barcelona), Prof. José-Luis Novo (Annapolis Symphony), Prof. Craig Kier (Annapolis Opera), Col. Jason Fettig (President's Own United States Marine Band), and Dr. John Devlin (Wheeling Symphony). His performance of Charles Ives' Decoration Day with the Maryland Wind Ensemble gained national recognition as a finalist for the 2018-2019 Ernst Bacon Memorial Award for the Performance of American Music. He earned a Master of Music degree in Instrumental Conducting from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he was an Associate Conductor for the university’s many concert and athletic bands, including the famed Illinois Wind Symphony and Marching Illini; he also served as an Assistant Conductor with the Lab Orchestra. His mentors at Illinois included Dr. Linda Moorhouse, Prof. Donald Schleicher, Prof. Barry Houser, and Dr. J. Ashley Jarrell. He also earned the degrees of Bachelor of Arts (Music) and Bachelor of Science (Education) from the University of Connecticut, playing Horn in the UConn Symphony Orchestra, new music-focused Wind Ensemble, and athletic bands, also serving for two years as Head Drum Major of the Pride of Connecticut, the University of Connecticut Marching Band. Between undergraduate and graduate studies, he held positions conducting high school bands and orchestras in the public schools of Arlington County, Virginia and Carroll County, Maryland.
Brian's diverse academic interests include promoting the inclusive expansion of the instrumental repertoire, interpreting the works of iconoclastic composer Charles Ives, and investigating the many connections between the quintessential American institutions of Baseball and the Wind Band. He has been invited to present his scholarly research on a variety of subjects across the United States, most notably at the 31st Cooperstown Symposium on Baseball and American Culture at the National Baseball Hall of Fame, as well as multiple College Band Directors National Association (CBDNA) national and regional conferences; his research has been published by the CBDNA Journal.
A major portion of his baseball research consists of resurrecting, transcribing, and re-scoring H. R. Hempel's Cubs On Parade March Two-Step, a long-forgotten march that celebrated the 1907 World-Champion Chicago Cubs. He conducted his re-scored version of Cubs on Parade in concert with the University of Illinois Wind Orchestra in 2015, and is happy to take partial credit for Cubs' ensuing playoff success. Additional arrangements are published by Classics Revisited.
Brian is a member of various professional and service organizations in music, music education, and academic research including the American String Teachers Association (ASTA), the College Band Directors National Association (CBDNA), the National Association for Music Education (NAfME), the Virginia Music Educators Association (VMEA), the Virginia Band and Orchestra Directors Association (VBODA), the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), and the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR). He is an inducted member of Kappa Kappa Psi and an honorary member of Tau Beta Sigma.
A fervent Red Sox fan despite being raised on the New York side of Connecticut's "Munson-Nixon Line," Brian has lived across the river from Nationals Park, down the street from Camden Yards, and deep in disputed Cubs-Cardinals territory. He currently resides near the AA Flying Squirrels ballpark in Richmond, Virginia.