Department of Music

Brass Choir


Josef Hanson

Director, UR Brass Choir
Manager of Music Performance Programs
Advisor, Early Admission MA in Music Education
Courses: MUR 101, MUR 138, MUR 170
206 Todd Union
josef.hanson@rochester. edu
Phone: (585) 273-5157
Fax: (585) 273-5337
M.A., Eastman School of Music

Josef Hanson

Josef Hanson is celebrating his tenth year in the College Music Department at the University of Rochester, where he lends his talents as an instructor, administrator, advisor, and conductor. In the last decade, he has emerged as a musical entrepreneur throughout Western New York and the Finger Lakes region by continually developing and reinventing educational and artistic enterprises for music learners of all ages. As Manager of Music Performance Programs, Hanson provides administrative oversight for the College’s lessons program and 14 faculty-directed ensembles, and also serves as advisor for the early admission MA program in music education offered in conjunction with the Eastman School of Music. His “double life” as a practicing music educator has allowed Hanson to develop and teach courses in music theory, conducting, and the first known collegiate course on heavy metal music to be offered at any institution of higher learning. Hanson also custom-designs and teaches a multitude of music courses at The Highlands at Pittsford and Ferris Hills at West Lake senior living communities, and is a faculty member at the Hochstein School of Music and Dance extension program in Canandaigua, NY. His interests in adolescent culture and popular music have resulted in his involvement with the Rochester Scholars summer enrichment program for talented high school students; he has designed and taught courses in the program since 2008.

A native of Maryland, Hanson graduated summa cum laude from Towson University in Baltimore with a Bachelor’s degree and also received a Master’s degree in music education from the University of Rochester’s Eastman School of Music. He is currently completing a Ph.D. in music education at the Eastman School on a part-time basis. A born-and-bred percussionist, Hanson switched to trombone in high school and went on to concentrate in trombone performance and music history as an undergraduate music education major. He studied trombone with Wayne Wells of the Annapolis Brass Quintet and MU1 David Perkel, lead trombone with the U.S. Navy Commodores jazz ensemble. A former music educator in the Frederick County (MD) public schools, Hanson has taught instrumental, choral, and general music in a wide variety of settings, with students aged kindergarten through adult. He is also the former executive director and conductor of the Frederick Symphonic Band, a regional honor band in suburban Maryland.

More recently, Hanson has been invited to share his love of music at speaking engagements sponsored by the Friends of Wood Library in Canandaigua, Finger Lakes Forum in Geneva, the Chatterbox Club in Rochester, and the UR Always Learning speaker series at the Highlands. These engaging presentations encompass a diverse array of topics, from Leonard Bernstein to the history of Christmas carols, and often draw capacity crowds. In 2010, Hanson served as the orchestra director for Everyone’s Theater Company’s production of The Wiz and received the Excellence in Orchestra Directing merit award from the Theatre Association of New York State (TANYS). His vision of a family of brass musicians on the River Campus resulted in his founding of the University of Rochester Brass Choir in 2008, and by 2010, the group had grown to 45 members representing nearly every school at UR. In early 2011, Hanson led the Brass Choir on its first-ever tour to Washington, D.C., which included performances for dignitaries such as Elizabeth Dole and John Glenn at the National Presbyterian Church and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, among other venues. An aspiring writer in both scholarly and popular formats, Hanson’s article detailing his experiences as founder and director of the UR Brass Choir is forthcoming in the magazine Teaching Music.

An active musician, Hanson performs on trombone with Sinfonia CordAncia and other Rochester-area performing groups and enjoys writing custom arrangements for brass ensembles large and small. He currently resides in Fairport, NY with his wife Katy and dog Cammie.