Robert J. Ambrose
Director of Bands
Conductor Robert J. Ambrose enjoys a highly successful and diverse career as a dynamic and engaging musician. His musical interests cross many genres and can be seen in the wide range of professional activities he pursues. Dr. Ambrose studied formally at Boston College, Boston University and Northwestern University, where he received the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in conducting.
Dr. Ambrose has conducted professionally across the United States as well as in Australia, Canada, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan. His interpretations have earned the enthusiastic praise of many leading composers including Pulitzer Prize winners Leslie Bassett, Michael Colgrass and John Harbison. He has conducted over two dozen premiere performances including works by Michael Colgrass, Jonathan Newman, Joel Puckett, Christopher Theofanidis and Joseph Turrin. Dr. Ambrose has conducted Arnold Schoenberg’s landmark piece Pierrot Lunaire several times in three different countries and a recent performance of Igor Stravinsky’s Symphony of Psalms under his direction has been given repeated airings on Georgia Public Radio.
Dr. Ambrose is founder and music director of the Atlanta Chamber Winds a professional dectet specializing in the promotion of music by emerging composers as well as lesser-known works of established composers. Their premiere compact disc, Music from Paris, was released in 2009 on the Albany Records label and has received outstanding reviews in both Fanfareand Gramophone magazines.
As a guitarist, Robert Ambrose has performed in dozens of jazz ensembles, combos, rock bands and pit orchestras. His rock band “Hoochie Suit,” formed with members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, received rave reviews throughout the Chicago area and performed for such distinguished guests as Yo-Yo Ma and Daniel Barenboim.
Dr. Ambrose currently serves as director of bands, associate professor of music and associate director of the School of Music at Georgia State University, a Research I institution of 32,000 students located in Atlanta, Georgia. As director of bands he conducts the Symphonic Wind Ensemble, maintains a highly selective studio of graduate students in the Master of Music in wind band conducting degree program, and oversees a large, comprehensive band program comprised of four concert ensembles and three athletic bands.
Robert Ambrose lives in Peachtree City, Georgia with his wife Sarah Kruser Ambrose, a professional flute player, and daughters Isabelle and Hannah.
A native of Newnan, GA, Chester B. Phillips is in his seventh year as associate director of bands and director of athletic bands at Georgia State University. His primary responsibilities include conducting the Wind Orchestra, establishing and directing the University Marching Band, teaching conducting and overseeing all facets of the Athletic Bands. In 2013, Dr. Phillips was presented the Dean’s Early Career Award by the College of Arts and Sciences for his outstanding work in teaching, service and professional development.
Since his arrival at Georgia State University, the band area has added a third concert band, seen growth in the basketball pep band to over 200% its original size and established a nationally recognized and respected marching band with nearly two hundred members. Under Dr. Phillips leadership the six-year old GSU Marching Band has received several honors and accolades including an invitation to march in the 2014 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, participation in the 57th Presidential Inaugural Parade, a national top-ten honor by the 2013 College Band Directors National Association (CBDNA), a top-five honor by the 2012 and 2016 Southern Division of CBDNA. The band has also made several appearances on film and television including a spot in the motion picture The Watch starring Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn and Jonah Hill and showcased on HNL Morning Express with Robin Meade.
Prior to his appointment, Dr. Phillips was active in all aspects of the band department at the University of Georgia (Athens, GA) as a graduate assistant with duties including drill design and instruction for the University of Georgia Redcoat Band, conducting the university’s concert bands and teaching conducting.
Before his time UGA, Dr. Phillips taught for seven years as the associate director of bands at Harrison High School in Kennesaw, Georgia and for two years in the Gwinnett County public schools at the middle and high school level. As a recipient of the Sousa Foundation’s “Sudler Flag of Honor” in 2007, the Harrison Band (GA) program, under his instruction, was distinguished as one of the strongest, respected, and well-rounded band programs in the United States. Throughout his tenure in public schools, Dr. Phillips led highly acclaimed concerts before the Music for All National Concert Band Festival (twice) and the Georgia Music Educators Association Conference. Performances under his direction have won the praise of such notable composers/conductors as Frederick Fennell, John Mackey, Richard Clary, Ray Cramer, Gray Green, Col. Arnold Gabriel and James Copenhaver.
Dr. Phillips received the Bachelor of Music degree in music education from the University of Georgia, the Master of Music degree in music education from the University of Illinois and the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in wind conducting at the University of Georgia. His principal conducting teachers have been John P. Lynch and James Keene. He has conducted university, community and honor bands throughout the United States and in Europe.
With over 25 years of marching band experience, Dr. Phillips is well versed in all aspects of the activity. He is a guest clinician for concert bands throughout the Southeast and a visual designer and consultant for marching bands around the country. Dr. Phillips is a frequent consultant and designer for the Rauma Youth Band in Rauma Finland. He serves as an adjudicator for Music for All, Band of America, Drum Corps International, and Festivals of Music. In 2013 and 2015, Dr. Phillips traveled to Yokohama, Japan to judge for Drum Corp Japan. He was a member and soloist with the Cadets of Bergen County Drum and Bugle Corps and remains an active private trumpet instructor and freelance performer in the Atlanta area.
He is affiliated with professional organizations that include the National Band Association, College Band Directors National Association, National Association for Music Education, and Georgia Music Educators Association. Dr. Phillips currently lives in Atlanta, GA with his wife, Megan, their two daughters, and their dog, Bella.
T. Devin Reid
Assistant Director of Bands
Devin Reid is currently an active musician and educator throughout the southeast. A native of Fayetteville, NC, Mr. Reid is a 2005 recipient of the North Carolina Teaching Fellows Scholarship. He holds a Master of Music in Wind Band Conducting from Georgia State University and a Bachelor of Music in Music Education from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
In 2016 Mr. Reid accepted the position as Interim Assistant Director of Bands at Georgia State University in Atlanta, GA. In this capacity he co-teaches the Panther Marching Band, conducts the Basketball Band, conducts the University Concert Band, teaches undergraduate conducting courses and supervises student teachers in the field. Prior to his appointment at Georgia State, Mr. Reid taught public school in Georgia and North Carolina and served as Graduate Assistant for the Georgia State University Bands. While teaching at James Kenan High School (NC), Mr. Reid grew the program from 0% to 10% of the school population in just three years. His ensembles performed at numerous events in and out of the community including the NC Muscadine Festival, NC PAS Day of Percussion and the Virginia International Music Festival. His ensembles have performed with merit to earn superior ratings at local music festivals. Since 2007, Mr. Reid has worked as percussion instructor with numerous high school drum lines and percussion ensembles throughout North Carolina and Virginia. Mr. Reid has presented clinics and masterclasses on education and percussion pedagogy at the North Carolina Music Educators Conference and the Georgia State University Bands of Distinction. He has been a two-time guest conductor of the Eagle Ensemble at the International Euphonium and Tuba Festival. He is also an active adjudicator throughout Georgia and North Carolina.
As a performer, Mr. Reid is an actively sought after musician. He was the percussionist for the popular brass quintet and Delos recording artist “Da Capo Brass”. Their debut album “From The Beginning” stormed the iTunes classical charts at #8 in January 2012. Currently, Mr. Reid is a freelance percussionist in the Atlanta area. He has also been a member of the regionally acclaimed bluegrass band, “T.R. and the Boys” as baritone vocalist and mandolin player. They have three releases, and their most recent album; “Lonesome” features one of his original songs as the title track. He is a member of the National Association for Music Education, the National Band Association, the Percussive Arts Society, is an endorser for Sabian Cymbals and a registered songwriter with BMI.
Mr. Reid is happily married to his beautiful wife Amy and they reside in Powder Springs, GA with their daughter Katelynn.