New Conductor Causes Fanfare in Music Department

August 25, 2015


New Conductor Causes Fanfare in Music Department

With a trumpet and conductor’s baton in hand, musician Brad Hogarth’s ambition has sent him across continents on every face of the globe to share his craft. Throughout his career, he has been invited to teach and perform classical music in over a dozen countries. His most recent professional endeavor brought him to SF State as the music department’s newest assistant professor of conduct and wind ensemble

“One aspect of my personality that drives me to do the things I do is having zero shame when it comes to embracing new experiences,” Hogarth said. “It’s okay to be uncomfortable in order to approach opportunities.”

Hogarth chose a career in music over engineering at the end of his senior year in high school. With the support of his family, he left Texas for Rochester, New York to pursue a bachelor’s degree in trumpet performance and music education at Eastman School of Music. During his undergraduate studies, Hogarth spent a semester abroad at the German music academy Hochschule für Musik Freiburg. He described his first time traveling internationally to study music as a formative experience.

Brad Hogarth in his first semester at SF State as Assistant Professor of conducting and wind ensemble poses for a portrait in the creative arts building on Tuesday, August 25, 2015. (Ryan McNulty / Xpress)
Brad Hogarth in his first semester at SF State as Assistant Professor of conducting and wind ensemble poses for a portrait in the creative arts building on Tuesday, August 25, 2015. (Ryan McNulty / Xpress)

His time in Germany encouraged him to accept a teaching position in Ōta, Gunma, Japan for a year. Since then he has spent his summers touring with the National Youth Orchestra of the Netherlands and attending month-long classical musical festivals in Italy and Japan.

“Classical music is comparable to witnessing some of the greatest wonders of the world,” Hogarth said. “It’s landmarks like the pyramids or the statue of liberty that remind you of human achievement. Performing beautiful pieces of classical music makes you feel like you’re a part of that.”

Of the many applicants who sought the wind ensemble and conducting position, the music department’s hiring committee put three candidates through a series of on-campus examinations, according to faculty member Cyrus Ginwala. Ginwala said Hogarth’s record of teaching and history of performing with top ensembles in San Francisco made him an ideal fit for the department.

“Because the orchestral community is so small, it can quickly become apparent when musicians aren’t of the highest character,” Ginwala said. “(Hogarth) is known as a professional who is consistently punctual and prepared.”

Along with exceptional character, Ginwala said that successful musicians also need talent, a relentless desire to perform and a sense of longing that can only be fulfilled by making music. He said he hopes that under Hogarth’s direction, the wind ensemble will continue to develop the quality and breadth of their repertoire as a showcase for the department and the school as a whole.

Dee Spencer, chair of SF State’s School of Music and Dance said he believes Hogarth’s familiarity and engagement with the Bay Area music scene equips him with consciousness of the University’s varied student population.

“With his fingers on the pulse of the music scene, there’s no learning curve when it comes to recruiting students for the wind ensemble that represent the kind of diversity SF State holds as a point of pride,” Spencer said.

As a musician, Hogarth said he feels that teaching music informs his skill as a performer and performing music improves his capacity to teach. In his role as an instructor, Hogarth said he seeks to instill his students with the passion and excitement necessary in realizing their musical aspirations.

“There’s nothing that feels better than finishing a performance.” Hogarth said. “I hope I can share that feeling with my students. It’s better than drugs. It’s better than anything.”