Dr. Harry Begian served as Director of Bands at University of Illinois from 1970 until his retirement in 1984. He began his reputation as an outstanding conductor/teacher at Detroit’s Cass Technical High School, where he developed one of the finest high school bands in the country. He then served as Director of Bands at Wayne State University and Director of Bands at Michigan State University before going to University of Illinois.
Dr. Begian’s musical training was in the public schools of Michigan, where he studied trumpet with Leonard Smith and flute with Larry Teal. He received bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Wayne State University in Detroit, and earned his doctorate at University of Michigan–Ann Arbor.
A charter member of American School Band Directors Association, he was also Past-President of American Bandmasters Association, College Band Directors National Association, Omicron Delta Kappa, and honorary member of Phi Beta Mu and Michigan School Band and Orchestra Association. His professional affiliations included memberships in Phi Mu Alpha and Phi Delta Kappa, and honorary memberships in Kappa Kappa Psi and Tau Beta Sigma.
Dr. Begian was recipient of the NBA Citation of Excellence, ASBDA Edwin Franko Goldman Award, Notre Dame St. Cecelia Award, Grainger Medallion, was elected to the Academy of Wind and Percussion Arts, and was enshrined in the Hall of Fame of Distinguished Band Conductors. His more than 60 recorded performances with the University of Illinois Symphonic Bands comprise one of the largest and finest collections of recorded band performances in existence.
Dr. Begian passed away in 2010.