Dr. Christopher Unger Named Director of Bands at Augustana

Christopher Unger

Dr. Christopher Unger has been named assistant professor of music and director of bands. In his new role, Unger will serve as only the fifth director of the acclaimed Augustana Band, which made its debut on campus in 1931.

Augustana today announced that Dr. Christopher Unger has been named assistant professor of music and director of bands.

In his new role, Unger will serve as only the fifth director of the acclaimed Augustana Band, which made its debut on campus in 1931.

An award-winning conductor, Unger most recently served as the interim director of bands at the University of British Columbia (UBC). Prior to his appointment at UBC, Unger served as the assistant conductor of both the Eastman Wind Orchestra and the Eastman Wind Ensemble at the legendary Eastman School of Music, a conservatory at the University of Rochester in Rochester, New York.

At Eastman, he was honored with the Frederick Fennell Fellowship for Advanced Conducting Study, the Evan Whallon Conducting Award, and the prestigious Walter Hagen Conducting Prize.

“As an accomplished musician with nearly 15 years of experience conducting bands and ensembles, Dr. Unger is well-suited to lead the Augustana Band and teach in the Music Department,” said Dr. Susan Hasseler, senior vice president for Academic Affairs and Dean of the College. “His teaching experience, combined with his training in graduate level conducting, knowledge of program organization and recruitment, and his commitment to student success make him a great addition to our faculty. We’re excited to have him on board and look forward to the many creative contributions he will surely bring to our campus community, the students we serve, and the stages around the world from which the Augustana Band shares its music.

“As we welcome Dr. Unger, we also extend a heartfelt thank you to Dr. Paul Schilf for serving as interim director of the Augustana Band, most recently leading this large ensemble through an extensive 22-day tour of China in January,” Hasseler said. “We are grateful for his service and look forward to seeing his creativity and leadership continue as he re-assumes the baton as director of the Augustana College-Community Band and the Brass Choir and continues to direct the award-winning Northlanders Jazz Band.

About Dr. Unger

Dr. Unger holds degrees from the University of Western Ontario and the University of British Columbia. He earned his doctor of musical arts (DMA) in conducting from the Eastman School of Music in 2013. 

His work at Eastman provided him the opportunity to act as a producer on the Eastman Wind Ensemble’s 2013 release on Avie Records titled “Stravinsky-Octet/L’Histoire du Soldat.” In addition to conducting the wind ensembles, Unger worked with the Brass Guild, the Trumpet Ensemble and the Graduate Chamber Orchestra.

Prior to his graduate studies, Unger served as the instrumental music teacher at G.P. Vanier Secondary School in Courtenay, British Columbia. Under his baton, the instrumental ensembles at Vanier participated in regional and national festivals and received national recognition for their performances at Musicfest Canada. In his final year at Vanier, Unger was nominated for the CARAS/MUSICAN teacher of the year award. 

Recently, Unger won the American Prize in Conducting in the Wind Ensemble Division (2013). Throughout his career he has worked with master wind conductors such as Donald Hunsberger, Frank Battisti, Charles Peltz, Michael Haithcock, Allan McMurray, Craig Kirchhoff, Michael Votta, Gary Hill and Rodney Winther. He maintains professional affiliations with the College Band Directors National Association, the World Association of Symphonic Bands and Ensembles, and the Conductors Guild.