B.A., Macalester College
M.M., Southern Illinois University
D.M.A., Arizona State University
William S. Carson is a 1978 honors graduate of Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota where he completed an internship with the Minnesota Opera and conducted the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra as a student in the ensemble's Young Conductors' Workshop. Carson continued his studies at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, earning a Master of Music degree in 1981. Following graduation, Carson directed the high school music program in Carbondale where his students won the Illinois High School Music Association Music Sweepstakes Award in 1982. He then served the public schools of West Lafayette, Indiana, as high school band director and music coordinator before moving to New Hampshire to become director of jazz studies at Plymouth State College of the University System of New Hampshire.
After four years in New Hampshire, Carson moved to Arizona to pursue his Doctor of Musical Arts degree at Arizona State University. He spent two years as a graduate assistant for the ASU Bands and an intern with the orchestra before he joined the faculty at Coe College.
Professor Carson conducts the concert band; teaches 20th century music history, bass clarinet, and jazz history; and supervises the brass, wind, and percussion faculty. Dr. Carson served as chair of the Music Department from 2003 to the summer of 2007. In addition to his work at Coe, Dr. Carson served for more than a decade as the Business Manager of the Cedar Rapids Municipal Band.
Professor Carson completed his doctorate in 1992 and earned the Outstanding Dissertation Award from the Council for Research in Music Education. The dissertation was also selected as a runner-up for the Fritz Thelen Prize sponsored by the Internationale Gesellschaft zur Erforschung and Forderung des Blasmusik. His book, On the Path to Excellence--The Northshore Concert Band: Paynter, Buehlman, and Beyond, was published by Meredith Music in 2003 and is available from the author, through the publisher and its distributor, Hal Leonard, and online at Amazon.com. Dr. Carson's research into the music of Percy Grainger has led to the creation of a new performing edition of Percy Grainger's original band version of "Spoon River." The new edition is available from Southern Music and the "President's Own" United States Marine Band has released the world premiere recording of this edition. To hear the Marine Band perform this version, click here.
Carson, who is listed in Marquis Who's Who in American Education, has extensive experience as a guest conductor, including performances with the United States Army Field Band, the Marine Band of Camp LeJeune, the Air Force Heartland of America Band, the CBDNA Regional All-Star Band, and numerous international performances with the band of the Iowa Ambassadors of Music, a group with which he has traveled to Europe as a conductor and clarinetist every other summer since 2000. Carson has recently been named Associate Music Director and Associate Band Conductor of the Iowa Ambassadors. Over the years, Carson's travels as a conductor, clinician, and performer have taken him to thirty-four states and twenty foreign countries.