Winner of the American Prize in Wind Conducting (2015-16, 2016-17, 2017-18) and lauded by Iowa Public Radio as a “major figure in Iowa arts,” Brian Hughes is an active conductor at home and abroad. In addition to clinic and concert performances across the country, he has led orchestras in the Czech Republic, Poland, Romania, and Russia. 


Dr. Hughes moved to Dubuque in 1993 to serve as Director of Instrumental Studies at Loras College. In 1994, he was appointed Conductor of the Dubuque Symphony Youth Orchestra, and in 1995, he founded the Tri-State Wind Symphony, soon to celebrate its 25th Anniversary Season in Summer 2019. In the midst of his thirteenth year with the award-winning Quad City Wind Ensemble, Dr. Hughes also leads the Bettendorf Park Band which celebrated its 50th anniversary in Summer 2018. In November, he became interim Conductor of the Symphony Orchestra at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville.

Dr. Hughes holds degrees in music education and conducting from Olivet College (MI), the University of Northern Iowa, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where his dissertation was “Alberto Ginastera: Variaciones Concertantes—A Conductor’s Study. An article based on that study, “A True Concerto for Orchestra,” is set for publication in the Journal of the Conductor’s Guild.


He has also offered clinics on conducting, repertoire, and music education at the Northern Iowa Conductor’s Symposium and the Iowa Bandmasters Association. A two-time recipient of the Richard and Agatha Church Conducting Prize (UW-Madison), he was presented the 2005 Elisha Darlin Award, given by the Dubuque Fine Arts Society in recognition of his “outstanding contribution to the arts.”

Dr. Hughes resides in Dubuque with his precocious daughter, Caitlyn, now a freshman studying biochemistry and political science at Iowa State University. You'll find him in any of several local coffee shops or his own kitchen—glass in hand—working over the stove or oven. There's always extra! Come on over!


QUAD CITY WIND ENSEMBLE, 3:00 PM, December 9, 2018

Galvin Fine Arts Center, St. Ambrose University, Davenport, IA


Sergei Prokofiev/Curnow: "Troika," (Lt. Kije)

Leroy Anderson: A Christmas Festival

Eric Whitacre: Lux arumque

Johan deMeij: Klezmer Classics

Anderson: Sleigh Ride

(encore) Julie Giroux: Christmas and Sousa Forever




7:30 PM, December 7 & 8, 2018

Leroy Anderson: A Christmas Festival

Sing-a-long: O Come All Ye Faithful

John Williams: "Somewhere in my Memory," (Home Alone)

Sergei Prokofiev: "Troika," (Lt. Kije)

Sing-a-long: Hark! The Herald Angels Sing

Anderson: Sleigh Ride



1:00 PM, December 1, 2018

Holiday Favorites Old and New




7:30 PM, November ___

Gustav Holst: St. Paul's Suite

Jig--Ostinato--Intermezzo--Finale, the "Dargason"

Gabriel Faure: Pavane

Sergei Prokofiev: Lt. Kije Symphonic Suite

Birth of Kije--Romance--Kije's Wedding--Troika


QUAD CITY WIND ENSEMBLE, 3:00 PM, October 21, 2018

Galvin Fine Arts Center, St. Ambrose University, Davenport, IA


  Robert Jager: Esprit de Corps

  Kenneth J. Alford: The Vanished Army 

  arr. Glover: Songs of the Great War

  Ralph Hultgren: Bright Sunlit Morning

  James Barnes: Lonely Beach (Normandy 1944)

  Robert Jager: Epilogue: Lest We Forget


BETTENDORF PARK BAND, 7:30 PM, July 13, 2018,

Bill Bowe Band Shell, Veteran's Memorial Park

 Henry Fillmore: His Honor

  Ed Waligora, Founder - Guest Conductor

  Pierre LaPlante: American River Songs

  Ralph Vaughan Williams: English Folksong Suite

   I. March, Seventeen Come Sunday

  II. Intermezzo, My Bonny Boy

 III. March, Folk Songs from Somerset

            James O’Briant, conducting

  Selections from The Greatest Showman

Sean Talbot, conducting

  Jaime Texidor: Amparito Roca (pasodoble)

Mr. O'Briant, conducting

  Roger Naylor: Three Scenes for Band

Composed in 1978 for the Bettendorf Park Band

  Manuel De Falla: Ritual Fire Dance

  Henry Fillmore: Shouting Liza Trombone

  Russell Alexander: Colossus of Columbia March


TRI-STATE WIND SYMPHONY, 7:30 PM, July 19, 2018

Eagle Point Park Bandshell, Dubuque, IA

  Vaclav Nelhybel: High Plains

  Frank Erickson: Toccata for Band

  Ralph Vaughan Williams: English Folk Songs

  David Holsinger: On A Hymnsong of Philip Bliss

  David Maslanka: Rollo Takes A Walk

  arr. Warren Barker: Selections from Les Miserables

  Leroy Anderson: The Waltzing Cat

  G. F. Huffine: Them Basses


QUAD CITY WIND ENSEMBLE, 3:00 PM, February 25, 2018

St. Ambrose University: Shattering the Glass Ceiling

   Kimberly Archer: Common Threads

   Nicole Piunno: Yet Not as I Will

   Shirley Mier: Courage Shining Forth

   Julie Giroux:  No Finer Calling

   Ingrid Stölzel: Panta Rhei

   Sarah Palermo: Digging On Her Grave

   Jillian Whitaker: Coming Home


QUAD CITY WIND ENSEMBLE, 3:00 PM, October 22, 2017

St. Ambrose University: British Band Classics

   Thomas Arne: Rule Britannia

   Malcolm Arnold/Sayre: Peterloo Overture 

   Ralph Vaughan Williams/Beeler: Rhosymedre 

   Gordon Jacob/ed. Heidenreich: An Original Suite

            1. March

            2. Intermezzo

            3. Finale

   Gustav Holst: Suite in F, Op. 28, No. 2

            1. March: Morris Dance, Swansea Town, Claudy Banks

            2. Song Without Words, “I’ll Love My Love”

            3. Song of the Blacksmith

            4. Fantasia on the Dargason

   Percy Aldridge Grainger: Country Gardens (1953 version)

   Grainger: Colonial Song 

   Grainger: "Gumsuckers" March


Bettendorf Park Band, 3:00 PM, March 19, 2017

St. John's United Methodist Church, Davenport, IA

  Richard Wagner: Overture to Rienzi

  Karl L. King: The Melody Shop

  Carl Strommen: Prelude on an American Spiritual

  Ivor Novello/Deshon: Keep the Home Fires Burning

  Steven Reineke: Fate of the Gods

  Derek Bourgeois: Serenade                   

  John Philip Sousa: The Quilting Party                 

  Andrew Lloyd Webber/ McGinty: "Pie Jesu," from Requiem                  

  Mitch Leigh/Erickson: Selections from Man of La Mancha

  Alfred Reed: Alleluia! Laudamus Te















Verdi: La Forza del Destino--full of energy and fire. The orchestral version is hardly missed at all. A conductor fully in the moment. Absolutely relaxed in the arm and hand (and demeanor), with clear beating, which makes possible the kind of focused playing and tight ensemble that is achieved.


Whitacre: Lux arumque--careful control of dynamics and phrase shape. A conductor (who is) always listening, balancing, responding. Hardly could a better example of a skilled, seasoned, serious practitioner of the art be imagined.


Fucik: Gigantic--what a marvelous march. Evidence of a conductor in relaxed, seasoned control, with careful, restrained movements. A pleasure to watch his work. Classy.


Excellent repertoire--including classic marches, excellent transcriptions, more modern composers. Maestro Hughes is for this adjudicator always a privileged encounter. I wish him continued success and joy in his performances. 

Friedemann: Slavonic Rhapsody No. 1--The quality of the video makes it easy to see your many facial expressions and body language. You achieve a gorgeous, sonorous sound, with dramatic contrasts. Tremendous performance!


Elgar/Reed: Nimrod--This wonderful arrangement is a great choice for your group. The outstanding soft opening is clearly indicated. Your body language and especially the range of expressions are perfect.


Alfred Reed: Alleluia! Laudamus Te--Gorgeous and tight. The group responds sensitively to your varied hand gestures and communications. Your beat is always clear and appropriate to the musical style. A majestic and beautiful performance.

Karl King: Barnum and Bailey's Favorite. I like how he won't leave them alone--there is going to be energy and excitement in this familiar march they know well. The conductor is alive to the performance--very much "in the moment." Yes, the beat is large--a smaller gesture with the same intent might achieve good results faster, but good results these are. It is clear that no one sleeps when Brian Hughes conducts, players or audience. Bravo.

"Brian has charisma in abundance, a talent for speaking and relating to audiences of all kinds, a dynamic stage presence, and very creative programming...He treats musicians with respect and still is able to expect and get the best results possible with limited rehearsal time."

Nicholas Palmer, DMA, Music Director,

Lafayette (IN) Symphony


"I love it when my little community orchestra is coaxed and challenged to reach into the musical guts of the pieces we are playing. Thanks, maestro Brian Hughes, for a great rehearsal."

Hana Velde, First Violin,

Dubuque Community String Orchestra


"Brian is a distinguished musician, and his enthusiasm for teaching and conducting great music is quite inspirational for those lucky enough to perform with him."

James Smith, Emeritus

University of Wisconsin-Madison

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