Dr. Leonard FalconeDr. Leonard Falcone (1899-1985)

The most consummate performing artists are able to expand the horizons of their instruments and set the standard for their generation. A subset of this group (a small number indeed) possesses the pedagogical skills to match their artistic talents. These individuals are the true leaders of the music education world, maintaining extraordinary artistic standards while touching the lives of countless young people.

Such was the case with Leonard Falcone, who served on the faculty of Michigan State University for 53 years. Dr. Falcone was one of those rare talents who combined remarkable artistic talent with natural pedagogical instinct.

Born in Roseto-Valfortore, Italy, in 1899, Dr. Falcone was a professional musician (playing in the prestigious Roseto-Valfortore Town Band) before immigrating to America in 1915 at the age of 15. In 1927, he was appointed Director of Bands at Michigan State University, where he concurrently was Chairman of the Winds and Brass Department and Professor of Baritone Horn.

Dr. Falcone was truly a world-class brass player, and his reputation for excellence touched all aspects of his career. His solo performances, his bands, and his students were all characterized by his singular dedication to the highest standards.

Dr. Falcone retired as Director of Bands at MSU in 1967, although his teaching relationship with MSU continued. During the course of his tenure as Director, Falcone's original single 65-piece Military Band developed into four units: the 175-piece Marching Band, the 115-piece Concert Band, the 100-piece Activity Band, and the Spartan Brass. In recognition of his distinguished career, the University awarded Dr. Falcone the Doctor of Fine Arts degree in 1978, marking 50 years of involvement with MSU. He retained his position as Professor of Baritone Horn until his death in 1985.

Dr. Falcone was active in the program of Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp since it opened in 1966. As a guest conductor and honorary trustee, Dr. Falcone helped Blue Lake become what former Michigan Governor William Milliken considered to be “one of the state's greatest cultural assets.”

It was in honor of his exemplary musical and educational accomplishments that a number of Falcone students, in cooperation with Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp, established the Leonard Falcone International Euphonium Festival (now Euphonium and Tuba Festival). The Festival has become a continuing testimony to Dr. Falcone's profound influence upon the lives of his students and the extraordinary artistry he achieved on the instrument he loved.

More information about Dr. Falcone's life and work >>

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