Professor Gary Speck, Director of Bands and Professor of Music, has been named Outstanding Music Educator for 2024 by the Ohio Music Education Association. This recognition celebrates Speck's exceptional contributions to music education and his outstanding leadership within the field.
With a career spanning three decades at Miami University, Speck has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to musical excellence. His journey began with a foundation in music education, earning magna cum laude distinctions with a Bachelor of Music and a Bachelor of Music Education from Baylor University in Waco, Texas. During his tenure there, he honed his conducting skills under the tutelage of renowned mentors Richard Floyd and Michael Haithcock.
Furthering his passion for conducting, Speck pursued a Master of Music degree at the University of Michigan, studying under the guidance of H. Robert Reynolds. Prior to his tenure at Miami University, he showcased his talent as a high school band conductor in the Houston area for four years. Additionally, he expanded his expertise at the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music under the mentorship of Eugene Corporon.
Since joining the faculty at Miami University, Speck has significantly shaped the institution's musical landscape. As the conductor of the Wind Ensemble, he not only leads performances but also imparts his knowledge through courses in conducting, music education, and wind repertoire. His dedication has led the Wind Ensemble to garner accolades from distinguished composers, including recipients of the Pulitzer Prize such as John Harbison, Michael Colgrass, Gunther Schuller, Karel Husa, and Leslie Bassett, who lauded the ensemble's renditions of their compositions.
Under Speck's guidance, the Miami University Wind Ensemble has been invited to perform at esteemed events including ten appearances at the Ohio Music Education Association and seven appearances at the College Band Directors National Association, including a notable performance at the national conference in 1999. His leadership extended to landmark events such as the inaugural Atlanta International Band and Orchestra Conference in 1996 and the MENC/Michigan Instrumental Music conference in 2005.
“I’m honored to receive this award, and I am grateful for the wonderful students at Miami University with whom I’ve had the privilege of working over these thirty-six years,” says Speck, about the honor.Speck was surprised with the announcement during the Wind Ensemble final concert of Fall Semester on December 6. Visiting Assistant Professor of Music and Director of Athletic Bands Dr. Ryan Yahl called Speck to the stage for the announcement. You can view a video of the announcement below.