University Bands


Dr. Mike Fansler, Director of Bands


Mike Fansler


Mike Fansler is Professor of Music and Director of Bands at Western Illinois University in Macomb, Illinois, where he leads its comprehensive band program. He serves as conductor of the university wind ensemble and chamber players and teaches graduate and undergraduate conducting. He has served Western Illinois University since 2001.

Dr. Fansler has accepted performance invitations and delivered conducting seminars and workshops on five continents. He regularly conducts honor bands throughout the United States including recent engagements with the Pennsylvania All-State Wind Ensemble, Region 22 Texas Music Educators Association Honor Band, Las Vegas Honor Band and All-Iowa Band. He has lectured on the music of Percy Grainger at the Midwest Clinic and, through a grant, visited the Grainger Museum in Melbourne, Australia, to further research his music and life.
Under his leadership the Western Illinois Wind Ensemble maintains a demanding performance schedule resenting a range of repertoire from historically significant masterworks to exciting world premieres. In the past decade the group has engaged audiences at multiple Illinois All-State Conferences, the College Band Directors National Association’s North Central Conference, twice at the prestigious Armour Stage in Chicago’s Orchestra Hall and internationally on a 10-day tour of Salvador and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Dr. Fansler has collaborated with the WIU School of Music studio faculty on many important engagements including the lead commission and world premiere of James Stephenson’s The Devil’s Tale, a sequel to Igor Stravinsky’s L’Histoire du Soldat. In addition, the Chamber Players recently released the world premiere recording of Brahms’ Variation and Fugue on a Theme by Handel, Op. 24 which was dedicated to Dr. Fansler by the transcriber, Joseph Kreines.

In November, 2019, Dr. Fansler and the WIU Wind Ensemble released The River of Time on Navona Records featuring David Maslanka’s O Earth, O Stars and Symphony No. 10, both of which were commissioned in part by WIU. Critics have written: “An extremely timeless listen, this is a highly meticulous outing that’s executed sublimely and will have the listener hanging on every thoughtful note.” – Take Effect; “As a conductor, Mike Fansler seems to have a knack for shaping lines and creating shimmering, transparent textures – James V. Maiello, Fanfare Magazine; “All I can say is that the music is otherworldly…and of such indescribable beauty it gave me chills. Conductor Mike Fansler holds his players in thrall and has this listener spellbound.” Jerry Dubins, Fanfare Magazine.
His education is from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Syracuse University, James Madison University, and Schenectady County Community College. Dr. Fansler remains actively engaged in the Macomb community as conductor of the Macomb Municipal Band (est. 1852) and saxophonist in the American Legion’s Post 6 Big Band.

His professional memberships include the prestigious American Bandmasters Association (2012), College Band Directors National Association, National Association for Music Education, Illinois Music Educators Association, Phi Beta Mu International Bandmasters Fraternity, and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia. He resides in Avon, Illinois, with his wife, Abby, and they remain busy chasing the countless activities of three talented kids - Jordan, Jessica, and Juliet.


Office Phone: (309) 298-2063
Office: Sallee Hall 206, Macomb, IL 61455