Robert Foster

Robert Foster
  • Professor Emeritus, Director of Bands Emeritus

Contact Info


M.Ed. The University of Houston; B.M. The University of Texas

Robert E. Foster, Professor Emeritus of Music Education and Music Therapy at the University of Kansas, served as Director of Bands for 31 years beginning in 1971. He was also the conductor and musical director of the award winning Lawrence City Band. His KU Symphonic Band performed at numerous national and regional conventions, including performances and clinics for Music Educators National Conference, the American Bandmasters Association, College Band Directors National Association, and others. He continues an active career as a guest conductor, adjudicator, author, composer, arranger, and editor, and has conducted or adjudicated in 37 different states, Canada, Mexico, Japan, Singapore, and throughout Europe. Foster is President of the John Philip Sousa Foundation, and is former President of the American Bandmasters Association, the National Band Association, the Southwest Division of the College Band Directors National Association, and the Big Twelve Conference Band Directors Association. He also served as Chairman of the North American Band Directors Coordinating Committee.

Foster has been actively involved in the promotion and performances of music by John Philip Sousa, and he worked with the Instrumentalist magazine as guest editor to produce their Sousa Sesquicentennial issue in November 2004. In 1988 he was selected as the Kansas Bandmasters Association Bandmaster of the year. In 1989 his KU Marching Band was the 7th band to be awarded the Sudler Trophy for Intercollegiate Marching Bands. In 2001 he was awarded the Kappa Kappa Psi Distinguished Service to Music Award. In 2006 he was inducted into the National Band Association Hall of Fame for Distinguished Conductors. In 2007 he was presented an Award of Distinction from the Women Band Directors International organization for exceptional support toward women in the band movement. He was selected as the recipient of the 2010 International Phi Beta Mu Outstanding Bandmaster Award. He has written several books, including: Multiple-Option Marching Band Techniques, and Championship Auxiliary Units, published by Alfred Publishing Co. ; Practical Hints For Playing the Cornet or Trumpet, published by Belwin Publishing Co.; and My First Arban, book I and book II (a method book for brass instruments), published by Carl Fischer, Inc. He has written numerous articles for The Instrumentalist magazine as well as for other band/music publications, and has several hundred publications of music for bands or for band instruments. He is editor of the "Authenticated Fillmore Editions" of band works by Henry Fillmore, published by Carl Fischer, and he serves as Educational Consultant to Wingert-Jones Music Publications.

In June 2013, Meredith Music Publications released Foster's book on band history “Wind Bands of the World: Chronicle of a Cherished Tradition." Meredith Music Publications had the following to say about Foster’s impressive new work, “This engaging text presents a comprehensive history of the wind band from its earliest days to today. The author’s narrative describes the development of instruments, musicians, composers, conductors, and the music itself, tracing in chronological order, virtually every aspect of the growth of bands that has led to today’s outstanding ensembles. A must read for musicians and for those interested in music and history.” In October 2013 the KU School of Music officially named the large rehearsal room in Murphy Hall "The Robert E. Foster Rehearsal Room."

Foster retired from the University in May 2015.