Col. Dennis Layendecker

Festival Clinician

Dennis M. Layendecker D.M.A. / Colonel, USAF (Ret.) is a George Mason University Professor Emeritus of Music having served 12 years as University Heritage Chair in Music, Tenured Full Professor, Director of Orchestral Studies, Professor of Applied Conducting and Classroom Instructor. In addition, from June 2010 through May 2016 he served as Director of the School of Music in the College of Visual and Performing Arts. Throughout his years at Mason he conducted numerous orchestral concerts and official events, coached and conducted fully staged operas, and co-produced and conducted Broadway musical productions. Preceding his tenure at Mason, Colonel Layendecker served 26 years on active duty as a commander, career field senior officer, artistic director, conductor, pianist, public spokesperson and educator, military academic instructor, and diplomat for the Nation, Department of Defense, and the U.S. Air Force globally. In July 2002, he assumed command and artistic leadership of the United States Air Force Band, Washington, D.C. providing musical and ceremonial support to the U.S. President and his Cabinet, members of Congress and other high-ranking civilian and military leaders nationally and internationally. In December 2007, Colonel Layendecker assumed additional duties as Chief of Music for the Air Force overseeing policy and guidance for 900+ professional Airmen musicians worldwide. During his military career he led more than 6,000 musical performances across the globe in support of public outreach, community relations, troop morale and welfare, recruitment and retention programs for the Air Force and Department of Defense. Colonel Layendecker retired from active duty in August 2009. Prior to his Air Force commission, he served on the faculties of the American Conservatory of Music in Chicago, Illinois, and Eastern Washington University in Cheney, Washington. Now approaching 50 years on the conductor’s podium, Dr. Layendecker remains active as a guest conductor / clinician at home and abroad.

Dr. Layendecker has conducted throughout America, the United Kingdom, the European Continent and East Asia. As a participant in U.S. diplomatic efforts overseas, he has guest conducted the most prestigious foreign military bands and civilian choirs from Great Britain, Russia, Germany, France, Italy, Luxembourg, Belgium, and Japan. He has performed for numerous world leaders including seven American presidents, Queen Elizabeth II, Popes John-Paul II and Benedict XVI, U.S. Cabinet Secretaries and Congressional members, American Ambassadors, Princes, Dukes and Duchesses throughout Europe, thousands of American servicemen worldwide … ultimately reaching millions of listeners around the globe. His radio and television broadcast credits include appearances on BBC 3, German Radio and Television, Polish National Radio, Radio Luxembourg, RAI Italy, American public radio, PBS, and commercial television enterprises nationwide.

Dr. Layendecker is a graduate of Springfield College in Illinois, the American Conservatory of Music in Chicago, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois and The Catholic University of America, Washington D.C. He studied orchestra conducting and piano performance concurrently at the Royal Conservatory of Music, Brussels while on a two-year full scholarship awarded by the Belgian Ministry of Culture. Beyond his civilian academic credentials Dr. Layendecker is a graduate of the United States Air Force’s Air War College, a distinguished graduate of the Air Command and Staff College, graduate of the Air Force Academic Instructor’s School, and the Squadron Officer School, Air University, Maxwell Air Force Base, Montgomery, Alabama. His military decorations include the Legion of Merit, the Air Force Meritorious Service Medal with four oak leaf clusters, Air Force Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster, Air Force Achievement Medal with oak leaf cluster, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with three oak leaf clusters, Air Force Organizational Excellence Award with oak leaf cluster, National Defense Service Medal with bronze star, and the Global War on Terrorism Medal.

Married 44 years to Myriam Tartari of Brussels, Belgium Dr. Layendecker and his wife reside happily in Burke, Virginia, have raised six children, and are proud grandparents.

Contact Us!

For more information on the Sousa Band Festival and how to participate, download the  brochure using the link below or contact us using the form.