Director of Bands
Scott Weiss is the Director of Bands and Sarah Bolick Smith Distinguished Professor of Music at the University of South Carolina where he conducts the USC Wind Ensemble, teaches and administers the graduate wind conducting program, and oversees all aspects of the university’s band program. Previous positions include Director of Bands at the University of Kansas, Associate Director of Bands at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, and Director of Bands at Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas. He also has nine years of public school teaching experience, including six years as Director of Bands at Harrison High School in Cobb County, Georgia, where his wind ensemble was featured at the 1999 Midwest Clinic.
A champion of new music, Scott Weiss has commissioned, premiered, and recorded dozens of new works by many of today’s leading composers, including Jennifer Higdon, Joseph Schwantner, Joseph Turrin, David Dzubay, Frank Ticheli, John Fitz Rogers, Roshanne Etezady, Steven Bryant, and many others. In 2012 he conducted the world premiere recording of a new ballet for trumpet and chamber orchestra by Robert Bradshaw, and in May 2013 he conducted the world premiere of a new opera by Richard Maltz. He also has a series of critically-acclaimed compact discs on the Naxos label featuring music by American composers. His 2011 recording of the Symphony No. 4 by Morton Gould was heralded by ArkivMusic as “its best performance on record,” and a new disc with the USC Wind Ensemble and featuring the music of Leonard Bernstein was released internationally in February 2013.
Scott Weiss maintains an active international guest conducting schedule, particularly in Asia where he has conducted wind ensembles and symphony orchestras in well over a dozen cities. Recent highlights include his June 2012 debut with the Shenzhen Symphony Orchestra, one of China’s leading professional symphony orchestras, as well as a 2011 performance with the Shin-Siang Wind Ensemble at the National Concert Hall in Taipei. He has also taught and conducted ensembles at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, the Shanghai Conservatory of Music, and Shanghai Jiao-Tong University, and in 2007 he was invited to give a conducting masterclass for the conductors of the People’s Liberation Army of China Military Band in Beijing. In addition, he has presented research on wind band history and literature at the University of Luxembourg in 2008 and at the Austrian Wind Music Museum in Oberwölz, Austria in 2004. Closer to home, Scott Weiss regularly conducts all-state bands, intercollegiate bands, and high school honor bands throughout North America, and he has been featured as a guest conductor with both The United States Army Band (“Pershing’s Own”) and the United States Coast Guard Band.
Scott Weiss received his musical training in trumpet performance at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, and his career as a trumpet player included performances with the National Symphony Orchestra of Washington, D.C. He received both a master’s degree and a doctorate at the University of Illinois where he studied conducting with both James Keene and Donald Schleicher. He is a member of the College Band Directors National Association and the World Association of Symphonic Bands and Ensembles, and in 2012 he was inducted into the American Bandmasters Association.
Scott and his wife Teah live in Columbia with their son John and his dog, Duke. Scott enjoys traveling internationally and playing golf, and he is currently taking Mandarin classes at USC.
Associate Director of Bands / Director of Athletic Bands
Dr. Rebecca L. Phillips is the Associate Director of Bands and Director of Athletic Bands at the University of South Carolina where she is responsible for directing the Symphonic Winds, “The Mighty Sound of the Southeast” Carolina Marching Band, “Concocktion” Basketball Pep Bands, teaching undergraduate instrumental conducting, and directing the Summer Drum Major Clinic.
A native of Washington, D.C., Dr. Phillips earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education from Florida State University, Master of Music degrees in conducting and trombone performance from the University of South Florida, and a Doctorate of Musical Arts in conducting at Louisiana State University. She served as a secondary school band director for seven years in Florida, including Director of Bands at Howard W. Blake Performing Arts High School in Tampa, Florida where she developed an award-winning concert band program.
Under Dr. Phillips’ direction, the Louisiana State University Wind Ensemble performed a consortium premiere of John Mackey’s Turbine in 2006 and, more recently, she conducted a consortium premiere of John Mackey’s Harvest: Concerto for Trombone and Wind Ensemble with the 2011 University of South Carolina Wind Ensemble. Her performance of David del Tredici’s In Wartime and John Mackey’s Redline Tango are both featured on the nationally distributed Louisiana State University Wind Ensemble compact disc project. She also conducted the world premiere of Brett Dietz’s Crop Circles with the LSU Symphonic Winds.
Dr. Phillips has served as a clinician and guest-conductor throughout the United States, including her service as a rehearsal clinician at the 2008 Midwest Clinic, An International Band and Orchestra Conference and conducting performances with the University of Indianapolis Wind Ensemble, the Florida State University Symphonic Band, the University of South Florida Wind Ensemble and various high school and college honor bands. In March 2012 she will be a guest conductor of the USC Wind Ensemble in a concert tour of China that will include concerts in Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Shaoxing, and Ningbo.
As a trombonist, Phillips’ performances can be found on several internationally distributed recordings. She has performed with the National Symphony Orchestra, U.S. Army Band (Pershing’s Own), the Tallahassee Symphony, and the Tampa Bay Opera Orchestra. She has also performed internationally in England, Mexico, the Caribbean, Russia, and Sweden, and has toured as a trombonist with Johnny Mathis and Barry Manilow.
Dr. Phillips holds memberships in the World Association for Symphonic Bands and Ensembles (WASBE), the National Band Association (NBA), and the College Band Directors National Association (CBDNA).
Assistant Director of Bands / Assistant Director of Athletic Bands
James Taylor is the Assistant Director of Bands / Assistant Director of Athletic Bands at the University of South Carolina. Mr. Taylor’s duties at USC include instruction and drill design for the “Mighty Sound of the Southeast” Marching Band, direction of the basketball bands, conducting the University Band, and teaching courses in the music education curriculum. Mr. Taylor was most recently a doctoral student in wind conducting at the University of South Carolina where he has served on the staff of the Carolina Band. Previously, Mr. Taylor completed a Master of Music in Instrumental Conducting with Dr. Gary Sousa at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. At Tennessee, he served for one semester as conductor of the University’s Concert Band and also as a Graduate Assistant for the “Pride of the Southland” Marching Band, assisting with instruction as well as directing various athletic bands including Men’s and Women’s Basketball. He received his Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and he has five years experience teaching in the public schools of East Tennessee as both a middle and high school band director. Mr. Taylor’s other teaching experiences include brass instruction for the Cavaliers Drum and Bugle Corps of Rosemont, Illinois, and the Troopers Drum and Bugle Corps of Casper, Wyoming, and he is an alumnus of the Bluecoats Drum and Bugle Corps of Canton, Ohio.
Mr. Taylor is a member of the College Band Directors National Association (CBDNA), the National Association for Music Education (NAfME), and the South Carolina Band Directors Association. He is also a member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia and an honorary member of Kappa Kappa Psi, and Tau Beta Sigma.
James K. Copenhaver
Director of Bands Emeritus
James K. Copenhaver is a Distinguished Professor of Music Emeritus at the University of South Carolina. He has served as Director of Bands at the University of South Carolina from 1976-2010. His university concert bands have performed at conventions of the National MENC, the CBDNA Southern Division, and the American Bandmasters Association. He has previously served as a public school music teacher and Assistant Director of Bands at both Morehead State University and Clemson University. He has served as a clinician, conductor, and adjudicator throughout the United States. He is a member of the American Bandmasters Association and is a Past-President of the National Band Association and the Southern Division of the College Band Directors National Association. In May 2010, Governor Mark Sanford awarded him The Order of the Silver Crescent, the state’s highest honor for volunteer and community service to the people of South Carolina.