SILAS NATHANIEL HUFF is a conductor, composer, and U.S. Army Music Officer, currently acting as Director of Orchestras at Washburn University (Topeka, KS), Conductor of the Topeka Youth Symphony, Music Director of the Colorado Pops Orchestra, Co-Director of the International Conducting Institute (dedicated to training the world's next generation of conductors), Director of the International Concerto Festival (a summer festival for emerging soloists), and Commander & Conductor of the 562nd Air Force Band (Air National Guard Band of the West Coast, Oxnard, CA). Maestro Huff has conducted outstanding performances for 20+ years across the United States (California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Indiana, Illinois, Kansas, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Virginia) and across Europe.
As a U.S Army Music Officer, Major Huff conducted concerts at the White House, the U.S. Capitol, Arlington National Cemetery, the Pentagon, and at other important monuments and landmarks in Washington, D.C., for diplomats, heads of state, royalty, and audiences numbering in the thousands. His recordings of important works and broadcasts of live performances have been seen by millions of listeners and viewers. Abroad, he has conducted the L’Orchestre de L’Institut Musical de Provence-Aubagne (Aix-en-Provence, France), the Republic of Adegya National Philharmonic Orchestra (Maikop, Russia), the New Symphony Orchestra (Sofia, Bulgaria), and the Bohuslav Martinů Philharmonic Orchestra (Zlin, Czech Republic).
Maestro Huff's past positions include Music Director of the Astoria Symphony (NYC), Director of the University of Colorado Boulder Campus Orchestra, Boulder Concert Band (CO), Music Director of Round Rock Symphony Orchestra (TX), Director of the U.S. Army Orchestra (D.C.), Associate Conductor of the Boulder Chamber Orchestra (CO), Assistant Conductor of the Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra (CO), Assistant Conductor of the Williamsburg Symphony Orchestra (VA), Conductor of Moscow Ballet's USA east coast tours, and Associate Producer of Opera at the Manhattan School of Music. An avid dance conductor, Maestro Huff has conducted performances with the Fullerton College Ballet Theater (CA), Long Island City Ballet (NYC), Octavia Cup Dance Theatre (NYC), Moscow Ballet, and the Martha Graham Ensemble, with which he conducted Aaron Copland's complete Appalachian Spring with the original choreography, costumes, and set.
In 1999, Maestro Huff won First Prize in the Los Angeles Valley Composition Competition for his homage to Charles Ives, Begging the Question. In 2001, he was named Conductor of the Year by the California State University system, and the Texas House of Representatives signed House Resolution No. 113 recognizing Maestro Huff's distinguished musical service in 2011, and in 2015, the U.S. Army conferred upon him a Meritorious Service Medal for his outstanding and exceptionally meritorious leadership of the U.S. Army Orchestra in Washington, D.C. In 2017, the U.S. Army recognized his leadership of the U.S. Army School of Music with an Army Commendation Medal. In 2020, the Boulder Concert Band earned First Place in the The American Prize Band/Wind Ensemble Performance (community category) under Maestro Huff's baton.
As a composer and advocate of new music, Maestro Huff has organized and presented concerts of contemporary music in California, Colorado, Texas, New York, Virginia, Washington D.C., Spain, France, Germany, and Italy, and continues to compose, commission, conduct, and present new music. He has conducted dozens of world premieres, including his own. In 2007, he conducted the premiere of his Five Episodes for Cello and Orchestra, and 2008 saw the premiere of his opera for children The Ugly Duckling, a collaboration with his wife, writer Taylor Morris. In 2009, Maestro Huff composed and premiered his first ballet, Chun Zhi Ge (“Spring Song Festival”), which was performed again in November 2011 in China before a live audience of 50,000 and a television audience of 100 million. In the fall of 2010, Maestro Huff conducted the orchestral premiere of his Four Cowboy Songs, and 2014 he directed the premiere of his Texas Ranger Fantasy for euphonium and symphonic band on the steps of the U.S. Capitol. In 2015, Maestro Huff conducted the premiere of his Big Brass Swingin' Christmas (for orchestra) in Williamsburg, VA. In 2017, he conducted premiere recordings of the music of French composer Philippe Bodin, and in 2018, he composed Christmas Carol Big Band Extravaganza, which he premiered in Boulder alongside a new original piece, The Mouse's Gift, a second collaboration with his wife. Maestro Huff's pieces can be found on his website.
In 2011, Maestro Huff won a coveted conducting job with the U.S. Army Music Program. He enlisted in the U.S. Army, attended Basic Combat Training (Fort Jackson, SC), Officer Candidate School (Fort Benning, GA), and the Basic Officer Leadership Course at the Army School of Music (Virginia Beach, VA), before taking his first post as Associate Conductor of the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command Band (Fort Eustis, VA). Since then, Major Huff has also served as Associate Conductor of The U.S. Army Band “Pershing's Own” Concert Band (Washington, D.C.), Director of The U.S. Army Orchestra (D.C.), U.S. Army Central Music Liaison Officer in the Middle East, where he provided musical support to American, NATO, and Coalition troops, and State Department personnel in six countries, and Company Commander of the U.S. Army School of Music in Virginia Beach. In October 2017, MAJ Huff took command of the 44th Army Band "New Mexico's Own" (Albuquerque, NM), a part-time Army National Guard Band, and in 2022 he made the transition to the Air Force by taking command of the 562nd Air Force Band, and Air National Guard Band in California.
Maestro Huff earned a Bachelor of Music degree in classical guitar, music theory, and composition at Texas State University, a Master of Arts degree in music theory and composition from UCLA, and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Colorado Boulder under the tutelage of Maestro Gary Lewis. While in Los Angeles, Maestro Huff studied conducting with Maestro Donald Neuen at UCLA and Dr. Richard Rintoul at California State University Long Beach. Maestro Huff also spent one year in residence at the Trossingen Hochschule für Musik (Germany), six months studying privately in Berlin, and two summers at L’Institut Musical Provence-Aubagne (France). He has attended dozens of workshops led by the world’s finest maestros, including Maestros Kirk Trevor, Neil Varon, Mark Gibson, Donald Schleicher, Markand Thakar, Gustav Meier, Joann Falletta, Jorge Mester, Michael Tilson Thomas, Carl St. Clair, Harold Farberman, and others.
Doctor/Major/Maestro Huff loves espresso, bicycling, and his novelist wife Taylor Morris.
For a PDF or editable MS Word version of this bio, or shorter versions, please contact Maestro Huff.