John Cody Birdwell

Director of Bands

Dr. John Cody Birdwell is Director of Bands and Associate Professor of Music at the University of Kentucky, where his duties include conducting the University of Kentucky Wind Symphony, directing graduate programs in wind-band conducting, teaching graduate courses in instrumental conducting, history and literature, and supervising the administration of the University of Kentucky band program in the School of Music. Prior to his appointment at the University of Kentucky, Dr. Birdwell served as Director of Bands at Texas Tech University (1998-2004), Director of Bands at Utah State University (1994-1998), Assistant Director of Bands at the University of Illinois (1989 – 1994), and Director of Bands at Northern Michigan University (1987-1989).

Dr. Birdwell's ensembles have toured extensively throughout the United States, China, and Great Britain, and the University of Kentucky Wind Symphony was recently selected to perform at the 2013 National Convention of the College Band Directors National Association. Under Birdwell’s direction, the UK Wind Symphony has performed a various regional and national conventions, including the 2010 CBDNA Southern Division Conference at the University of Mississippi, the 2006 CBDNA Southern Division Conference at Vanderbilt University, and the 2006 Kentucky Music Educators Association Convention in Louisville. In 2008 the UK Wind Symphony toured the People’s Republic of China, and performed to capacity audiences in the cities of Suzhou, Yangzhou, Changzhou, and Beijing.  Ensembles under Dr. Birdwell's direction have also performed for the National Convention, Southwest Division Convention, and Western Division CBDNA conferences, and have also performed for the Texas Music Educators Convention, the Texas Bandmaster's Association Convention, and the Utah Music Educators Association. Birdwell has commissioned and premiered works by a variety of celebrated composers including Dan Welcher, Donald Grantham, John Mackey, Bob Mintzer, Mike Mower, and Adam Gorb.  Several compact discs, including the University of Kentucky Wind Ensemble “Distilled in Kentucky – Premieres from the Bluegrass State”, and “GO! – The Music of Bob Mintzer”, along with the Texas Tech University Symphonic Wind Ensemble “LIVE!" and “Diversions” have received acclaim from composers and conductors throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia.

Dr. Birdwell is a native of New Mexico, and holds degrees from The University of North Texas (DMA), and West Texas A&M University (MA, BME). While at North Texas, Birdwell was inducted into "Who's Who in American Colleges and Universities", and was a recipient of the Pi Kappa Lambda Class Honor Award for Outstanding Doctoral Student in the College of Music. Dr. Birdwell serves as Vice President of the College Band Directors National Association Southern Division, and served as Chair of the National Band Association Selective Music List Committee.  Dr. Birdwell holds memberships in the College Band Directors National Association, National Band Association, Kentucky Music Educators Association, National Association for Music Education, Michigan School Band and Orchestra Association, Kappa Kappa Psi and Phi Mu Alpha. He remains active as a guest conductor, clinician and adjudicator throughout the United States and abroad.