Dr. Tonya Mitchell-Spradlin is Director of Wind Band Studies and Assistant Professor of Music at Penn State University. In addition to conducting the Symphonic Wind Ensemble, overseeing the graduate wind conducting program, teaching courses in wind band literature and wind conducting, she oversees all aspects of the concert bands at Penn State. Her appointment at PSU follows three years as Assistant Director of Bands and Associate Director of Athletic Bands at the University of South Carolina. Prior to her time at UofSC, Mitchell-Spradlin taught at Valdosta State University as Director of Athletic Bands, and was Director of Bands at Chamblee High School in Chamblee, Georgia for four years.
Mitchell-Spradlin has a diverse background as a conductor, clinician, adjudicator, educator, and speaker. She is a Conn Selmer educator and frequent guest conductor with performances with several regional honor bands, Allstate bands, summer camps and clinics, and residencies at public schools and collegiate institutions. She is active in the teaching of conducting having served as clinician for the UMKC Conducting Symposium and the President’s Own Marine Band Conductor Training Program.
As a presenter, Mitchell-Spradlin speaks often about programming, forming a connection with musicians, building culture, musical leadership, and inclusivity in the band medium. She has shared musical and pedagogical ideas on several music podcasts including Everything Band, Conn Selmer’s Backstage with Dr. Tim, The Bandroom, and the Ictus Podcast. Presentations include invited sessions at the Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic, College Music Society, the College Band Directors National Association, SCMEA, KMEA, NYSBDA, and keynote presenter for the NAfME Northwest conference. Her international speaking engagements include presenting the keynote for the Maryborough Music Conference in Australia and a session on Joan Tower’s Fanfares for the Uncommon Woman for the International Society for the Advancement and Promotion of Wind Band Society (IGEB) in Oberwölz, Austria.
A proponent for advancing the wind ensemble medium, she led the consortium and premiere of Aaron Perrine’s Beneath a Canvas of Green for wind ensemble and percussion quartet which was also the source of her doctoral dissertation. Additionally, she is active in a number of premieres and consortiums for new music.
Under her direction, the Penn State Symphonic Wind Ensemble has received several honors including a performance at the prestigious Heinz Hall in Pittsburgh, PA as part of Penn State’s President’s Concert as well as an invitation to perform at the College Band Directors National Association Eastern Region Conference in Ithaca, New York. The ensemble has recorded The Hardscrabble by Sarah Gen Burghart Rice for wind ensemble and 12+ double reeds for release on Neuma Records as well as Evan Ziporyn’s Impulse Control – concerto for drumset and wind ensemble for release on Parma Records.
Mitchell-Spradlin served as the National Vice President of Professional Relations for Tau Beta Sigma: National Honorary Band Sorority for two years. She serves on the National Band Association Selective Music List Committee, the College Band Directors National Association Diversity Committee, and also holds memberships in the College Band Directors National Association, College Music Society, PMEA, National Association for Music Education, Black Women Band Directors Association, and Women Band Directors International.