December 16, 1938 – June 2, 1991
Southern Methodist University
Conductor, clinician, and educator beyond compare, Howard Dunn had a giant impact on band music in Texas and around the world. Born on December 16, 1938 in Nashville, Tennessee, Dunn grew up in Dallas and attended Woodrow Wilson High School where he was an outstanding student and musician. He received his bachelor’s degree from Southern Methodist University, and his master’s degree from the University of North Texas.
He began his teaching career at Lake Highlands High School, and over the course of his life worked at Richardson High School, Skyline Learning Center, Southern Methodist University, and, as an arts administrator, for the Dallas Independent School District.
Dunn served as clinician and adjudicator throughout Texas and the nation, and he also worked numerous band camps. He served the Texas Music Educators Association and other professional organizations, and put his encyclopedic knowledge of wind band repertoire to work on three University Interscholastic League Prescribed Music List committees. He had the unique ability to be a wonderful listener, eloquent speaker, forceful teacher, and an understanding mentor.
In 1985, while teaching at SMU, Dunn joined forces with Kim Campbell to found the Dallas Wind Symphony, the professional symphonic wind ensemble now known as the Dallas Winds. That organization’s international reputation for excellence was built, in part, through recordings made with Dunn as the conductor. Dunn continued to lead the Dallas Wind Symphony as conductor and artistic director until his death from cancer in 1991.
Campbell, summed up Dunn’s life this way: “Howard Thomas Dunn, Jr. left the world in a much better place than he found it. He was at once a complex man and one who deeply enjoyed the simple pleasures of a life well led. A truly selfless individual, Howard always put the needs of others before his own. More often than not, he initiated or concluded a conversation with the words, “my friend.” Indeed, anyone who knew Howard considered him a friend for life. Although Howard Dunn is no longer with us, his love of life and unbridled spirit continue to guide the Dallas Winds. Thank you… our friend.”