Dr. Richard E. Strange, Professor of Music and Director of Bands, Emeritus at Arizona State University (25 years of service), received degrees from Wichita University, the University of Colorado and Boston University (Doctor of Musical Arts - Performance). In Boston, he studied with George Madsen (flute) and Pasquale Cardillo (clarinet), both members of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. He started his career in 1950 as band director and teacher of all music classes in the grade and high school at Zenda, Kan., (for 10 weeks until taken into the United States Army toward the end of the Korean war). After a stint in the army as a bandsman, he returned to Kansas and became band/choral director at Clifton High School and teacher of all instrumental music classes at Clifton Grade School from 1951-58.
Dr. Strange served as guest conductor with the United States Marine Band, the United States Air Force Band, the U.S. Army Band (Pershing's Own), the U.S. Army Field Band, the U.S. Coast Guard Band, the Armed Forces Bicentennial Band, the Dallas Wind Symphony, the Texas Wind Symphony, the Fresno Wind Symphony and L'Orchestre d' Harmonie de la Ville du Havre at "Coups de Vents" (1991 and 1994) in Le Havre, France. Before coming to Arizona State University, he was Director of Bands at Carnegie-Mellon University, where his bands gave six annual concerts in New York's Carnegie Hall, preceded by two in New York's Town Hall. While in Pittsburgh, he played oboe with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra on a per-service basis.
Also, he was active in the community orchestra field. During the time he resided in Pittsburgh, he conducted both the Carnegie Civic Symphony Orchestra (1961-74) and the Butler County Symphony Orchestra (1965-74). In 1999, he was brought back to Butler to conduct a concert during the orchestra's 50th Anniversary year. He served as Music Director and Conductor of the Tempe Symphony Orchestra for 35 years.
Dr. Strange was active in the educational field as a clinician and guest conductor and conducted many All-State and Regional groups, plus both the University Wind Ensemble and Symphonic Band at the National Music Camp, Interlochen, Mich. Additionally, he conducted the Maine State Educators Association Conference Orchestra, the Michigan All-State Orchestra (two times), the Montana All-State Orchestra, Orchestra Clinics at MusicFest Canada, the Dobson High School Orchestra, Mid-West International Music Clinic, Chicago and the Highland High School String Orchestra, Mid-West International Music Clinic, Chicago.
Following his retirement from ASU, he conducted, judged or gave clinics in Austria, Belgium, Canada, England, France, Germany, Guam, Italy, Japan, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Sweden, Switzerland and the U.S.
Dr. Strange was equally adept in the field of jazz and musical theater, playing saxophone, clarinet and flute professionally for many years with big bands, such as Buddy Morrow, Les Elgart, Ted Herbert and Isaac Hayes (of "Shaft" fame). Also, he played the "lead" book, doubling all the woodwind instruments, with the Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera, plus backup and "pit" bands that accompanied many famous Broadway singers and television stars, such as Carol Channing, Ethel Merman, Eddie Fisher, Andy Williams, Englebert Humperdinck and Bill Cosby.
Dr. Strange is listed in the International Who's Who in Music and Musicians Directory, Who's Who in American Music and many other publications of similar nature. From 1977 until 1987, he wrote 10 columns per year, entitled "Band Music Reviews," for The School Musician, Director and Teacher magazine. He now writes for Bandworld magazine. In addition, Strange was editor of the first, second and third revisions of the "Selective Music List for Bands" published by the National Band Association.
In January of 1989, Dr. Strange received an Award For Excellence In Teaching Music at the "Golden Anniversary Convention" of the Arizona Music Educators Association. In December of 1991, he received the Distinguished Service to Music Medal given by Kappa Kappa Psi, the National Honorary Band Fraternity (just the 16th medal presentation to a Symphonic Band Conductor since the award's inception in 1963.) Also, in December of 1991, he received the National Band Association's Citation of Excellence for "outstanding contribution to bands and band music." In July of 1995, Dr. Strange was named Outstanding Bandmaster of the Year by the members of the Kansas Bandmasters Association at its annual meeting. At the same time, he was inducted into Phi Beta Mu's (international bandmasters fraternity) Hall of Fame. In December of 1995, Dr. Strange was elected to the Academy of Wind and Percussion Arts, an award sponsored by the National Band Association in recognition of a "truly significant and outstanding contribution to the furthering of the excellence of bands and band music." (He is just the 44th recipient of the honor since its inception in 1970.) In September, 1996, Dr. Strange was presented with the Wichita State University Distinguished Alumnus Award for "...extraordinary accomplishments [that] have enhanced the university's proud history as the university enters its second Century... ." In January of 1998, Dr. Strange was selected Music Educator of the Year by the Arizona Music Educators Association (just the second person to receive this award while teaching at Arizona State University). The award, given each year since 1964, is the highest honor bestowed by the AMEA. Dr. Strange received the 2003 Medal of Honor for “...contributions to music education” at the 57th Annual Mid-West Clinic in Chicago. This honor is conferred each year by vote of the Board of Directors. In March, 2006, Dr. Strange was selected as an Honorary Life Member of the American Bandmasters Association (the 16th recipient of that title since the founding of the ABA in 1929).
Dr. Strange was a Past President of the American Bandmasters Association and Executive Director of the American Bandmasters Association Foundation. He was also a Past President of the College Band Directors National Association.