Craig McKenzie is the Music Director and Principal Conductor of both the Golden Gate Park Band and the San Francisco Brass Band. Since 2018, he has also held the position of Assistant Professor of Music, Assistant Director of Bands / Director of Athletic Bands at San José State University. At SJSU he oversees the conducting and teaching of the Symphonic Band, Spartan Marching Band, Spartan Pep Band, and teaches multiple courses in the area of music education.
Dr. McKenzie received his D.M.A. from the University of Miami, Frost School of Music where he studied instrumental conducting with Robert M. Carnochan. He holds a Bachelor of Music Education from the University of Colorado at Boulder and a Master of Music with an emphasis in conducting from San José State University. His conducting mentors also include Edward C. Harris, Alan McMurray, Diana Hollinger, and Thomas Verrier.
Craig has been music director and conductor of the San Francisco Brass Band—the California Bay Area’s first competitive Brass Band ensemble—since is its founding in 2019. He led the band to its first performance at the North American Brass Band Association Championships in 2022, a 1st place “second section” win in 2023, a featured performance at the California All-State Music Educators Conference in 2023, and maintains a rigorous performance calendar with the band year-round.
Appointed in 2023, Craig now acts as principal conductor for the Golden Gate Park Band, San Francisco’s oldest professional music organization. Now in its 141st season, this band presents concerts at the Golden Gate Park Spreckles Temple of Music (aka the “Bandshell”) every Sunday all summer long, free to the public.
He is the Music Director and Arranger of the Wall of Song Project, an ongoing collaborative art project that acknowledges the legacy of athlete activism at SJSU through communal singing and music making.
With over 20 years of university, high school, and middle school teaching experience, Dr. McKenzie has previously held positions at Abraham Lincoln High School, a visual and performing arts school in San José, CA and Pioneer High School in Whittier, CA. At Lincoln High School he was honored with the Outstanding Teaching Award in 2012 and recognized as Teacher of the Year in 2013.
Dr. McKenzie is the 2019 Grand Champion of the International Conducting Competition hosted by the National Association of Brass Band Conductors (now the Brass Band Conductors’ Association) in Eccles, England.
He enjoys returning to the San Bernardino mountains of California whenever possible to visit Arrowbear Music Camp where he directed the Intermediate Session Band from 2002—2019. He credits Arrowbear Music Camp with an influential portion of his musical education and attended as a camper in his childhood.
When not on the podium, Craig resides in San José, CA with his wife Andrea, son Malcolm, and their dog Freya. He enjoys traveling, exploring new cities via their restaurants, and searching for lost retro, vintage, and midcentury-modern artwork to add to his collection