Alumnus Jason Fettig will become director of “The President’s Own” U.S. Marine Band on July 12. The Marine Band is America’s oldest continuously active professional musical organization. Founded in 1798, the band has performed for every U.S. president since John Adams. Known as “The President’s Own” since the days of Thomas Jefferson, the Marine Band’s mission is to provide music for the president of the United States and the commandant of the Marine Corps.
The ceremony marking his appointment will take place during a gala Change of Command Concert at the Rachel M. Schlesinger Concert Hall at Northern Virginia Community College. Fettig will also be promoted from major to lieutenant colonel. As director, Fettig will be the music advisor to the White House, regularly conducting the Marine Band at the executive mansion and at all presidential inaugurations. He will also serve as music director of Washington, D.C.’s Gridiron Club, a position held by every Marine Band director since John Philip Sousa.
Fettig joined “The President’s Own” in 1997 as a clarinetist. He rose through the ranks starting in 2002 when he became assistant director and a first lieutenant. In 2003 he became captain and in 2004, the band’s executive officer. His promotion to major came in 2007. Fettig was frequently featured as a clarinet soloist with the band and the chamber orchestra throughout the Washington, D.C. area. As an assistant director, he expanded the educational programs of “The President’s Own” by leading side-by-side clinics with Marine Band musicians and students from bands and orchestras in the public schools. The Young People’s Concerts that he created and conducted in 2006 have become annual and very popular events featuring the Marine Band, Chamber Orchestra and Jazz Band.
Fettig graduated from the department of music and dance with a B.M. in 1997, studying clarinet performance with professor Michael Sussman. In 1998, he received a second B.M. in music education with an emphasis in conducting, studying with professors Malcolm W. Rowell and Mark Russell Smith.
Fettig later earned a master’s degree in orchestral conducting at the University of Maryland, College Park, and participated in workshops with conductors Osmo Vänskä and Otto Werner Mueller. He attended the Conductors Guild Workshop at the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music. Before joining “The President’s Own,” Fettig was principal clarinet with the American Wind Symphony Orchestra. He won first prize in the International Clarinet Association’s Young Artist Competition in 2000.