FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
NORMAN – Dr. Justin Stolarik, a music educator who is currently assistant director of one of the top university bands in the nation, has been named Director of the Pride of Oklahoma Marching Band at the University of Oklahoma. He holds a bachelor's degree with highest honors in music education from the University of Florida, and master's and doctoral degrees from the University of Texas at Austin.
Announcement of Stolarik’s appointment, which is subject to the approval of the OU Board of Regents, was made by Rich Taylor, dean of the Weitzenhoffer Family College of Fine Arts. Stolarik also will serve as associate director of University Bands. Stolarik was selected after a careful and comprehensive process including music educators, students and university leaders.
“The selection was a difficult one because there were three excellent finalists for the position,” Taylor said, noting that band students had the opportunity to interact with all three of the finalists. In addition, the current supervisors of all three finalists were interviewed in detail about the candidates. The search committee also invited comments from students, and those comments were read and considered as part of the selection process, Taylor said.
Under the process, OU President David Boren makes the final recommendation of the appointment to the Board of Regents from among the three finalists determined by the search committee.
“We eagerly await the arrival of Justin Stolarik,” Taylor said. “We believe he will bring an abundance of creativity to The Pride, one of the nation’s top university marching bands, as well as to our entire program,” Taylor said. “He has expressed deep respect for the great tradition of excellence of The Pride.”
“The Pride is of great importance to the university and to the entire state,” said Boren. “I carefully considered the advice of the search committee and personally listened to the interviews of the three finalists selected by the committee. I also read the comments of students about all three finalists and spoke personally with the directors under which the finalists currently serve. All three were outstanding. I was impressed by Dr. Stolarik’s creativity and clear commitment to students.”
Boren continued, “Dr. Stolarik will have big shoes to fill. Brian Britt has done an outstanding job and has more than met my expectations since I selected him to lead The Pride 12 years ago. In spite of my best efforts to convince him to stay, he decided to change roles to spend more time with his family. I respect his reasons for leaving but we will greatly miss Brian Britt.”
“All of us are determined that our band will continue to be truly ‘The Pride’ of Oklahoma,” added Boren.
Stolarik has provided leadership for university marching bands in four states, including Texas, Florida, Arkansas and most recently, Wisconsin, where he is currently the assistant director of the marching band and assistant director of bands at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In addition to his duties as the assistant director, he also oversees the Wisconsin Drumline and the Marching Percussion Program.
Prior to his appointment at the University of Wisconsin, he served as the assistant director of bands at Henderson State University, where he co-directed the marching band, conducted the symphony band and Reddie basketball band, taught courses in marching band techniques and wind conducting, and was a frequent guest conductor in the Department of Music.
As a former graduate teaching assistant at the University of Texas at Austin, Stolarik worked extensively with the Longhorn Band, basketball band, undergraduate conducting classes, the Longhorn Concert Band, and was on percussion faculty for the Longhorn Summer Music Camps. His wind arrangements were frequently performed by the athletic bands at football and basketball games before audiences of more than 80,000.
In addition to athletic bands, he has arranged for the Dallas Wind Symphony and the University of Texas Wind Ensemble as well as instrumental back-ups for American blues singer, songwriter and musician, Carolyn Wonderland; American singer, songwriter, harmonica player and guitarist Roky Erickson; Western swing and country music guitarist Ray Benson, American country music singer and songwriter Jerry Jeff Walker, and American music duo Ghostland Observatory.
Stolarik has taught and arranged for marching bands throughout Florida, Texas, and Arkansas, as well as for the Madison Scouts Drum and Bugle Corps. His recording of John Cage's Dream was featured as part of two art installations in Scotland, and his recording of Philip Glass's Opening was used by a New York architectural firm as the soundtrack for an architectural project animation. Some of his past performances have been featured in issues of Modern Drummer and Percussion News. He is an honorary member of Kappa Kappa Psi (Alpha Tau) and Tau Beta Sigma (Beta Gamma and Theta Theta).