Our Director

Dr. Erik Janners, Director of the Knightwind Ensemble

Dr. Erik N. Janners, Music Director and Conductor of the Knightwind Ensemble, is internationally recognized as a conductor, scholar and performer.  He holds degrees in percussion and conducting from Alma College, the University of Utah, and the University of Alabama.


In addition to his duties with Knightwind, Dr. Janners serves as the Director of Music at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, a position he has held since 2007. Prior to his arrival at Marquette University, Dr. Janners was Director of Bands at Saint Xavier University in Chicago, Illinois, and at the University of Regina in Saskatchewan, Canada.  His achievements in these positions have included the founding of the Marquette University Wind Ensemble and the University of Regina Wind Ensemble, as well as the creation of the Saint Xavier University Conducting Workshop. He also served as Director of the University of Regina Honor Band, the University of Regina Conducting Symposium, and the Saint Xavier University Conducting Workshop. While in Canada, Dr. Janners created his own television show, entitled “For the Love of Music,” to bring the music of concert bands and wind ensembles to the people of Saskatchewan. He was also able to bring together the best artists in Saskatchewan for rare performances of chamber music masterworks, including Stravinsky’s “L’histoire du Soldat,” Walton’s “Façade,” and Milhaud’s “La Creation du Monde.”


Now Director of Music at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Dr. Janners conducts the wind ensemble, jazz ensemble, and pep bands. He also supervises the overall music program at Marquette. Since his arrival at Marquette, the University has instituted a music minor program of study, renovated the music area to include practice rooms and improved music library and instrument storage spaces, and has acquired more than 20 pianos for use across the campus. Among his most recent honors, Dr. Janners was the recipient of the 2007 Excellence in Teaching Award from Saint Xavier University. He was also recently elected President of the Big East Conference Band Directors Association.

He is in high demand as a guest conductor, clinician and adjudicator, and presented a series of clinics on performance psychology at the State Music Conferences of Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Michigan, New Jersey, and Alabama, and the Midwest Clinic in Chicago, Illinois. He presented a major scholarly paper on Performance Psychology in July 2012 at the conference of the International Society for the Research and Promotion of Wind Music in Coimbra, Portugal. Dr. Janners has served as conductor of the National Band Association College All-Star Band on three different occasions, and on the conducting staff at the Blue Lake Fine Arts summer camps. He also serves as a pre-concert lecturer for the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra.


As a scholar, Dr. Janners has had numerous articles published in the Instrumentalist magazine, as well as in Canadian Winds, the national periodical of the Canadian Band Association. His research interests include wind band literature, conducting pedagogy and technique, and performance psychology in its application to the field of music. He is a member of the National Band Association, College Music Society, The World Association of Symphonic Bands and Ensembles (WASBE), the College Band Director’s National Association (CBDNA), the Conductor’s Guild, Music Educator’s National Conference (MENC), the National Band Association, and the International Society for the Research and Promotion of Wind Music (IGEB).