Willis M. Rapp holds the Bachelor of Science and Master of Music Degrees in Music Education from West Chester University of Pennsylvania, the Diploma of Fine Arts in Conducting from the University of Calgary, Alberta Canada, and the Doctor of Musical Arts Degree in Instrumental Conducting from the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC. He has done additional study at the Eastman School of Music, the University of North Texas, Westminster Choir College, and the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. Dr. Rapp has served on the faculty of Millersville University, Southeastern Louisiana University, Iowa State University, and is currently Professor of Music and Chair of the Department of Music at Kutztown University, where he conducts the university orchestra.
Dr. Rapp has a thirty-eight year career as a published author with over 500 publications to his credit through Charter Publications, Jenson Publications, Educational Programs Publications, Meredith Music Publications, and the Hal Leonard Publishing Corporation. Additionally, his articles and reviews have appeared in some of the leading music journals. With one exception, he was the youngest student to have studied timpani and orchestral repertoire with Fred D. Hinger, legendary timpanist for the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. Dr. Rapp also performed as Principal Timpanist of the Allentown, PA Symphony Orchestra during the years when William Smith, former Associate Conductor of the Philadelphia Orchestra, served as Music Director and Conductor of the ASO.
Currently serving as conductor of the Reading Pennsylvania Pops Orchestra, Dr. Rapp has directed concert performances for nationally known artists such as David Benoit, Rick Braun, Ann Hampton Calloway, Jane Monheit, Nelson Rangell, the Four Freshmen, and the New York Voices. Dr. Rapp has guest conducted, performed as a recitalist, and appeared as a clinician in thirty states and three provinces in Canada. His scholarly text, The Wind Band Masterworks of Holst, Vaughan Williams and Grainger, was released in March 2005. In 2007 he was the recipient of the Kutztown University Faculty Research Award, and in Fall 2009 he was honored with the Arthur and Isabel Wiesenberger Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching. From 2009-2012 he completed a four volume edition of music of Clair Omar Musser's International Marimba Symphony Orchestra - a critical edition of full scores and parts from the 100-piece marimba orchestra that toured Europe in 1935. Dr. Rapp is also a program evaluator for the National Association of Schools of Music, and since 2010 has served on NASM's Commission on Accreditation.
Dr. Willis M. Rapp