Mike Fansler is Director of Bands and conductor of the wind ensemble and chamber winds at Western Illinois University, where he also leads the graduate wind conducting program and teaches undergraduate music education courses. He joined the faculty in 2001 and is currently Professor of Music.

Under his leadership, the Western Illinois Wind Ensemble has maintained an active performance schedule on campus while engaging audiences on tour at the Illinois Music Educators Association All-State Conference (2009/2015), Rio de Janeiro/Salvador, Brazil (2010), the prestigious Armour Stage in Chicago’s Orchestra Hall (2006/2009) and the College Band Directors National Association’s North Central Conference (2008). Together, Fansler and the wind ensemble have released five albums: IV Maslanka’s fourth symphony (2012), Words of Love (2010), The Promise of Living (2008), Till Eulenspiegel (2007), and Live in Chicago (2006).

Fansler has conducted in Australia, South America, Europe, and throughout the United States, where has made guest adjudicating and conducting appearances with numerous high school and honor bands. He has lectured on the music of Percy Grainger at the Midwest Clinic and later received a grant to visit the Grainger Museum in Melbourne to further study his music and life. During a sabbatical in 2012, Fansler presented saxophone masterclasses at the Universidade Federale de Bahia, and lectured at the Colégio Militar de Salvador, and the Universidade Católica de Salvador in Brazil.

He has previously held similar teaching positions at Idaho State University, Mars Hill University (NC), and Sullivan East High School (TN). His main musical influences are James F. Keene, Daniel Schmidt, Larry Clark, Ronald Caravan, Gunnar Mossblad, Merry FitzRandolph, and William Meckley. His education is from Schenectady County Community College, James Madison University, Syracuse University, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

His professional memberships include the prestigious American Bandmasters Association (2012), College Band Directors National Association, National Association for Music Education, Illinois Music Educators Association, Phi Beta Mu International Bandmasters Fraternity, and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia. He resides in Avon IL with his wife Abby and three kids, Jordan, Jessie, and Juliet.


The Devil’s Tale

Release Date: June 9, 2015
Catalog Number: RR7906
21st Century
Stage Works
Using Igor Stravinsky's final percussion solo from L'histoire du soldat (The Soldier's Tale) as inspiration, James M. Stephenson's theatrical narrative, THE DEVIL'S TALE, picks up right where Stravinsky leaves off. But on this Ravello Records release, the protagonist, Joseph, wakes up at the final drum-stroke and realizes that the Stravinsky was all a dream. He is relieved to still be in Las Vegas with Hannah, his showgirl girlfriend, at his side, where the story begins to unfold. The dramatic and astute plot about Joseph, a pit musician, and Hannah centers around their attempt to escape the city by tricking Sam, a devilish blackjack dealer and Hannah's manager.