Robert Foster, Kansas University professor of music and assistant chairman of the Department of Music and Dance, recently received the Al G. Wright Award from the Women Band Directors International, the only international organization for women band directors. The award was presented to Foster at the annual membership meeting at the Midwest International Band and Orchestra Clinic in Chicago, which took place in December.
Foster received this award for his continued support toward women in the band movement. He has been a strong advocate for women band directors, both his students and others. Many of Foster's former female students hold notable positions conducting bands at all levels, from middle school and high school bands to college and university bands to military bands.
Foster was KU's Director of Bands for 31 years, starting in 1971. Prior to that he served as associate director of bands at the University of Florida. Before moving to Florida he taught in the public schools of Houston and Austin, Texas.
In addition to his work at KU, he is also conductor of the award-winning Lawrence City Band. He is vice president of The John Philip Sousa Foundation and is past president of the American Bandmasters Association, the National Band Association, the Southwest Division of CBDNA and of the Big 12 Band Directors Association. He was selected one of the Ten Music Educators honored by the School Musician magazine. He is on the advisory board of the Instrumentalist Magazine, and in 2006 he was inducted into The National Band Association Hall of Fame of Distinguished Conductors.