Brian Bersh is the Director of Bands and serves as Music Department Chair for Yorktown High School. He is the director of the Yorktown Marching Patriots and conductor of the Symphonic Band, Concert Band, Percussion Ensemble, Jazz Combo and Big Band Jazz Ensemble. Mr. Bersh also directs the Steel Band and oversees Yorktown’s Indoor and Chamber programs. During his tenure at Yorktown, the music department has received the Blue Ribbon Award by VMEA and been named a GRAMMY Signature Schools semi-finalist by the GRAMMY Foundation. The Yorktown Band has also been named a Virginia Honor Band by VBODA.
Mr. Bersh is responsible for Yorktown’s annual hosting of an Essentially Ellington Regional High School Jazz Band Festival in collaboration with Jazz at Lincoln Center and The U.S. Army Blues. He was recently a recipient of a Wolf Trap Grant for High School Performing Arts Teachers, enabling Yorktown to commission its first ever original composition, which was premiered with the U.S. Army Brass Quintet in May 2014. Mr. Bersh has been named Yorktown High School’s Teacher of the Year (2016), received an AAUW Elizabeth Campbell Award for Notable Achievement in the Arts (2016), a Virginia Commonwealth University Student Impact Award (2014), and a Citation of Excellence from the National Band Association for an outstanding contribution to bands and band music (2015). Ensembles under Mr. Bersh’s direction have performed in Indianapolis, New York City, Nashville, Orlando, South Carolina, the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage, Nationals Park, the Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival, and Blues Alley’s Big Band Jam. The Yorktown Symphonic Band and Percussion Ensemble, under the direction of Mr. Bersh, have performed in the Music For All National Concert Band and Sandy Feldstein National Percussion Festival.
Mr. Bersh received a Master’s of Music Teaching from the University of Delaware. He obtained a Bachelor of Music Education and Minor in Jazz Studies from the same university, graduating Magna Cum Laude, Degree with Distinction. During his time at the University of Delaware, Mr. Bersh performed in the Bastad Chamber Music Festival, Bastad, Sweden; the Tam Tam Percussion Festival, Netanya, Israel; the Caribbean Culture Pan Festival, Dortmund, Germany; and in venues across Beijing and Shanghai, China. He is currently pursuing doctoral studies in Educational Leadership.
Mr. Bersh has presented music education research at international venues, including the Research in Music Education Conference in Exeter, England; the Music in Schools and Teacher Education Commission sponsored by the International Society for Music Education, in Shenyang, China; and the International Symposium on the Sociology of Music Education, East Lansing, Michigan. He has also published music education articles, and most recently, book chapters in the texts, Engaging Musical Practices: A Sourcebook for Instrumental Music, & Engaging Musical Practices: A Sourcebook for Middle School General Music.