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Todd Cranson

Todd Cranson

Assistant Professor of Low Brass, Director of Athletic Bands


W M Lee Center for Fine Arts 116

Phone: (605) 658-3469



Dr. Todd Cranson is Assistant Professor of Low Brass and Director of Athletic Bands at the University of South Dakota where he directs The SOUND of USD marching and pep band, teaches applied low brass, and marching band techniques.<br><br><br><br>Previous appointments include positions with the Hot Springs Music Festival where he was featured in the Grammy-winning documentary The Sound of Dreams and numerous NAXOS recordings, Henderson State University, the University of Illinois Springfield, and Archbishop Shaw High School in Marrero, Louisiana. Additionally, he spent summers performing with the Great Western Rocky Mountain Brass Band in Silverton, Colorado, the Yankee Brass Band based in New England, and at summer courses in Kalavrita, Greece; Quebec, Canada; and Rome, Italy.<br><br><br><br>Cranson performs in a professional brass trio, Trio di Velluto, with Drs. Amy Laursen, horn, and Jamie Lipton, euphonium. The trio has commissioned new works by notable composers Corrado Maria Saglietti, Barbara York, Mark Scott, and Anna Segal. He is a specialist in 19thCentury American Music, recorded and performed extensively with the Vintage Brass Band of Springfield, Illinois, and successfully defended his dissertation, "The Humboldt Brass Band: An Early History and Critical Edition of a Post-Civil War Town Band."<br><br><br><br>Dr. Cranson earned his DMA from the University of Illinois, MM in instrumental conducting from the University of Arkansas, and a BM and BME from Louisiana State University. Additionally, he earned a Post Graduate Diploma with distinction in performance from the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, England where he was a tuba student of Roger Bobo and James Gourlay.<br><br><br><br>In addition to his enthusiasm for teaching and performing, Todd is a passionate home brewer, opened a brewery in Hot Springs National Park, and includes stops at virtually every brewery in his path when traveling! He is happily married to Dr. Amy Laursen who tolerates both his hobbies and his tuba playing, as they frequently perform chamber music together!

Teaching Interests:

Low Brass, Chamber Music, Bands

Research Interests:

Low Brass and 19th Century American Bands


  • Laursen, Amy, Cranson, Todd. Problem Children of the Brass Section: recruiting and retaining horn players. Presented at the SDMEA, Sioux Falls, SD. (November 2, 2019)