William Petersen received his bachelor’s degree in music education from Eastern Illinois University and his master’s degree in conducting from Michigan State University.
He began his marching career with the Phantom Regiment Cadet Corps in 1979 and eventually became Drum Major of The Phantom Regiment in 1982. He continued his performance career in drum corps playing baritone in The Concord Blue Devils from 1985-1987. While in his 20s he wrote numerous drills and visual designs for high school and college bands across the country. In 1993 he joined the brass staff of the Phantom Regiment as the low brass instructor and he was the Brass Caption Head from 1994-2000. In addition, he served as the Associate Program Coordinator from 1995-1998, and the Program Coordinator from 1999-2001 for The Phantom Regiment.
As a trombonist, he has performed with notable artists such as Dizzy Gillespie and Mel Torme and currently he is the principal trombonist with the Rockford Wind Ensemble. He is the recipient of a Downbeat Award for Best Big Band Recording in 1989, and his brass ensembles regularly won best performance awards and critical acclaim while he taught the Phantom Regiment.
Currently, Mr. Petersen is the Instructional Leader for K-12 Music in Illinois School District #145 and the Director of Bands at Freeport High School. In addition, he is the Principal Trombonist with the Rockford Wind Ensemble and has a private teaching studio for brass in his home in Freeport Illinois. Also, Mr. Petersen is the Director of the Highland College Big Band and is the Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the Rockford Wind Ensemble Summer “Music In the Park” Series which is held at the Sinnissippi Park Band Shell in the heart of Rockford Illinois.