World-Renowned Conductor is Visiting Professor at UH Manoa

Henry Panion puts Music department's new music technology lab to the test during his visit

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Posted: Nov 25, 2002

Dr. Henry Panion III, a world-renowned composer and conductor and arranger for superstar Stevie Wonder, is currently a visiting professor at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. Panion was invited to teach in the Department of Music for a semester and is not only sharing his experiences with faculty and staff, but also his expertise in music technology as he demonstrates the capabilities of the department‘s new music technology lab.

Officially opened in spring of 2002, the new music technology lab was created through a generous contribution from the Hung Wo and Elizabeth Lau Ching Foundation, and the hard work and determination of Barbara McLain, an associate professor in the Music department, and Judith Hughes, dean of the College of Arts & Humanities.

The lab allows students to work collectively or individually, as well as compose, edit, record, and playback their compositions. Students have the capability to conduct research via the Internet, assemble or playback presentations, edit and record digital audio and video, and test different music software packages.

Recognizing the enhancements technology can offer to what musicians and music educators can do, Panion designed one of the first music technology degree programs in the country. He has conducted workshops nationwide in music technology for all types of learners ranging from elementary music teachers to college instructors. His experiences as a composer and arranger gave him insight into technology and the need to incorporate it into classrooms to help students understand new hardware and software as it is constantly changing.

"The technological capabilities available today really allow students, teachers, and anyone who is interested to do things in their home that they couldn‘t do before," Panion said. "Technology has given musicians more choices in their ability to write music."

Born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama, Panion received his bachelor‘s degree from Alabama A&M University in music education, and master‘s and doctorate degrees in music theory from Ohio State University. He has been a conductor and arranger for Stevie Wonder since 1992, and has worked with many of the world‘s most notable orchestras including the Royal Philharmonic, Boston Pops, and the Tokyo Philharmonic. Many of Panion‘s own works for orchestra are programmed frequently including performances by the Philadelphia Orchestra, Detroit Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, San Francisco Symphony, and the National Symphony. He has also served as the music director for the Birmingham Metropolitan Orchestra.

Panion‘s work has produced two Grammy Awards, two Dove Awards, and many other national awards and nominations. He has also received a Distinguished Alumni Award from both Alabama A&M University and Ohio State University, and has been inducted into the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame. He currently holds the rank of University Professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and also served as chair of the university‘s Department of Music from 1994 to 2000.

During his stay at UH Mānoa, Panion is working with students as well as faculty in the areas of music technology, multimedia production, and music composition. He has been working with the music department faculty to enhance what they‘re doing as musicians, teachers, and researchers, including demonstrating how to use the newest software programs designed for composing and arranging music, showing them how to create listening guides, and leading various workshops.