Rex Mitchell (born Sept. 28, 1929, in Pittsburgh, PA; died March 5, 2011 in Franklin, PA) was a prolific composer of music for bands, orchestras, jazz ensembles and chorus. Most of his original works were commissioned by schools, colleges and universities and community ensembles. Nearly 60 published titles and scores of his unpublished works were performed by some of the finest high school and university honors bands in more than five countries, including Japan, where his works continue to receive international acclaim. In addition, Dr. Mitchell traveled extensively as a guest soloist and as a guest conductor.
As an educator, Dr. Mitchell was a Professor of Music Education Emeritus of Clarion University of Pennsylvania. He earned a Bachelor’s degree from Muskingum College, his Master’s of Eduction from Kent State University and Doctorate in Music Education from the Pennsylvania State University. For 14 years, he taught instrumental music in Ohio public schools in Parma, Stow and Canton; and in 1966, he accepted a position as woodwind specialist and teacher of music education, composition, conducting, orchestration and courses in jazz studies. He founded the Clarion University Lab Jazz Band and the Venango Chorus, which he directed until his retirement from the university in 1989.
In 2002, Rex Mitchell was chosen to conduct the annual Pennsylvania Music Educators Association All-State Band at the Kirby Center in Philadelphia. He directed the popular outdoor Summer Jazz Concerts in Justus Park in home town of Oil City, Pennsylvania each year as a featured event celebrating Oil Heritage Days beginning in the early 1980s.
Rex Mitchell was a lifelong member of the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association and Phi Beta Mu, a distinguished honorary bandmaster’s fraternity, and he received the coveted Distinguished Faculty Award by the Clarion University of Pennsylvania Alumni Association.