Monday, November 21, 2011
Cmdr. Philip Field, eighth leader of the United States Navy Band, died at his home in Virginia Beach, Va., last Thursday. He was 73. He is survived by his wife, Mikiko, his three children, David Field, Debbie Field, Mary Gallant and husband Brad Gallant, and his three grandchildren Christopher Field, Jaclyn Torres, and Cameron Gallant.
A native of Norwalk, Conn., Field studied with Napoleon Cerminara of the New York Philharmonic and Quinto Maganini, director of the Norwalk Symphony Orchestra, before joining the Navy as a clarinet instrumentalist in 1956.
After graduating from the U.S. Navy School of Music in Washington, D.C., he performed with Navy Bands in Yokosuka, Japan; Norfolk, Va.; and Boston, Mass. He directed unit bands on USS Oriskany (CV 34) and USS Kearsarge (CV 33), and then returned to the School of Music as an instructor. Upon advancement to warrant officer, he was appointed director of the Pacific Fleet Band in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
Field served as administrative officer, operations officer and assistant leader of the U.S. Navy Band, and later as training officer and executive officer of the School of Music in Norfolk, Va. He was leader of the Atlantic Fleet Band from 1980 to 1984, and then returned to the School of Music as commanding officer, where he was promoted to commander. From 1989 to 1992, he served as the officer in charge/leader of the U.S. Navy Band, and his career culminated in a final assignment as head of the music branch (BUPERS-654) until his retirement on Sept. 1, 1993. During his very illustrious career, Field held every rank except ensign, from seaman recruit to commander, including the warrant officer ranks, and served in every prominent position in the Navy music program.
Field holds a bachelor's degree in music from St. Leo College, Norfolk, Va. campus, and a master's degree in conducting from Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill. He studied with John Paynter at Northwestern and was selected for membership in the prestigious American Bandmasters Association. A member of the Pi Kappa Lambda national music honor society, he was an accomplished composer and arranger, with over 30 published works to his credit.
Click this link for a collection of photographs of Cmdr. Field.