Eugene W. Allen

From Wind Repertory Project
Eugene W. Allen


Colonel Eugene W. Allen (b. 13 June 1927, Morgan, Tx. – 8 December 2020) is an American composer and military band leader.

A graduate of Columbia University with Bachelor of Science and Master of Arts degrees in music, Allen began his music career at the age of seven, studying with his father, a music educator. In addition, he received instruction on the trumpet with such teachers as James Burke and Lloyd Geisler. He also studied conducting, arranging, and orchestration with Hugo Fiorato and Mort Lindsay.

During the Korean War, he was selected as bandmaster of the Valley Forge Hospital Band and directed the Second Infantry Division Band in Korea. An honor graduate from the U.S. Army warrant officer bandmaster course, he was assigned to command the all-paratrooper 101st Airborne Division Band during the Cuban and Lebanese crises. While assigned to the 101st, he became a senior parachutist and jumpmaster.

His outstanding performance as a musician and bandmaster earned him a direct commission to captain in 1961. His first assignment thereafter was to the Adjutant General’s Office in Washington, D.C., as chief of the Department of the Army Band Office. He then served three years at West Point as associate bandmaster of the U.S. Military Academy Band and in 1966 was selected to command the U.S. Army Element, School of Music, with responsibility for the schooling of all warrant officer bandmasters and enlisted bandsmen. In 1968, he was reassigned to the Adjutant General’s Office, where he served as staff bands officer until his assignment in 1970 to the U.S. Army Band as executive officer and associate bandmaster.

Allen assumed the position of leader and commander of the U.S. Army Band in Washington, D.C. on March 16, 1976, becoming the fifth leader since the band’s organization by General John J. Pershing in 1922. He rose to the rank of colonel and retired in 1990.

During 1976, the bicentennial year of the United States, Allen led the U.S. Army Band in more than 700 live and recorded performances. The highlight of the year was a gala concert given by the band, chorus, and herald trumpets on the grounds of the Washington Monument, on July 4th, for an audience of over 1,000,000 people.

For several years in his retirement, Allen was active as an adjudicator and clinician and is still active in many music organizations. Elected to the American Bandmasters Association in 1972, he served as its president in 1988. Among the other music organizations to which he belongs are Phi Beta Mu, the National Band Association, and the Association of Concert Bands. In 1981, he was awarded the Legion of Merit for outstanding service to the U.S. Army. His daughter, Virginia Allen, is also a noted U.S. Army bandmaster.

He is the composer of Salute to Veterans, the official march of the Veterans Administration, and The Major of St. Lo, the official march of the 29th Infantry Division.

Works for Winds