Arthur C. Bartner, also called Art Bartner, is an American musician. He is best known as the director of Spirit of Troy, the marching band for the University of Southern California.
Bartner held the position from 1970 to 2020. He is credited for establishing the marching band Spirit of Troy as “one of the most famous bands in America.” Bartner served as bands director at Davison High School in Davison, Michigan. He was the director of the band of the Summer Olympics in 1984.
Early Life & Education
Art Bartner was born on August 30th, 1940, in Maplewood, New Jersey. According to him, his love for music began when his brother was taking trumpet lessons. He followed the same path. He earned All-State honors in trumpet and basketball and later attended the University of Michigan. Bartner earned a Master of Music degree in 1963 and a Doctor of Education in 1971. Bartner has called Michigan Band Director William D. Revelli the most important musical influence in his life.
For five years, Bartner worked as the band director at Davison High School. He has stated that he doubled the band size from 60 to 120 students while he was there. Also, during these five years, he performed with the Flint Symphony Orchestra in Flint, Michigan.
In 1970, Bartner was hired as director of the USC marching band. During his time there, Bartner struggled with the band’s unruly behavior and use of profanity. After being talked out of resigning by university administrators, Bartner adopted a more stern approach. He banned profanity, hazing, and alcohol. He also introduced an intensity in rehearsals which he borrowed from observing Trojan football practices.
The new approach helped grow the size and energy of the group. In 1973, Diana Ross appeared on-field, with the band becoming the first celebrity performer to do so.
In 1979, with Bartner’s direction, the Spirit of Troy recorded “Tusk” with Fleetwood Mac. Bartner was inducted into the USC Athletic Hall of Fame in 2011.