- Jon Ceander Mitchell
(b Pontiac, MI, April 24, 1921; d Alpena, MI, July 26, 2010). American conductor and music educator. The son of Armenian immigrants, his childhood was spent in Dearborn, Michigan. As a youth, he often observed conductors, such as Fritz Reiner and Serge Koussevitzky, rehearse the Detroit SO; by the time he was a senior in high school he was studying privately with the symphony’s principal trumpet player, Leonard B. Smith. After studies at Wayne State University (BME 1943), Begian began teaching at Mackenzie HS in Detroit, then was drafted into the army. He returned to Wayne State after the war (MS 1947) and studied conducting at Tanglewood. He developed one of the finest high school bands in the country at Detroit’s Cass Technical High School (1947–64) while studying with William Revelli at the University of Michigan (EdD 1964). His university band conducting career included appointments at Wayne State (...