Dennis Nygren has been Professor of Music (clarinet) at Kent State University since 1983. Prior to this, he was a faculty member at Northern Michigan University. He also served as solo clarinet and soloist with the North American Air Defense (NORAD) Band. He was the first clarinetist to earn a Doctor of Music degree in performance from Northwestern University, where he also attained a Bachelor of Music degree; his Master's degree is from Michigan State University. Among his teachers are a number of distinguished American artist-performers including Robert Marcellus, Stanley Hasty, Larry Combs, Clark Brody, Else Ludewig-Verdehr, Keith Stein and Jerome Stowell.
Dr. Nygren is in demand as a guest soloist, recitalist, chamber music performer, clinician, and lecturer. He is a member of the Kent Wind Quintet and Musica Viva Trio, and he has performed and lectured at the International Clarinet Association Conference (2000, 1997, 1992, 1985), Music from Stan Hywet, Kent/Blossom Music, and many universities, including Aristotle University, Thessaloniki, Greece. Frequently he has performed as principal clarinetist of the Ohio Chamber Orchestra for the Cleveland Ballet or Opera and for the Luciano Pavarotti concert at Gund Arena. He has frequently collaborated with marimbist Michael Burritt in performances of Frank Wiley's Star-Fall Dances. The two performers have recorded this work on a C. Alan Publications compact disc.
Also a writer and arranger, Dennis Nygren has published four articles in The Clarinet magazine, and has both arranged Victor Babin's Hillandale Waltzes for clarinet and wind ensemble, and provided a new edition of the clarinet-piano version. His wind ensemble arrangement has been performed by the United States Marine and Navy Bands, at numerous major universities, and has been recorded by Chicago Symphony clarinetist John Bruce Yeh. In addition to Frank Wiley, composers Mary Ann Griebling, John Ferritto, and Alan Stout have written works for him.