Antonio García, composer
Antonio J. García is a Professor of Music and Director of Jazz Studies at Virginia Commonwealth University, where he directs the Jazz Orchestra I; instructs Applied Jazz Trombone, Small Jazz Ensemble, Jazz Pedagogy, Music Industry, and various jazz courses; and founded a B.A. Music Business Emphasis (for which he initially served as Coordinator). An alumnus of the Eastman School of Music and of Loyola University of the South, he has received commissions for jazz, symphonic, chamber, film, and solo works from Meet The Composer, The Commission Project, The Thelonious Monk Institute, and regional arts councils; composition/arrangement honors include IAJE (jazz band), ASCAP (orchestral), and Billboard Magazine (pop songwriting); and his music has aired over National Public Radio and CBS-TV. A Bach/Selmer clinician, he has freelanced as trombonist, bass trombonist, or pianist with over 70 nationally renowned artists, including Ella Fitzgerald, George Shearing, Mel Tormé, Billy Eckstine, Doc Severinsen, Louie Bellson, Dave Brubeck, and Phil Collins—and has performed at the Montreux, Nice, North Sea, Pori (Finland), New Orleans, and Chicago Jazz Festivals. An avid scat-singer, he has performed vocally with jazz ensembles around the world and has served as Director of the Illinois Music Educators Association All-State Jazz Choir and Combo and similar ensembles outside of Illinois and was the recipient of IMEA’s 2001 Distinguished Service Award. He has produced recordings or broadcasts of such artists as Wynton Marsalis, Gene Bertoncini, Jim Pugh, Dave Taylor, Susannah McCorkle, Sir Roland Hanna, and the JazzTech Big Band.
Mr. García is a Research Faculty member at The University of KwaZulu-Natal (Durban, South Africa), the International Trombone Association Journal Associate Jazz Editor, IAJE Jazz Education Journal Past Editor, IAJE-IL Past President, past International Co-Chair for Curriculum and for Vocal/Instrumental Integration, and served as Chicago Host Coordinator for the 1997 Conference. He served as a Network Expert (for Improvisation Materials) for the Jazz Education Network, is Secretary of The Midwest Clinic Board and a Past Advisory Board Member of the Brubeck Institute, has served as a National Endowment for the Arts Music application review panelist, and was an Illinois Coalition for Music Education coordinator. His newest book, Jazz Improvisation: Practical Approaches to Grading (Meredith Music), explores avenues for creating structures that correspond to course objectives. His book Cutting the Changes: Jazz Improvisation via Key Centers (Kjos Music) offers musicians of all ages the opportunity to improvise over standard tunes using just their major scales. Widely published in more than a dozen education and jazz periodicals, he is Co-Editor and Contributing Author of NAfME’s Teaching Jazz: A Course of Study and has taught and guest-conducted in Canada, Europe, South Africa, Australia, The Middle East, and across the U.S. García is also the subject of an extensive interview within Bonanza: Insights and Wisdom from Professional Jazz Trombonists (Advance Music), authored a chapter within Rehearsing The Jazz Band and The Jazzer’s Cookbook (published by Meredith Music), and contributed to Peter Erskine and Dave Black’s The Musician’s Lifeline (Alfred). Previous to VCU, he served as Associate Professor and Coordinator of Combos at Northwestern University, where he taught jazz and integrated arts, was Jazz Coordinator for the National High School Music Institute, and for four years directed the Vocal Jazz Ensemble. Formerly the Coordinator of Jazz Studies at Northern Illinois University, he was selected by students and faculty there as the recipient of a 1992 “Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching” award and nominated as its candidate for 1992 CASE “U.S. Professor of the Year” (one of 434 nominees nationwide). He is recipient of the VCU School of the Arts’ 2015 Faculty Award of Excellence for his teaching, research, and service and in 2021 was inducted into the Conn-Selmer Institute Hall of Fame. Visit his web site at <www.garciamusic.com>.