Stephen James Guerra, Jr. Named the Director of the Studio Jazz Writing Program

Stephen James Guerra, Jr. Named the Director of the Studio Jazz Writing Program

By UM News

Stephen James Guerra, Jr. Named the Director of the Studio Jazz Writing Program

By UM News
The Frost School of Music at the University of Miami congratulates one of its own, Stephen James Guerra, Jr, on his new appointment as Assistant Professor and the Director of the Studio Jazz Writing Program. He takes over for Gary Lindsay following his retirement and will assume his new position beginning with the fall semester.

Professor Guerra joined the Frost faculty in August of 2010. Prior to his new appointment, he was Managing Director of the Henry Mancini Institute (HMI), a lecturer in the Department of Studio Music and Jazz and the director of the award-winning Frost Studio Jazz Band. He taught classes in jazz conducting and repertoire, composition, arranging, and saxophone and also served as the director of Frost MusicReach and launched many of the programs that continue today. Professor Guerra received his D.M.A. from Frost in 2016.

“I am incredibly honored to have been chosen as the new Director of the Studio Jazz Writing Program that Gary Lindsay shaped and molded over the last 40 years,“ stated Professor Guerra. “I look forward to building on that foundation while providing students with the tools, mentorship, and guidance they need to succeed as composers, arrangers, orchestrators, or in any endeavor they may choose to pursue.”

Under Dr. Guerra’s leadership, the Henry Mancini Institute has appeared in numerous PBS specials, major-label record releases, and high profile live events throughout the United States including performances with John Williams, Kristen Chenoweth, and Matthew Morrison.

In high demand as a composer and arranger, Dr. Guerra has been commissioned to write music for Dave Koz, Ben Folds, Carmen Bradford, the National Symphony Orchestra, the Greater Manchester Youth Symphony Orchestra, the Henry Mancini Institute Orchestra, and the Air Force Band of the West. In December 2016, he traveled to Japan as the assistant orchestrator for Japanese music sensation Yoshiki’s Classical Tour. He has served as a composer‐in‐residence thanks to the Commission Project and the National Endowment for the Arts, has been invited to be a guest conductor at several Jazz All-State Festivals, and was asked to present at the 2020 Jazz Education Network’s National Conference in New Orleans, LA.

Dr. Guerra has also performed alongside many jazz greats, including Phil Woods, Al Grey, Snooky Young, Marshall Royal, Louis Bellson, and Jeff “Tain” Watts. He was a featured soloist on the Clark Terry Young Titan’s of Jazz 2003 release Live at Marihan’s and the Louie Bellson Big Band release, Louie and Clark Expedition 2. In addition to the Stephen Guerra Big Band critically acclaimed first album Namesake in 2009, he also contributed to the New Hampshire Jazz Orchestra’s 2015 release Swingin’ for the Holidays.

Before pursuing his D.M.A. and eventually joining the Frost faculty, Professor Guerra was a high school band director in Concord and Pelham, New Hampshire. He created jazz education programs at both the Manchester Community Music School and the Bedford Youth Performing Company in New Hampshire. Dr. Guerra earned a B.A. from the University of New Hampshire in saxophone performance, a Bachelor of Music in Jazz Studies from the Clark Terry International Institute of Jazz Studies, and an M.M. from the Eastman School of Music.