Bill Stevens -
Bill Stevens has been driven by a quote he attributes to Miles Davis, “I have to change”, but he will be the first to tell you that his music is embedded in a deep understanding of history brought to the present and beyond. He is always thinking about the process of creation, finding the new, pushing boundaries both in his playing and especially in his compositions where he has always looked to follow the voice inside of him toward his own spiritual path throughout a life in music.
Although Bill’s current music is based in sound and color through electro-ambient sound settings that often utilize spoken word, fine art inspiration and field recordings, he also has a robust back catalog of straight ahead Jazz, modal Jazz in an ECM style with an emphasis on Impressionistic harmony and Romantic based melodies, free Jazz and avant-chromatic funk.
It has been a journey with many accomplishments (signed by iti Records, grants from the Seattle Arts Commission and the National Endowment for the Humanities, conference speaker and guest performer in Norway and Australia to name a few), but there have been challenges on the path as well (years of overcoming a distinct fear of performing, a break from the exhaustion of maintaining a career in music that turned into a six year sabbatical to a debilitating almost career ending bout with bells palsey that affected his ability to play the trumpet. Bill refers to his sound on the horn today as a ‘fragile beauty’). But Bill’s middle class upbringing in Syracuse, NY taught him the value of hard work, that anything worth caring about as much as he cares about his music is worth fighting for. It was out of these trials that Bill began to commit toward sharing his love of music with a younger generation in the New York City public schools. Bill has worked to inspire and provide his students with creative experiences through his love of music, performance and composition.
Bill wants his fans to know how important they are to him. He always ends his newsletter by saying, “Thank you for being the most important part of my music”. For Bill this is not just a slogan, but his mantra. He genuinely cares about the lives of the people who listen to his music by often saying that his mission each time he performs or each time someone listens to his music at home is to transport them away from their daily grind, to have them momentarily forget about their job, issues at home, whatever the case may be to find a moment of relaxation and inner peace transforming them through instrumental abstract concepts as a fuel to empower and enlighten.
September 1992 to May 1994
Master of Arts Education Administration
New York University, New York City
School Administration and Supervision
School District Administration
August 1979 to December 1980
Master of Music - Jazz Pedagogy
University of Miami, Coral Gables, Florida
August 1974 to May 1978
Bachelor of Music - Music Education
State University of New York at Fredonia, New York
Director of the Amy Winehouse Teen Jazz Program at the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music
Director of the Lucy Moses School Student Jazz Program at the Kaufman Center
Coordinator of Student Programs with the New York Jazz Workshop
January 2016 - May 2016
Coordinator of the After School Instrumental Music Program between
the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music and the Berkeley Carroll School
July 2005 to February 2016 - Retired
Assistant Principal Administration/Organization
Supervisor of Performing Arts Studios
Director of Jazz Studies
Frank Sinatra School of the Arts, New York City
1973 to Present - Private Instructor
Trumpet - all levels
Jazz Improvisation - all instruments
Composition and Modern Arranging Techniques
Accepted by Michael Ricci and All About Jazz to submit examples of liner notes from current and past albums to be presented as a feature at the All About Jazz online magazine. I was honored to have my liner notes to the double cd album lema sabachthani released in 2012 printed on their site and can be found here.
Invited to join the Artists Pedagogy Research Group, a Special Interest Group based in Helsinki, Finland and a part of the Society of Artistic Research (SAR) to be meeting/presenting at the annual SAR Conference April 19 - 21, 2023 in Trondheim, Norway. Over four meetings throughout 2023 we will examine the following:
What are the unique qualities that artists bring to teaching artists, how can artistic research help to explore this and what can we learn by looking across the boundaries that separate fields of higher education in the arts?
The Artist Pedagogy Research group is a Specialist Interest Group of the Society of Artistic Research which sets out to explore these questions. It aims to bring together researchers focused on artists’ pedagogies. We use the term artist in its broadest sense to encompass practitioners from music, dance, theatre, performance, art making (studio arts, the free arts, or fine arts) and more. And we understand pedagogy not in its strictest etymologically derived sense of leading a child but as an overarching term for the theorization of teaching which might include didactics, critical pedagogies, student centred and world centred approaches and more, as well as terms that we are yet to define.
The Greek label, Thirsty Leaves Music is described as a micro-label publishing eclectic sonic adventures from all corners of the world and has recently accepted my composition from an open call "To Know a Place as Though for the First Time" from my album Hum of the World to be a part of a new compilation album "TLM presents Vol. 2: To Be Discontinued..." featuring nine international artists for a planned Winter 2022 release.
Here is the link to the album and my composition: To Know a Place as Though for the First Time
Selected to compose a new sound composition as part of Well-Being Cities, a unique collaboration between Cities and Memory and C40, a global network of mayors of nearly 100 world-leading cities collaborating to deliver the urgent action needed right now to confront the climate crisis.
The project asks artists to reimagine soundscapes representing well-being in cities – whether environmental, social, climate-related or cultural – with sound works being presented at the C40 Summit in Buenos Aires in October 2022.
Here is a link to my submission: Everyday Utopias and here is the official release of Well-Being Cities.
Selected as part of the Cities and Memory - Future Cities Project, Oxford, UK for a feature article and compilation album release by the English magazine, Electronic Sound of my composition Echoes.
Submitted video as part of the Roger & Brian Eno Mixing Colors Project - "We want to ask you to submit a single shot film of a quiet scene; at home, or out the window, or in your garden. Clouds passing, rustling tree leaves, a bird nesting, people conducting activities in the house: quiet moments that we are all enjoying, together, in isolation." - Roger and Brian Eno
Video using the music Far Away is Close at Hand in Images of Elsewhere from the suite Spirituality and Faith
Submitted to the Research Catalogue of the Nordic Journal for Artistic Research, Stockholm, Sweden - Theme: One More Time, Let's Do It Again ... What insights may emerge by doing something again and again, repeatedly, over a long period? We invite expositions of artistic research where “doing it again” is of importance, and we invite contributors to expose the artistic research questions, contexts, practices and outcomes in which repetition manifests itself, reflecting upon how “doing it again” may contribute to practice, to research, insights and to knowledge production. ...”
Lecture Title: An Examination of the Music and Performance Practice of Miles Davis, 1960 - 1969
Invited to perform at the International Society of Improvised Music at the University of Melbourne Conservatorium of Music in Melbourne, Australia from June 3 - 7, 2020. Planned performance to include a series of solo trumpet pieces with recorded spoken word and/or ambient electronic settings for improvisation.
Invited to present and perform at the International Association for the Study of Popular Music International Conference RE-peat, please!, May 14 - 16, 2020 at the University of Antwerp, Belgium, the Netherlands. Topic of Presentation: an examination of popular cover songs as a concurrent musical transgression and transposition when taking a songs first recording, made popular by someone else and then re-interpreted allowing for the covers constant comparison to, transformation from what has preceded it, a renewal, looking forward and listening backward.
Selected to participate in Cities and Memory: Future Cities (Oxford, UK), the largest ever survey of the sounds of urban spaces around the world examining how the soundscapes of our cities are changing and what that means for us all. Future Cities will examine sounds from cities all over the world, with artists recomposing and reimagining these recordings to reflect on the role sound has to play in our changing urban spaces. Please find the link here to the Cities and Memory: Future Cities site including links to the BandCamp page to hear my piece, Echoes and the other finalist. Additionally, you can follow this link to the sound compositions submitted by artists from the United States: Cities and Memory Sounds from the USA
Doug Cuomo - Bill Stevens Duo invited to perform as guest artists at Breathing Peace, Music for a More Peaceful World
BREATHING PEACE is a concert designed to help people envision peace and find a path to compassion and tolerance through inward reflection and outward action. Music has the power to heal. It eases personal anguish in a world burdened with violence and hatred.
Invited as a guest artist/clinician, "The Music of Miles Davis" by pianist Amina Fugarova, New York Jazz Workshop Rhythm Section Class.
Invited to speak at the Australasian Jazz & Improvisation Research Network Conference in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, June 1-3, 2018. Topic of Discussion: So What? Jazz and improvised music research and its impact on artists, scenes and society.
Invited to speak at the Joint Research Centres Conference at the Norwegian Academy of Music in Oslo, Norway, November 1-3, 2017. Topic of discussion: The Protean Musician, the musician in future society - What does the future look like for the musician in society?
Invited to join the Advisory Board of the Collective Music School
Visiting artist with the Teen Jazz Program at the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music directed by Josh Sinton.
Clinician at the 4th Annual Queens Jazz Over Ground Spring Festival at Flushing Town Hall.
Directed the New York City High Schools Honors Jazz Ensemble at the NYC Department of Education's High School Honors Music Festival held at the Grand Street Campus in Brooklyn, New York.
Presented a Master Class at the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music on Jazz Pedagogy in a High School School Setting.
Artist Share Participant in the Learning Community Project.
Composition “Full Circle” selected by the Learning Community Project Quintet for their Artist Share release “Perfect Strangers” by Todd Coolman
Jazz Improv Live Convention, Performer, New York City
International Association of Jazz Educators
Selected by Jazz Improv Magazine for the Annual Brass Directory
National Endowment for the Humanities, Commissioned the composition, “Flip of the Coin”
“New Jazz, New City”, Seattle Arts Commission and Earshot Jazz - Performer, Seattle, WA.
1986 to 1987
Seattle Arts Commission Grant, Commissioned the “Suite for Jazz Quintet"
Signed by iti Records Producer, Michael Dion to release San Remo album
2019 - International Society of Improvised Music
2008 - Jazz Education Network
2015 - Content Creators Coalition (c3)
2015 - Jazz Foundation of America
1972 – 1974 Elliot Topalian, Syracuse, N.Y.
1974 – 1976 Herbert Winters Harp, Fredonia, N.Y.
1979 – 1980 Gilbert Johnson, Miami, FL.
1987 – 1988 Randy Brecker, New York City
1988 Jack Walrath, New York City
1999 – 2009 Joe Solomon, New York City
2005 – 2012 Laurie Frink, New York City
Musician, Composer, Arranger, Conference Speaker
Bill Stevens has performed professionally in Miami, Florida; upstate New York; New York City, San Francisco and Seattle, Washington. He has performed with Billy Eckstine, Earl ‘fatha’ Hines, Spyro Gyra, Ira Sullivan, Denis DiBlasio, Randy Johnston, Ronnie Leigh, Out of the Blue, Julian Priester, Brad Shepik, Chuck Metcalf, Marc Seales, Bob Meyer, John Bishop, Owen Howard, Dom Minasi, George Usher, Pete McCann, Ben Gramm, Adam Kolker, Jay Bianchi, Josh Sinton, Ben Rosenblum, Brian Woodruff among others and ensembles under his own name including currently the Bill Stevens Group, Sound House with Bill Stevens, Doug Cuomo and Gary Fogel, the Bill Stevens Songbook and Standard Time Ensemble. Additionally, Bill performs in the Brass Quartet - As Though I Had Wings, the New York Symphonic Arts Ensemble and the New York Jazz Workshop Big Band. Bill has been the recipient of performance and composition grants from the Seattle Arts Commission, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Music Center. He has been a guest speaker and performer with the Joint Research Centres Conference at the Norwegian Academy of Music in Oslo, Norway in 2017, the Australasian Jazz & Improvisation Research Network in 2018 in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, in 2020 with the International Association for the Study of Popular Music at the University of Antwerp in Begium, the Netherlands, the International Society of Improvised Music at the University of Melbourne Conservatorium of Music, Australia in 2020 and invited to compose new sound pieces for the Cities and Memory: Future Cities Project in Oxford, UK. Since 1990, in New York City, Bill has performed in various Jazz clubs, festivals and music conferences. He has studied with Elliott Topalian, Herbert W. Harp, Gilbert Johnson, Randy Brecker, Jack Walrath, Laurie Frink and with bassist Joe Solomon. Bill Stevens lives in New York City with his wife Laura and their son Miles lives and works in Brooklyn, NY as a Strength Coach and Nutrition Counselor for Future Fitness.