A native of Tennessee, Wilson returned to his home state in 2012 to fulfill his long-time passion for teaching and devote more time to his young family. He accepted a full-time teaching position at Vanderbilt University but continued a busy performance schedule as well. During the 2013-14 arts season, he served as guest principal trombonist with the Nashville Symphony Orchestra and subbed with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. He also has performed on several occasions with the Saito Kinen Orchestra at the special invitation of Maestro Seiji Ozawa.
In addition to his versatility as an orchestral player, Wilson is highly sought as a soloist and chamber musician. The winner of numerous solo competitions, he has been featured in concerto performances and solo recitals in venues across the country, and currently performs with the Music City Trombone Duo. As a chamber artist, he has performed with a range of brass ensembles, including Tri-Star Brass, Maniacal 4, and the award-winning trombone quartet from the University of North Texas, and he is a regular member of the Blair Brass Quintet, composed of Vanderbilt faculty. With his keen affinity for jazz, Wilson also was a member of the University of North Texas’s famed One O’Clock Lab Band, the University of Tennessee’s award-winning ensemble Tennessee Trombonery, and the Knoxville Jazz Orchestra.
Highly respected as a dedicated teacher and clinician, Wilson has given masterclasses and lectures around the United States. He has been a featured guest artist at the International Trombone Festival, the American Trombone Workshop, and the Trombones de Costa Rica Festival. His students have been finalists for several domestic and international competitions and have participated in many prestigious summer festivals. Wilson currently serves on the Vanderbilt Faculty Senate, is faculty advisor for the Pi Delta chapter of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, and is Music Director and Faculty Advisor of the Commodore Orchestra, a Vanderbilt campus orchestra comprised mainly of non-music majors. He recently received the Blair School's Faculty Excellence Award.
Wilson started studying music in the sixth grade, becoming a serious student of the trombone in high school. In college, he double-majored in music education and performance at the University of Tennessee, where he was a Presser Scholar, before getting a Master of Music at the University of North Texas, graduating in 2011. His teachers have included Don Hough, Vern Kagarice, Jan Kagarice, Tony Baker, and Tom Lundberg.
Wilson currently resides in Franklin, Tennessee, with his wife Kristi and their three children.
Trombonist Jeremy Wilson is acclaimed for the versatility and lyricism of his playing as well as his insight and commitment as a teacher. Currently Associate Professor of Trombone at Vanderbilt University’s Blair School of Music, Wilson is something of a legend in trombone circles. On his first-ever audition attempt at the age of 25, he won a prestigious position with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra and its sister organization, the orchestra of the Vienna State Opera. Just out of college, he honed his performance skills in Vienna as a member of one of the most renowned musical organizations in the world. At the time, he was the orchestras’ only American full-time member, splitting his time between second trombone, first trombone, euphonium, and bass trumpet.
During his tenure in Vienna (2007-2012), Wilson performed hundreds of orchestral concerts at home and in 28 countries around the globe under the batons of the world’s leading conductors, including Daniel Barenboim, Pierre Boulez, Gustavo Dudamel, Valery Gergiev, Mariss Jansons, Lorin Maazel, Zubin Mehta, Riccardo Muti, Seiji Ozawa, Sir Simon Rattle, Christian Thielemann, and Franz Welser-Möst. At the Vienna State Opera, he played over 550 performances of 85 different operas and ballets, including five complete Wagner “Ring” cycles. He had the honor of performing with some of the greatest opera singers of our time, including Renée Fleming, Thomas Hampson, Jonas Kaufmann, and Anna Netrebko, and his artistry is documented on numerous recordings.
Associate Professor of Trombone, Vanderbilt University
Equally skilled as a soloist, collaborator and band leader, Middagh performs at jazz festivals around the world, including tours and performances on behalf of the U.S. State Department. While at home, he is a top-call studio musician in Nashville and performs in a wide array of genres. Middagh has music directed, arranged and performed for two educational chamber concerts for the Nashville Symphony. In addition to leading his own jazz small groups, he has recently started the Ryan Middagh Jazz Orchestra, which features some of Nashville’s finest musicians and acts as a vehicle for his new compositions and arrangements. He has released two albums as a leader and is currently writing and recording his first professional big band project.
A scholar of jazz, Middagh has presented his research at multiple universities and conferences, hosted panel discussions on jazz composition and arranging, and presented at the International Jazz Composers’ Symposium. At Vanderbilt University he was the recipient of a 2017 Provost Research Studio Grant, and in 2018 received a Research Scholar Grant. Middagh is affiliate faculty for the Center for Latin American Studies.
Since Middagh's arrival at Blair in 2014, the school's jazz program has received national and international recognition, including invitations to the 2017 Jazz Education Network Conference in New Orleans and performances overseas. In addition to creating a new jazz curriculum, Middagh has recruited an all-star jazz faculty and installed the Nashville Jazz Composers Collective as the Blair School’s jazz ensemble in residence. Guest performers have included Wycliffe Gordon, Rashawn Ross, Socrates Garcia, Vijay Iyer, Dave Liebman, Jim White, Chuck Owen, Dynamo and more.
Middagh pursues creative collaborations with the Blair School faculty and student ensembles; a product of which is the Blair Big Band’s first studio album, Such Sweet Thunder, which features Blair faculty Jeremy Wilson (trombone), Christina Watson (voice), Jerry Kimbrough (jazz guitar), Roger Spencer (jazz bass), Jeff Coffin (jazz saxophone), and also features Nashville jazz piano legend Beegie Adair.
Many of Middagh’s former students have successfully gone on to enter graduate music programs, win performance and composition competitions, and begin significant, fulfilling careers in the music industry in Nashville and around the world.
Middagh is an artist and clinician for Conn-Selmer Saxophones and D’addario Reeds.
Ryan Middagh is the Director of Jazz Studies at the Blair School. Middagh is an innovative educator, composer, arranger, saxophonist, band leader and clinician who has traveled the globe sharing his unique blend of talents and musical influences with audiences and music students. A passionate advocate for jazz education at all levels, he pursues creative programming and is devoted to reaching diverse communities through jazz.
An active jazz composer and arranger, Middagh has received numerous commissions from musicians and ensembles throughout the United States. He has written for numerous Grammy-winning artists, DownBeat award-winning educational ensembles, and his work has been recorded by prominent collegiate and professional ensembles. Some notable collaborations include arranging for Victor Wooten, Wycliffe Gordon, David Paich, Caleb Chapman’s Crescent Super Band, the Nashville Jazz Orchestra, and Middagh’s Blair School of Music colleague Jeff Coffin. Several of his works are published by UNC Jazz Press.
Saxophonist, Educator, Composer.
Patrick Demenga, singers Tony Arnold and Timothy Jones, saxophonist John Zorn, the Borromeo and Amernet String Quartets, and players from major orchestras in Boston, New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, London, Paris, Berlin and Vienna.
As an orchestral musician he has performed with leading groups including the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, St. Louis Symphony, Boston Philharmonic and Boston Ballet and is currently principal clarinet with the Boston Modern Orchestra Project. As a member of the Star Wars Symphony Orchestra, he has performed for combined audiences of over 730,000 people in the USA, Canada and Mexico with the touring production “Star Wars In Concert”.
Norsworthy is interested in breaking down barriers that exist between classical music and popular and jazz as well as collaborating with artists working in other mediums. He has shared the stage with such popular and jazz icons as Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Savion Glover and Bela Fleck. He worked in the motion picture industry and toured with numerous musical theater productions as a woodwind doubler on saxophone and been presented by the New Gallery Concert Series, Cy Twombly Gallery in Houston and the Institute for Contemporary Art in Boston alongside works by major visual artists.
His current discography numbers over 50 releases and can be found on the New Focus, Albany, Mode, Gasparo, Canteloupe, BMOP/sound, ECM, Nonesuch, Navona, Cirrus Music and Cauchemar labels. Future projects include a CD of chamber music by composer Magnus Lindberg and a premiere recording of David Gompper's Clarinet Concerto with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in London for NAXOS.
Currently, Norsworthy is Professor of Clarinet and Bass Clarinet, Chair of the Woodwind Department and Director of Contemporary Music Performance at The Boston Conservatory at Berklee and on the artist faculty of the Longy School of Music at Bard College. He is constantly in demand at schools of music around the world and has presented masterclasses and clinics at prestigious schools all over the USA, Canada, Asia, Europe and the Caribbean. He has served as artist in residence at Harvard University with the Harvard Group for New Music and was on the artist faculty at Columbia University. He is an active board member for American Century Music and Massachusetts State Chairman for the International Clarinet Association. He is a Selmer Paris Artistic Advisor and an artist clinician for Vandoren. As a former artist for D'Addario Woodwinds, he collaborated with D'Addario on the development of the Reserve Classic line of reeds for B-flat clarinet and bass clarinet and with Selmer Paris on the redesign of the Privilège lines of instruments.
Mr. Norsworthy holds advanced degrees from New England Conservatory and Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, and has attended Michigan State University. His teachers include Elsa Ludewig-Verdehr, Eric Mandat, Kalmen Opperman and Richard Stoltzman. He is the recipient of many awards and distinctions, among them: The John Cage Award, Borromeo String Quartet Guest Artist Award and Southern Illinois University’s Chancellor’s Research and Creativity Award, grants from the Yvar Mikahashoff Trust for New Music, St. Louis Artist Presentation Society and St. Botolph Club Foundation and a fellowship from the Aspen Music Festival. He has written scholarly works for the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians and articles for the quarterly journal The Clarinet.
Mr. Norsworthy currently resides in Boston and plays on Selmer Paris clarinets and Vandoren products.
Michael Norsworthy’s virtuosity and unique voice on the clarinet have made him a sought after soloist and chamber music collaborator and garnered praise from critics and audiences around the globe. His performances have taken him to distinguished concert venues including Vienna’s Musikverein, Moscow’s Tchaikovsky Philharmonie Hall, New York City’s Carnegie Hall, Merkin Hall and Miller Theatre, Boston’s Jordan and Symphony Halls, St. Louis’ Sheldon Concert Hall, Festival Casals de Puerto Rico and the Aspen Music Festival.
Mr. Norsworthy is one of the most celebrated champions of the modern repertoire. To date, he has given over 125 world premieres with leading contemporary music groups, including Klangforum Wien, Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Manhattan Sinfonietta, Fromm Players at Harvard, Boston Musica Viva, Callithumpian Consort in Boston, Ensemble 21 in New York and the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble. He has collaborated with a veritable who’s who of composers from around the globe including Pierre Boulez, Harrison Birtwistle, Elliott Carter, Chris Dench, Brian Ferneyhough, Michael Finnissy, Lukas Foss, Hans Werner Henze, Helmut Lachenmann and Magnus Lindberg among many others.
Recent seasons have included world premieres of works written for him by Michael Finnissy, Hans Tutschku and Pozzi Escot, domestic and international recital tours with pianists Marilyn Nonken, Tyson Deaton, David Gompper and Yoko Hagino, radio appearances on Boston’s WGBH, multiple performances on the Composer Portraits Series at New York’s Miller Theatre, concerto performances with the Boston Modern Orchestra Project and Manhattan Sinfonietta, concerts with the Boston Chamber Music Society, Portland Chamber Music Festival and and Midwestern tours with the Iowa Center for New Music and the Maia String Quartet.
As soloist he has performed an extensive repertoire of concerti, ranging from Mozart to Ferneyhough, with the Manhattan Sinfonietta, Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Kalistos Chamber Orchestra, Callithumpian Consort, Pottstown Symphony, Southern Illinois Symphony and Symphony Pro Musica. As a recitalist, he regularly performs with pianists Yoko Hagino, Michael Finnissy and David Gompper. Mr. Norsworthy has enjoyed chamber music collaborations with pianists Judith Gordon, Stephen Drury, Mihae Lee and Aleck Karis, violinists Harumi Rhodes, Jonathan Crow and Norbert Brainin, violists Roger Tapping and Carol Rodland, cellists Rhonda Rider and
Clarinet Soloist, Recording Artist
Bass trombonist and Global Music Award Gold Medal Winner Martin McCain enjoys a career that spans an impressive scope of genres. A third-generation musician, he maintains a versatile performance schedule as a soloist, recording artist, chamber, orchestral and jazz/commercial musician. According to the International Trombone Association Journal, his playing has been described as "solid and masterful". McCain is in high demand as a performer and clinician throughout North America, South America, Europe and Asia. His performances and arrangements have been broadcast on Austin, Knoxville, Tucson, Chicago, Toronto and Hong Kong's radio stations in addition to NPR's "Performance Today". Martin has appeared as a guest artist at the International Trombone Festival, Great American Brass Band Festival, Zagreb Brass Festival, Brazilian Trombone Festival and American Trombone Workshop. He is the leader of the award-winning jazz trombone ensemble, JazzBonez and a member of the highly-acclaimed Minor 4th Trombone Quartet. Martin regularly performs in recital programs both as a soloist and as the McCain Duo with his wife, pianist Artina McCain. As an orchestral musician, Martin holds the position of Principal Bass Trombone for the Brazos Valley Symphony Orchestra and is also a member of the PRIZM Chamber Orchestra. McCain regularly performs with the IRIS Orchestra, San Antonio Symphony, Austin Symphony and Memphis Symphony Orchestra in addition to several summer festival orchestras. He has performed with the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra, Houston Symphony Orchestra, Amarillo Symphony, Charleston Symphony Orchestra and many regional orchestras. As a jazz/commercial musician, he performs with the NOW Jazz Orchestra, Gabriel Santiago Orchestra, Memphis Jazz Orchestra and several national touring ensembles.
Martin was a prize - winner twice in both the International Trombone Association's Donald Yaxley Solo Bass Trombone Competition and Kai Winding Jazz Trombone Ensemble Competition and twice in both of the American Trombone Workshop's National Bass Trombone Solo Competition and Jazz Trombone Ensemble Competition. He has been a featured soloist with the Croatian Army Wind Band, United States Army Concert Band "Pershing's Own" and the United States Army Brass Quintet. In addition to being heard on various recordings on the Summit Records, Naxos and Equilibrium labels, Martin has released three solo CDs Trombone Czar: Russian Treasures Recorded Live! (2012), Shades (2014) and Trombone Czar: The Extended Version(2015). Other recording credits include numerous movie and video game soundtracks in addition to commercial jingles. He is a four-time winner of the Global Music Awards and was featured as their “Emerging Artist” in an edition of Billboard magazine.
Martin is an Associate Professor of Music and Artist/Teacher of Trombone at Texas State University where he directs the Trombone Choir and Jazz Trombone Ensembles. Under his leadership, the Trombone Choir and Jazz Trombone Ensembles have been invited to perform at the International Trombone Festival, American Trombone Workshop, Big 12 Trombone Conference and Texas Music Educators Association Convention on numerous occasions and have released two commercial recordings. Dr. McCain’s students have also been extremely successful in solo and ensemble competitions including the International Trombone Association competitions, the American Trombone Workshop competitions and the Big 12 Trombone Solo Competitions. In recognition of his teaching, he has received several citations including the 2016 Presidential Distinction Award for Excellence in Teaching and the 2013 Dean Nominee for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching. His students have been accepted into some of the nation's most prestigious graduate programs such as the Juilliard School, Eastman School of Music, Yale University, Northwestern University, Manhattan School of Music and the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music. He is also the founder/director of the Texas State Trombone Symposium. In addition to his duties at Texas State, Martin spends the summer on the faculty for the Austin Chamber Music Festival, Interharmony International Music Festival (Italy), Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp, PRIZM International Chamber Music Festival, SliderAsia Music Festival (Hong Kong) and the English Brass Academy (Croatia).
Martin McCain is a performing artist for Michael Rath Trombones, Reunion Blues Gig Bags and plays on the "McCain" signature mouthpiece series manufactured by Pickett Brass. He is also an affiliate of AirTurn and The GigEasy.
While M4 has been lauded as “Four great musicians telling one unified, inspiring musical story after another,” the members of the group are ardent collaborators as well. M4 frequently joins forces with an array of other musicians and ensembles, from concert bands to vocal choirs. Committed to the idea of making music accessible, the members of the group also work frequently with young musicians of all ages at schools and universities across the country. In addition, M4 started a popular YouTube video series called “Hotel Jams” as a way to make music videos on tour, often with people of all ages and from varying walks of life. The videos feature repertoire ranging from Bob Dylan and jazz standards to novelties like “Frosty the Snowman” (this one was cranked out quickly at the top of a Colorado mountain before their slides completely froze in place!), Consist of simply arranged songs played by ear in casual, everyday environments, “Hotel Jams” reflects the group’s philosophy that music is a vital part of human experience that should be explored and shared by everyone. (Sketches of the arrangements are free to download at maniacal4.com.)
Maniacal 4 is sponsored by Buffet Group USA and DANSR, Inc., and performs exclusively on Antoine Courtois Paris trombones and Denis Wick mouthpieces.
A little irreverent, a lot talented, Maniacal 4 is dedicated to creating musical performances that not only entertain and engage, but challenge the limits of traditional concert presentation. The lively, acclaimed trombone quartet not only rocks the standard repertoire, but also embraces a wide variety of music from around the world and across eras. M4’s clever, insightful arrangements of music ranging from pop/rock and jazz to classical masterpieces bring new life to familiar tunes, often with a tongue-in-cheek playfulness that belies the technical aplomb of the group’s four, highly-trained trombonists – Nick Laufer, Carl Lundgren, Alex Dubrov, and Matt Jefferson.
The four musicians got together as freshmen at the University of North Texas. Since the group’s official launch in 2006 Maniacal 4 has performed at music festivals on three continents. Concerts frequently feature a diverse cast of guest artists as well as lively improvisations and audience participation, including special requests. Innovative performances of rock blockbusters are audience favorites, and live M4 performances of “Bohemian Rhapsody” and “Carry On Wayward Son” have gone viral on YouTube and reddit.
At the age of thirteen while playing at Olivet, he met Grammy winning jazz saxophonist Kirk Whalum and after college would tour and record with him going on twelve years.
Once he left Memphis for Middle Tennessee State University, he furthered his musical experience in marching band, jazz band, and orchestra. He then switched his major to the school’s most popular major, Recording Arts to learn production and studio techniques.
While in college he interned with Grammy Producers Cedric and Victor Caldwell where he got to record with Smokie Norful, T.D. Jakes, Vickie Winans and Donnie McClurkin.
After college that year, one gig led to another that led to another. Shortly after college he got the call to go on the road with Donna Summer. While on the road with her, he met Billy Preston and in between Donna’s tour he went out with Billy Preston and Larry Carlton traveling over seas numerous times within weeks.
Later on he would go on to tour South Africa with Earl Klugh and shortly after, BWB (Rick Braun, Kirk Whalum, and Norman Brown). During this time Kirk also recorded his fourth volume of The Gospel According to Jazz which featured his current band along with several special guest artists.
While living in Nashville, Marcus has recorded, toured and performed with Keb Mo, Taj Mahal, Lady Antebellum, India Arie, Lalah Hathaway, Nelly, Sheléa, G-Love and Special Sauce, Ana Popovic, Jacob Whitesides, Michael McDonald, Take 6 and several others. Marcus continues to record and tour all the while teaching and giving clinics. He also writes, produces and arranges R&B, pop and jazz.
A Memphis native, Marcus Finnie began playing drums at church accompanying his mother on organ. During this time, he practiced to vinyl records from Billy Cobham to Earth Wind and Fire. At age 4 he sat in with a band on Beale Street at Rum Boogie Cafe.
While in school, he played drums at Olivet Baptist Church every Sunday morning and night and then at a club after church subbing off and on for Yvette Preyer, the former drummer for Michael McDonald.
Christopher is best known for his all-trombone arrangements of popular songs. His YouTube Channel has been gaining popularity since the spring of 2014 when a cover of Pharrell Williams’ “Happy” where Christopher uses a looping station to compose the song on the spot went viral. His videos have amassed over 25 million views and a following of over 150,000 subscribers.
In April of 2014, Christopher independently released his first cover album, Breakthrough, which was followed by his Christmas album, Smiling’s My Favorite. More recently, Christopher released an original pop album called Half Man, Half Machine which mixes acoustic sounds with electronic instruments.
Since graduating from the Purchase Conservatory, Christopher enjoys a busy schedule of performances, clinics, and masterclasses. In addition to producing a new video every Saturday for his YouTube Channel, he often performs at festivals such as the American Trombone Workshop, Midwest Clinic, Texas Bandmasters Association, Con Brio Festivals, Conn-Selmer Institute, Western International Band Clinic, and the International Trombone Festival.
Christopher is a trombonist, singer, and multi-instrumentalist based outside of NYC, but more accurately based on the internet. He has been playing piano since he was 6 years old, trombone since he was 10, and he has been composing/arranging since he was 12.
Christopher has a Bachelor of Music for classical trombone performance from the SUNY Purchase Conservatory of Music in New York. While at the conservatory he studied with critically acclaimed trombonists Weston Sprott (Metropolitan Opera), Denson Paul-Pollard (Metropolitan Opera), John Fedchock (Grammy Nominated Jazz Trombonist), and the absolutely incomparable Timothy Albright.
Harris has been involved in the preparation and performance of approximately 40 operas: recent productions include, Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress, Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, Bizet’s The Pearl Fishers, Puccini’s Turandot, Verdi’s La Traviata, Mozart’s Abduction from the Seraglio, Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Poulenc’s Dialogues of the Carmelites, Stravinsky’s Renard, and Ravel’s L’Enfant et les sortilèges. He has appeared as conductor with the Frankfurt (Germany) Symphony, Dubrovnik Symphony (Bad Homburg, Germany), Utah Symphony, Colorado Symphony, Brevard Music Center Orchestra, University of Northern Colorado University Symphony, and Greeley Philharmonic Orchestra.
Currently an Adjunct Associate Professor at Vanderbilt University’s Blair School of Music, Harris formerly held positions at the University of Northern Colorado, the University of Utah and Utah Symphony/Utah Opera. His students have won many competitions and awards, including the MTNA state finals, the Colorado Symphony Concerto Competition and the Denver Philharmonic Competition.
Harris has recorded professionally in a wide variety of genres for Summit Records, Navona Records, Potenza Music, and Acis Productions. He received multiple degrees from the Eastman School of Music and also held fellowships at the Tanglewood Music Center. Harris particularly enjoys his musical and life partnership with pianist Heather Conner as well as being the father to toddler Logan and baby Emery.
Caleb Harris enjoys an active career as a conductor, pianist and chamber musician. He is equally at home at the keyboard and on the podium. Harris has appeared throughout the United States, Austria, Germany, France, Italy, Scotland, Slovenia, and Asia at many prestigious venues including Carnegie Hall, Seiji Ozawa Hall at Tanglewood, and the National Concert Hall in Taipei, Taiwan.
In the summer of 2017, Harris conducted Donizetti’s Don Pasquale at the Brevard Music Center with David Gately directing. Harris conducted his first concert as Music Director of the Vanderbilt Commodore Orchestra in December of 2017. In addition, he made his debut with the Southwest Michigan Symphony Orchestra in their Sounds of the Season Concert with chorus and orchestra. In March of 2018, Harris made his debut with the Eklund Opera Program at the University of Colorado at Boulder with Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd with Leigh Holman directing. Harris is currently working on a video series with critically acclaimed trombonist Jeremy Wilson.