KU Symphony Orchestra with Vincent Gardner & Michael Davidson

Conducted by Creston Herron

Vincent Gardner, musician and composer, has released four albums as band leader under the SteepleChase record label. He performs with his own groups frequently, in addition to being the lead trombonist for the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis. Gardner also performs often with his brother, trumpeter Derrick Gardner and his ensemble, The Jazz Prophets. He was the winner of the 2014 Downbeat Rising Star Critic’s Poll for Trombone and, in the same year, was a nominee for the Rising Star Critic’s Poll for Male Vocalist. He is the founding artistic and education director of Jazz Houston.

Being born into a musical family, Gardner was surrounded by music at an early age. His father, Burgess Gardner, was a trumpeter who has played with many groups, including Ray Charles, Count Basie and Horace Silver, and his mother was a pianist and choir director—both music educators. After attending Florida A&M University and the University of North Florida, obtaining a degree in jazz trombone performance, he moved to Brooklyn, NY, to pursue his musical career, subsequently performing with several notable ensembles and musicians—The Count Basie Orchestra, Lauryn Hill, The Duke Ellington Orchestra, Illinois Jacquet, the Saturday Night Live Band, Matchbox 20, Clark Terry, Jimmy Heath and Frank Foster. Since joining the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis, he has contributed many arrangements and commissioned works for various performances for the ensemble. In 2013, Gardner was appointed director of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Youth Orchestra, and he actively engages in working with young musicians internationally as part of that initiative.

Michael Davidson, professor of trombone at the University of Kansas, is also principal trombonist of the Shreveport Symphony Orchestra and a trombonist with the Kansas Brass Quintet, Kansas City Brass Works, I-49 Brass and the Drei Bones Trombone Trio. He has also performed with the Kansas City Symphony, Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, Tulsa Philharmonic Orchestra, Spoleto Festival Orchestra USA, South Arkansas Symphony, Sunflower Music Festival and the Lyric Opera of Kansas City, as well as in local performances with the Four Tops, Ray Charles, The Temptations, Johnny Mathis, Kathy Mattea, Emmylou Harris, Mel Tormé, Sandi Patty, Kenny G, Don McLean, the Indigo Girls, John Tesh, Byron Stripling, Tower of Power and many others. Davidson was solo trombonist of Kansas City’s own Fountain City Brass Band when they won the 2007 North American Brass Band Association and United States Open Championships, and he can be heard on their debut CD, Celebration. His debut solo CD, Blue Wolf, produced by Emeritus Recordings, was released in Fall 2010 to good reviews. (“Davidson’s playing is at all times clean and strong” – International Trombone Association Journal; “Davidson’s clear tone and precise articulations, combined with his expressive playing of the lyrical lines and detail to pitch, make the entire CD a joy to hear. … The quality of the performance and the wonderful selection of literature make this a recording that needs to be in the library of all trombonists!” – National Association of College Wind and Percussion Instructors Journal).

Prior to his appointment to the KU music faculty in 2007, Davidson taught at Benedictine College, Northwestern Oklahoma State University, the University of Arkansas at Monticello, Centenary College of Louisiana and in the Louisiana public schools, where he was the band director at Bossier City’s Airline High School. He was twice selected for inclusion in Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers, he was named the 1991 Caddo Association of Educators Music Teacher of the Year and elected to membership in the American School Band Directors Association in 1996. He is an artist/endorser of M&W Trombones.

Gardner and Davidson will perform with the KU Symphony Orchestra (KUSO), the premier orchestral organization at the KU School of Music. KUSO provides performance majors with the highest quality preparation for a professional career in orchestral playing. KUSO offers a comprehensive course of orchestral studies and performs repertoire spanning from the Baroque to the 21st century, including premieres of new works. In addition to large-scale symphonic programming, each season includes performances of major solo works featuring faculty, student and leading international guest artists, including Blake Pouliot, PROJECT Trio, Tiempo Libre, Juan-Miguel Hernandez, Joshua Roman and Simone Porter, to name a few.

Event Partner

Artist Links

Vincent Gardner website

Michael Davidson

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