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Grammy Award winner joins MSU Jazz Ensemble for upcoming concert

cunliffe-400x500.jpgMorehead State University’s music programs have a long-standing reputation for graduating both world-class musicians and impactful educators. Now, MSU is bring a world-class musician to perform alongside its own talented students.

The upcoming MSU Jazz Ensemble Fall Concert will feature Grammy Award-winning composer, arranger and musician Bill Cunliffe at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 30, at the Duncan Recital Hall inside Baird Music Hall. The event is free and open to the public. Cunliffe will also hold a master class prior to the concert at 3 p.m. Monday, Oct. 29, in 214 Baird Music Hall.

Bill Cunliffe is a jazz pianist who began his musical career as a pianist and arranger with the Buddy Rich Big Band and went on to work with notable artists like Frank Sinatra, Freddie Hubbard and James Moody, among others. He later established himself as a solo artist and band leader who has recorded more than a dozen albums. A multiple Grammy Award nominee, he won the 2009 Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Arrangement for “West Side Story Medley” on the album “Resonance Big Band Plays Tribute to Oscar Peterson.”

Ryan McGillicuddy, visiting assistant professor of jazz studies, first met Cunliffe when he was working out in Los Angeles and has long wanted to bring him to campus to collaborate with MSU students. He thinks when Cunliffe joins the 19 members of MSU’s traditional jazz big band to play piano, it will certainly provide some inspiration.

“I think for them, it’s a real treat to work with somebody in the music industry that is out there performing and composing on a professional level,” McGillicuddy said. “As a teacher, it’s great to see their eyes light up and their attention be more focused.”

For more information on MSU’s Department of Music, Theatre and Dance, call 606-783-2473, email or visit