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Antonio Garcia

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Conn Selmer Educational Clinician


Antonio J. García is a performer, composer/arranger, producer, clinician, educator, and author in both instrumental and vocal genres. He has performed as trombonist, bass trombonist, or pianist with 70 major artists including Ella Fitzgerald (50 shows), George Shearing, Billy Eckstine, Louie Bellson, Dave Brubeck, and Phil Collins (two-month tour plus album) and at such venues as Carnegie Hall, Royal Festival Hall, and the Montreux and North Sea Jazz Festivals. The former Director of Jazz Studies at Virginia Commonwealth University, an alumnus of the Eastman School of Music and of Loyola University of the South, and a Conn Selmer clinician/soloist and avid scat-singer, he has received grants from Meet The Composer, the Thelonious Monk Institute, The Commission Project, the Council for Basic Education, and others. His compositions are released through a dozen publishers, his indie-film scores screened across the globe, and a recent commission was performed at Carnegie Hall by the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra.


Tony’s books include Jazz Improvisation: Practical Approaches to Grading (Meredith Music) and Cutting the Changes: Jazz Improvisation via Key Centers (Kjos Music). He was Co-Editor/Contributing Author of Teaching Jazz: A Course of Study (MENC/NAfME), served for ten years as Editor for the International Association for Jazz Education Journal, then twenty years as Jazz Editor for the International Trombone Association Journal, and has served as President of IAJE-IL, Advisory Board Member of the Brubeck Institute, a board member of the Illinois Coalition for Music Education, and a Network Expert for the Jazz Education Network.


Most of all, Tony is dedicated to assisting musicians towards finding their joy. His 35-year full-time teaching career and countless residencies in schools have touched tens of thousands of students in Canada, Europe, South Africa, Australia, The Middle East, and across the U.S. His collaborations highlighting jazz and social justice have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars, providing education to students and financial support to African American, Latinx, LGBTQ+, and Veterans communities, children’s medical aid, and women in jazz. He serves as a Research Faculty Member at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. His partnerships with South Africa focusing on racism and healing resulted in his performing at the Nelson Mandela National Memorial Service in D.C. in 2013. He also fundraised $5.5 million in external gift pledges for the VCU Jazz Program.


Tony is the only director of all three genres of Illinois All-State jazz ensembles—combo, vocal jazz choir, and big band—possibly the only individual to have led similarly in the country. Tenured at Northern Illinois, Northwestern, and Virginia Commonwealth universities, he received NIU’s Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching award, is a member of the Conn Selmer Institute Hall of Fame, received the VCU School of the Arts’ Faculty Award of Excellence, is a past nominee for CASE U.S. Professor of the Year, and is a 2023 recipient of The Midwest Clinic’s Medal of Honor. He currently resides in his native New Orleans, is Professor Emeritus at VCU, and is Secretary for The Midwest Clinic, for whom he has served as a board member for some 30 years. Visit Antonio García's website.


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