Mike Conrad - Bio
Dr. Mike Conrad is a composer, improviser, and teacher from Iowa. He completed his Doctor of Arts in Jazz Studies from the University of Northern Colorado. His Master’s degree in Jazz Composition and Arranging is from the Eastman School of Music, where he studied with Bill Dobbins and played lead trombone in the Eastman Jazz Ensemble. Before that, he graduated from the University of Northern Iowa with Bachelor's degrees in Music Education: Jazz Studies and Music Composition and Theory.
Conrad has been recognized for his arranging and composing with four ASCAP Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composer Awards and seven Downbeat Student Music Awards, as well as awards from the American Society of Music Arrangers and Composers and Ithaca College’s Jazz Composition Contest. He has been commissioned by several organizations such as the West Point Army Jazz Knights, Excelsior Charter Schools, and the New York Youth Symphony Jazz Band. His string quartet version of The Genesee was performed as part of Barack Obama’s Inauguration in Washington, D.C. in January 2013. More recently, Conrad was selected to participate in the 2017 Metropole Orchestra Arrangers Workshop with Vince Mendoza and was chosen as a finalist for the “Spheres Of A Genius” composition competition through the Vienna Radio Symphony. He has enjoyed composing for and recording with some amazing ensembles like COLOSSUS and the All Angles Orchestra, and is currently writing for the Iowa Jazz Composers Orchestra, we he founded and leads.
Mike Conrad serves as Assistant Professor of Jazz Studies & Music Education at the University of Northern Iowa where he directs Jazz Band II, and teaches Jazz Improvisation, Jazz Arranging, and Jazz Combo. He also enjoys teaching at several different music camps, and working with high school jazz bands from around the country in clinics and at festivals. He has been on the jazz faculty at the University of Northern Iowa Jazz Combo Camp, the Simpson College Jazz Camp, the University of Iowa's Jazz Camp, and the Rockport Jazz Workshop in Massachusetts. While teaching Jazz Improvisation For Non-Jazz Majors at the Eastman School of Music, Conrad also worked as the piano/keyboards instructor at the Rochester Contemporary Music School, and as a jazz trombone/jazz piano/jazz theory teacher at the Eastman Community Music School, from whom he received the Jack L. Frank Award for Excellence in Teaching.
Equally accomplished on trombone and piano, Conrad has performed all over the world with a wide variety of groups. He has toured the Midwest as the pianist in Chris Merz’s quartet, and has toured China as the lead trombonist with UNC Jazz Lab Band I. His jazz festival appearances include the Rochester International Jazz Festival, the UNC/Greeley Jazz Festival, the Iowa City Jazz Festival, the Twin Cites Jazz Festival, and the Riverfront Jazz Festival in Steven’s Point, WI. One of his most memorable experiences was performing six concerts of the Music of Gil Evans at the 2012 Umbria Jazz Festival in Perugia, Italy. He has also been a part of so many great recordings, and is excited to be featured on several releases in the last few years (“While We Wait,” Chris Merz; “Infância,” Cassio Vianna; “Instrumental,” Dave Chisholm; a project in Colorado with Louis Hayes; and the “Romeo and Juliet Project,” UNC Jazz Lab Band I). Conrad truly loves collaborating with other musicians, and always brings his creativity and expressiveness to each performance.