Mike Titlebaum

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About Mike Titlebaum


Saxophonist/composer/arranger Mike Titlebaum is Director of Jazz Studies at Ithaca College, where he directs large jazz ensembles, coaches small combos, teaches jazz saxophone and courses in jazz improvisation, arranging, pedagogy and history. He is the founding member of the Ithaca Jazz Quartet and the creator of the Ithaca College Jazz Ensemble Composition Contest and the Ithaca All-Star Jazz Invitational for aspiring high school jazz musicians.

He was born and raised in Rochester, NY, where he earned his BM in Saxophone Performance from the Eastman School of Music in 1991, as well as the coveted Performer's Certificate in Saxophone. He received his MM in 1992 from Eastman in Jazz and Contemporary Media. He has studied with wonderful musicians and teachers such as Rayburn Wright, Ramon Ricker, Fred Sturm, Bill Dobbins, Russell Schmidt, Rich Thompson, Manny Albam, Samuel Adler, Al Regni, Elizabeth Marvin, and many others. As a student, he won nine "DeeBee" awards from DownBeat magazine in multiple categories, including Jazz Performance (on both saxophone and trumpet), Classical Performance, Jazz Arranging, and Jazz Composition.

In 1994, Titlebaum moved to New York City where he enjoyed a very diverse career. He played in many of New York’s world famous musical venues, including the Blue Note, Smalls, Augies, Fez/Time Café and the infamous CBGB's as well as the pit orchestra of the Broadway musical "Cats." He has performed with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, and with dozens of internationally recognized artists and groups such as Jason Robert Brown, Red Rodney, Randy Brecker, Jack McDuff, the Nelson Riddle Orchestra, the Mingus Big Band, Cab Calloway, Jeff Tyzik, Ernie Watts, Natalie Cole, Billy Taylor, Mel Torme, Manhattan Transfer, Branford Marsalis, Clark Terry, Lee Konitz, Kenny Wheeler, Billy Hart, Paquito D'Rivera, and many others.

Titlebaum has published numerous compositions and arrangements through Lorenz (Heritage Jazz Works), Advance Music, and GIA Publications. He was recently awarded Honorable Mention in two music writing contests: the Center for Jazz Composition's International Jazz Arranging Competition Honoring Michael Brecker in 2007, and the The Foundation Orchestra Association's International Composition Competition in 2006. Recent performances of his compositions include the premiere of "Latino Sambosa: A Tango for Orchestra" by the Fort Dodge Area Symphony in 2008, a performance of "World War II Pizza Man" by the Grinnell Symphony Orchestra in 2007, a performance of "Round Chi-Town" by the Nebraska All-State Jazz Ensemble in 2007, and the recording of "Ornetti" which was released on the disc "With Gratitude" by the Army Blues Jazz Ensemble in 2005.

His interest in educating musicians of all ages has brought Titlebaum to schools and universities across the country where he has directed all-county jazz ensembles and done numerous lectures, clinics and performances. In 1999 he founded the jazz studies department at the American Festival for the Arts in Houston, and subsequently directed the department for 5 summers. He has been on the faculty of Florida A&M University in Tallahassee and the Eastman School of Music, and has taught a wide variety of musical topics at multiple schools in the New York City area.

Mike Titlebaum joined the JazzTimes community on Jul 26, 2010