Manhattan School of Music president James Gandre has announced that vibraphonist Stefon Harris has been named associate dean and director of the school’s Jazz Arts Program, effective July 2017. The four-time Grammy Award nominee, Jazz Journalists Association Award winner and MSM alumnus will replace Justin DiCioccio, who will leave his position at the end of the year.
Harris, called “one of the most most important artists in jazz” by the Los Angeles Times, has taught at schools and in programs around the world, including the Brubeck Institute, where he led curriculum development; the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, where he served as artistic director of jazz education; Rutgers University, where he served as visiting professor; and New York University, where he has been on the faculty for the past decade. He has also taught virtually through his Distance Learning Lab and is the co-founder of the Melodic Progression Institute, which released Harmony Cloud, an ear-training app, in 2016.
“I am truly honored to assume the position of associate dean and director of the jazz program at Manhattan School of Music,” Harris said in a press release. “For nearly a century, MSM has been at the vanguard of arts education and has consistently provided an invaluable service to young artists. It is a community of educators and dreamers, which nurtures some of the world’s most brilliant young minds. As a former student, I spent the most important and transformative years of my artistic life at MSM. It was during my time at MSM that I acquired the musical skills necessary to articulate my story in organized sound. I look forward to contributing to this great legacy of social empowerment through arts education. As an educator, I am greatly inspired to have the opportunity to play a role in helping to articulate and amplify the voices of the next generation of great artists.”
Most recently, Harris earned an MSM Distinguished Alumni Award in 2015 and performed as a member of the MSM All Stars at the MSM’s Spring Gala this past May.