Steve Alford, (Woodwinds)
B.M., University of Miami
Composer/Leader of the acclaimed genre-bending big band "Rational Discourse"
Steve Alford is a graduate of the prestigious Studio Music and Jazz program at the University of Miami, Alford traveled the world as a musician before settling down in Asheville, NC. He performs actively in Asheville and beyond, leading and directing Rational Discourse and METAL, and as a member of the E.Normus Trio and Road Less Traveled.
When not performing or composing, Alford divides his musical time between teaching at UNC Asheville and his own thriving private studio.
Michael Barnes, B.A., (Guitar)
Asheville Guitar founder, Mike Barnes, was inspired to play the guitar when he was just 11 years old studying classical guitar with the late great Jerry Young. At 14, he formed a band called Blue Sky with childhood friend Warren Haynes, and improvised each time they performed while spending many rehearsals working on the art of improvisation. Mike went on to study at University of Miami, Musician's Institute and UNCA and holds two music degrees. Mike has recorded on countless recording sessions in Memphis, Nashville and L.A. and was signed to recording contracts with Geffen Records and Polygram records. He has been blessed to study and share the stage with some of the worlds greatest and most influential guitarists and musicians. Jimmy Page, Pat Martino, John Scofield, Joe Walsh, The Allman Brothers Band, Robben Ford, Jimmy Herring, Derek Trucks, Ben Harper, John Paul Jones, Branford Marsalis, Neal Larson, Jeff Sipe, Jerry Jemmott, The Black Crows, Moe, String Cheese Incident, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals and Steve Miller to name a few.
Tim Doyle, guitar
Tim Doyle is a 27-year veteran of the guitar and holds degrees from the University of North Carolina Greensboro and Indiana State University. He has worked as a professional performer and music educator in Austin, Texas, throughout the Midwest, and most recently, western North Carolina. Tim is also an active composer, and recorded and produced a CD of original compositions for guitar in 2009 as well as recordings with bands The Leonard Washington and Lunes Domingo.
As a performer, Tim began in high school, like most teenagers, rehearsing in a series of garage bands and playing on any stage where there was an opportunity. This led to a deeper drive to pursue music regularly, and to come to learn various styles ranging from metal to bebop. Upon graduation from music school, Tim moved to Austin, Texas and began shaping his approach to the guitar. While living in Texas, Tim worked with Latin ensemble Mosaic, art collective Mongoose, Tim’s own ensemble Polydactyl Hemingway, and as a soloist. After moving to the Midwest Tim toured and recorded with funk/R&B groups The Leonard Washingtons and Lunes Domingo. Now based in Asheville, North Carolina, Tim is back working on his solo material and preparing for his second CD release in the upcoming year. Tim also frequents North Carolina stages with local groups Drayton & The Dreamboats, Faded Jade, Rational Discourse, and The Strange Signals.
As an educator, Tim has worked as a guitar instructor and served as the creator/director of the Terre Haute Guitar Club and the Asheville Guitar Club, group guitar programs based on Tim’s experiences with Robert Fripp, Guitar Craft, and Guitar Circles. Tim also developed and directed the summer jazz camps and the ongoing annual resident Rock Camp for Indiana State University Community School of the Arts since 2012. Tim is currently teaching as an adjunct guitar instructor for the University of North Carolina Asheville, directing the UNCA Contemporary Guitar Ensemble, on staff of the UNCA Summer Jazz and Contemporary Music Intensive, as a guitar and class instructor for the Music Academy Asheville, and as Program Director for Rock Academy Asheville.
Dr. Hwa-Jin Kim, (Piano)
D.M.A., Manhattan School of Music
Dr. Hwa-Jin Kim was born in Daegu, South Korea, where she began her piano studies at the age of five. She was chosen to perform at MBC Television Station in Daegu at age seven, and she appeared as a soloist with the Daegu Symphony Orchestra at age 14, performing Grieg’s piano concerto in A minor. She won numerous competitions and entered the prestigious Seoul National University in South Korea on full scholarship, studying with Dr. Jin-Woo Chung. Upon graduation, she came to New York to continue her studies with Zenon Fishbein at the Manhattan School of Music, where she received her Masters and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees. Dr. Kim has performed in South Korea, Italy and many other venues in Boston, Rhode Island, and New York, including Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall. Dr. Kim has been a faculty member at the Manhattan School of Music, Reformed Presbyterian Seminary of the East, and New York Bethesda Theological Seminary, teaching both piano and music history. She also taught at The Music School and Brown University in Rhode Island.
After moving to the Asheville/Hendersonville area of North Carolina in 2000 with her husband, Dr. Paul S. Kim of Grace Hematology & Oncology in Fletcher and their two daughters. Dr. Kim has been featured as a soloist in numerous concert series and benefit concerts. She actively works as lecturer, teacher as well as competition adjudicator. Her sensitive, beautiful nuanced interpretations are the hallmarks of her remarkable pianistic musicianship. Dr. Kim serves as the advisor to the Asheville Young Musicians Club, comprised of highly talented classical student musicians in Asheville area that was founded by her daughters, Grace (flute) and Kristie (violin) in 2011. Dr. Kim joined the music faculty at University of North Carolina at Ashville in January 2003.
Andy Jurik, guitar
D.M.A. University of South Carolina
M.M. Austin Peay State University
B.M. Ithaca College
Andy has spent much of his academic and performing careers exploring the intersection of classical and popular music. His arrangements for the guitar in both solo and chamber settings range from Scottish lute songs and Brazilian choro to the Beatles and Radiohead. In 2016 Andy completed his doctorate at the University of South Carolina where he won the Creative Graduate Performance Award twice (2015 and 2013), performed on the ASCAP-award winning Southern Exposure Concert series, and completed his dissertation which focused on the guitar’s role in the classical/jazz hybrid of third stream music. He has collaborated with the Cica and ebb:flow collectives in multi-disciplinary performances that blended film, lighting design, and collaborative visual art with electro-acoustic and new music premieres. Andy completed his masters studies Austin Peay State University; prior to this he worked as a musician on Holland America cruise lines where he traveled and performed throughout Alaska, Mexico, the Caribbean, and the Mediterranean.
Andy’s recent performances include the JASPER Artist of the Year awards ceremony (Columbia, SC), the U.U. Candlelight concert series (Charelston, SC), the Wired Music series, the Southern Guitar Festival, and the North American Saxophone Alliance Region 7 Conference. An enthusiastic chamber musician, Andy also performs with Demeler (w/Rachel Hansbury, voice) and Duo Cortado (w/Devin Sherman, guitar). He currently serves as co-director of the Asheville Classical Guitar Society.
Zack Page, (Bass)
Zack Page has been performing as a professional bassist since the early '90s. His work with various jazz ensembles, theater companies, and the cruise industry has taken him to all 50 U.S. States, the Caribbean islands, Australia, South America, Europe and the Far East.
While in college, Zack had the chance to play at the prestigious Montreaux Jazz Festival in Switzerland.
In a jazz setting, Zack has had the good fortune to play and/or record with Billy Higgins, Delfeayo Marsalis, Cyrus Chestnut, Marvin Stamm, Eddie Daniels and Babik Reinhardt, the son of gypsy jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt. Following time spent in Los Angeles and New York City, Zack and his family relocated to Asheville, NC where he enjoys a busy freelance schedule with many of North Carolina's finest musicians.
Lyndsay Pruett, (Violin)
B.M., Belmont University
Inez Hullinger Redman, (Violin, Viola)
B.M., Wayne State University
Jacob Rodriguez, (Saxophone)
M.M., Manhattan School of Music
Jacob Rodriguez is a San Antonio, TX native who began playing the saxophone at age 11. He moved to New York City to pursue his Bachelor's and Master's degrees at the Manhattan School of Music, where he studied under Joe Temperley, Dick Oatts, Chris Rosenberg, and Justin DiCioccio. While centered in New York, Jacob performed around the country with jazz contemporaries Ambrose Akinmusire, Robert Glasper, Walter Smith III, and Marcus Gilmore, as well as with legendary artists including Aretha Franklin, Ariana Grande, and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.
Jacob has been a member of the Michael Bublé band since 2007, appearing on the Grammy Award winning albums "Michael Bublé Meets Madison Square Garden" as well as Bublé's "Crazy Love." Jacob is currently on a world tour with Bublé, playing arenas around the world.
Jacob currently makes his home in Asheville, North Carolina, where he teaches, records, and performs with original music groups ranging from soul to free jazz to indie rock.
BA in Music & Psychology - University of Rochester / Eastman School of Music
MA in Music Composition - State University of NY at Buffalo
Winner of two COVR (Coalition of Visionary Resources) awards for albums
"Camelot Reawakened" and "11:11 Piano Meditations for Awakening."
Pianist/composer Richard Shulman has been expressing his unique blend of sacred and secular music through Jazz in his recordings, performances and compositions since 1983. He has recorded 25 of his own albums, available from RichHeart Music. He has performed at the Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, Art Park, the United Nations, the Kool Jazz Festival, the Amenia Peace Festival and a wide variety of other venues throughout North America and in Europe. In the Asheville NC area Shulman has written and produced the “Visions of Hope” Concert with members of the Asheville Symphony Orchestra and a theatrical musical titled “A Dream of Camelot.”
As a composer, Shulman has created over seventy-five pieces for jazz groups. Commissions include "May Peace Prevail on Earth" for singers, symphony orchestra, three choirs, and jazz quartet, created for the World Peace Prayer Society.
Born and raised in Niagara Falls, New York, he began piano lessons at age seven. As a teenager Richard played organ at various churches, was the music counselor at a summer camp in Canada, and joined a rock band with future jazz recording artists Thom Rotella and Bobby Previte. Shulman graduated from the University of Rochester with a double-major Bachelor's degree in music (piano performance) and psychology while continuing to perform with Previte in the jazz-fusion band Thermopylae.
While at Rochester, Shulman also attended the prestigious Eastman School of Music and studied jazz improvisation with Chuck Mangione and Marian McPartland. Shulman continued his studies in jazz with Frank Foster while getting his Masters Degree in musical composition at the State University of New York at Buffalo. During those years he played onstage in concert with such jazz stalwarts as Thad Jones, Eddie Gomez, Pepper Adams, Jerry Dodgion, Freddie Hubbard and Al Harewood, and recorded his first album, Wonder.
After moving to New York City, Shulman played in the studio as a session musician with the great jazz rhythm section of Ron Carter and Grady Tate; performed with groups such as The Richard Reiter Swing Band, Providence and Crossing Point; and recorded and performed with the acts Mr. Spats (Steve Evans, June Bisantz, Steve Swallow and Bob Moses) and Bobby Previte(with Dave Hofstra, Tom Varner and Lenny Pickett). The Richard Shulman Group, a jazz quartet, played regularly in the New York area and recorded the albums A Simple Gift and Open Spaces, and Richard also released the solo jazz piano album Solo Flight.
An injury in 1977 led Shulman to begin exploring healing aspects of music, and his studies in healing and meditation have informed his music ever since.
Richard Shulman currently resides in Asheville, NC and performs and records internationally. He specializes in performing his own original music and standard songs from the Great American Songbook.
Justin Ray, (Jazz Studies-Trumpet)
M.M., University of Southern California
Justin Ray has been a professional musician for 25 years. Ray earned his degree from the Berklee College of Music in Boston, developing a reputation as a fiery and compelling soloist, comfortable in a wide variety of styles. Relocating to Los Angeles, he quickly became one of the most in-demand musicians in the region, performing regularly with jazz legends like drummers Dave Weckl and Peter Erskine, vocalist Kurt Elling, pianists Bill Cunliffe and Alan Pasqua, among others.
In 2003, Ray accepted an offer from Warner Bros. recording artist Michael Bublé to join his group lending his musical talents to Bublé in a number of ways: as an instrumentalist, composer, and arranger. He has toured 45 countries, has appeared on Grammy-winning recordings, and has performed at some of the most prestigious venues in the world, including Madison Square Garden, the Sydney Opera House, Radio City Music Hall, and the Hollywood Bowl. Ray has also performed multiple times on The Late Show with David Letterman, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, The Oprah Winfrey Show, and Saturday Night Live.
Paul Templon, (Voice)
M.A., Marshall University
Paul received a Bachelor of Music in Performance with majors in Voice and Piano and minors in Flute and Conducting from the Shenandoah Conservatory of Music. While attending Shenandoah, he studied Voice with Andre Aerne and Piano with Henry Black. During his time at The University of West Virginia where he studied with David Lloyd, he was offered the chance to become an apprentice artist with The Lake George Opera Company. Paul worked for The Lake George Opera Company as Singer, Coach, and Assistant Director for 5 years. He finished his Master of Arts degree from Marshall University where he studied with Jane Hobson and Paul Balshaw. After teaching and performing for a number of years, he began studies towards a Doctorate in Education and Philosophy at Dayton University.
During and upon completion of his education, Paul performed Jazz, Folk, Sacred, Music Theatre, recitals and Opera. While with The Lake George Opera Company, he performed in a number of world premieres, The Taming of The Shrew, Mt. Olympus, Elephant Steps, and Young Goodman Brown. Other Opera companies where he has been singer, coach and choral conductor are Dayton Opera, Michigan Opera, West Virginia Opera Co., and Asheville Lyric Opera. He has had leading roles in Carousel, The Fantastics, and Fiddler on the Roof to name a few. Paul has always had his own private studio where he taught, piano, voice, theory and flute.
For the last ten years he has been teaching in the music dept. for UNCA. He is Choir Master and Organist for St. John’s Episcopal Church. During his time in Asheville, he has been soloist for several choral groups and Music Director for Childrens’ Theatre Performances.
Simone Vigilante, (Voice)
M.M. Indiana University of Bloomington
Simone Vigilante began her musical studies on piano at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY at the age of five. Through the guidance and encouragement of her teachers she started seriously studying the voice at age thirteen. Although she took fifteen years of private piano lessons she fell in love with vocal performance. She graduated from North Carolina School of the Arts (BM in Vocal Performance), Indiana University (MM in Vocal Performance), and started her doctorate while at Indiana University.
Simone has performed opera and art song throughout the United States and Western Europe. Locally, you may have seen Simone perform leading roles with Asheville Lyric Opera or as a solo concert artist with The Brevard Chamber Orchestra, ECHO (Early Music Festival), Blue Ridge Community College Concert Series, The UNC Asheville University Singers, and Reuter Singers. Simone’s performance background consists of various vocal genres including: musical theater, spirituals, opera, American Art Song, Italian Art Song, German Lied, and French Mélodie.
While attending IU Simone taught private voice lessons. Teaching was found to be challenging and she realized her own technique became stronger by instructing someone else. She also found the voice fascinating because no two are alike, therefore, her teaching technique must be custom designed for each student. Since leaving IU in 2000 she has been teaching private voice and piano students throughout Western NC. Simone has found teaching so rewarding that in June 2007 she joined NATS (National Association of Teachers of Singing). This organization gives seminars to teachers of singing and offers various résumé building opportunities for their students including: summer programs, competitions and scholarships.
B.M. Kent State University, M.M., Youngstown State University
Justin Watt was born in northeastern Ohio where he began his study of percussion and drum set at an early age. He has received music degrees in Percussion Performance from two esteemed universities. In 2002 he obtained a Bachelors of Music Degree from the Hugh A. Glauser School of Music at Kent State University and in 2005 a Masters of Music Degree from the Dana School of Music at Youngstown State University. He also spent the Fall of 2002 semester doing post-graduate work at Cleveland State University. His principal teachers include Ted Rounds (KSU), Dr. Glenn Schaft (YSU), Tom Freer (The Cleveland Orchestra) and Mark Gonder (The Cleveland Jazz Orchestra), among others.
At the end of 2007, he finished a two year stint as the drummer for the Glenn Miller Orchestra where he toured throughout the United States, Japan and Canada. He has also performed with many notable performers such as Jim McNeely, Deanna Witkowski, Michael Burritt, comedian Jack Carter, Larry O’Brien, David Morgan, Jamey Abersold, The Four Aces, Dolores Parker Morgan, Julia Rich, the Guy Lombardo Orchestra, Paul McGhee, Joey De Francesco, Nick Hilscher, Bobby Shew, Kent Englehardt and Jimmy Heath, among others.
Currently, Justin resides in Asheville, NC where he is free-lancing and involved with many music related projects. He is the drummer for the Keith Davis, Bill Gerhardt, “Like Mind” and "Asheville Art" Trios. All three groups are dedicated to continuing and advancing the art of jazz trio playing. He is also the drummer for the Greenville Jazz Collective Quintet and performs frequently with the Asheville Jazz Orchestra. Justin has also been active with several regional theatre groups such as the Asheville Community Theatre, the Southern Appalachian Repertory Theatre, the Altamont Theatre and the Haywood Arts Regional Theatre. Most recently, Justin co-curates the “Asheville Original Music Series”, a monthly concert held at the ISIS Restaurant and Music Hall that features a regional composer and their music.
In addition to teaching percussion/drum-set at the University of North Carolina Asheville, Justin is also on staff as a drum-set instructor at Furman University and teaches once a week at the Asheville Music School.
Note: Adjunct faculty are available to teach most instruments. Specific instructors are hired on an "as-needed" basis; staffing is subject to change.