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Miché Fambro is known by many different people for very different things. Some know him as the dynamic band leader of one of Upstate NY’s most popular bands a few years back. Others know him as an extraordinary guitarist/vocalist singer-songwriter touring through their small town (“Why are you here??”), performing with the energy and sound of a full band on his single instrument. And, still others recognize him as a jazz crooner, lending his fluid voice to beloved classics. His grandfather, a Vaudeville “hoofer,” knew him as the boy who wouldn’t listen, and chose to shape his life around music/entertainment despite the experienced advice of his elders.
And, it has been a challenge. No doubt about it – Grandpa Fambro was right. Nonetheless, the passion has never dimmed and the urge to create has only grown with time. Whether he’s writing a song, practicing a new flourish on the guitar, playing with a new approach to an old jazz standard, recording an episode for his “Guitar Lessons” online video series (stories, sketches, interviews, insights into what entertainers go through to entertain…), or strategizing next steps for his live Music/Variety project – the “Whadd’ya Say Show” – Miché is always fully committed, completely immersed, creatively propelled.
Cornell Jazz Ensemble Director, Paul Merrill, has commissioned works from Jim McNeely, Paul Smoker, Steve Brown, and Rufus Reid and has hosted artists like Wynton Marsalis, Maria Schneider, Joshua Redman, Wallace Roney, and James Moody as collaborative performers with Cornell student ensembles. He has recorded and arranged for Shanachie and I-Town Records and can be heard on such films as Suckerfish (Jury Award Winner at the Santa Barbara Film Festival) and The Substitute II (HBO). He has been awarded multiple commissions and his arrangements continue to be performed by college and high school ensembles, most recently at the Crane School of Music. Merrill remains active as a clinician, Area All-State director, freelance trumpeter, and members of the Central New York Jazz Orchestra, Salt City Jazz Collective, and Micro Big Band. He earned a B.M. in jazz performance from William Paterson University, M.M. in performance from Ithaca College, and studied at the Eastman School of Music as a graduate student from 2005-2016. Former faculty at the Ithaca College School of Music, Merrill is currently a Senior Lecturer and the Gussman Director of the Cornell University Jazz program, a post he has enjoyed for close to two decades.
In addition to a long-standing tradition of excellence in jazz studies and performance, Cornell University boasts the largest Ivy League jazz program. Our expert faculty of performer-pedagogues and internationally-recognized guest artists work closely with both graduates and undergraduates from all disciplines. This creates a rich socio-academic experience by providing a place to learn, explore, and grow.
Alumni of the program perform in the jazz-centric scenes of New York, Philadelphia, Boston, and Los Angeles and/or teach jazz and popular music at universities all over the world. Countless others excel in STEM or the humanities and continue to perform at a high level throughout their professional careers. This is the goal of the jazz program at Cornell. Participants seek expert musicianship, lifelong enjoyment, and the skills to creatively face any obstacle. They are lifelong learners of great art.
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