Alum returns to direct jazz studies

Andy Dolan

Alum returns to direct jazz studies
by Andy DolanKathleen Murray, dean of the conservatory, announced Monday that Fred Sturm will be the next director of the jazz program at Lawrence when he arrives next year in a highly anticipated return.
Sturm, a 1973 Lawrence graduate, will succeed Ken Schaphorst, who left Lawrence in August to join the faculty of the New England Conservatory.
Sturm was born in Woodstock, Illinois, the son of a cellist and an operatic contralto. He grew up in Wisconsin and graduated from Oconomowoc High School before attending Lawrence.
As a sophomore in 1971, Sturm conducted the first Lawrence University Jazz Ensemble as part of a student project. After receiving his undergraduate degree, he attended graduate school at the University of North Texas, where he performed as a trombonist.
After working for four years with the jazz ensemble Matrix, which he helped co-found, Sturm returned to Lawrence as the director of jazz studies in 1977. During his 14-year tenure as conductor, the jazz ensemble at Lawrence achieved national recognition.
Sturm is also attributed with founding the Jazz Celebration Weekend at Lawrence. This festival takes place every year and helps bring high-profile musicians, such as Wynton Marsalis and Dizzy Gillespie, to campus for the benefit of both the student body and the Appleton community.
Sturm currently works, as he has since 1991, at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York, and for six of those years he has served as department chair. His jazz ensembles there also gained national recognition in publications such as ******Down Beat******.
Throughout his career, Sturm has worked as an author and composer in addition to teaching and performing. Three of his published works include: **********Changes Over Time: The Evolution of Jazz Arranging*********, **********Kenny Wheeler: Collected Works on ECM*********, and *************Maria Schneider: Evanescence********.
He also guest conducts the Hessischer Rundfunk in Germany and the Kluvers Big Band in Denmark.
Sturm has numerous original compositions and arrangements used by artists such as Bobby McFerrin, Wynton Marsalis, and Phil Woods. He also has worked with recording labels including RCA and Warner Brothers.
Some of Sturm’s most impressive accomplishments include a 1998 Grammy nomination and numerous grants from esteemed organizations such as the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, and the Howard Hanson Institute for American Music.
Sturm seems enthusiastic about his return to Lawrence. In an interview he stated, “To me, Lawrence is that place that never leaves you. I’m thrilled to be headed home.”