William Paterson University - Coordinator of Jazz Studies; Curator, Living Jazz Archives
Artist's BiographyDAVID DEMSEY has been Professor of Music and Coordinator of Jazz Studies at William Paterson University since 1992, having formerly been a member of the music faculty, then Dean of Arts and Sciences at the University of Maine at Augusta for twelve years. A Boston area native with a bachelors degree in music education from the University of Maine, he earned a Doctorate in Performance at the Eastman School of Music and a Master of Music in Saxophone from the Juilliard School, becoming the only saxophonist to hold graduate degrees from these two schools.
Demsey is equally active as a classical and a jazz performer. He has performed since 2001 with the Metropolitan Opera, in productions of Turandot, Lulu conducted by James Levine, and Nixon in China with John Adams conducting; he appears on two recent Met Opera DVD releases. He has performed frequently with the New York Philharmonic since 1995, including their 2000 Millennium European Tour and 1997 Latin American Tour, under the direction of AndrÃ© Previn, Zubin Mehta, Leonard Slatkin, Bobby McFerrin, Yuri Temirkanov and Kurt Masur. He was featured on tour with the Kirov Orchestra of St. Petersburg, Russia conducted by Valery Gergiev. A member of the American Saxophone Quartet for eight years and two Grammy-nominated recordings, and a member of the New Hudson Saxophone Quartet, he has premiered numerous solo and chamber works for saxophone as well as newly discovered songs by Alec Wilder. His Golden Crest solo album Demsey Plays Wilder is a collection of Wilderï¿½s jazz and chamber music, and his Centaur compact disc, Saxophone Music of Dexter Morrill contains his performances of music for improviser and interactive digital music systems. He performed six original jazz tunes on his instructional CD NeoBop, released with Jazz Player Magazine. He has appeared with such diverse jazz artists as trumpeter Clark Terry, pianists Mulgrew Miller, James Williams and Jim McNeely, bassists Milt Hinton, Rufus Reid, Ray Drummond and Steve LaSpina, and drummers Alan Dawson, Bill Goodwin, John Riley, Rich DeRosa, Horacee Arnold and Steve Smith. He was a featured National Anthem performer at the 2005 National Baseball Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, at the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame Game in 2003 and 2005, and regularly for the NBA New Jersey Nets and numerous minor league baseball teams.
Demsey is a busy educator and author. Winner of the New Jersey Jazz Educator of the Year and William Paterson Alumni Association Faculty Service Awards, he is a Selmer Saxophone Clinician, and has been a guest performer, lecturer or conductor at over 90 universities, public schools, festivals and music institutes, including recent residencies in Nanjing and Hangzhou, China, and in Ramallah, Bethlehem and Jerusalem. His \"Improvisation and Concepts of Virtuosity\" is the final essay in the Oxford Companion to Jazz, and his book John Coltrane Plays Giant Steps (Hal Leonard) is widely known. He is editor of the annotated second edition of Alec Wilder\'s autobiographical book Letters I Never Mailed (U. of Rochester Press), and he co-authored the Greenwood Press book Alec Wilder: A Bio-Bibliography. He has been a Contributing Editor for Saxophone Journal since 1988, and was a regular columnist for Jazz Player magazine for eight years. His articles have appeared in such publications as Down Beat, American Music, Instrumentalist, Annual Review of Jazz Studies and Jazz Educators Journal, and he wrote liner notes for five Verve Records compact discs. He is Curator of the newly established William Paterson University Living Jazz Archives, containing the archives of Clark Terry, Thad Jones and James Williams.