Dave Douglas is a prolific trumpeter, composer, educator and entrepreneur from New York City known for the stylistic breadth of his work and for keeping a diverse set of ensembles and projects active simultaneously. While his career spans more than 50 recordings as a leader, his active projects include his Quintet, Sound Prints, Riverside, Present Joys, and High Risk. His unique contributions to improvised music have garnered distinguished recognition, including a Doris Duke Artist Award and two GRAMMY® nominations.
As a composer, Douglas has received commissions from a variety of organizations including the Trisha Brown Dance Company, Essen Philharmonie, The Library of Congress, Stanford University and Monash Art Ensemble. He is currently on faculty at the Mannes School of Music and is a Guest Coach for the Juilliard Jazz Composer’s Ensemble. Douglas is also a co-founder and president of the Festival of New Trumpet Music and Artistic Director of the Bergamo Jazz Festival. In 2005, Douglas founded Greenleaf Music, an umbrella company for his recordings, sheet music, podcast, as well as the music of other artists in the modern jazz idiom.
Andrew Worden, Assistant Dean & Faculty of Entrepreneurial Musicianship, interviews Douglas about Grow Your Art: A Music & Business Residency with Dave Douglas, happening September 17-19, 2018:
Andrew: What are you most excited about for the upcoming Grow Your Art residency?
Dave: Thanks for having me! Learning is a never-ending process, and I always feel that the best interactions I have with young musicians are when I am also learning something. So I am excited to puzzle through the thicket of what it means to be a recording artist in 2018, what are the uses and values of our craft and our art, how to figure out what one wants to say in music, and how best to say it? Ultimately it comes down to being a good human being and global citizen—those are qualities that feed the art and life. I know I learned a lot at NEC and in so many other places.
A: What can listeners expect to hear at your concert with NEC Jazz?
D: We will be playing music from three different repertoire of my compositions. I made an album with NEC alum Aoife O’Donovan a few years back called Be Still. We’ll play some of that. We will perform some of the music I wrote for the brass band The Westerlies, as well as music for accordion and violin from my group called Charms of the Night Sky. So a mix of many different sounds and instrumentations. The music is written to welcome in the voices of the students. I look forward to working on that and hearing the result!
A: How do you earn a living and manage a sustainable business while honoring your art?
D: Wow, this is a great question and one that we will definitely dig into on the panels and discussions. Again, I think young musicians are very much at the forefront of thinking about this issue and I look forward to hearing them! This is certainly something I, and probably every artist, has wrestled with.