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Schwob School of Music

Schwob School of Music

Jazz Faculty

Dr. Kevin Whalen - Director of Jazz Studies; Director, Schwob Jazz Orchestra

Kevin Whalen

Kevin Whalen is Director of Jazz Studies and Associate Professor of Music in the Schwob School of Music at Columbus State University. Dr. Whalen directs the Schwob Jazz Orchestra and the Schwob Jazz Quintet, and he oversees the curriculum of the CSU Jazz Studies Program, teaching courses in jazz improvisation and theory, jazz history, jazz arranging, and jazz pedagogy.

Whalen has performed throughout the United States and Canada as the jazz trumpet chair of The Glenn Miller Orchestra, toured Romania as a guest faculty soloist with the University of Northern Colorado Jazz Studies Program, and held a jazz trumpet chair with the Grammy-nominated University of North Texas One O'Clock Lab Band, touring Ireland and England, performing at the Guinness Cork Jazz Festival, performing with the Houston Symphony Orchestra, and appearing on Lab 2011 with the ensemble. He has appeared on 23 commercially available albums in both jazz and classical idioms, including Static Line with the Ninth & Lincoln Orchestra featuring Cuong Vu, What Did You Dream? with the Dan Gailey Orchestra, and Volumes 8 and 9 of Teaching Music Through Performance in Band with the North Texas Wind Symphony under the direction of Eugene Corporon. Most recently, he produced Another Reason to Celebrate: The Music of Don Pullen by the Virginia Tech Jazz Ensemble with D.D. Jackson. Whalen was twice selected as a finalist in the Jazz Division of the National Trumpet Competition.

An active educator, Dr. Whalen has presented research and master classes at international conferences, including the Jazz Education Network Annual Conference, the Annual Conference of the International Trumpet Guild, the International Conference on the Blues, the International Music by Women Festival, and the Conference on the Harlem Renaissance, and at universities throughout the country, including the Eastman School of Music, Ithaca College, the University of North Texas, Gonzaga University, the University of Wyoming, Colorado State University, the University of Northern Colorado, and Virginia Tech. His students have won positions in the Disney All-American Band, the UNT One O'Clock Lab Band, the Glenn Miller Orchestra, the Eastman Jazz Ensemble, the National Trumpet Competition, and the Carmine Caruso International Jazz Trumpet Solo Competition.

Prior to joining the Schwob School of Music, Whalen taught on the faculty of the University of Northern Colorado as Instructor of Jazz Trumpet while also serving as the Managing Producer of the UNC/Greeley Jazz Festival, Co-Director and faculty at the UNC Jazz Camp, and manager of the UNC Sunset Jazz Artist Series.

Whalen received a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in trumpet performance from the University of North Texas where he served on the faculty of the College of Music as a Teaching Fellow. He holds a Master of Music degree in jazz studies from the University of Northern Colorado and a Bachelor of Music degree in music education from Colorado State University.

Dr. Paul Vaillancourt - Jazz Drum Set/Vibes

Paul Vaillancourt

Paul Vaillancourt, Associate Professor of Percussion at Columbus State University, has been a featured soloist with the St. Petersburg Chamber Philharmonic, the National Arts Center Orchestra, the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra, and at the Banff and Aspen Music Festivals. Recent concerto performances have included Michael Daugherty's Raise The Roof with the CSU Wind Ensemble and Jennifer Higdon'sPercussion Concerto with the CSU Philharmonic. He has had various performances broadcast by NPR, CBC and Radio-Canada and is in demand as an instructor and composer of Scottish pipe band drumming. He is a founding member of several innovative contemporary music ensembles including The Furious Band, STRIKE, with pianist Jeff Meyer and the Fountain City Ensemble, with whom he has premiered works by Alexandr Radvilovich, Brian Cherney, J. M. David, Chen Yi, Daniel Koontz, Perry Goldstein, Daniel Weymouth, Matthew Welch, Brooke Joyce, John Fitz Rogers, and many others, in the U.S., Canada, Japan, China and Russia.

As a conductor, Vaillancourt has given the U.S. and world premieres of chamber works by Brian Cherney, David Lang, Steven Gellman, Carlos Sanchez-Gutierrez, Eric Moe, John Parcell, Sidney Hodkinson, Jack Beeson, R. Murray Schaeffer, Jefferson Freidman, Nico Muhly as well as the opera Comala, by Eastman School of Music faculty Ricardo Zohn-Muldoon at the Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City. Vaillancourt contributed to the recently released commercial recording of the opera (Bridge Records) as a performer, which earned the composer a nomination as a Pulitzer Prize finalist.

While completing his D.M.A. at the State University of New York in Stony Brook studying with legendary pedagogue Raymond DesRoches, he performed with Pulse, the New Jersey Percussion Ensemble and the Orchestra of the S.E.M Ensemble.

Ben Weatherford - Jazz Guitar

Ben Weatherford - jazz guitar

Richmond, Virginia native Ben Weatherford started playing guitar at fourteen and began playing professionally at seventeen. He continued his musical education with honors at Berklee College of Music after high school, performing with future Grammy winners John Mayer, Clay Cook and Nnenna Freelon.

Since moving to Georgia in 2003, Ben has been an active member of the Atlanta music and education community. For over 12 years he has taught private lessons, small ensembles, improvisation, composition, and arranging. Ben received a Master's degree in Jazz Studies from Georgia State University in 2011, where he was also a graduate assistant.

In 2012 he was hired as faculty in the music departments of Jacksonville State University in Alabama, Atlanta Institute of Music, and Columbus State University in Georgia. In addition to actively teaching and performing in the Atlanta area, he has experience in multiple music genres as well as receiving film scoring credit in the feature film Good Intentions and theater experience with the Atlanta Lyric Theater, The Wesleyan School, and Georgia Perimeter College.


Dr. Jacqueline Pickett - Jazz Bass

Jacqueline Pickett


Dr. Jacqueline Pickett is Instructor of Double Bass at Columbus State University where she teaches both classical and jazz applied double bass lessons and coordinates the double bass studio. She currently serves as Principal Bass with the Columbus Symphony Orchestra. As a chamber musician, Dr. Pickett has performed and recorded with the Ritz Chamber Players, Nashville Chamber Orchestra (Orchestra Nashville), Pauline Oliveros' New Circle Five, and Terry Riley's Khayal. She has given solo double bass recitals in Johannesburg, South Africa and universities throughout the United States. She continues to present solo double bass recitals themed on current social issues.

Dr. Pickett is the founder of Torch Academy, a 501(c)(3) charitable non-profit organization promoting formal music instruction and social empowerment for underserved/at-risk youth, and the Metro Atlanta Women's Jazz Society, an organization that offers big band and chamber ensembles dedicated to featuring women jazz artists. Dr. Pickett holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Double Bass Performance from University of Wisconsin-Madison, a Master of Music degree from the Yale School of Music, and a Bachelor of Music degree from West Virginia University.


Bryan Canonigo - Jazz Graduate Assistant

Bryan CanonigoBryan Canonigo is the Graduate Assistant in Jazz Studies at the Columbus State University Schwob School of Music. At this post, Canonigo directs the Cannonball Jazz Quintet, assists with the direction and management of the Schwob Jazz Orchestra, and tutors students in jazz improvisation, jazz saxophone, and woodwind doubling. Bryan holds a Bachelors Degree in jazz studies from Humber College in Toronto, Canada where he performed with Michael Brecker, Dave Holland, Dave Douglas, and Randy Brecker as part of the Humber Studio Jazz Ensemble. He was also a member of the Toronto All-Star Big Band where he was a featured clarinet soloist and shared the stage with Clark Terry, Buddy Defranco, Peter Appleyard, and Eddie Daniels.

For ten years, Canonigo served as a Musical Director and professional musician with Carnival Cruise Lines where he performed, directed, and managed numerous ensembles across many genres. Bands under his direction opened for popular acts such as John Mayer, the New Kids On the Block, Lyle Lovett, Bernard Purdie, The Barenaked Ladies, and Patti LaBelle. Bryan is currently pursuing a Master of Music degree in saxophone performance with Dr. Joseph Girard and is very active in the Columbus musical community.