Dave Meder

Assistant Professor of Jazz PianoCoordinator of Jazz Improvisation

Pianist, composer, and educator Dave Meder is becoming one of the prominent artists of his generation, known for a panoramic, genre-inclusive approach that has earned him slots in the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Piano Competition and the American Pianists Awards.

Meder has already found a uniquely versatile artistic voice, evident in his latest release, Passage (Outside In Music 2019), a dynamically interactive piano-trio outing with appearances by generation-defining saxophonists Chris Potter and Miguel Zenón. The ten tracks demonstrate a stunning breadth, traversing an affecting gospel standard, a bold deconstruction of Monk, a title track inspired by minimalists Philip Glass and John Adams, and pieces featuring the most progressive ideas in jazz harmony, rhythm and improvisation. The Ottawa Citizen counts Passage among its top five 2019 jazz debuts, and All Music Guide includes it in its “Favorite Jazz Albums of 2019,” noting the balance of “post-bop harmonies with soulful gospel warmth and contemporary classical sophistication.” Indeed, Meder’s defining aesthetic is his remarkably postmodern sense of stylistic adventure, incorporating what All About Jazz describes as “a vibrant hybrid of the whole American spectrum.”

His original works have won various competitions and commissions, including the ASCAP Young Jazz Composers Award, the International Songwriting Competition, and the FirstMusic Commission of the New York Youth Symphony. His performances have headlined stages at Jazz at Lincoln Center, Smalls Jazz Club, The Kennedy Center, and internationally at Beijing Normal University’s International Music Festival, the Tokyo Jazz Festival, and others. In 2013, he won the esteemed Jacksonville Jazz Piano Competition.

During his undergraduate studies at Florida State University—from which Meder graduated summa cum laude with degrees in music, Spanish and political science—tutelage under Marcus Roberts bolstered the pianist’s strikingly authentic handle on historical jazz styles. He was later able to immerse himself in the music’s lineage firsthand, when he took part in two of jazz education’s most crucial incubators, the Kennedy Center’s Betty Carter Jazz Ahead program and the Steans Music Institute at the Ravinia Festival, taught at the time by David Baker, Nathan Davis, Curtis Fuller, and Rufus Reid. A later move to New York afforded Meder a chance to study with jazz’s leading edge: Fred Hersch, Mark Turner, Ari Hoenig, Dave Douglas, and a full year under the mentorship of the legendary Kenny Barron—as well as such leading classical educators as Julian Martin and Philip Lasser. He now holds the rank of Assistant Professor of Jazz Piano at the University of North Texas, one of the nation’s most renowned jazz studies programs.

Meder holds an MM from NYU and an Artist Diploma from Juilliard, where he taught and toured as part of the premier ensemble of the school. Concurrent to his graduate studies, Meder worked for three years as the music director of Fordham Lutheran Church in the Bronx, furthering another creative through-line in his life. Indeed, his music conveys a tremendous depth, yet remains eminently soulful, a common aspiration not often attained in modern jazz.

Dave Meder is a YAMAHA Artist