Jazz Studies Professor Steve Shanley
Shanley currently coordinates Coe College’s music education and jazz studies programs, directs the Cedar Rapids Municipal Band (a professional ensemble that performs 20 concerts each year), teaches middle and high school levels as well as being an active guest conductor, clinician and adjudicator. In addition, he contributes his expertise as a contributing author for GIA Teaching Music Through Performance series as well as Hal Leonard Latin Jazz Guidebook rhythm section editor.
Early Life and Education
While in college, Shanley took an introduction to playwriting class and discovered his talent for dialogue creation. Soon thereafter he wrote his first play and it was produced within three weeks, prompting him to pursue writing as a career. Unfortunately his father wasn’t supportive and at times Shanley lived below poverty line while working odd jobs.
Doubt: A Parable was first produced on Broadway in 2004 and won four Tony Awards and a Pulitzer Prize, drawing heavily upon Shanley’s personal experiences with religious-based institutions. Additionally, he wrote and directed its 2008 film adaptation starring Meryl Streep and Philip Seymour Hoffman. Currently, Shanley coordinates Coe College’s music education and jazz studies programs while teaching courses related to each and directing its jazz band.
Shanley’s work often deals with individuals struggling within institutional structures. Doubt is one such play he both wrote and directed; it draws heavily upon his experiences attending religious-based schools as an individual, particularly his first grade teacher who serves as inspiration for Sister James in the play.
He is also a regular contributor to Teaching Music Through Performance in Jazz(GIA Publications) and served as rhythm section editor for James Dreier’s Latin Jazz Guide(Hal Leonard Publications). Additionally, he founded and chairs the Corridor Jazz Project that brings professional jazz musicians together with high school jazz bands from Eastern Iowa for CD recording sessions and concerts.
He is an active guest conductor, clinician, adjudicator and accompanist whose marching band, jazz band, orchestra and church choir arrangements have been performed throughout North America, Asia and Europe.
Achievement and Honors
Shanley has propelled Broward Center to new levels of growth and success during his time as president and CEO. He was instrumental in securing major gifts that enabled strategic decision making on campus projects such as Schneider Arena, Alumni Hall and Ray Treacy Track and Field Complex.
He has served as co-chair for the Iowa Jazz Championships and vice president of Jazz Educators of Iowa (JEI). Additionally, he is an author for Teaching Music Through Performance in Jazz(GIA Publications) as well as rhythm section editor of James Dreier’s Latin Jazz Guide(Hal Leonard Publications) as well as ETS Praxis item writer for music examinations.
As an esteemed guest conductor, clinician and adjudicator; sought-after composer/arranger whose works have been performed worldwide by musical ensembles;
Shanley coordinates the music education and jazz studies program at Coe College (Cedar Rapids, IA). Here he directs a professional concert band which performs 20 concerts each year, in addition to serving as guest conductor, clinician, adjudicator for orchestral settings as well as band settings (with experience encompassing orchestral band choir choral settings). Since 1990 over 2,000 of his compositions and arrangements have been performed by instrumental and vocal ensembles worldwide including North America Asia Europe
Shanley attended NYU and attended an introduction to playwriting class where he discovered his ability to craft dialogue. With this skill and talent in his tool belt, he eventually used this ability to write screenplays which would go on to be produced in New York City.
Since 1987, he has been an active member of the Dominican Order. Among other roles he serves, he serves as reader for College Board Advanced Placement Music Theory examinations, item writer for ETS Praxis Music examinations and contributing author for Teaching Music Through Performance books.
Shanley is an active conductor and pianist in Cedar Rapids and has traveled widely as an educator. He contributed an essay for College Board’s Advanced Placement Music Theory exam as well as item writing for ETS Praxis Music examination, often appearing as guest conductor, clinician or adjudicator.
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