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College of Arts and Humanities

Chris Bruya

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Picture of Chris BruyaProfessor of Music
Director of Jazz Studies

Chris Bruya has been at the forefront of jazz education for over 30 years at multiple levels in the jazz ecosystem: high school, community college and university. In his current position as Director of Jazz Activities at Central Washington University, he has pioneered a hybrid improvisation sequence that develops a student’s ear and inner voice, has developed the small group program in both traditional and creative genres (appearance at 2013 JEN Conference, Atlanta, GA), and has succeeded in placing the big band program on the same level as many of the most prestigious programs in the country, performing at the Montreux, North Sea and the 2008 Next Generation (Monterey) jazz festivals, at the 2012 JEN Conference in Kentucky. In March 2015 the band placed first at the Next Generation Festival, which included a performance at the 2015 Monterey Jazz Festival. In April 2015 jazz organist Barney McClure released his Origin Records CD Show Me! featuring the CWU Jazz Band as the backing ensemble, garnering a 5-star review on Another CD by the band, the 2008 Seabreeze Records release In A Mellow Tone was cited by Jazz Times critic Scott Yanow as “consistently impressive and well worth hearing”. There are over 120 live-recorded youtube videos of the band which have been cited by many as some of the most well-recorded and performed examples of the big band literature. Bruya has served on the Oregon and Washington state music educator boards, was an IAJE president of both Washington State and Oregon, and has organized state and Northwest jazz ensembles numerous times. Chris’ presentations at state and Northwest conferences have brought numerous accolades and he is in demand as a clinician and adjudicator throughout the Northwest and beyond. In 2016 WMEA honored him with the Collegiate Educator of the Year award. He has shared the stage with some true heavyweights of today, including Dick Oatts, Bobby Shew, Wycliffe Gordon, Terell Stafford, Gary Hobbs, Ingrid Jensen, Nancy King, Dave Pietro, Mike Longo, David Friesen, and more

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