King has conceived, created, directed and produced more than 300 highly acclaimed plays, musical tributes, concerts and other cultural events aimed at uplifting the African American community as well as enlightening diverse non-African American audiences. These treasured projects and accomplishments include a Special Tribute to comedian/activist Dick Gregory hosted by Bill Cosby featuring Cicely Tyson, Steve Wonder and Isaac Hayes; Symphony with the Divas featuring Dionne Warwick, Tramline Hawkins, Ruby Dee, Esther Role, Erykah Badu, Florence Quiver; creator and producer for I Remember: The March on Washington 30 Year Performing and Visual Arts Anniversary Salute, 1963-1993 featuring Della Reese, Dan Rather, Carole Simpson, Louis Gossett, Jr., Hale Berry, Jennifer Holiday, Eartha Kitt, and Patti Austin; director of Addis by Night Ethiopia (Africa); creator and producer for Dallas Arts Gala and creator and producer for TBAAL's 30th Anniversary Season Opening Gala featuring Goleta Adams, Kim Fields, Regina Belle and Peabo Bryson. Currently, King is working on his first feature film "Blues Bar," starring American Idol Fantasia, with Tri-Destined Studio in Hollywood based on his successful stage play which starred Phyllis Hyman, Billy Preston and Roger E. Mosley, Jr.
John Murphy, Professor and Chair, Division of Jazz Studies, University of North Texas College of Music. Teaches jazz history, analysis, and research. Active as a tenor saxophonist. Former member of UNT One O'Clock Lab Band. Ethnomusicologist (Ph.D., Ethnomusicology, Columbia University, 1994). Author of Music in Brazil (Oxford University Press, 2006).
In addition to creating more than 70 compositions for jazz ensembles, Slater has written for symphony, mixed chamber groups, a cappella chorus and theater. The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) has bestowed its "Standard Award" upon Slater each year since 1987. Many of Slater's jazz ensemble compositions can be heard on the recordings of the UNT One O' Clock Lab Band. A renowned jazz educator, Slater has shared his expertise in clinics with students in Australia, Japan, Hong Kong, Europe, Canada, Mexico, Thailand, and universities from Rhode Island to California. A former member of the Stan Kenton Orchestra-In-Residence program, Slater, a pianist, has recorded/performed with name artists including, Mel Lewis, Joe Morello, Sal Salvador, Frank Strozier, Don Elliott, Bill Watrous, and Danny Stiles.
During his 27-year tenure at UNT, Slater was principal architect in the establishment of a master of music degree in jazz studies, and has been credited with expanding the depth and breadth of its outstanding jazz studies program. More than 300 students are enrolled in the UNT jazz program, which, in 1947, was first in the United States to offer a bachelor's degree in jazz. Prior to his association at UNT, Slater founded the jazz studies program at the University of Bridgeport, CT.
Slater is featured in the PBS documentary, "The State of Tomorrow," A Passion for Jazz. He has been highlighted as artist and conductor in the publications, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Downbeat Magazine, Instrumentalist, Texas Monthly, and Southern Living. Slater was conferred a United States Congressional citation for Outstanding Career, and has been honored by the cities of Denton and Addison, Texas with their declarations of Neil Slater Day. Additionally, he has been named Sammons Jazz Artist of the Year by the Sammons Center for the Arts, Dallas; and has received UNT's prestigious President's Award, and Honorary Alumnus Award. Slater will be included in the 64th edition of Who's Who in America, 2009.
His compositions, conducting and playing are featured on numerous recordings and his latest CD, Uncrowded Night features his playing with the José Bowen Quartet. He has written a symphony (which was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in Music in 1985), a film score, and music for Hubert Laws, Jerry Garcia and many others. He is currently on the Editorial Board for Jazz Research Journal, the Journal of the Society for American Music and Per Musi: Revista Acadêmica de Música. He is also on the Advisory Board for The New Grove Dictionary of American Music, a Founding Board Member of the National Recording Preservation Board for the Library of Congress, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA) in England.
Jazz industry clients have included George Wein (Astrodome Kool Jazz Festivals), the Longhorn Jazz Festival, and The Town of Addison, as sponsor of the North Texas Jazz Festival, produced by the University of North Texas.
Mr. Levenson began his professional career as a publicist in the Public Information Office of the U.S. Army. After completing military service, he worked in music distribution and promotion, and marketed such labels as Riverside, Prestige, Fantasy, World Pacific, London, Dot, Liberty, and ABC Paramount. In the early 60's, Levenson managed a distributorship for Dot Records, and later directed southwest sales and promotion for Motown, Kapp and The Pickwick labels.
In 1966, Mr. and Mrs. Levenson founded their own advertising, public relations and promotion firm in Dallas. Today, Mrs. Levenson is CEO and president of The Levenson Group of Companies, including Levenson & Hill Advertising, Levenson & Brinker Public Relations, Levenson Interactive and the Legion Levenson & Hill multicultural agency. In 2004, Levenson Public Relations merged with Brinker Communications to become one of the region's leading independent, marketing communications organizations.
Mr. Levenson was recognized in October 2005 with the A. Maceo Smith Community Service Award, presented by the African-American Museum Guild for contributing his counsel and service to the city as an advocate for worthwhile programs and projects in Dallas's African American community. He also served as program chairman on opening day for the Museum of African American Life and Culture in Dallas.
Levenson currently serves as the Chairman of Trustees for the Urban League of Greater Dallas and North Central Texas; is on the Dallas Advisory Board of the University Of North Texas College Of Music; also on the Advisory Boards of the University of Texas at Dallas School of Arts and Humanities and the Corporate Communications and Public Affairs Division at Southern Methodist University.
Mr. Levenson earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism from the University of Michigan and attended graduate school at American University in Washington, D.C. He is the proud father of two daughters, and grandfather to six grandsons.
She was previous president and CEO for Prairie Public Broadcasting, with experience as director of broadcasting at New Hampshire Public Television where she increased local productions and oversaw programming and communications; as executive producer at KCTS in Seattle; and as a producer for Twin Cities Public Television in St. Paul Minnesota. A native of St. Paul Minnesota, she attended the College of St. Catherine, graduating with a BA in Education and French studies in 1976. She began her career as a French teacher and volunteering at her local public television station.
Arabesque Recording artist and Grammy-nominated arranger Steve Wiest is in great demand as a featured soloist, composer/arranger and clinician. He has performed extensively in the U.S., South America, Australia, Japan, and Europe. Wiest's solo CD: "Excalibur: The Steve Wiest Big Band" was released in August of 2006 by Arabesque Jazz to wide critical acclaim, and his newest release for Arabesque "Out of The New" was released in September of 2008.
From 1981-1986, Steve was the featured trombonist and one of the arrangers for Maynard Ferguson's Band. While with Maynard, he recorded two CDs: "Storm" and "Live From San Francisco", and one two-volume video: "The Playboy Jazz Festival". During this time, Steve and the M.F. band also performed with a number of guest artists including: Freddie Hubbard, Slide Hampton, Wynton Marsalis, David Clayton Thomas, Lew Soloff, Billy Eckstein, and Mel Torme. Maynard has recorded a number of Steve's compositions and arrangements including: "South 21st Shuffle" (Live From San Francisco), "Portuguese Love" (The Playboy Jazz Festival), "I Love You" (Brass Attitude) and "I'm Old Fashioned" on MF Horn VI. Steve reunited with Maynard for a final performance at the Blue Note in New York for 12 sold out shows in July, 2006. The all-star MF alum group then went into the studio to record what would be Maynard's final CD, which was released in March, 2007. Included on this release is Wiest's arrangements of "Besame Mucho" and "Ain't No Sunshine When She's Gone"
After a two-year stint as Assistant Director of Jazz Studies at The University of Texas at Arlington, [1988-1990], Steve became Director of Jazz Studies and Trombone at The University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. During his tenure at UW-Whitewater, Steve was also a regular member of the Doc Severinsen Big Band and recorded "Swingin' The Blues" with Doc on Azika Records in 2000. Steve was appointed Assistant Professor of Jazz Composition and Trombone at the University of North Texas in 2007, and was nominated for the Best Instrumental Arrangement Grammy Award for 2007 by The Recording Academy for his arrangement of Besame Mucho on Maynard Ferguson's "One and Only" CD. After a one-year position as Interim Director, Steve was named permanent Director of the One O'Clock Lab Band as a result of a national search in 2009.
Bart is a 1986 Fulbright Scholar. He founded the "Arts Jazz Festival" raising a quarter of a million dollars in scholarships, which ran from 1990 through 1993. Bart has been a Selmer Clinician since 1988 and is co-author of "Jazz Figure Reading Studies" and contributing author of "Selected Trumpet Master Classes" and IAJE/MENC's curriculum guide "Teaching Jazz: A Course of Study." He was an IAJE "Jazz Educators Journal" staff reviewer from 1989 - 2008.
Bart Marantz has toured and played with a variety of shows including Ray Charles, The Glenn Miller Orchestra, staff band at the El Casino in Freeport Grand Bahamas, Nancy Wilson, Frankie Valley and the Four Seasons, Gladys Night and the Pips, and for Norwegian Caribbean Cruise lines as part of the house band on the MS. Skyward.
He has studied with jazz educators, Jerry Coker, Dan Haerle, David Baker, Jamey Aebersold, Jaki Byard, Phil Wilson and George Russell at The University of Miami, Indiana University and the New England Conservatory of Music. Bart Marantz received the coveted "Down Beat Magazine" Achievement Award for Jazz Education" in 1993.
In recent years the program at Booker T. Washington has garnered international attention by performing at The Monterey Jazz Festival, The World Sax Conference, The Mid-West Conference, The International Association of Jazz Educators Conference, The Kennedy Center, The Grammy's, NFAA Arts Recognition and Talent Search, Texas Music Educators Association, as well as for the Prime-Minister of England, the Queen of England and for the NEA with a performance at the White House for the President of the United States in July of 2004.