Meet the School of Music’s new emeritus professors - The University of Tulsa
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Meet the School of Music’s new emeritus professors

Professor Vernon Howard poses for a photo with a trombone at his sideVernon Howard

Professor Vernon Howard is the jazz studies coordinator at The University of Tulsa. He currently directs the TU Jazz Band and teaches courses in jazz history and jazz composition. Howard received his bachelor of music education and master of music education degrees from TU and has done additional academic work at Indiana University with Thomas Beversdorf and David Baker.

Howard joined the TU music faculty in 1978. His initial responsibilities included teaching studio trombone and directing the TU Jazz Band. Over several years, he developed an extensive jazz curriculum encompassing classes in vocal jazz, jazz improvisation, jazz combos, jazz ear training, jazz history and jazz composition. Jazz bands under his direction received national recognition through their award-winning appearances at festivals and contests including the Wichita National Jazz Festival, University of North Texas Jazz Festival, Kansas City Jazz Festival and Central States Jazz Festival. His jazz bands also brought recognition to the School of Music through their many appearances performing as honor groups at the annual conventions of the Oklahoma Music Educators Association.

From 1975 to 2009, Howard directed the summer jazz studies program at the Interlochen Center for the Arts in Michigan. His work there included coordinating concerts, master classes and workshops with such jazz stars as Benny Goodman, Wayne Shorter, Buddy Rich, Wynton Marsalis, Bobby McFerrin, Billy Taylor, Curtis Fuller, Jimmy Heath, Bobby Watson, John Faddis, Milt Hinton and Milt Jackson. Among the many outstanding young musicians who went through his summer program at Interlochen and now enjoy successful professional careers are saxophonist Tim Ries (Rolling Stones); trumpeters Byron Stripling (Count Basie Orchestra) and Walter White (Maynard Fergusson Band); trombonist Conrad Herwig (Mingus Band); and GRAMMY-winning vocalist Norah Jones.

Howard’s symphonic performance background includes work with the Tulsa Symphony Orchestra, Tulsa Opera, Signature Symphony and the Fort Smith Symphony. His jazz and commercial credits include concert, show and cabaret performances with such artists as Nancy Wilson, Billy Eckstein, Liza Minnelli, Joe Williams, the Temptations, Four Tops, Woody Herman, Clark Terry, Doc Severinsen, Ellis Marsalis, Henry Mancini, Louis Bellson, Ella Fitzgerald and many others.

Howard holds memberships in many state and national professional organizations including the National Association for Music Education, Oklahoma Music Educators Association, Oklahoma Jazz Educators Association and College Music Society. He also is vice president and serves on the Executive Board of the American Federation of Musicians, Local 94, in Tulsa. From 2013 to 2020, Howard served as director of TU’s School of Music.

Professor Roger Price sits poses for a photo behind an open-top pianoRoger Price

Professor Roger Price’s interest in music began with a clarinet and guitar in elementary school. Then, when a piano came into his home, he began to compose. When he was 13, Price decided to become a concert pianist and composer; by 16, he had composed several piano sonatas and a piano concerto. In the pursuit of this dream, he included the idea of becoming a professor of music. Between 1977 and 1978, Price earned his bachelor of music and master of music in piano performance degrees at Oklahoma City University, culminating in a doctor of musical arts in music and piano performance from the University of Kansas in 1984. He began working for The University of Tulsa in 1989.

Throughout his career, Price has become a nationally certified piano teacher with the Music Teachers National Association, as well as a state-certified piano, composition and music teacher with the Oklahoma Music Teachers Association. He joined the Tulsa Accredited Music Teachers Association in 1989 and has lifetime professional certification as a university teacher of piano through MTNA.

During his more than 30 years at TU, Price has worked with many talented students and colleagues. “My best memories are difficult to prioritize, but the most treasured memories are the many wonderful relationships that I have made with my students,” he said. Some memories that stand out include getting to know Russian poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko, who traveled and performed with three of Price’s students. Price’s favorite performance was with Trio Tulsa, in conjunction with the TU Symphony Orchestra, performing Beethoven’s Triple Concerto, a piece Price credits for his love and devotion to music. “My life working at TU has been very rich indeed.”

As an emeritus professor, Price will still be devoted to performing and composing new pieces. He is currently preparing for a solo recital in the Gussman Concert Hall on Jan. 17, 2023. The performance is open to the public and free of charge. He will also appear with the TU Symphony Orchestra on Feb. 13, 2023, in a performance of Beethoven’s first piano concerto in C Major. Price hopes to present at least one solo recital a year at TU in the coming years.

Professor Roger Price playing pianoFor future generations of TU students, Price hopes that the reinstitution of the bachelor of music degrees is successful. “These degrees are central and foundational to the School of Music and its vision. I am delighted they are back, and I am confident that this music school will flourish in the future because of the talent and dedication of the faculty and the students,” he said.