Guest Artist Faculty
Justin DiCioccio is internationally recognized as one of the foremost jazz educators of our time. In January 2001, he was inducted into the Jazz Education Hall of Fame. His keen insight into teaching and his inventive approach have earned him the title “the musician’s teacher.”
In 2002, Mr. DiCioccio was named Assistant Dean/Chair, Jazz Arts Program of Manhattan School of Music; in 2011 he was named Associate Dean. Under his leadership, the jazz curriculum has been completely restructured, including the creation of a new jazz DMA program. He has put into action his concept of the complete artist- musician –performer, composer and pedagogue – by developing partnerships with public schools, community organizations, cultural institutions and the music industry. He initiated the addition of a jazz component to the pre-college division, making MSM one of the few institutions in the country to offer Jazz programs at all levels. Mr. DiCioccio also directs international jazz programs. In 2017 he has become Processor Emeritus.
Mr. DiCioccio has served as program director and clinician for Carnegie Hall Jazz Education and acts as a consultant to Jazz at Lincoln Center and Wynton Marsalis. He designed, developed, and directed the award-winning LaGuardia High School of the Arts jazz program, the first accredited secondary jazz program in the United States. Founder, creator, and artistic director/conductor of the New York City All-City High School Jazz Program.
Mr. DiCioccio is the recipient of a citation from the mayor of New York for “Distinguished and Exceptional Service to Young Instrumentalists” and is active with the National Young Arts Foundation. He is a three-time recipient of the Presidential Scholars teaching recognition award by the U.S. Department of Education. In May 1998, the Commission Project, in partnership with the New York City Board of Education created the JD Award for Outstanding Service to Music in New York City Schools. On March 1, 2010, he was confirmed as the State Department Appointed Cultural Envoy Jazz Ambassador to Tbilisi, Georgia.
Mr. DiCioccio’s performing and conducting credentials include concerts, commercials, Broadway shows, and recordings with jazz, orchestra, pop and new music groups. He has performed with (among others) Joe Lovano, Dave Liebman, Paquito D’Rivera, Arturo Sandoval, Randy Brecker, Phil Woods, Donny McCaslin, Jane Monheit, Jon Faddis, Arturo O’farrill, Dick Oatts, Terell Stafford and Clark Terry. Mr. DiCioccio is a former member of the Rochester Philharmonic and for five years was a member of the Marine Band, “The President’s Own,” in which he served as the official White House Drummer.
Jazz saxophonist Donny McCaslin started playing tenor saxophone at age twelve, and quickly progressed, touring Europe, and participating in the prestigious Monterey Jazz Festival’s California All-Star band while in high school. After attending the Berklee College of Music, McCaslin joined The Gary Burton Quintet, with whom he toured for four years.
In 1991, McCaslin moved to New York, working with bassist Eddie Gomez, and then joining the group Steps Ahead, with whom he made the 1995 disc Vibe, on NYC Records. He really began to turn heads, however, with his solo work in larger ensembles, first as part of Ken Schaphorst‘s Big Band, and then also in the acclaimed Maria Schneider Orchestra, where his performance on the album Concert In The Garden received a Grammy nomination in 2004 for “Best Jazz Instrumental Solo”.
Other groups McCaslin has worked with include the pianoless quartet Lan Xang, and a quintet led by the widely lionized trumpeter Dave Douglas, who added McCaslin to his band in 2005.
Thanks to the high profile of the Dave Douglas Quintet, McCaslin has achieved wider praise for the incisive twists and purposeful turns of his emotionally charged solos. But those qualities – along with his sometimes startling virtuosity, and his distinctive voice as a composer – had actually been on display for much of the previous decade, during which McCaslin proved himself a valued sideman on recordings by Danilo Pérez, Luciana Souza, and performances with Tom Harrell, Brian Blade, John Pattitucci, The Mingus Band, and Pat Metheny.
In 2006, McCaslin received a Doris Duke Grant for new jazz composition from Chamber Music America, writing and recording the album In Pursuit, comprises the results of that work. In both 2008 and 2009, McCaslin won the Downbeat Critics Poll for “Rising Star on the Tenor Saxophone”. His 2008 release, Recommended Tools, on Greenleaf Music, was in many critics’ top ten lists for jazz record of the year.
McCaslin released the album Declaration on Sunnyside in 2009, which features a brass quartet.
As the bandleader on David Bowie’s final album Blackstar, saxophonist Donny McCaslin collaborated with the Starman to carryforward his penchant for reinvention. With his upcoming studio album ‘Blow.’ — a daring fusion of vibrant electronica, and bombastic art-rock due this fall — McCaslin applied that mindset to his own work, pushing his music in a bold new direction.
Grammy Award-winning trumpeter/composer Michael Rodriguez was born in Queens, New York. Michael was inspired to pursue music as a career by his father, Roberto Rodriguez, who is a drummer. Michael studied at the New World School of the Arts in Miami, Florida and continued his studies at the University of Miami. After completing two years at the University of Miami, he decided to transfer to the New School University in New York where he received his B.A. Michael is currently a faculty member at the New York University Jazz Department. He has performed and toured with Clark Terry, Bobby Watson, Quincy Jones, Joe Lovano, Toshiko Akiyoshi Orchestra, pop icon Jessica Simpson, Chico O’farill Orchestra, Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, Lincoln Center Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra and is a member of Charlie Haden’s Liberation Music Orchestra. Michael has also performed and traveled with Jon Faddis and the Carnegie Hall Jazz Band, Carla Bley Band and Quintet, The Clayton Brothers, Kenny Baron’s Quintet, Conrad Herwig Latin Side Projects, Clayton Brothers Quintet, Harry Conick Jr., Bob Mintzer, Eddie Palmieri Septet, Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, Smithsonian Jazz Orchestra, among others. In December of 2003 Michael recorded on Charlie Haden’s Grammy award-winning album featuring Gonzalo Rubalcaba and Joe Lovano entitled Land of the Sun. Michael has also recorded on Charlie Haden’s Liberation Music Orchestra’s album entitled Not in Our Name and is featured on “America the Beautiful” and Dvorak’s “Going Home”. In 2008, Michael became a member of the Gonzalo Rubalcaba Quintet and recorded Avatar under the Blue Note Label.
Michael and his brother, pianist Robert Rodriguez, have recorded four albums together Introducing the Rodriguez Brothers, Conversations, Mood Swing and Grammy nominated Impromptu. In March of 2013, he released his debut solo recording under the CrissCross label entittled Reverence.
In 2019, as part of Chick Corea’s Spanish Heart Band Michael won a Grammy for Best Latin Jazz Album with Corea’s release “Antidote.”
Michael is currently on the faculty at NYU as professor of trumpet and The San Francisco Conservatory of Music. He travels the globe as a clinician.