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Gary MotleyProfessor of PerformanceDirector of Jazz Studies


  • MMGeorgia State University2004


Gary Motley is a jazz pianist and composer. He is best known for his captivating performances, classic yet current sound, and popularity in the southeastern United States jazz music scene.

Motley has received awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Great American Jazz Piano Competition and the American Composers Forum (ACF). Featured on NPR’s Piano Jazz with Marian McPartland, his notable performances also include the premiere of his first orchestral work “The Artist and the Visionary,” duo performances with pianists Dave Brubeck and Kenny Barron, and concerts with Jon Faddis, Eddie Daniels, Benny Golson, and others. Motley’s selection by the ACF as an artist-in-residence led to his second composition for string orchestra and jazz trio “The Resolution of a Dream.”

He premiered his “Highland Summit: A Suite for String Quartet and Jazz Quartet” with the Vega String Quartet at the Highlands Chamber Music Festival and later performed his “Suite Odyssey” with the ensemble at Carnegie Hall. In 2010, Motley premiered a composition based on a work by Toni Morrison at the Toni Morrison Society's 6th Biennial Conference in Paris. Recent travels include performances and workshops in South America and Cuba.

Cited by his home state for his artistic and educational achievements, Gary was inducted into the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame in 2015.
As the Director of Jazz Studies at Emory University, Gary has developed The Strickland Jazz Studio - an interactive teaching facility that integrates the rich heritage of American jazz with today's technology practices. He holds memberships with the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences and the Jazz Education Network.

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