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Composer and Guitarist Jim Scully recalls his earliest exposure to music - his grandfather Carmen Caputo - playing jazz standards and TV theme songs by ear at the piano. "He had a great ear, and tons of knowledge about harmony and melody. When I was old enough to really listen to him, I learned a lot."
Scully started playing the guitar at age eleven, and practiced extensively throughout his teens. He entered college at CSU Bakersfield in the fall of 1991 to study music. He followed his heart - focusing on jazz guitar performance and composition. As an undergrad, his works were performed throughout California by jazz groups featuring students in the CSUB jazz program, helping him win composition awards presented by the Pacific Coast Collegiate Jazz Festival and the Bakersfield Symphony. "I was fortunate to be at CSUB during an especially exciting time. I was able to perform regularly with stellar student colleagues who pushed me to be smarter, better and work harder at my craft. Making music with Kris Tiner, Dennis Hamm and Kyle Burnham - among others - helped shape me musically."
After receiving his Bachelor of Arts degree in Music, Scully began graduate studies in jazz composition with acclaimed pianists Billy Childs and Kei Akagi at University of California, Irvine. He earned his Master of Fine Arts in Music in 2002. "Kei was a joy to work with. He was always supportive, and his extraordinary skill always reminded you that there was much work to do. You wanted to get better to show him you were worth his considerable effort."
"My most lasting memory of UCI might be sitting at the piano and playing my piece Bouncing About for violin and piano during composition seminar as a four-hand duet with Billy Childs. It was fun to talk music with both of them - they were so generous with their knowledge."
In the Spring of 2003, Scully landed back in Bakersfield as a lecturer in Theory, Jazz, Technology and Guitar at CSUB. Since his appointment, he has served as Director of Small Jazz Ensembles, the Guitar Ensemble, The Bakersfield Student Composers' Concert and The CSUB Audio/MIDI Lab.
In addition to his teaching responsibilities, Scully has kept busy as a composer. He is an ASCAPlus Award winner, has received multiple grants from American Composers Forum and the Teacher Learning Center at CSU Bakersfield and has had works commissioned by Dr. Nicolas Deuson, Rachel Arnold and Ashley Addington and Dr. Keith Calmes. His pieces have been performed around the US at concerts, recitals, master classes and various conferences. Three works are commercially available on the Beauport Classical and Navona labels.
For more information, visit jimscully.com.