Tony Gairo maintains an active schedule as a composer, performer, and educator of jazz, the saxophones, flutes, and clarinets, jazz composition, arranging, theory and analysis, and jazz history. Voted the 2004 Jazz Musician of the Year – Lehigh Valley (PA) by Pulseweekly Magazine, he is the leader of the Tony Gairo Band, an 11-piece jazz ensemble whose “book” consists mostly of his compositions and arrangements with monthly performances at Chris’ Jazz Cafe in Philadelphia and the Tony Gairo Big Band, a 17-piece modern jazz orchestra whose repertoire consists entirely of his original compositions. The band performed every first and third Tuesday night at The Comfort Suites, Bethlehem PA (2006-8) and every Tuesday night at Indulge!, Allentown PA (2003-5). In addition, the ensemble has been heard in concert at Foy Hall, Moravian College (2001, 2003, 2005), Bethlehem (PA) Musikfest (2005, 2007), Mayfair Music and Arts Festival, Allentown, PA (2004), Morrisville (PA) Jazz Festival (2005), and at the Deerhead Inn. Their debut recording, Treacherous, was released January 2006 on Sea Breeze Jazz Records.
Since 1996, Gairo has been an Artist/Lecturer on the Jazz Faculty at Moravian College in Bethlehem PA where he is the Director of the Jazz Combo I. He teaches saxophone, flute, clarinet, jazz improvisation, jazz composition/arranging, and jazz history. In April 2006, the Music Department presented him with the T. Edgar Shields Prize for Distinguished Studio Instruction. Since 2004, he has been an adjunct on the Jazz Faculty at Muhlenberg College, Allentown PA where he is currently the Director of the Jazz Ensemble. In addition, he is an active member of the Music Faculty at Lafayette College, Easton PA.
Commencing in 2001, he participated in the BMI Jazz Composer’s Workshop in New York City where many of his compositions for Jazz Orchestra were premiered and showcased. He conducted the BMI (NY) Jazz Composer’s Orchestra in concert at Merkin Hall, New York in July 2003, 2004, and 2005. He is a former pupil of internationally acclaimed Grammy-winning jazz composer Jim McNeely (2000-7).
Mr. Gairo has been commissioned to compose original scores and arrangements by Moravian College, Wissahickon High School, and by Mr. Lou Lanza, jazz vocalist (Philadelphia, PA). His original Jazz Ballet, Collaboration, premiered at Moravian in November 2007. His rendering of the 16th Century hymn, How Bright Appears the Morning Star was presented at the inauguration of Dr. Christopher Thomforde as President of Moravian College in April 2007.
As always, Tony Gairo keeps a busy calendar of public and private performances and recording sessions both as a leader of bands and as a sideman in a sundry of ensembles, styles, and projects.