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Michael Underwood

michaelunderwoodPrincipal, William "Bill" Vickery Jr. Memorial Chair

Dr. Michael Underwood is in his 14th season as Principal Trombone of the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra and 11th year as Instructor of Music at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.
Dr. Underwood is the director of the UALR Jazz Ensemble. Since its inception in 2012, the band has been featured at the Dardanelle Jazz Festival and the Arkansas State Jazz Festival. He has also hosted guest artists Steve Owen, Professor of Jazz Studies at the University of Oregon, and Nick Finzer, New York city freelance trombonist, who performed with the Ensemble. He has been a regular featured performer at the Afterthought Jazz Club in Little Rock as well as the lead trombonist for the ASO Big Band.

Dr. Underwood gave the Arkansas premiere of Christian Lindberg’s Mandrake in the Corner with the Little Rock Wind Symphony. He served in the United States Air Force “Band of the Golden West,” where he was featured soloist with the Top Brass Quintet, the Commanders Jazz Ensemble, and Concert Band. He has been a featured soloist with the Natural State Brass Band, a fellow performer at the Joseph Alessi Trombone Seminar, and principal trombonist in both ASO and USAF Band of the Golden West compact-disc recordings. He has performed in the Tulsa Symphony, Monterrey, Mexico Symphony, and many regional symphonies in California, Michigan, Ohio, and Texas. Master classes include performances for Heinz Fadle, Jay Friedman, John Kitzman, Christian Lindberg, Ralph Sauer, and Ben Van Dyk.

An active arranger, he has composed six jazz etudes for the Arkansas High School All-State competition. His arrangements have been performed by the ASO, at the Joseph Alessi Seminar, and the Big XII Regional Trombone Conference. In addition, he has published three trombone quartets of Debussy’s piano music. Dr. Underwood has recorded and published all three sets of the Arkansas All-State etudes.

Dr. Underwood graduated cum laude from Lawrence University (Wisconsin), earned two master’s degrees from Bowling Green State University (Ohio), and a DMA from the University of North Texas. His teachers include Nick Keelan, Vern Kagarice, Paul Hunt, Joseph Alessi, and John Kitzman. He is married to Karla Fournier, second clarinetist in the ASO; he enjoys traveling, running, and reading presidential history.

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