Pianist Gary Versace is the Assistant Director and associate professor of Jazz Studies at the University of Oregon, where he has been a member of the faculty since 1993. Versace received his Master of Music degree in Jazz Studies from the Eastman School of Music after receiving bachelor's degrees in both piano performance and music education from the University of Connecticut. As a jazz pianist, he has won several awards, including Best Soloist at the 1991 Villanova Jazz Festival, and a Downbeat Award in the small ensemble category and has performed or recorded with Glen Moore, Jerry Hahn, Bob Moses, David Friesen, Bobby Shew, Cab Calloway, Dick Hyman, Ingrid Jensen, Peter Epstein, and many others.
Versace has performed at the Bumbershoot Festival (Seattle, WA), the Reno International Jazz Festival, the Oregon Festival of American Music, and the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival, to name a few.
As an arranger he has written for such prominent jazz artists as Claudio Roditi. His transcriptions for Marian McPartland and others have been published by Warner Brothers Publications, the International Association of Jazz Record Collectors, and by Downbeat Magazine.
In January of 1999, Versace performed in a two-piano recital with Marian McPartland, and in April of 1999 appeared on her acclaimed National Public Radio program Piano Jazz. Since moving to the Northwest, Versace has become much in demand as a featured soloist, clinician, and adjudicator at various festivals around the United States.
To which I might add the following endorsement by my friend Mark Reboul, who is deeply immersed in the NY jazz scene and sees more live jazz than anyone I know: “I think Gary's a great player, maybe even giant. Gary's technically gifted, harmonically inventive, and in no rush to ‘burn’. He doesn't really sound like anyone else. Neither way out, nor way in. Also, he's a very sensitive player.”
The above was circa 2001. Gary has since moved to NYC, where he is active with many of the best players in the country. See Google for lots more!