Coordinator of Jazz Studies
Jay Wilkinson received his BME and MM in trumpet performance from the University of Oklahoma. As a student he received numerous awards for trumpet performance in jazz and classical, and received a citation for jazz piano. Following his graduate degree, he studied at the University of North Texas and worked with Rodney Booth, Mike Steinel, Steve Wiest, and Keith Johnson.
Wilkinson is now the Coordinator of Jazz Studies at the University of Oklahoma. He has also taught privately at the Norman Music Institute, Infinity Music, and Imagine Music and Arts. His students have been accepted in honor bands, prestigious graduate programs like IU and UNT, professional touring shows, touring big bands, as well as local dance bands and concert groups. One student performed on the David Letterman Show as the bassist for John Fulbright. During his time at OU he was integral to the establishment of the Joni Rice Memorial Jazz Education Fund, the creation of the BMA and BA degrees with jazz emphases, the substantial increase in guest artists, and the general growth of jazz study within the school of music. He has also broadened his students’ experiences through collaborative efforts with the schools of music theatre, dance, and art. Notably, his top jazz ensemble will be a featured group at the 2020 OkMEA Convention. In addition, Wilkinson has participated at various local jazz festivals as a judge, clinician, and artist. He has been a featured performer at the Oklahoma Music Educator’s National Conference and has judged at the National Trumpet Competition in the jazz and middle school divisions in trumpet performance. Wilkinson also presented a lecture titled, “Jazz, an American Art Form,” at the Norman Public Library and presented at a regional ITG conference demonstrating the most effective ways to practice and develop jazz improvisation.
Wilkinson has completed written works as well. He created a jazz improvisation methods book for his students, he wrote a letter of tribute for the previous jazz director at OU, Mr. John Williams, which was included in the local musician union’s newsletter, and he has contributed an article on the life of Chet Baker to “The Great Plains Encyclopedia.” As a composer he has written countless original works and arrangements. He is sought after by local musicians, music educators and other professionals to write various styles of music, like Danny White of Danny’s Blues Saloon Revue who was featured in a national blues magazine and has recorded numerous albums. He has written music for big band, jazz combo, New Orleans style street band, basketball band, string quartet, ska band, trumpet ensemble, brass quintet, and symphonic band. In 2018 the OU Trumpet Ensemble won first place at the National Trumpet Competition in the trumpet ensemble division performing his arrangement of “Cherokee.” In addition he has composed many original works. Many of these, like his tune, “Reality,” his originals set to the poetry of Langston Hughes, the music of Boyd Street Brass, his brass quintet works and his trumpet ensemble piece, “Cherokee, A Tribute,” have been recorded or performed at reputable events like the DJango Festival on Whidbey Island and Jazz in June in Norman, OK.
More than his work as an educator and composer, Wilkinson has excelled as a performer. Jay has performed at various locations across the U.S. as a vocalist and trumpet player and is a major performer in the Oklahoma City metro area. He is a member of the Oklahoma City Philharmonic and was once featured as a vocalist during a pops concert. His connection with the Philharmonic has allowed him the opportunity to perform with artists like Ray Charles, Mercedes Ellington, Al Jerreau, Manhattan Transfer, Byron Stripling, Chris Botti, Kristin Chenoweth, Renee Fleming, and Kelli O’Hara. He is a member of the Lyric Theatre Orchestra and often plays for traveling shows through Celebrity Attractions which feature some of this country’s finest Broadway performers. Wilkinson is also a trumpeter for the OKC Jazz Orchestra which has performed with Doc Severinsen, Bob Mintzer, Ben Patterson, and Tony Monaco. Jay has performed and toured with other smaller outfits like Boyd Street Brass, The Hot Club of Oklahoma, and the Oklahoma Brass Quintet. Boyd Street Brass performs at festivals and schools throughout Oklahoma and Texas and has completed two albums titled, “S’up Sucka,” and “Are You Ready for Me.” In August of 2018 BSB was the featured group with the Norman Philharmonic. The Hot Club of Oklahoma, for which Jay played trumpet and sang, performed at the Django Fest on Whidbey Island and the Django Fest held in Kittery, Maine. The Oklahoma Brass Quintet toured for several years visiting sites in Florida, Kentucky, Massachusettes, Texas, and Kansas. Wilkinson has also performed in Louisiana, Ohio, Texas, Arkansas and Seattle.
Lecturer of Music
(Music Education and Jazz Studies)
Office: Catlett Music Center 228
Dr. Lonnie Easter II, a native of Omaha, Nebraska, earned his PhD in Music Education from the University of Oklahoma, a Master of Music in Jazz Studies from the University of Central Oklahoma, and a Bachelor of Arts Education with a concentration in Music Education from Langston University.
Dr. Easter began teaching at the University of Oklahoma in the Fall of 2020. He previously served as Director of Bands/Instructor of Music Education at Langston University (OK), and additionally served as a public-school band director in the Omaha (NE) and Oklahoma City (OK) school districts. As a public-school music educator, he had the privilege of providing a quality music education to diverse student populations in multiple low socio-economic status music programs. He earned a reputation for effective teaching and leadership as his programs, both traditional and jazz, flourished. He remains a frequent director and clinician in and is particularly interested in the cross-pollination of research and practice in instrumental music education.
Dr. Easters' primary research interests are in jazz education. He is particularly interested in developing methodologies and pedagogy that will significantly raise students' ability, self-efficacy, and practice room efficiency in jazz improvisation, primarily at the beginner level. Additionally, his research demonstrates the critical need to improve the ways music education teacher preparation programs teach jazz pedagogy to undergraduate music education students. His work has been published in multiple journals including Jazz Education in Research and Practice and he has presented at research and professional development conferences across the United States.
He is a passionate advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion and has served as a mentor for students from diverse and underrepresented groups.
- PhD Music Education - University of Oklahoma
- MM Jazz Studies - University of Central Oklahoma
- BA Education (Music Education) - Langston University
Director of Choral Activities
Head of Graduate Choral Studies
Professor of Music (Choral)
Phone: (405) 325-4182
American conductor, Richard Zielinski, is known for his innovative programming and versatility as both an orchestral and choral conductor. Richard serves as Director of Choral Activities on the music faculty at the University of Oklahoma. A passionate and compelling communicator, with an extensive knowledge of classical and contemporary repertoire, he has premiered performances of Die Schöpfung and Carmina Burana choreographed for ballet as well as numerous stage productions for musical theater.
A champion of new music, Richard Zielinski has worked with numerous composers and regularly leads the choirs at OU and the Norman Philharmonic in performances of contemporary works from composers like Libby Larsen, John Mackey, and Michael Daugherty. His professional vocal ensemble, the Richard Zielinski Singers, has also recorded works by Norman Dello Joio, Libby Larsen, Stephen Paulus, Eleanor Daley, David Del Tredici, Alice Parker, and Eric Whitacre among others.
Richard Zielinski begins his seventh year as artistic director and conductor of the 40-year-old Classical Music Festival Eisenstädter Sommerakademie; and serves as Music Director and Artistic Director for the Norman Philharmonic. He has conducted extensively both in the United States and abroad including The Florida Orchestra, Tampa Bay Symphony Orchestra, Naples Philharmonic, Elgin Symphony, Danville Symphony Orchestra, and Poland’s Szczecin Philaharmonic Orchestra. He has also held several positions abroad including artistic director and conductor for Chor Akademicki Politechniki Szczecinskiej, In Terra Pax, and the International Festival of Choral Song in Poland.
Throughout his career, Richard Zielinski has devoted time to working with students and young artists. In addition to creating and leading outreach programs with the Norman Philharmonic, he also has worked with students at numerous music festivals in the United States and abroad. Zielinski also serves as Director of Music Ministries at McFarlin Memorial United Methodist Church in Norman, Oklahoma.
Professor Larry Hammett, director of guitar studies, is a recognized expert in both classical and jazz guitar. He has a master's degree in Guitar Performance and has been teaching guitar at the college level since 1982. At OU, Mr. Hammett heads one of the most successful guitar programs in the country with a full undergraduate and graduate studio and over 150 non-major guitarists each semester.
Mr. Hammett's recordings are aired worldwide and he gives over sixty performances annually both as a classical soloist and with his jazz trio. He has performed and/or given master-classes in France, Mexico, Argentina, and the United States. With his diversity, Mr. Hammett has performed Joaquin Rodrigo’s famous "Concerto de Aranjuez" with the Oklahoma City Philharmonic followed by a late night jazz session in the same evening. He also participates regularly as a Lutenist with Dr. Gene Enrico’s Collegium Musicum and accompanies the Flamenco Dance class for the OUSchool of Dance.
Mr. Hammett recently published two volumes of an innovative elementary classroom guitar book through MIDI FOR KIDS which is being used in after school programs throughout the United States. Larry Hammett is truly a renaissance man of guitar and one of a few guitarists today who is able to successfully balance such diversity.
- MM - Texas Tech University
- BM - Texas Tech University
Interim Instructor of Trumpet
Office: Catlett Music Center 217
Internationally celebrated trumpeter and musician entrepreneur, Dr. Lacey Phelps, is a Native Oklahoman of Cherokee heritage who grew up on a farm in Tecumseh. She has played in venues such as Carnegie Hall, The Vatican and countless theaters throughout the world under the direction of conductors such as Gustavo Dudamel, Helmuth Rilling, Julius Rudel, David Andrews Rogers, Frederick Fennell, Placido Domingo, Itzhak Perlman, and Valery Giergiev. Dr. Phelps previously held a position at the Verdi Opera House in Italy and now serves as the Director of DFW Brass. She is an active clinician throughout the United States, Latin America, and Europe, and her students can be found in recording studios, orchestras, theater pits, chamber ensembles, military bands, and teaching at both the secondary and collegiate level throughout the US and abroad. She is comfortable with numerous styles as she performs regularly in orchestras, chamber groups, musical theater productions, ballet and opera productions, and has recorded in 11 countries on 3 continents. Most recently she performed as a soloist with the Sofia Philharmonic in Bulgaria in a concert to celebrate International Women's Day.
Phelps loves traveling and has performed at countless music festivals throughout the world including The International Brass Festival (Mexico), The Aspen Music Festival (Colorado), Young Euro Festival (Berlin), Spoleto (Italy), Spoleto USA (South Carolina), Le Domain Forget (Canada), Great Waters International Music Festival (New Hampshire), Le Festival Bel Canto (Québec), Snape Maltings (England), Festival de Musique de Monton (France), Musica Riva Festival (Italy), & Campos do Jordao Music Festival (Brazil), among others. She is also Faculty/Artist in Residence for the Alfredo de San Malo Music Festival in Panama (Central America). Dr. Phelps holds degrees from Rice University (MM) as well as The University of Oklahoma (BM, BME, DMA). She is a member of the International Trumpet Guild, International Women's Brass Conference, ASCAP, Oklahoma Music Educators Association and Texas Music Educators Association. Lacey is married to Dr. Josh Phelps, a Champion Auctioneer, Conductor, and Singer. They enjoy spending time with their rescue dogs, Toto & Gracey, traveling, scuba diving, and tractor pulling.
- DMA - University of Oklahoma School of Music
- MM - Rice University, Shepard School of Music
- BM / BME - University of Oklahoma School of Music
Professor of Music (Trombone)
Phone: (405) 325-5344
Dr. Irvin Wagner is a founding member of the Oklahoma Brass Quintet, and has been named as a David Ross Boyd Professor. Wagner conducts the popular OU Trombone Choir. He is a member of the Oklahoma City Philharmonic and the conductor for many of that orchestra's pops concerts. Wagner's compositions and arrangements are in demand by many major symphony orchestras and trombone choirs.
- DMA (Trombone performance and pedagogy) - Eastman School of Music, 1968
- MM (Trombone) - Eastman School of Music, 1961
- BS (Music Education and Trombone) - McPherson College, 1959
Professor of Music (Saxophone)
Phone: (405) 325-7883
Jonathan Nichol is an active performing saxophonist who champions new music and has presented concerts throughout the United States, Bosnia, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland, Serbia, Slovenia, and Thailand. He has premiered pieces by renowned composers including Marc Mellits, Charles Ruggiero, Forrest Pierce, Paquito D’Rivera, Daniel Wohl, Marvin Lamb, Jeffrey Loeffert, Igor Karaça, Tina Tallon, and Drew Baker. Jonathan was a solo-artist semi-finalist in the 2009 Concert Artist Guild Competition and a finalist with the award-winning h2 quartet in the 2012 Concert Artist Guild Competition. Jonathan is also an accomplished orchestral soloist, having performed concerti with the Central Michigan University Symphony Orchestra, Grand Valley State University Symphonic Wind Ensemble, Michigan State University Symphony Orchestra, Oklahoma State University Wind Ensemble, University of Oklahoma Symphonic Band, University of Oklahoma Symphony Orchestra, Wichita State Symphony, and Wichita State University Symphonic Winds. Additionally, he has been prominently featured with the Grand Rapids Symphony, Flint Symphony, Lansing Symphony, Norman Philharmonic, Oklahoma City Philharmonic Orchestra, and the West Michigan Symphony.
Jonathan is a founding member of the h2 quartet, recipients of the prestigious Gold Medal at the 2007 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition and First Prize Award recipients at the inaugural North American Saxophone Alliance Chamber Music Competition (2008). The h2 quartet is a dynamic recording ensemble, releasing five albums on the Blue Griffin Label: Generations (2008), Times and Spaces (2010), Groove Machine (2012), Hard Line (2015), and Enrapture (2016). Each of these recordings has received critical acclaim in industry publications and Groove Machine was selected by the American Record Guide as one of the best chamber music recordings of 2012. Jonathan has also recorded albums with the Boyd Street Brass Band, Billband, and the h2/4 duo with saxophonist Jeffrey Loeffert. Sparkle, a piece from Billband’s album Towards Daybreak, features Jonathan on soprano saxophone and was selected by NPR Music as one of the top 100 songs of 2013.
An active jazz musician, Jonathan Nichol has performed with Phil Woods, Randy Brecker, David Liebman, the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra, the Nelson Riddle Orchestra, the Lansing Symphony Jazz Band, the Grand Rapids Jazz Orchestra, and The Four Tops. He leads his own jazz group, the Nichol Quartet, and is a member of Boyd Street Brass.
Jonathan Nichol is Professor of Saxophone and Director of the School of Music at the University of Oklahoma. He holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree (2010) and a Master of Music degree (2007) from Michigan State University and a Bachelor of Music Education degree (2005) from Central Michigan University. Jonathan’s primary teachers include John Nichol, Joseph Lulloff, Robbie Smith, Diego Rivera, and Rodney Whitaker. He is proud to be a Yamaha Performing Artist and a Vandoren Performing Artist.