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Professor David Manson is a trombonist, educator, composer, community arts presenter and music technologist. His degrees include a doctorate from the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. A musician with diverse interests, he began his performance career with positions in the Florida West Coast Symphony Orchestra, Memphis Symphony Orchestra and first call extra work with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. He taught low brass and jazz studies at Indiana State University from 1983-89 before returning to Florida.
Manson began teaching at St. Petersburg College (then St. Petersburg Junior College) in 1991 as an adjunct instructor and was hired full time in 1995. While teaching as an adjunct instructor, he volunteered his time to reestablish the SPC Jazz Band, an ensemble that had existed under the direction of Al Downing in decades earlier, but had been eliminated. In 1995, he wrote and recieved a Silverberg Grant to create the college's first music technology lab and began developing and teaching courses in music technology. He also began teaching online courses in 1995 as an early initiator. In 2008, he founded the St. Petersburg Jazz Festival, a yearly 5-day jazz festival with free jazz workshops with visiting jazz artists at SPC, that is funded through his nonprofit organization EMIT. Volunteering hundreds of hours of development, he also was a founding member of the MIRA (Music Industry/Recording Arts) program, an innovative music program that started with 12 students in 2009 and now has over 250 enrolled students with courses that include Pro Tools, mixing, acoustics, music business and more.
Throughout the decades, he has been an advocate for faculty rights and academic professionalism and authored proposals for Professor Emeritus, sabbaticals, research/creativity award, online classloads, weekend facility access, safety issues and others. In 2010-11, he served on the college Compensation Committee and provided models for faculty compensation that were recommended, yet to be fully implemented. He has written over $300,000 in arts grants to benefit the community. In 2015, he was awarded Distinguished Faculty status by St. Petersburg College.
A versatile musician, he has been soloist and composer with New College New Music, BONK New Music Festival, Subtropics New Music Festival, Society of Composers and SEAMUS conferences. He has performed and recorded with Diego Figueiredo, Cecil Taylor, Sam Rivers, Mario Pavone, Eugene Chadbourne, John Lindberg, Davey Williams and other innovators. He toured with the Glenn Miller Orchestra and backed legendary artists including Burt Bacharach, Henry Mancini, Tommy Tune, James Moody, Kevin Mahogany and others. He was trombonist and arranger for Bogus Pomp, an acclaimed Frank Zappa repertoire band with performances in Germany, the Buffalo Philharmonic and the Florida Orchestra. His 2002 recording “Fluid Motion” with jazz legend Sam Rivers, was selected by JazzTimes critic Duck Baker as his “vote for jazz record of the year.” He has produced ten recordings including "Radiant Forces", "A Kiss for Rio", "Fluid Motion", "Infinita Bossa", "Beast", "Particle Zoo", 'Visions" "Go!" and "Modern Music for Trombone".
Manson is a recipient of Artist Fellowships in music composition from the Florida Arts Council (1999 & 2005) and Creative Pinellas (2017), a Fulbright-Hays project in Turkey, an artist feature in the Southern Arts Federations JazzSouth radio program, and grants from Meet The Composer. He worked with Cecil Taylor at the Atlantic Center for the Arts and was artist-in-residence at the Sound Arts Workshop in Miami. David served eight years on the board and executive of the Pinellas County Arts Council (1995-2003) and was a composer-in-residence with the Moving Current Dance Collective and the federal education project Studiopeace. His orchestral works have been performed by the Florida Orchestra and others. His original music has been placed in the HBO series, "Looking", "Grandfathered" on Fox, "Riverdale" on CW, "Preacher" on AMC and "Single Parents" on ABC.
He served as a board member on the Pinellas County Arts Council from 1994 - 2002 and currently directs the innovative nonprofit presenter EMIT series (in its 25th season) with awards from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Chamber Music America and ASCAP. David is also former director of the Tampa Bay Composers' Forum (1995-2003). Through EMIT, David has presented over 450 concerts and workshops of adventurous music in Pinellas County. He directs the Recording Arts Program (RAP) with Boys & Girls students at the Royal Theater in Midtown, St. Petersburg and serves on the board of St. Pete Performs through the St. Petersburg Arts Alliance. He composes & performs with Brazilian group O Som Do Jazz, directs the Helios Jazz Orchestra (ensemble-in-residence at SPC) and directs the St. Petersburg Jazz Festival, in its 13th season. In 2017, he served as a panelist in the St. Petersburg Conference on World Affairs. He performed with O Som Do Jazz on the Miami International Jazz Festival and was a featured composer with Exquisite Corpse International in 2018. In 2019, he was featured in "50 Stories for 50 Years", a celebration of arts service by organizations and individuals by the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs (https://archive.org/details/50storiesfor50years-FLDCA/page/n43/mode/2up).
His philosophy toward teaching music courses is that one should be able to do what they teach at a high level of proficiency and that research and creative projects are fundamental for the development of quality teaching. His personal philosophy is often, less talk/more results. Regardless of his work environment, he considers himself to be a professor, not an instructor.