Fred Irby, III
Fred Irby, III, a native of Mobile, Alabama, is a graduate of Grambling State University (Louisiana) and Southern Illinois University (Edwardsville). As Professor of Music at Howard University in Washington, DC, Mr. Irby is the Coordinator of Instrumental music, trumpet instructor, and Director of the internationally acclaimed Howard University Jazz Ensemble (HUJE). He is Principal Trumpet of the Kennedy Center Opera House Musical Theater Orchestra and has recorded several films for the History Channel. He can be heard playing principal trumpet on the cast recording of the Stephen Sondheim musical BOUNCE.
The HUJE has 40 recordings to its credit, has given concerts in China, Japan, Romania, Haiti, Trinidad, Jamaica, Guatemala, Colombia, U.S. Virgin Islands (St. Thomas and St. Croix), Martinique, Senegal (West Africa) and was featured on the 1992 (Lionel Hampton), 1996 (Benny Carter), and 2005 (Tony Bennett) Kennedy Center Honors Gala (CBS-TV).
Mr. Irby served as Music Director for the Washington Ballet during its visit in 2002 to Havana, Cuba for the 17th International Ballet Festival. He visited Caracas, Venezuela with the Howard University Jazztet in 2004 giving lectures at several universities and he traveled with HUJE to Japan in 1996, 2005, 2007 and 2009 to give charity concerts for disadvantaged children and families. In May, 2013 Mr. Irby and the Howard University Jazztet were invited by the U.S. Embassy in Dakar, Senegal to represent the USA in the international Saint Louis Jazz Festival, the largest jazz festival in Africa. They also performed in Louga, and Dakar, Senegal and had a private audience with the Minister of Tourism and Culture , the legendary Senegalese musician Youssou N'Dour.
As a recitalist, Mr. Irby has commissioned and premiered compositions by two eminent African American composers, the late Ulysses S. Kay (nephew of New Orleans jazz cornetist Joe "King" Oliver) and Dr. Frederick C. Tillis. He has performed in the orchestras for two recordings by the Baltimore Choral Arts Society under the direction of maestro Tom Hall: Dave Brubeck's cantata The Gates of Justice (with the composer as piano soloist) and Christmas at America's First Cathedral (2010) recorded at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Baltimore, Maryland.
Mr. Irby has traveled to Los Angeles, California to perform in the orchestras for the Twentieth Century Fox movie Alvin and the Chipmunks, the ABC-TV hit show Dancing with the Stars, the NBC-TV show America's Got Talent, the 2000 Democratic National Convention, the 56th Primetime Emmy Awards and most recently the 87th Academy Awards Gala (Oscars). He also performs annually in the orchestras for the nationally televised Kennedy Center Honors Gala and the Christmas in Washington Gala.
In 2008, Mr. Irby was selected by downbeat magazine to receive an "Achievement Award In Jazz Education" and was inducted into the Grambling State University (LA) "Alumni Hall of Fame". At the 2009 MENC Teaching Music Awards ceremony, Mr. Irby received the "Disney Performing Arts Award for Excellence in Teaching Jazz" and he was designated a Lowell Mason Fellow at a ceremony during the MENC 2010 Music Education Week. Additionally, he was named the conductor of the 2011 MENC All-National Jazz Band. This group performed its inaugural concert at the 2011 Music Education Week in Arlington, VA.
He has served as music director for the Northwest MENC, Oklahoma, Maryland State All-State Jazz Ensembles and serves as an adjudicator for the Congressional Black Caucus Spouses Performing Arts Committee and the National PTA Composition competition.
He holds active membership in NAfME, formerly MENC: The National Association for Music Education, The International Trumpet Guild, ICSOM: International Conference of Symphony and Opera Musicians, The American Federation of Musicians and is a member of the Board of Directors of the International Women's Brass Conference and the Washington Jazz Arts Institute.
Professor Irby has been a member of the Department of Music faculty at Howard University since 1974.