Theo Hill

Biographie Theo Hill

Theo Hill
Hailed by the New York Times as "a vital young pianist at play in New York's straight-ahead tradition" Theo Hill has emerged as a fresh new voice in the world of jazz piano. An award-winning pianist, keyboardist, composer and educator Hill has excited audiences all over the world with his passionate ingenuity and fiery reverence. Hill has recorded four critically acclaimed albums as a leader and has worked extensively with an impressive roster of master musicians in the world of jazz music.

Born in Albany, New York, Hill began studying piano at the age of five with Mary Moran. Hill began to study jazz with Lee Shaw (a student of Oscar Peterson) at the age of 12 and by 16 he made his first appearance in New York City sitting in at a jam session at Smalls Jazz Club. It was then that Hill decided to devote his life to music. He was accepted into the Jazz Conservatory at SUNY Purchase where he studied privately with Charles Blenzig and Hal Galper and graduated with a bachelor’s degree cum laude in 2004. Hill has since performed in hundreds of New York City venues including The Jazz Gallery, Dizzy’s Club Jazz at Lincoln Center, Blue Note Jazz Club, Birdland, Carnegie Hall, Smalls Jazz Club, 55 Bar, The Iridium, Jazz Standard, Zinc Bar, Lenox Lounge, Minton's, Bill's Place, Smoke, St. Nick’s Pub, Fat Cat, Shapeshifter Lab and Nublu. Hill has toured in over 30 states in the U.S. and in over 25 countries. Hill has also performed at major international jazz festivals including North Sea Jazz Festival, Umbria Jazz Festival, Vitoria-Gasteiz Jazz Festival, Red Sea Jazz Festival, Montreal Jazz Festival, Guimarães Jazz Festival and Cape Town Jazz Festival. As a sideman Theo has had the fortunate opportunity to perform with jazz masters Jeff "Tain" Watts, Charles Tolliver, Wallace Roney, Victor Bailey, Lenny White, Roy Ayers, Victor Jones, Bill Saxton, Vincent Herring, Curtis Lundy, David Weiss and many others.

Steeped in the Harlem jazz tradition Hill has studied and performed with many of the great practitioners of jazz music. Hill has proudly served as accompanist to many members of the great Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers including Frank Lacy, Robin Eubanks, Bobby Watson, Chico Freeman and Essiet Essiet. Hill is a member of the Grammy Award winning Mingus Big Band and Mingus Dynasty which celebrate the music of composer/bassist Charles Mingus. Hill is a member of the T.S. Monk Sextet whose mission is to preserve the musical legacy of pianist Thelonious Monk. Hill has also served as vocal accompanist to Grammy Award winning vocalist Gregory Porter, Grammy nominated vocalist Jazzmeia Horn, Latin Grammy Award winning vocalist Linda Briceño, Grammy nominee Nnenna Freelon, Carmen Lundy and Charenee Wade.

Hill has experience performing with large ensembles including The Charles Tolliver Big Band, The Captain Black Big Band and The Josh Evans Big Band. He has also performed or recorded with Jeremy Pelt, Nicholas Payton, Myron Walden, Josh Evans, J.D Allen, Rodney Green, Willie Jones III, Dave Liebman, Vincent Herring, Steve Wilson, Marcus Strickland, Stacy Dillard, Logan Richardson, Gerald Cannon, "Burniss" Earl Travis, Ben Williams, Lewis Nash, Ralph Peterson, Winard Harper, E.J. Strickland, Marcus Gilmore, Obed Calvaire and Justin Brown.

A passionate educator with over 20 years of training as a music instructor and coach Hill has worked as a private lesson instructor at the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music, as a professor at the Collective School of Music and as a substitute teacher at Rutgers Mason Gross School of the Arts. Hill has taught at clinics and jazz camps all over the world including New York City, New Orleans, India, Israel and Costa Rica. Hill has generations of students who are talented professionals in today’s music industry.

Hill was accepted to Rutgers Mason Gross School of the Arts in 2018 and was the recipient of the prestigious Ralph Johnson Bunche Distinguished Graduate Award along with fellows Luques Curtis and Clarence Penn. Hill studied privately with master pianist and teacher Fred Hersch and graduated with a masters degree magna cum laude in 2020.

Theo currently works as a bandleader and in-demand sideman performing, composing, recording and touring around the world. Hill also currently conducts master classes and teaches private lessons.

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