Gordon Named 2014-15 Presser Scholar

Joel Gordon, a music major from Kansas City, Mo., has been named a Presser Scholar for the 2014-2015 academic year.

The Presser Undergraduate Scholar Award is given to an outstanding music major at the end of his or her junior year. The Presser Foundation honored Gordon with this prestigious award this spring. Gordon is pursuing a Bachelors of Arts in music education. He is the son of Jim and Marcia Gordon, and is a graduate of Park Hill High School.

As a student at Park Hill, Gordon performed as principal alto saxophone with the 2010 Missouri All-State Band and as lead alto of the 2011 Missouri All-State Jazz Band. As a soloist, Gordon won the 2011 Northwinds Symphonic Band Concerto Competition.

Gordon studies saxophone with Randall Smith, professor of music, and jazz improvisation and composition with Tim AuBuchon, assistant professor of music. He has received additional instruction from Bob Long of the Kansas City Jazz Orchestra and Rico Performing Artist José Zayas-Cabán. Gordon received first place in the 2011 Missouri Music Teachers Association-Woodwind Division and was selected as a semi-finalist in the 2013 Naftzger Young Artist Competition.

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Joel Gordon, left, accepts his Presser Scholar Award from Randall Smith, professor of music, during the Truman State University Music Department’s honors recital in April.

While at Truman, Gordon has participated in Wind Symphony I and II, Concert Band, Jazz Ensemble, the Normal Saxophone Quartet and Jazz Combos. In Kansas City, he is the proud leader of the Trouble Clefs Big Band, a group committed to promoting and preserving the art form of jazz.

In addition to his performance schedule, Gordon has maintained a strong academic and research record. He is a member of the Truman Leadership Scholar Program and acted as a mentor for sophomore-level music theory and aural skills. This summer Gordon is participating in the TruScholars Research Program. Under the direction of Marc Rice, professor of music, Gordon is researching the development of jazz education in Heartland America. He will also be attending Dave Leibman’s saxophone masterclass.

Gordon’s professional affiliations include Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, North American Saxophone Alliance and Missouri Music Educators Association. He also enjoys participating in the Presbyterian College Fellowship and Kirksville K-Life. Upon graduation, he plans to pursue graduate programs in education and jazz studies.