Biography

Dr. Anthony Fesmire

 

Dr. Anthony Fesmire is a versatile guitarist, composer, and music educator based in southern California. He is a Professor of Music, Chair of the Arts and Media programs, and founder of the Jazz Studies program at College of the Desert in Palm Desert, California where he directs the Jazz Band, Jazz Combos, and Jazz Guitar Ensembles, teaches jazz guitar and the full sequence of music theory courses, and coordinates the major program. He holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Berklee College of Music and a Master of Music degree from the University of Southern California, both in guitar performance. He earned his Doctor of Arts degree in music education and music theory from the University of Northern Colorado.  He has additional training in Kodaly methodology, Orff Schulwerk, and Suzuki guitar.  Prior to joining the faculty at College of the Desert, Dr. Fesmire coordinated the music education program at Ohio Wesleyan University where he taught upper division music methods courses and supervised student teachers at all levels K-12 in instrumental, choral, and elementary general music. Other college teaching experience includes work at the University of Northern Colorado, Aims Community College, and the University of La Verne.


Dr. Fesmire is a guitarist with extensive performance experience including release of three albums: Songs Without Words, featuring Hiroyuki Harada on bass, Takehiko Murikami on keyboards, and Chris Yeoman on drums; Sunless City with Outside Pedestrian, featuring David Lockeretz on bass and David Kontesz on drums, with guest artists Dr. Matt Zebley on saxophone and Joe Bagg on Hammond organ; and Outside Pedestrian's latest album, Reclaimed, featuring David Lockeretz on bass and David Oromaner on drums, with guest artists Dr. Kelly Corbin on saxophone and Dr. Reed Gratz on piano.  As a composer, Dr. Fesmire’s work is inseparable from his work as a guitarist.  He draws heavily on the harmonic language of post-bop jazz including modal and non-functional harmony, intervalic melodic writing, and other techniques, counterpoint and other formal music traditions, odd and mixed meter and other advanced rhythmic concepts, and the language of modern jazz improvisation, fused with a solid grasp of jazz, rock, blues, and other contemporary styles.  He draws influence from an eclectic group of performers and composers including John McLaughlin, John Petrucci, Joe Diorio, Joe Satriani, Stravinsky, Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Brahms, Miles Davis, John Coltranne, Bartok, among many others.  He has studied privately with Joe Diorio, John Pisano, Jon Finn, and Bret Willmott. Dr. Fesmire's next album is due to be released in early 2021. ​

In addition to teaching at the collegiate level, Dr. Fesmire has taught high school and middle school for the Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified School District. He has directed student ensembles at festivals throughout the United States including winning superior ratings at the two largest student jazz festivals in the country: the UNC Greeley Jazz Festival and the Berklee College of Music High School Jazz Festival where Palos Verdes Peninsula High School was a top scoring group. In addition, his student jazz ensembles have performed at the California Association for Music Education’s State Conference and the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C. where PVPHS was recognized as a National School of Distinction in the Arts. In addition to his K-12 and college level teaching experience, Dr. Fesmire spent two years as an artist-in-residence for the California Arts in Corrections program where he taught guitar and music theory courses and produced two CDs of music composed and performed by the inmates.  He has released two additional CDs of student performances: Steps, featuring ensembles from the College of the Desert instrumental music program; and Jazz 2004, featuring the jazz bands of Palos Verdes Peninsula High School. In addition, Dr. Fesmire has presented clinics and research at music education conferences in California, Colorado, and Ohio on topics ranging from improving articulation in student jazz ensembles to the historical development of the national standards movement in music education.

​​guitarist, composer, educator