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Memphis Composers

Memphis area composers, including current and former faculty, students, community members.


Dr. David Deacon-Joyner is Professor and Director of Jazz Studies at Pacific Lutheran University. He received a Bachelors degree in composition and a Ph.D. in ethnomusicology from the University of Memphis, and a master’s degree in composition from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. Deacon-Joyner is a native of Memphis, Tennessee and was mentored by jazz piano great James Williams. He studied composition with Donald Freund and Jonathan Kramer, and ethnomusicology with David Evans. Deacon-Joyner came to western Washington from the University of North Texas in Denton, where he held the position of Associate Professor of Jazz Studies from 1986 to 2000.

Deacon-Joyner has served as a clinician and adjudicator at festivals and workshops in Tennessee, Alabama, Texas, Ohio, Oregon, Nevada, California, New Mexico, Idaho, and Washington. He was the lead instructor for the Great Basin Jazz Camp from 2008-2012, and is a member of the steering committee for The Seattle Jazz Experience. A scholar in jazz and popular music, he has written numerous published articles and books, including a chapter for The Cambridge History of American Music and the third edition of his history text American Popular Music, published by McGraw-Hill. He has free-lanced for over thirty years in the Memphis, Cincinnati, and Dallas/Fort Worth areas. He has performed with jazz artists such as Bobby Shew, Marvin Stamm, Marc Johnson, Ed Soph, and others. He arranged big band charts for Jeff Coffin, saxophonist with Bela Fleck and the Flecktones and the Jeff Coffin Mu’tet, published by UNC Press. He has also composed works for choir, orchestra, and wind ensemble. In addition to his work as a composer and arranger, Deacon-Joyner is a professional vocalist in both studio and live settings. 


Concerto for Jazz Band score

Southern Ragtime and its Transition to Published Blues dissertation