Dr. Bert Konowitz is a Professor of Music at Teachers College, Columbia University, where he teaches courses in Jazz Improvisation. He is the founder, conductor and pianist of Spirit, the Teachers College, Columbia University improvisational arts ensemble.
Dr. Konowitz's pioneering work in improvisation is reflected in his many publications that are used around the world, including texts, compositions, and teaching guides for piano/keyboard, chorus, orchestra, and classroom activity. He has taught at every level of the public school system, as well as serving as a Director of Music for several private and public schools.
His work in jazz and improvisation as a pianist, composer, teacher, and conductor continues to attract widespread attention. Dr. Konowitz has been invited on numerous occasions to write essays, present seminars, and compose new literature at the state, national, and world levels. He was commissioned by the New York State Department of Education to write a new curriculum, Music in American Society, and has contributed jazz/rock sections to the New York State Department of Education middle school curriculum.
His publications for Alfred Music Publishing, including his Jazz/Rock series and the Teach Yourself series, reflect his focus on connecting traditional teaching and performance with jazz teaching and performance. Some of these works have been translated and published in Chinese and German. Dr. Konowitz continues to be very active presenting workshops and performances focusing on jazz and improvisation in Europe, Asia and the United States.
In addition to receiving many honors, including a National Endowment for the Arts Award for his compositions and awards from the American Society of Composers, Arrangers and Publishers (ASCAP), Dr. Konowitz was elected Distinguished Alumna of the Year by Teachers College, Columbia University. He is the founder and Artistic Director of the Lawrence Philharmonic (New York), for which he received New York State Council of the Arts awards and several Leonard Bernstein Education Through the Arts awards.