Past Guest Artists and Clinicians | University of Portland

Past Guest Artists and Clinicians

2023 Guest Artist: Liam Teague

Teague Jazz Festival 2023

The guest artist for the 2023 UP Jazz Festival was steelpan virtuoso Liam Teague!

Liam Teague is Professor of Music and Director of Steelpan Studies at Northern Illinois University (NIU), where he also leads the renowned NIU Steelband. Teague is the recipient of an NIU Board of Trustees Professorship Award (2022) and a Presidential Research, Scholarship and Artistry Professor Award (2018).

Hailed as the “Paganini of the Steelpan”, his commitment to demonstrating the great musical possibilities of the steelpan has taken him to throughout the world, and he has received many awards from his homeland of Trinidad and Tobago, including the Hummingbird National Award (Silver) and the Ansa McAl Caribbean Award for Excellence.

Teague has won several notable competitions such as the Trinidad and Tobago National Steelband Festival Solo Championship and the Saint Louis Symphony Volunteers Association Young Artist Competition. He has also performed with many diverse ensembles which include National Symphony Orchestra, Taiwan National Symphony, Czech National Symphony, Saint Louis Symphony, Panama National Symphony, Chicago Sinfonietta, Vermeer String Quartet, Avalon String Quartet, Hannaford Street Silver Brass Ensemble, Nexus, Dartmouth Wind Ensemble, Indiana University Symphonic Band, University of Wisconsin-Madison Marching Band, Nutrien Silver Stars Steel Orchestra, and the BpTT Renegades Steel Orchestra.

Teague has appeared in concert with Grammy-Award winning musicians Paquito D’Rivera, Dave Samuels, Zakir Hussain and Dame Evelyn Glennie, and has regularly collaborated with NIU colleagues Robert Chappell(multi-instrumentalist) and Faye Seeman(harp) with whom he co-founded the steelpan and harp duo Pangelic

He has also presented and performed at several Percussive Arts Society International Conventions (PASIC) and educational institutions across the globe. Liam Teague has served as an adjudicator for many events including the International Pan Ramajay Competition and Virginia Arts Festival- PANorama Caribbean Music Festival.

Many of his compositions and arrangements are published with MaumauMusic, PanPress, RamajayMusic, Wendeln Music Works, and he has commissioned outstanding composers to write for the steelpan, including Michael Colgrass, Jan Bach, Libby Larsen, Andy Akiho, Deborah Fisher Teason, Joey Sellers, Ben Wahlund, Erik Ross, Kevin Bobo, David Gordon, Robert Chappell, Geof Bradfield, Casey Cangelosi, Gustavo Leone, Victor Provost, Etienne Charles, James Gourlay, and Reggie Thomas.

He is steelband director at Birch Creek Music Performance Center in Door County, Wisconsin, and has also taught and performed at the California State University Summer Arts Camp and at the Interlochen Academy for the Performing Arts.

Teague is also the author of a steelpan method for beginners published by the Hal Leonard Corporation, the world’s largest publisher of print music.

Liam Teague has created arrangements for Panorama, the most celebrated steelband competition in the world, for Nutrien Silver Stars Steel Orchestra, Harvard Harps Steel Orchestra, Starlift Steel orchestra, and Skiffle Steel Orchestra. He has many recordings to his credit, including Hands Like Lightning, For Lack of Better Words, Panoramic: Rhythm Through an Unobstructed View and Open Window.

2023 Clinician: Briana Harris

Picture of Briana Harris

Briana Harris is a musician, artist manager, and entrepreneur with a focus on empowering creatives to do their best work. A versatile creator and collaborator, Bri has credits as a saxophonist, singer, songwriter, producer, arranger, and composer. Her debut album as a solo artist, When We’re Found, contains 10 original songs that explore personal stories and venture through an eclectic set of style and genre influences.

A saxophonist by trade, Briana is a performing member, manager, and co-owner of The Burroughs, a Colorado-based original funk and soul band. As a performer, recording artist and composer, Briana’s credits include performances with The O'Jays, Colorado Jazz Repertory Orchestra, and Annie Booth; recordings with the David Caffey Jazz Orchestra, the Spencer Zweifel Quintet, Socrates Garcia Latin Jazz Orchestra, and Art Deco; and original music composed for Octave Records and KUNC radio's Colorado Edition program. 

Briana runs Harris Artist Management, a full-service management roster serving public visual artists. She is an in-demand clinician and educator with expertise in jazz performance and improvisation, music business, and arts administration. Briana is a voting member of the Recording Academy.

2023 Clinician: Kate Skinner

Picture of Kate Skinner

Jazz pianist and vocalist Kate Skinner maintains an active performing, composing, and teaching career in the western United States. A native of Ogden, Utah, Skinner pulls influences from the bluegrass and classical roots of her childhood into both her songwriting and performing as a jazz musician. In her teenage and college years, Kate delved into R&B, funk, and hip hop, genres that also continually find their way into her musical explorations helping to create her own unique voice. Part of this unique voice is an obsession with alternative keyboard instruments and a study of the great keyboardists of jazz, rock, and funk. 

As a pianist, Skinner is in demand in a variety of performance styles and has performed with the Downbeat-award-winning jazz band from the University of Northern Colorado, Jazz Lab Band I, among many other established large and small jazz ensembles. Her work as a vocalist has seen much success among a wide audience of listeners across genres. Kate’s compositions and playing have won multiple awards, including a Downbeat award for Outstanding Vocal Performance and a Jazz Education Network award for composition. Kate believes that the pursuit of honest and creative projects is the lifeblood of any artist and she strives to continually push herself and widen her scope to new influences and excitements.

Skinner is currently Assistant Professor of Jazz Piano at the University of Idaho in Moscow, Idaho, where she directs Jazz Band II and teaches multiple courses in jazz studies. She holds M.M. and D.A. degrees in Jazz Studies from the University of Northern Colorado.

2022 Guest Artist: Dr. Caroline Davis

image of Caroline Davis sitting down surrounded by plants

The 2022 Jazz Festival's guest artist was Brooklyn-based saxophonist and composer Caroline Davis, winner of the 2018 Downbeat Critic’s Poll “Rising Star” category for alto saxophone. She presented concerts with the UP Jazz Ensemble on Wednesday, April 13 at 6:00pm and Thursday, April 14 at 11:15am. She also gave master classes on the 13th at 12:30 pm and the 14th at 10:00am and performed with the UP Jazz Faculty each day of the Festival. More information on Dr. Davis can be found on her website:

Adjudicators and clinicians for this year's Festival were Dan Davey, Susie Jones, Joe Manis, and Ryan Meagher.

2019 Guest Artist: Charles McPherson

Charles McPherson with saxophone

Legendary saxophonist Charles McPherson presented concerts with the UP Jazz Ensemble on Wednesday, April 17 at 6:00pm and Thursday, April 18 at 11:30am. He also gave master classes on Wednesday, April 17 at 12:30pm and on Thursday, April 18 at 10:15am. Mr. McPherson joined the UP Jazz Festival after recent performances at Lincoln Center (New York) and the Kennedy Center (Washington, D.C.). More information on Charles McPherson can be found on his website:

Adjudicators and clinicians for this year's festival were Dan Davey, Susie Jones, Joe Manis, and Cassio Vianna.