Todd Hill


Todd Hill

Todd Hill

Director of Jazz Studies


  • DE, Boise State University

  • MME, Murray State University

  • BM, Murray State University


  • Jazz Studies

  • Jazz History


Dr. Todd E. Hill is Professor of Music and Director of Jazz Studies at Murray State University in Murray, Kentucky. In his thirty-seventh year of teaching, he directs the MSU Jazz Orchestra, Jazz Band, Jazz Combos, and teaches the courses Music in a Historical Context, History & Analysis of American Popular Music, Honors College Jazz History, and Music Education courses. Under his leadership since 2006, the MSU Jazz Orchestra has played at numerous state conferences, won “Outstanding Big Band Performance” through regular appearances at the famed Elmhurst College Jazz Festival, and performed at the prestigious Mid-West International Band Clinic. This spring the MSU Jazz Orchestra will make its unprecedented fifth appearance at the 2022 KMEA Conference in Louisville. The group presently has five albums available for purchase or streaming on all major platforms. Dr. Hill founded both the MSU Jamey Aebersold Jazz Festival (2007) and the MSU Town & Gown Community Band (2012) which he directed for ten years before stepping down to play his euphonium and trombone. He holds Bachelor and Master of Music Education degrees from Murray State University and the Doctor of Education (EdD) in Curriculum and Instruction (Music Education and School Reform) from Boise State University. Hill has been active as guest clinician and conductor for regional and all-state concert and jazz bands in Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Illinois, Arkansas, Missouri, Ohio, Idaho, Indiana, Washington, Montana, Oregon, and Nevada. 

Dr. Hill has led his own professional jazz groups (The Todd Hill Orchestra and Quintet) throughout the Midwest and the South for forty years. As a free-lance pianist, he has performed with Doc Severinsen, Bob Hope, Frank Sinatra, Jr., Gary Morris, Denise LaSalle, Stella Parton, The Moody Blues, Byron Stripling, Allen Vizzutti, Chris Vadala, Ron Wilkins, Jamey Aebersold, Denis DiBlasio, Buddy Childers, Greg Abate, Rich Matteson, and the Paducah (KY) and Jackson (TN) Symphony Orchestras. He held previous positions at Milan (TN) Middle and High Schools, Northwest Mississippi Community College, Boise State University, and the University of the Cumberlands. His compositions and arrangements for tuba-euphonium ensemble and trombone choir are published by Cimarron Music. His arrangements for jazz band are published by Walrus Music through eJazzLines. In addition to numerous album appearances as pianist/arranger in a variety of genres, he has recorded a solo gospel piano CD, and three jazz CD releases with his Quintet and Orchestra under his own name.

Dr. Hill was honored by the Kentucky Music Educators Association as “2016 College-University Teacher of the Year." He was awarded “College/University Music Educator of the Year” and "Friend of Music" five times by multiple KMEA Districts, served for four years on KMEA’s Executive Board, and was named outstanding member of the MSU Music Faculty in 2015. He frequently presents clinics at jazz festivals and music education conferences. Dr. Hill authored an article on jazz pedagogy for The Instrumentalist magazine, and his writings on the subject of jazz education are referenced in instrumental music education textbooks. He serves as a jazz radio host of Café Jazz for WKMS 91.3, and has authored and produced several special series including Diggin’ Duke, Benny Goodman, The Swing Era, and researched and expanded Bobby Bryan’s original 13 shows of The Black Cats Jump to more than 100 one-hour episodes featuring historic recordings of African-American musicians during the big band era. Dr. Hill is a member of ASCAP, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, Sigma Alpha Iota (Friend of the Arts), Phi Beta Mu, Kappa Kappa Psi, NAfME, KMEA, ITEA, JEN, and the CBDNA. He is the Director of the Chancel Choir and Traditional Worship at First United Methodist Church in Murray, Kentucky.

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