JazzFest History

William Woods

Awarded: 2017
Born: Gadsen, Alabama

"My students have performed in Europe and Japan and have received standing ovations."

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Bill Woods is legendary at the Cleveland School of the Arts for producing over three decades of consistently outstanding vocal ensembles. When he arrived at the Cleveland School of the Arts in 1983, he organized a small madrigal ensemble, naming it The Meistersingers. Quickly realizing the group was capable of learning a wide variety of musical styles, he introduced them to jazz. They were so good, he renamed them The JazzArt Ensemble.

Born in Alabama, Bill started playing music at the age of seven. He majored in organ, studying at Tennessee State University, Fisk University and completing a doctorate at Case Western Reserve University. Along with Wendell Logan, Greg Bandy and Kenny Davis, Bill was a founding faculty member of Tri-C’s preparatory jazz program.