An accomplished trombonist, Michael Nearpass maintains an active performance schedule in the Chicago area, where he appears with a wide range of ensembles spanning genres from jazz and classical music to pop and funk. He was a Ravinia Jazz Fellow and participated in the Stean’s Music Institute.

As a composer, Michael writes for his own group, the Michael Nearpass Medium Ensemble, as well as for other school and professional ensembles. A number of his works for large jazz ensemble are published through the University of Northern Colorado Jazz Press. Michael has been a finalist for the ASCAP Young Jazz Composers Award and his compositions have been recognized in DownBeat Magazine’s Student Music Awards.

As an educator, Michael is an Education and Artist Development Associate at the Jazz Institute of Chicago and co-leads their Jazz Ambassadors program. He is a composition instructor at Harold Washington College, and teaches music theory at the Merit School of Music.

Michael worked as an Associate Instructor while getting his Master’s degree at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music after earning a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is fortunate to count Jim Pugh, David Baker, Brent Wallarab, Michael Spiro, John Spicknall, and Randy Mitchell among his mentors.


Michael is an active educator and clinician. He is experienced working with beginning and intermediate students of all ages and is comfortable helping with trombone and brass fundamentals, improvisation, and composition.

He works as an Education and Artist Development Associate at the Jazz Institute of Chicago and co-leads their Jazz Ambassadors ensemble. He also teaches music theory and composition at Harold Washington College and the Merit School of Music. Michael has been an adjudicator for the Bloomington Jazz Festival, the Purdue Jazz Festival, and for the Indiana State School Music Association's Jazz Festival and Solo and Ensemble contest.

As an Associate Instructor at the Jacobs School of Music, Michael led lectures in jazz history, composition, and improvisation. He ran rehearsals for the Latin Jazz Ensemble and for various other large and small jazz groups.

Michael's background and teaching style comes from his close work with David Baker, Michael Spiro, Brent Wallarab, Jim Pugh, and David Nearpass.


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