Kirk Garrison

Kirk Garrison, Elmhurst University

Kirk Garrison

Director of the Elmhurst University Jazz Band; Director of Jazz Combos
Department of Music

A veteran of the Chicago jazz scene, trumpeter/arranger Kirk Garrison attended college in his home state of Minnesota before serving in the United States Air Force Band at Maxwell AFB AL, and Offutt AFB Omaha NE. After leaving the Air Force in 1992, he completed his master’s degree in Jazz Studies at DePaul University. Kirk is Director of Jazz Studies at Elmhurst University. He stepped into the position after longtime faculty member Doug Beach’s retirement in 2021. He served as an adjunct professor at Elmhurst University (2014-2021), Concordia University Chicago (1995-2021) and DePaul University (2000-2014). Kirk remains active as a performer, composer, teacher and arranger in the Chicago area. He has received commissions from DePaul University, the Chicago String Ensemble, and the Millar Brass Ensemble at Northwestern University.

A member of the Lt. Dan Band featuring actor Gary Sinise since 2005, Kirk performs for scores of active-duty military members, veterans and their families, including many charity organizations for disabled veterans. The band has toured extensively in the United States, Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

Kirk has appeared with Louie Bellson, Tony Bennett, Kenny Burrell, Dave Brubeck, Ron Carter, Bill Champlin, Brett Eldridge, Jon Faddis, Aretha Franklin, Marvin Hamlisch, Herbie Hancock, Bob Hope, Kevin Mahogany, Tom “Bones” Malone, Frank Mantooth, “Blue Lou” Marini, Johnny Mathis, Lady Gaga, Rita Moreno, Don Rickles, Dianne Schuur, Danny Seraphine, Ed Shaughnessy, Frank Sinatra, Jr., Clark Terry, Frank Wess, Joe Williams, Nancy Wilson, and Phil Woods.

Other performance credits include the International Music Festival in Hue, Vietnam, the Ravinia Music Festival, the Chicago Blues Festival, Chicago Jazz Festival and numerous other venues throughout the country.

Kirk also performs as a guest soloist and clinician/adjudicator at middle schools, high schools and colleges throughout the country. He is a Schilke artist and plays their B5 trumpet XA1 Cornet and 1040FL flugelhorn. Kirk uses Denis Wick precision mutes and mouthpieces and is a Denis Wick performing artist. Products and sponsorship provided by DANSR, Inc. the North American importer for Denis Wick. He also endorses AMT microphones and uses the AMT P800W.

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