The Studio Jazz Ensemble performs big band arrangements and repertory selections. The Modern Band performs innovative arrangements of jazz standards, selections from the outer limits of the genre, and new original compositions.
Cuong Vu is widely recognized by jazz critics as a leader of a generation of innovative musicians. A truly unique musical voice, Cuong has lent his trumpet playing to a wide range of artists such as Pat Metheny, Laurie Anderson, and David Bowie.
As a youngster, Cuong's intense dedication and love for music led him to a full scholarship at the New England Conservatory of Music where he received his Bachelor of Music in Jazz studies with a distinction in performance. Transitioning from his studies in Boston, he moved to New York in 1994 and began his career actively leading various groups while touring extensively throughout the world. As a leader, Cuong has released eight recordings, each making critics’ lists of the 10 best recordings of their respective years and has received rave reviews from notable publications such as the New York Times, The New Yorker, Harper’s, the Guardian, BBC Music Magazine, JazzTimes and Downbeat. Each record displays how he has carved out a distinctive sonic territory as a trumpet player, blurring all stylistic borders while developing his own compositional aesthetic and sound world.
Awards and honors that Cuong has garnered include grants from the Royalty Research Foundation, the Donald E. Petersen Professorship, ArtistTrust, 4Culture, CityArts and the Colbert Award for Excellence. Cuong is currently associate professor and chair of Jazz Studies at the University of Washington and was awarded the University of Washington's prestigious Distinguished Teacher Award in his third year on faculty. In 2002 and 2006, Cuong was a recipient of the Grammy for Best Contemporary Jazz Album as a member of the Pat Metheny Group. He’s been recognized as one of the top 50 Jazz Artists in an article called “The New Masters” from the British magazine, “Classic CD” and in 2006 was named the Best International Jazz Artist by the Italian Jazz Critics’ Society. Amazon listed Vu’s “Come Play With Me” on their “The 100 Greatest Jazz Albums of All Time.”
Fred Radke joins the School of Music faculty in Fall 2011 as a part-time lecturer in the Jazz Studies program. A well-known big-band conductor and authority on big-band history, Radke directs the University of Washington's big band, the UW Studio Jazz Ensemble.
A professional musician since the age of fifteen, Radke has toured extensively around the world as leader and member of the Harry James Orchestra. He has also performed as lead trumpeter with many other well-known ensembles and performers, including the Glenn Miller Orchestra, the Dick Jergens Orchestra, the Modernaires, Johnny Ray, Ella Fitzgerald, Mel Torme and numerous others.
In addition to his professional career as a trumpeter, conductor, recording artist, compose/arranger, and producer, Radke is a musical clinician and educator who most recently has served as the resident instructor of Jazz Studies at North Seattle Community College.