Brian Q. Torff named Fairfield Arts Council's 2008 Artist of the Year

Brian Q. Torff named Fairfield Arts Council's 2008 Artist of the Year

Fairfield University director of jazz combines performance and teaching careers

Brian Q. Torff, a Fairfield University music professor and renowned bassist and composer, who throughout his professional career has played with such jazz greats as George Shearing, Erroll Garner and Marian McPartland and performed at venues from Carnegie Hall and the Tonight Show to the White House, has been singled out to be the Fairfield Arts Council's 2008 Artist of the Year.

The Annual Gala event will take place on Saturday evening, October 25, at 7:30 p.m. at the Fairfield Theatre Company at 70 Sanford Street in downtown Fairfield. New this year is the selection of a Patron of the Year, Bob Scinto, a Shelton-based developer, who is being honored for his sustained support and love of the arts. Serving as honorary chair of the event is Jeffrey von Arx, S.J., Fairfield University president; and chair of the event is Martha LoMonaco, director of the Theatre Program at Fairfield University.

Torff, a featured bass soloist who leads his own trio, is the musical director for the Django Reinhardt New York Festival which has appeared at Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center and Birdland in New York City. Torff also performs in jazz festivals around the country and appeared at Carnegie Hall for Fiddle Fest with Mark O'Connor, Dave Grusin, Regina Carter, Yo Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman and Pinchus Zukerman. Earlier in his career he was a co-chair of the music advisory board for the National Endowment for the Arts.

Torff's written scores have been performed by the Boston Pops, Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the Pittsburgh Symphony, and he has appeared as conductor, composer, and clinician for numerous high school and college jazz festivals. He is a published writer on music and musicians and founded and directs the Summer Jazz Workshop at Fairfield University.

While living in Paris earlier this year, Torff wrote his book, In Love With Voices: A Jazz Memoir , which will be published by iUniverse and is expected out in time for the holidays. Torff is listed in the Groves Dictionary of Jazz and has been featured in the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Downbeat Magazine, Jazz Times , and many other music publications.

The Artist of the Year Award is presented to an artist in the visual, performing, or literary arts who has made a significant contribution to his or her field and has demonstrated artistic excellence at the highest level. Twenty-eight other artists have been honored since 1976.

The program includes a special concert, led by Torff, at Fairfield Theatre Company's Stage One, followed by a reception of elegant food and drink. Ticket prices are $75. and $150. and may be purchased through the Fairfield Theatre Company box office at 70 Sanford St., by calling 259-1036 or going to the website

Posted On: 10-16-2008 10:10 AM

Volume: 41 Number: 94