June 05, 2013 — Coral Gables — Award winning pianist, composer, improviser and educator JB Floyd retires from the University of Miami Frost School of Music after 32 years as professor and chair of the Department of Keyboard Performance. During his career he spent 64 years working in higher education.
Floyd reflects, “My legacy includes the creation of several important positions in the keyboard performance department including a full-time piano technician, program directors of the accompanying program and of piano pedagogy. I focused on expanding the students’ international experience by developing alliances with performance organizations in France and Italy. I’ve also influenced the elimination of 16 credits assigned to the DMA dissertation so students may instead choose a minor area of concentration.”
Another proud accomplishment, among many, is related to the pianos in the Foster Building. Not only did he establish a policy in 1981 to supply air conditioning to the Foster Building on weekends, but he also successfully negotiated a program between UM and the Yamaha Corporation to provide pianos for the School’s studios and practice rooms. Prior to his leadership the A/C was cut off from midnight on Fridays until 8 AM on Mondays and unfortunately Miami’s heat and humidity destroyed the pianos.
Floyd considers his ten concerts in New York City to be the most satisfying moments of his performing career. His love for performing and composing new music include works for piano/Disklavier and computer assisted electronic instruments. He made his debut at a recital at Town Hall. Subsequent concerts included premieres of work by new music composers Subotnick, Rosenboom, Erb, and many others including his own work. In 2011, he performed only his compositions written for Yamaha Disklavier at Roulette and he currently has 6 CDs on I-Tunes and Amazon. He also frequently plays two-piano improvisational concerts with David Rosenboom throughout North America and Europe.
His long list of awards and accomplishments includes a Fulbright, a Ford Foundation Contemporary Music Residency and four National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) grants. He credits his wonderfully gifted students many of whom he is proud to say are leading successful careers and fulfilling lives as established faculty and concert artists in Europe, Asia, South America and the US. He’s especially proud to have made them aware of the music of living composers.
He has been particularly delighted to be associated with many distinguished Frost School of Music colleagues and to be accepted as an unofficial member of the Studio Jazz and Music Theory/Composition departments. He credits the faculty for their stimulation and encouragement that has added many years of professional pleasure and satisfaction to his life.
Floyd is looking forward to the next phase of his career. “I want to be free of day-to-day teaching and travel more after I retire. I plan to continue composing, studying new scores and enjoying the musical activities offered by the Frost School of Music.”
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