KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Two University of Tennessee music professors have recently retired after together spending half a century teaching at UT-Knoxville.
Dr. Jerry Coker founded UT-Knoxville’s jazz program which he coordinated for 22 years, and Dr. Stephen Young taught music history for 28 years. Both retired in December.
“The contributions that Dr. Coker and Dr. Young have made to education and to music in general are tremendous,” said Dolly Davis, acting head of the music department. “They have touched the lives of many students and helped bring national recognition to this department.”
Coker started one of the nation’s first college jazz education programs in 1960 at the University of Miami. Noted musicians he has played with include Frank Sinatra, Mel Torme, Della Reese, and Tony Bennett.
In 1994, Coker was inducted into the Jazz Educators Hall of Fame and awarded the UT-Knoxville Chancellor’s Award. Last year, he received the Rodman Townsend Lifetime Achievement Award from the Knoxville Arts Council and a jazz scholarship fund was established in his name at UT.
Coker will continue to teach jazz piano theory and analysis of jazz styles on a part-time basis.
Young has taught a variety of courses on history and appreciation of music from many cultures. He also has worked as musical director for UT’s Clarence Brown Theatre and is a member of the Society for Ethnomusicology and the Pop Culture Association.
Young helped found and direct several musical ensembles and study groups at UT, including the Asian Studies Committee, the New Music Ensemble, and the Latin American Folk Music Ensemble.
Young has conducted several organ workshops, and plays organ at the First Church of Christ Scientists in Knoxville.
Contact: Marcy Snapp (423-974-8935)