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Jazz performer, educator receives WSU alumni award

horace-alexander-youngPULLMAN, Wash. – Horace Alexander Young, chair of contemporary music at Santa Fe University of Art and Design, was honored recently with the Washington State University Alumni Association Alumni Achievement Award in recognition of three decades of professional touring and recording jazz music with top performers worldwide while also teaching privately and at the university level.

His varied experiences as an instrumentalist, vocalist and composer/arranger have led to appearances on more than 80 recordings, several international tours and performances with B.B. King, James Brown, The Temptations, Bill Withers, Anita Baker, Freddy Fender, Dionne Warwick, Huey Lewis and the News, Nancy Wilson and countless others.

Award winner Horace Alexander Young, center, with Tim Pavish, executive director of WSU alumni relations, left, and Greg Yasinitsky, director of the WSU School of Music. (Photo by Shelly Hanks, WSU Photo Services)

Among his most notable achievements was conducting the National Symphony of South Africa in 1993 in a nationally televised concert. He was one of the first people of native African descent to conduct an orchestra in that country and the first African-American.

Young earned a master’s of arts degree in music from WSU in 1983 and returned as an associate professor of music 1998-2008. He developed courses in music business and established internships for WSU students in major music industry companies in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and at the Seattle branch of the Recording Academy, which awards the annual Grammys.

He developed his own record label, Design Records, in 1997 and operated it until 2008, when his recordings were released on the Pacific Coast Jazz label. He has performed at major jazz festivals in Hamburg, Berlin, Munich, London, New York, Detroit, Chicago, Houston and Seattle.

He is the author of “Improvising Jazz Flute” (G. Schirmer Publishers) and of more than 20 articles in magazines and journals like Flute Talk, The American Music Teachers Journal and Gig Magazine. He is frequently called upon as a clinician, guest soloist and adjudicator.

Young is a member of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers; the Music Entertainment Industry Educators Association; the Jazz Education Network; and a life member of the Recording Academy.

The WSUAA Alumni Achievement Award was created in 1970 by the WSUAA Board of Directors to recognize alumni who have given outstanding service to WSU and made contributions to their professions and communities. The award is the highest honor bestowed by the Alumni Association. Of an estimated 250,000 students who have attended WSU, Young is the 531st Alumni Achievement Award recipient.


News media contact:
Christina Parrish, WSU alumni engagement, 509-335-6907,


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