Gadsden State Community College hires new music director


When you walk into the classroom wing of Wallace Hall at 11 a.m. during the week, the music emanating from the band room will delight you and most likely cause your feet to move with the beat.  There is a strong resemblance to New Orleans jazz that is currently filling the hall and inspiring the students.  The man responsible for this upbeat music is Matt Leder, the new music director at Gadsden State.

Prior to this appointment, Leder served on the faculties of Brown University, Community College of Rhode Island, University of Colorado at Denver, Northern New Mexico College, St. George’s School, Blue Lake Fine Art Music Camp, and is frequently requested as a guest artist/clinician throughout the United States. Leder served over eight years as an active duty Navy Musician and four years in the Air Force music program. 

He is currently a doctoral candidate in music education at the University of Northern Colorado. He holds a master’s of music in Jazz studies from the University of New Orleans and a bachelor’s degree in Jazz Performance from East Carolina University. While at the University of New Orleans, he was a member of the acclaimed Louis Armstrong Quintet. Leder has studied with Ellis Marsalis, Terence Blanchard, Irvin Mayfield, Clyde Kerr, and many others. 

Leder has a wide variety of experiences including selection into the International Association of Jazz Educators All Star Collegiate Big Band, performances at Carnegie Hall, Birdland, Symphony Hall (Boston, MA), a theater stint in Myrtle Beach (shows with Steve Gatlin and stars of the Lawrence Welk Show), a national tour with “In the Mood Live”, and has performed in supporting ensembles for Bob Mintzer, Benny Green, Melton Mustafa, Nicholas Payton, and Ellis Marsalis. He presented research at the 2014 Jazz Educators International Jazz Conference and has been recognized in a variety of publications including Downbeat, All Hands, and ITG Journal.

He is passionate about entertaining audiences and is currently planning a concert in the Wallace Hall Fine Arts Center on November 13 to showcase his student’s accomplishments. The entertainment will include a wide range of musical genres, from the best in contemporary and classic big band music to current popular hits. The concert will also include some wonderful Christmas music. The public is invited to enjoy the concert which begins at 7 p.m. There is no admission fee and the concert is a family friendly show.

Other concerts are planned for Spring Semester 2015, which will include “Katrina, Katrina,” a multimedia concert of traditional and modern New Orleans music featuring area music professors, on February 7 and “An Evening of Fine Arts” featuring the Gadsden State Show Band, Singers, and Southern Belles on April 16. 

When asked about his vision for the future of the music program at Gadsden State Leder said, “The Music Program at Gadsden State College will provide a quality education while maintaining community outreach, collegiate activities, and public performances. I am happy to be back in the south and working with the talented students at Gadsden State.”  In addition to directing the show band he is currently teaching 12 applied music students and plans to teach additional classes such as jazz and music appreciation courses.  Leder is also hoping to host an honor band festival for area music students next year.   

For more information about the program or scholarship auditions contact Matt Leder at 256-549-8394 or

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