Ronald C. McCurdy


  • Program:
    Jazz Studies
  • Division:
    Contemporary Music
  • Instrument:


Ronald C. McCurdy is a professor of music at the USC Thornton School of Music and serves as past president of the International Association for Jazz Education (IAJE). Prior to his appointment at USC, he served as director of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz at USC. He has served as professor of music and chair of the Afro-African American studies department and served as director of jazz studies at the University of Minnesota. He received his undergraduate degree from Florida A&M University and his master’s and PhD degrees from the University of Kansas. In 2001, McCurdy received the Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Kansas.

McCurdy released his first CD titled Once Again for the First Time on the INNOVA label and is co-author of a vocal jazz improvisation series titled Approaching the Standards, published by Warner Bros., and Meet the Great Jazz Legend, published by Alfred. He is currently touring The Langston Hughes Project, Ask Your Mama: 12 Moods for Jazz. The multimedia presentation features a jazz quartet, spoken-word performance and images from the Harlem Renaissance. McCurdy is in demand as a guest clinician, soloist, speaker, director of honor jazz ensembles and choirs.

McCurdy is a consultant to the GRAMMY Foundation educational programs, including serving as director of the Grammy Jazz Choir and Combo. He served as director of the Walt Disney All-American Summer College Jazz Ensemble and Jazz Singers in Orlando, Florida, for seven years and continues to serve as a consultant for the college program. He has also served as a member of the Jamey Aebersold Jazz Camp faculty. McCurdy is a performing artist for the Yamaha International Corporation.

Professional experience

Career Highlights:

  • Served as president of the International Association for Jazz Education 2000-2002
  • Released CD Once Again for the First Time on INNOVA Records
  • Meet the Great Jazz Legends (Alfred 2004); Approaching the Standards (Warner Bros.)
  • Toured Langston Hughes Project (USA)

Honors, Awards & Competitions:

  • Jazz Educator of the Year 2005 (LA Jazz Society)
  • Distinguished Alumni, University of Kansas (2001)


  • Once Again for the First Time, INNOVA Records, 2002


  • Once Again for the First Time
  • Madeleine’s Lullaby
  • And Your Point Would Be….?

Research Interests:

  • African and African American Culture and Music
  • Jazz Composition


  • Meet the Great Jazz Legends, Alfred Publishing, 2004
  • Approaching the Standards, Warner Bros., 2000

Academic degrees

  • PhD, University of Kansas, 1983
  • MM, University of Kansas, 1978
  • BM, Florida A&M University, 1976

Studied with:

David Baker, Jamey Aebersold, Willie Thomas, John McNeil