Mike Conrad is a composer and improviser currently serving as Assistant Professor of Jazz Studies at the University of Northern Iowa. His compositions have earned him four ASCAP Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composer Awards, a SONIC Award from the International Society of Jazz Arrangers & Composers, the 2023 Sammy Nestico Award, and many other accolades. Conrad’s music has been performed all over the world, including a 2017 concert by the Metropole Orkest in the Netherlands, a 2014 Carnegie Hall Premiere, and a performance at the US Presidential Inauguration in 2013.
Mike Conrad’s wide-ranging creative projects include his unique 15-piece group, the All Angles Orchestra (New Angle, 2017), the Iowa Jazz Composers Orchestra (Fertile Soil Suite, 2021), a reimagination of Beethoven’s 3rd symphony in collaboration with the Berlin-based Stegreif Orchester (2019), and a 2022 trio album release entitled Reconnect. He records and performs regionally on piano and trombone with groups like Christopher Merz’s “Shorter Stories,” the Jon Ailabouni Quintet, Bob Washut’s “Emeritet,” and the Max Wellman Big Band, and has also performed and recorded with musician such as Louis Hayes, Alexa Tarantino, and Greg Gisbert. His jazz festival appearances include the Umbria Jazz Festival, the Rochester International Jazz Festival, the Rockport Jazz Festival, the Twin Cities Jazz Festival, and the Iowa City Jazz Festival.
Dr. Conrad earned degrees from the University Northern Iowa (BM and BME), the Eastman School of Music (MM), and the University of Northern Colorado (DA). He is in high demand as a clinician and guest director for jazz ensembles, having directed the Iowa All-State Jazz Band (4A) in 2023. Mike lives in Cedar Falls, Iowa with his wife Ashley and their daughter Madeline.