Antonio Underwood has invested time, effort, and life in promoting the one thing that he feels strongly about – jazz music.
He is a music scholar who values curriculum diversity and interdisciplinary methods of approaching the world’s problems. In his 30 years of playing music, Antonio has culminated a long list of achievements that have helped him earn a respectable name as an expert tuba player.
While participating alongside various luminaries in Jazz and Classical music as a young aspiring musician in NYC, Antonio was particularly fascinated by the sound of the tuba – which is largely ignored as a solo instrument. He was willing to follow his passion and take the path less taken, which turned out to be the best decision of his life. The release of Antonio’s groundbreaking tuba CD, Tuba Mirum, set the standard for solo tuba around the US/World.
Antonio’s long list of academic achievements has been an encouraging factor as he believes it motivated him to further pursue his passion and love for music, even across the borders. He was the first African-American to become a George Lucas Scholar in the Scoring for Motion Pictures and Television program at the University of Southern California. He is also amongst the first few African-Americans given the Yale School of Music Alumni Prize for outstanding contribution to the Yale community. Yale University also awarded him African-American Cultural Center Award for his contribution to the African-American community and unanimously selected a Delegate of the School of Music this past year.
Antonio is also the proud receiver of a Grammy Award with the McCoy Tyner All-Star Big Band. Throughout his career as a musician, composer, and producer, Antonio has been awarded for his skills and efforts in promoting the musical instruments that many believed were not popular anymore.
Antonio hadn’t yet graduated when he took the plunge of creating his own music label. For the past 18 years, Antonio has been scaling Tone East Music LLC, where he professionally composes and produces recorded music. Tone East Music is a trademark multi-faceted music and education production company. It has contributed to the art through compositions, arrangements, orchestrations, performances, lyrical writings, and educational concepts of multi-styles.
The notable jazz musician was selected for the prestigious Fulbright Scholar program in 2015 and taught at the Academy of Arts in Novi Sad, Serbia. He held a series of free workshops on jazz music while researching the influence of traditional and contemporary jazz music on Serbian culture. He recently received a Fulbright recommendation from the Dean of Music of the International University of Sarajevo in Bosnia I Herzegovina also.
Today, Antonio is working hard to use his skills as a musician and his knowledge as a scholar to contribute to music education and to the development of the Jazz music practicum. He is raising funds to develop workshops and camps in Bosnia i Herzegovina, Montenegro, and Serbia. The goal is to continue exchanging knowledge of jazz music with the cultural, historical, and socio-political aspects of life in the African American community that created this art form.