Dr. Willie Hill is Director of the Fine Arts Center at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and a Professor in Music Education.
He received his B.S. degree from Grambling State University and earned M.M. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Colorado-Boulder.
Dr. Hill was a Professor in Music Education, and the Assistant Dean at the College of Music at the University of Colorado-Boulder for eleven years; and, Director of Education for the Thelonious Monk Institute in Los Angeles, California. Prior to his tenure at the University of Colorado, Hill taught instrumental music for 16 years and served as instrumental music supervisor for four years in the Denver Public Schools (DPS).
His professional activities in the Denver/Metro area included the following: a former member of the Denver Broncos Jazz Ensemble, a regular performer at the Denver Auditorium Theater, Paramount Theater, Boettcher Concert Hall and a variety of nightclubs; guest soloist with the Garden City Community College, Hastings College, the University of Colorado, and the University of Denver Jazz Ensembles; a freelance performer with George Burns, Liza Minneli, Lena Horne, Lou Rawls, Ben Vareen, Lola Falana, Johnny Mathis, Sammy Davis Jr., Dizzy Gillespie, James Moody, Jon Faddis, and many others.
As a woodwind specialist, he has been a faculty member of the Clark Terry Great Plains Jazz Camp; Founder and Co-Director of the Rich Matteson-Telluride Jazz Academy, and Founder of the Mile High Jazz Camp in Boulder, CO. The Colorado Clarinet Choir was chosen to represent the United States in London, England (1984) at the International Clarinet Symposium and Dr. Hill was a member of that touring organization. His conducting experiences include numerous Citywide Honor performances, All-State Jazz Ensembles, All-County Bands, Musical Director at The Schwayder and Bonfils Theaters.
He is currently Past-President of MENC: The National Association for Music Education (MENC); Past-President of the International Association for Jazz Education (IAJE); a member of the writing team for MENC’s Vision 2020; a member of the national board of directors for Young Audiences, Inc.; and is Past-President of the Colorado Music Educators Association, and Pi Kappa Lambda National Music Honor Society. In January, 2001 Dr. Hill was the recipient of the prestigious Lawrence Berk Leadership Award presented by the International Association for Jazz Education. In 1998, he was inducted into the Colorado Music Educators Hall of Fame. A national artist/clinician for Yamaha Musical Instrument Company, he is co-author of Learning to Sight-Read Jazz, Rock, Latin, and Classical Styles (Ardsley House Publication), the author of The Instrumental History of Jazz (N2K, Inc.), Approaching the Standards (Warner Brothers Publication, 1999); and Jazz Pedagogy: The Jazz Educator’s Handbook and Resource Guide (Warner Brothers Publication, 2002).
Hill is listed in the first edition of Who’s Who among Black Americans, Who’s Who among International Musicians and is a 2003 Lowell Mason Fellow.