Saxophonist, flutist, clarinetist, and jazz composer Tony Gairo keeps an active calendar of professional performances, engagements, sessions, and shows while maintaining busy teaching studios at Music Forte, Moravian, Muhlenberg, Lafayette and Mercer County Community Colleges. A 22-year member of the Jazz Faculty at Moravian, he has directed Jazz Combo 1 since 1998 and was awarded the T. Edgar Shields Prize for Distinguished Studio Instruction in 2006. He has directed and conducted the Big Band at Muhlenberg since 2009 and is a former Vice President of the Pennsylvania Jazz Collective (2015-18).
A graduate of Temple University (B.M. Jazz Saxophone Performance), Tony performs with some of the best musicians in the industry including Johnny Mathis, Clay Aiken, the Temptations, the Four Tops, Bob Dorough, and Maria Schneider and has appeared on stage with such luminaries as Phil Woods, Natalie Cole, Al Martino, David “Fathead” Newman, and Bud Shank, among others. Voted the 2004 Jazz Musician of the Year – Lehigh Valley (PA) by Pulseweekly Magazine, he has composed more than 120 works for Jazz Orchestra including The Real Book of Gig (2012), a jazz opera, Collaboration (2007), a jazz ballet, The Never-Ending Saga of Elli and Griff (2013), a jazz suite featuring Phil Woods, and an album, Treacherous (2005), on Sea Breeze Jazz Records which was nominated for a Grammy nomination. Mr. Gairo is an alumnus of the prestigious BMI Jazz Composer’s Workshop in New York City (2001-2006) where several of his compositions for Big Band were premiered. He conducted the BMI (NY) Jazz Composer’s Orchestra in concert at Merkin Hall, New York in 2003, 2004, and 2005.
Whether as sideman or leader, Tony gig several nights a week and records in disparate musical settings throughout the Northeast Corridor, primarily in the Lehigh Valley of PA, the Greater Philadelphia region, and Princeton NJ with such ensembles as the Franklin Alison Orchestra, the Rob Stoneback Big Band, Band From Mars (a David Bowie Tribute), the Hoppin’ John Orchestra, Swing Easy, Philadelphia Funk Authority, Marah, duos with pianist/vocalist Lou Lanza and guitarist Jason Wolbach, and his own Cross Current Big Band whose book is comprised entirely of his works for Jazz Orchestra. Tony leads various jazz trios, quartets, and quintets including the Hot 3. He is immensely grateful to have had the good fortune and resilience to have made a career of music and absolutely loves what he does for a living.