Music school welcomes new jazz guitar faculty member

New instructor says he enjoys watching students progress, pursue the arts as careers more often



Gabriel Condon, instructor of classical and jazz guitar, plays a song for his students at the beginning of his Music 120 class September. 2019 morning in Kimbrough 115.

EMMA LEDBETTER, Evergreen reporter

The WSU School of Music welcomed one of its newest classical and jazz guitar faculty members this semester.

Gabe Condon will start in August.

“Everybody has just been very welcoming and I really like the community that’s in the [WSU] School of Music,” Condon said.

Condon grew up in Penfield, New York, where he first discovered his love of music. The area of upstate New York where he comes from has a vibrant music scene and he believes he was fortunate to grow up in a community with many great musicians, he said.

He began studying music when he was in second grade, Condon said, when he started taking Suzuki violin lessons at his public school.

“I had a great experience in the public schools in Penfield,” he said. “My middle school band director became a big mentor of mine and he gave me my first jazz album.”

Condon’s middle school band director also connected him with the guitar professor at the Eastman School of Music, where Condon later got his bachelor’s degree in jazz and contemporary media.

While he was in college, Condon was part of the National YoungArts Foundation, where he worked with high-level jazz performers and other musicians, he said.

“Getting to work with all those other young artists in different disciplines was really influential,” Condon said. “Seeing other students that were planning to pursue arts as a career really encouraged me to also think it was possible.”

Condon taught as a lecturer of jazz studies at Ithaca College for two years before coming to work at WSU.

“[Condon] is very eager to find out how the WSU School of Music works,” said Meredith Arksey, associate professor of music for violin and viola. “Students and faculty have really said, ‘hey, we love having Gabe here’ … I think it’s a very good fit.”

Condon said he feels his fellow school of music faculty members are inspiring as fellow artists.

“Their creative output is really amazing,” he said.

Condon will perform a guitar recital as part of the faculty artist series at 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 1 in the Kimbrough Concert Hall. The recital is an opportunity to see the different styles that Condon plays on guitar.

The first half will be classical, and the second half will be jazz pieces featuring other jazz faculty members, Condon said.

“I enjoy learning from musicians who play other instruments … and finding ways that jazz and classical music can coexist in the same concert or the same piece, that’s really interesting to me,” Condon said.