Guitarist, arranger and composer Mike Dana lives in Fresno, California, where he has been Director of Jazz Studies at Fresno City College since 1990. AT FCC, Mike directs the award-winning Jazz Ensemble, Jazz Combos, and co-directs the Vocal Jazz Ensemble with his wife Julie. He also teaches advanced improvisation, jazz theory, arranging. jazz history, Finale, and a music business course. In 2004, Mike founded (and serves as musical director of) the Jazz Composers Orchestra, an ensemble made up of the finest jazz musicians and educators in central California. This ensemble was invited to perform the Gil Evans Fellowship commission at the International Association for Jazz Education conference in January 2005.
His jazz guitar credits include performances with Cannonball Adderley, Gary Burton, Clark Terry, Bob Mintzer, Bobby Shew, Ingrid Jensen, Ernie Watts, Arturo Sandoval, Tim Ries, and many others. He has composed music for orchestra, chamber ensembles, musical theater, film, choral ensembles, TV commercials, and of course jazz. His commissions, compositions and arrangements for both instrumental and vocal jazz ensemble are widely performed across the U.S. These are published by Belwin/Alfred, Kendor, Jazzlines, UNC Jazz Press, and Heritage Music Press. Mike is in demand as a guest artist and clinician for jazz festivals throughout the western U.S., as a guest conductor for honor jazz bands, and as a faculty member for summer workshops, including the Lafayette Summer Music Workshop, Britt Institute (Oregon), Yosemite Jazz Guitar Workshop, Milestones Youth Jazz Workshop, and CSU Summer Arts programs. He has also presented workshops at statewide and regional music education conferences. Mike continues to be active as a performer, leading his own jazz trio and quartet, hosting regular jam sessions, and playing with the retro-swing group “After Dinner Mints.”
Mike earned Bachelors and Masters degrees in composition from California State University Fresno. He also attended the Berklee College of Music, and studied privately with jazz guitar legend Joe Pass. Currently, he is working on his doctoral dissertation (focusing on the teaching of jazz improvisation at the secondary level) at Boston University.