Garth Alper

Garth Alper
  • Faculty
  • Professor
  • Program Coordinator
Dr. Garth Alper is the program coordinator for Jazz Studies and a professor in the School of Music and Performing Arts.


Garth Alper is the Coordinator of Jazz Studies at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette where he teaches jazz piano, jazz improvisation, jazz composition, and film scoring. He has had a number of articles published in the College Music Symposium, Rock Music Studies, Popular Music and Society, and Jazz Perspectives. These articles’ topics include how the twelve-bar blues has shaped the jazz language, postmodernism in music, and how nine historically important jazz pianists have approached the same jazz standard. A special issue of Popular Music and Society, which Garth guest-edited, was devoted entirely to jazz. 

Dr. Alper’s fifth CD, "Spider’s Web," which features his jazz piano playing on seven original jazz compositions, was released in September 2022 and is currently out for review. His previous CD, "Stratus," received four (out of five) stars in a review from the highly regarded publisher/website,


Doctor of Arts in Music Theory/Composition, Secondary Emphasis in Jazz Pedagogy
University of Northern Colorado

Master of Arts in Piano Performance, Jazz Track
New York University

Bachelor of Professional Studies in The Arts: Jazz Studies
State University of New York, Empire State College, 

Student Research/Collaboration

Dr. Alper's research interests are in Jazz, Jazz Piano, Popular Music.

Opportunities for Student Research/Collaboration:

  • Jazz Performance
  • Popular Music


  • 2021 “Not Just Derision and Darkness: The Interplay of Lyrics and Music in Steely Dan’s Compositions.” Rock Music Studies, (Taylor and Francis)
  • 2019 “Jazz Humor from a Musical Perspective” (book chapter), The Routledge Companion to Popular Music and Humor (Routledge). 
  • 2012 “Black, Brown, and Beige: One Piece of Duke Ellington’s Musical and Social Legacy.” College Music Symposium, vol. 51 (College Music Society).
  • 2012 “‘What is This Thing Called Love?’ as Conceptualized by Nine Jazz Pianists.” Jazz Perspectives, vol. 5 (Routledge).
  • 2008 “Towards the Acceptance of a Bachelor of Music Degree in Popular Music Studies.” College Music Symposium, vol. 47 (College Music Society). 
  • 2006 “How the Flexibility of the Twelve-Bar Blues Has Helped Shape the Jazz Language.” College Music Symposium, vol. 45 (College Music Society).
  • “New Orleans Music and Katrina.” Popular Music and Society, vol. 29.4 (Routledge).
  • Guest Editor, Jazz Issue of Popular Music and Society, vol. 29.3.
  • “XM Reinvents Radio’s Future.” Popular Music and Society, vol. 29.5 (Routledge).
  • 2002 “Making Sense Out of Postmodern Music?” Popular Music and Society, vol. 24.4 (Bowling Green State University Popular Press).

Encyclopedia Entries:

  • 2004 Encyclopedia of Recorded Sound (Routledge). Entries on Albert Ayler, Clifford Brown, Betty Carter, Eric Dolphy, Joe Henderson, Dave Holland, Max Roach, Archie Shepp, Wayne Shorter, Horace Silver, McCoy Tyner. 
  • 2002 Women and Music in America Since 1900: An Encyclopedia (Oryx). Entries on Tracy Chapman, Natalie Merchant, Suzanne Vega. 

Published Audio Reviews

  • 2006 Popular Music and Society, vol. 29.4 (Routledge). Canta Brasil, Kenny Barron; Solid Liquid, Dave Hagedorn; Everything I Love, Roland Hanna. 
  • 2005 Popular Music and Society, vol. 28.2 (Routledge). Footsteps of our Fathers, Branford Marsalis; The Sequel, Mulgrew Miller; Modernistic, Jason Moran; In Deep End Dance, Julian Priester. 
  • 2003 Popular Music and Society, vol. 26.4 (Routledge). Bill Frisell with Dave Holland and Elvin Jones; Witness, Dave Douglas. Popular Music and Society, vol. 26.3 (Routledge). Uberjam, The John Scofield Band; Viva Caruso, Joe Lovano; Verve Remixed, Various Artists; Uninvisible, Medeski Martin and Wood; Not For Nothin’, The Dave Holland Quintet.

Recordings / Albums / CDs as Leader

  • 2021 Garth Alper, Spider’s Web (CD); features my playing on seven original compositions for quintet.
  • 2017 Garth Alper. Stratus (CD); features my playing on seven original compositions and two standards for jazz trio, quartet, and quintet.
  • 2013 The Garth Alper Trio. Deflection (CD); features my playing on nine original compositions for jazz piano trio.
  • 2000 The Garth Alper Trio. Inroads (CD, MSR Classics); features my playing on 10 original compositions for jazz piano trio.
  • 1997 The Garth Alper Trio. Canvas (CD); features my playing on 10 original compositions for jazz piano trio.

Awards & Recognition

  • 2001–present Ruth Stodghill Girard Board of Regents Support Fund (BORSF) Endowed Professorship, UL Lafayette.
  • 2012 Jazz Pedagogy Materials. Friends of the Humanities, UL Lafayette. $1,000. Author.
  • 2011 Multimedia Recording Facility. BORSF. $46,804. Co-author.
  • 2009 Student Technology Enhancement Plan, Digital Message Display, Angelle Hall. School of Music/College of the Arts, UL Lafayette. $21,627. Author.
  • 2008 Recording at Dockside Studios. Instructional Mini-Grant, UL Lafayette. $750. Co-author. 
  • 2005 Student DVD Project. Instructional Mini-Grant, UL Lafayette. $650. Co-author.
  • 2003 Scientific Equipment Grant for DVD Postproduction Studio and ProTools hard disk recorder. $10,568. Co-author.
  • 1999 Student Technology Enhancement Plan, Music Technology Facilities. School of Music, UL Lafayette. $69,910. Author.
  • Emerging Artist Fellowship (for jazz compositions/performance). Phi Kappa Phi. 
  • Postmodernism in Music. UL Lafayette, Summer Research Grant.