Dr. Scott LaGraff
Dr. Scott LaGraff, professor of voice, is a graduate of the Tri-Cities Opera Resident Artist Training Program in Binghamton, New York, where he sang the title roles in “Don Giovanni" and "Le Nozze di Figaro," the villains in "Les Contes d’Hoffmann" and Capulet in "Roméo et Juliette," among others, and was a recipient of the Richard F. Gold Career Grant. He has appeared multiple times with Opera East Texas in such roles as Schaunard in "La Bohème" and Dick Deadeye in "H.M.S. Pinafore," and also has sung roles with the Syracuse, Tulsa, Pensacola and Westchester Hudson opera companies.
A selected list of his concert engagements includes appearances as the baritone soloist in Beethoven's "Symphony No. 9" and Brahms “Requiem" with the East Texas Symphony Orchestra, as well as performances of:
- Fauré "Requiem" and Handel’s "Messiah" with the Syracuse Symphony
- "Dvořak Te Deum" with the Baton Rouge Symphony
- Mozart "Mass in C Minor" with the Canterbury Choral Society in Oklahoma City
- "Bruckner Te Deum at Carnegie Hall
- and solo appearances with the Longview Symphony, the Ocean City Pops, the Binghamton Pops, the Orchestra of the Pines and the Syracuse Oratorio Society.
LaGraff is an advocate of contemporary American song, and his first CD, "Songs by Stephen Lias, Michael Patterson and Lee Hoiby," was released by Centaur Records in 2009. A second CD, entitled "Incline Thine Ear and Other Sacred Songs," was released in 2017, also with Centaur. In addition to being the first to record several of Lee Hoiby's pieces, he also gave the first performances of Hoiby's "Chants d’Exil" and the solo arrangement of "Last Letter Home," and commissioned and premiered Stephen Lias’s "Songs of a Sourdough."
He created a video series on YouTube, entitled All-State Diction Tips, which have proven to be extremely popular with high school choir directors and students as they prepare for All-State Choir auditions.
LaGraff's students have sung with professional opera companies and young artist programs, in international and domestic summer programs, gained admission to prestigious graduate schools and are successful music teachers in Texas schools.
The Athens, Ohio, native received his Bachelor of Music from the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, a Master of Music from the State University of New York at Binghamton and his Doctor of Musical Arts from Louisiana State University.
Prior to joining the SFA faculty in 2004, he held teaching positions at Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa, Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, and Wilkes University in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.
Dr. Nathan Nabb
Dr. Nathan Nabb earned his bachelor's degree at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, where he studied with Professor Debra Richtmeyer, and his Master of Music and Doctor of Music, both in saxophone performance, from Northwestern University, where he studied with Dr. Frederick Hemke. Nabb was a two-time winner of the Northwestern University Chamber Music competition.
Nabb maintains a vibrant and diverse international schedule as a performer, clinician and teacher. A regular performer with the St. Louis and Houston symphonies, he has worked with renowned conductors Michael Tilson-Thomas, David Robertson, Hans Graf, Marin Alsop, Michael Stern and Keith Lockhart.
His solo and chamber recordings on the Amp, BIS and Innova labels have clearly positioned Nabb as a bold champion of new music, featuring acclaimed performances of composers ranging from Luciano Berio and Milton Babbitt to Philip Glass and Mari Takano.
In addition to other engagements with the Minnesota Orchestra, New World Symphony and IRIS Chamber Orchestra, Nabb performed in the second major staging of John Adams' Nixon in China in 2004. As a chamber musician, Nabb is the soprano chair of the Oasis Quartet, whose debut recording was released in the spring of 2011 on Innova Recordings. His solo CD, "Tangled Loops," was released in 2009 on AMP Recordings.
He was a finalist at the Coleman International Chamber Music Competition and a three-time semifinalist at the Fischoff International Chamber Music Competition, winning the silver medal in 2001. His current activities span the United States, Europe and Asia, and his career is featured in the March/April 2010 issue of the "Saxophone Journal."
Prior to moving to Texas, Nabb taught at Morehead State University in Kentucky. Nabb's students have won many competitions both in solo and chamber music settings and have been featured in performances and master classes at North American Saxophone Alliance regional and national conferences, as well as other local and regional clinics.
Nabb proudly endorses Vandoren and Selmer products and performs on Vandoren mouthpieces, ligatures and reeds and Selmer Paris Saxophones exclusively.
Dr. JD Salas
Dr. JD Salas received his bachelor's degree in tuba performance from Baylor University in Waco, where he studied with Dr. Michael A. Fischer, and his master's degree from the University of Kentucky in Lexington, Kentucky. He earned his Doctor of Musical Arts at the University of Kentucky where he served as the teaching assistant studying under Dr. Skip Gray.
Prior to joining SFA's School of Music in 2006, Salas served as Bangkok, Thailand's, first full-time tuba-euphonium professor served as artist/instructor of Tuba and Euphonium Studies at Mahidol University. Other previous teaching appointments include adjunct positions at Transylvania University in Lexington, Kentucky, where he taught low brass and jazz bass, and instructor of tuba at Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia.
Salas currently performs with the Longview Symphony, The Four Horsemen Tuba-Euphonium Quartet, and the SFA Jazz Doctors. He has performed extensively throughout the United States, Mexico, Europe and Asia through invited participation in many International Tuba Euphonium Association Conferences and solo tours. He also has presented panel discussions and clinics on the tuba's use in the Mexican regional music of Banda Sinaloense.
An accomplished jazz bass player, Salas serves as the director of jazz studies at SFA, coordinating jazz minor studies and directing SFA's Swingin' Axes.
He's performed with:
- Temple Symphony Orchestra
- Louisville Orchestra
- Lexington Philharmonic
- Shreveport Symphony Orchestra
- Disneyland All-American College Band in Anaheim, California
- and the Disneyland Paris International Show Band in Paris, France.
He's performed with many musical legends, including:
- Bobby Shew
- Jiggs Wigham
- Steve Houghton
- Rick Baptist
- and Marvin Stamm.
Salas is a performing artist with Buffet-Crampon U.S.A. and performs on B&S tubas.
Dr. Deb Scott
Professor of trombone and bass trombone, Dr. Deb Scott is active worldwide as a teacher and performer. She is a performing artist for Rath Trombones, England, and the director of the Composers’ Workshop for the International Trombone Festival, which helps bring new music compositions for trombone.
Scott is a performing member of Monarch Brass, a group that represents "the very best women brass... players throughout North America and Europe." She also was a featured artist at Trombonanza in Argentina and has been featured at other international venues including Germany, Brazil and the Czech Republic.
Her solo CD, "Playing Favorites," was released in 2017 by Navona Records, and she has been described as “one of the premiere soloists for her instrument” (Cinemusical 2017). She was part of the Christopher Bill's "Bonehemian Rhapsody" Youtube sensation featuring 28 trombonists from throughout the world. She also is regularly featured in radio broadcasts throughout North America and the world.
Scott has performed several times as a soloist and within groups at the International Trombone Festival, and under her direction, the SFA Trombone Octet has been featured twice. She also performs regularly throughout North America with her trio, TexiCali.
She has been a member of the:
- Shreveport Symphony
- Shreveport Opera
- Longview Symphony
- Twentieth Century Unlimited Orchestra in Santa Fe
- New Mexico Music Festival Orchestra in Taos
- SFA Symphony Orchestra
- Lubbock Symphony Orchestra
- Greeley Philharmonic in Colorado
- and Barnum and Bailey Greatest Show on Earth Circus Band.
As a jazz artist, Scott performed frequently in the Houston area as the lead trombonist for the Ronnie Renfrow Big Band where she also often freelanced. She has performed with such artists as JJ Johnson, Louis Bellson, Diane Reeves, Frank Mantooth, Phil Woods, Lee Greenwood, Kay Starr, the Mills Brothers and the Ink Spots. Scott conducted jazz bands for over 30 years and was formerly the director of jazz studies at SFA.
She remains active as a clinician and performer for All-Region jazz ensembles and jazz festivals. Scott has twice directed the Texas All-State Community College Jazz Ensemble at the Texas Music Educators Association Conference.
Scott graduated with top honors from Texas Tech University with two bachelor's degrees. She received the dean’s award for her master’s degree at the University of Northern Colorado. Scott also was the the first doctoral trombone performance candidate at University of North Texas to earn a 4.0 GPA and first woman to complete a doctorate in trombone performance at UNT. She was the first woman to direct a university jazz band in the state of Texas.