Alyssa Mehnert’s multifaceted career as an educator, musicologist, and musician reflects her passionate, lifelong commitment to engaging with music from many different angles. As a music scholar, Alyssa loves teaching music history and writing about music, and sees these approaches to understanding the art form as a path to overcome challenges in the performance and education community. She is currently pursuing her PhD in Musicology at CCM, where she focuses on 1920s jazz, race, and historiography as primary research interests. She has served as editor for Music Research Forum and has published book reviews evaluating recent jazz publications. In 2016 she presented new research at the CCM Graduate Student Conference, Music and the Moving Image at New York University, the American Musicological Society Midwest Chapter Meeting, and DetroitSound3. In 2018 she presented research at the Society for American Music annual conference.
Alyssa has worked extensively as a trombonist in a variety of musical styles, performing with salsa and Latin jazz artists such as Bobby Sanabria, Andy Montañez, Lalo Rodriguez, Puerto Rican Power, and David Pabon, jazz artists Peter Erskine, Robert Hurst, Jimmy Heath, the Butler Faculty Jazztet and NKU Faculty Jazztet, and popular artists such as The Four Tops and The Afghan Whigs.
As an in-demand jazz composer and arranger, Alyssa has written new works for professional, collegiate, and youth jazz ensembles. She has composed commissioned works for the CCM Jazz Ensemble with guest artist Fareed Haque, Miami University Jazz Ensemble and Show Choir, Butler University Jazz Ensemble with Bobby Sanabria, and for the Butler Youth Jazz Program.
Alyssa is committed to jazz education for students of all ages. She has taught courses at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, Northern Kentucky University, and Butler University, where she also conducted the Butler Jazz Ensemble II. She has also taught courses, conducted big bands, and coached combos at Miami Valley Jazz Camp and the CCM Jazz Camp. She has also adjudicated jazz festivals at Purdue University, University of Louisville, and Ball State University.
Alyssa received her BM in jazz studies from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and her MM in jazz studies from Indiana University. She has also pursued master’s coursework and studied with pianist, composer, and educator Bill Dobbins at the Eastman School of Music. She expects to complete her PhD at CCM in August 2018.