Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians
Serry, John, piano, composer; b. New York City, 19 January 1954. His father, John Serry Sr. (born c. 1915) was a musicians. His mother is Julia (born c. 1920). His sister is Anna Rounbehler (born c. 1949), (husband David R.). His brother is Peter (born c. 1958). His late brother Robert was born in 1944. The original family name, shortened by his father, is Serrapica (from Gragnano, Italy).
John holds a MM and BM (w/Distinction) from the Eastman School of Music where he studied with Bill Dobbins (jazz piano, composing, theory and history), Ray Wright (arranging & orchestration, film scoring, composing for the theater, music business), John Beck (percussion) and others. He also studied privately with Henry Brant (composition), John and Antoinette Perry (classical piano), Clark Spangler (MIDI / synthesizers), Henri Temianka (conducting), Lui Tsun Yuen (traditional Chinese music) and Gordon Gottlieb (percussion lessons at Juilliard when he was in high school). He also studied with Marian McPartland (jazz piano) during her clinician residencies at Eastman and he had Chuck Mangione as an instructor at Eastman (jazz ensemble). Serry's second recording, Jazziz, was the inspiration for the naming of JAZZIZ magazine by publisher Michael Fagien. Serry has performed at Birdland, the Blue Note, the Montreux Festival, Steinway Hall and numerous festivals, clubs and venues in the U.S and abroad. He has played, arranged and/or conducted for Radio City Music Hall, Aretha Franklin, Liza Minnelli, Doc Severinsen, Marian McPartland, and the Canadian Brass. He has received commissions and performances - e.g., at Lincoln Center, Kennedy Center, and The Aspen Music Festival - for his original concert works, including concertos, solos and chamber music, many of which feature percussion (on which he also doubles). He has produced and hosted piano competitions featuring area artists at major jazz festivals for a showcase series, created by Serry for JAZZIZ magazine, entitled JAZZIZ Presents the Key Players. Serry has presented clinics, courses and lessons in piano, percussion, compos ing / arranging, improvisation, jazz theory, film scoring, MIDI, and the music business. He has performed, taught and coached ensembles at Juilliard, Peabody, Musicians Institute, NYU, City College (NYC), Queens College, Brooklyn College, SUNY Binghamton, Univ. of Wisconsin, Univ. of S. Carolina, Wichita State University (2 residencies) and other music schools.A dual citizen of Italy, John recently toured Prague and the Czech Republic as guest artist [with the Frantisek Uhlir Team] performing his original compositions at jazz festivals and clubs.
Exhibition (1979); Jazziz (1980); Enchangtress (1996); Auracle: Glider (produced by Teo Macero)
He has composed and arranged for ABC, NBC, CNN, PBS, films and commercials.
He was Music Director and pianist for the revival of the Broadway jazz musical, "Swing", featuring songs of Duke Ellington, Glenn Miller and others (Gateway Playhouse). He's played, arranged and/or conducted numerous Broadway shows, including Les Miserables, Beauty and the Beast, Cats, Saturday Night Fever, Jekyll and Hyde, Jesus Christ Superstar, Swing, and Guys and Dolls.
Serry received the Grand Prize in the JAZZIZ magazine Keyboards on Fire pianist/composer competition (Dave Brubeck and Bob James, judges; grand piano from Steinway, 1995) and a Grammy Nomination for his debut recording, Exhibition (1979).