Music Career of Southeast Alumnus Hits High Note in U.S., Abroad


Southeast alumnus Jordan Redd, center, is a member of the Wesley Reist Wind Quintet at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln that will perform March 28 at Southeast.

The music career of Southeast Missouri State University 2016 alumnus Jordan Redd has reached a crescendo.

Redd, of Hope Mills, North Carolina, placed second at the National Finals of the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) Young Artist Brass Competition March 18 in Spokane, Washington. This came just days after he was notified that he was selected as a finalist and invited to a live audition for an Emerging Artist Fellowship with the Philharmonia Orchestra in London.

And to top that off, Redd will be back on the Southeast campus next week touring with The Wesley Reist Wind Quintet from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The quintet ends its Mid-South Tour at Southeast at 7:30 p.m. March 28 in the Robert F. and Gertrude L. Shuck Music Recital Hall at Southeast’s River Campus. The concert will center around the famous Nielsen Quintet, which will feature Redd on horn. Tickets are $10 for the public and $3 for students.

Redd also will present a masterclass at 12:30 p.m. Friday, March 29, in the Kenneth and Jeanine Dobbins River Campus Center. The masterclass is free and open to the public.

“This will be a treat for our students and community,” said Dr. Nick Kenney, assistant professor of horn and assistant director of bands at Southeast.

Redd, who holds a Bachelor of Music with a major in performance, instrumental option, was the only horn player in the country to make the National Finals of the MTNA Young Artist Brass Competition in which seven finalists squared off in competition.

“The MTNA Young Artist Brass Competition is always stacked with talent. When I competed last year, I remember just being in awe at how talented everyone was,” Redd said. “This year was no different. There were several great players from all over the country. After not placing last year, I knew that I would get a different result this go around, simply because I knew that I had put in more than enough work.”

He faced musicians from Penn State University, the University of Georgia, the University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA), Oklahoma State, Washington State and Oakland University. Redd was the only repeat finalist from 2018. The seven finalists were selected from 500 applicants at the state level.

Now, with the MTNA Young Artist Brass Competition under his belt, Redd prepares to head to London in April for his audition with the Philharmonia Orchestra.

“The Philharmonia in London is one of the best orchestras in the world,” Redd said. “So having a chance to go there and perform for them is humbling. If I were to be awarded the fellowship, it would work wonders for my career. The experience of being there around that level of playing would help elevate my own playing.”

If selected, Redd would be in London for a year performing with the orchestra, taking horn lessons with orchestra players and attending seminars on orchestral audition preparation and how to make it as an orchestral player.

“I would also have the chance to perform a solo recital which would be a great experience,” he said.

“The Philharmonia Orchestra in London would be the equivalent of the New York Phil or San Francisco Symphony in the United States,” Kenney said.  “Each year, they employ four woodwind and brass fellows who often become full members of the orchestra or go on to outstanding careers in other orchestras or as solo players. This is a massive achievement.”

Redd will audition for the fellowship with music director, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Kenney said.

He reflected on Redd’s recent successes.

“It is an unbelievable feeling to see a student achieving on the national and international scenes,” he said, attributing Redd’s recent accomplishments to his attitude.

“He called me after the awards ceremony and said that he felt like he had actually won simply because he was happy with the approach he took to preparing, and that he went into the competition not worrying about the outcome or any other competitors that were there. He was only concerned with the things that he could control,” Kenney said. “Taking that approach has led him to have better results at every step of the way in his career, and as a teacher that means the most because a person with that approach will always continue to do great things, and more importantly, be an amazing person and contributor to society.”

Kenney also underscored Redd’s outstanding work ethic.

“Part of my approach to teaching is to interest and motivate students to desire learning so much that they are constantly yearning for more. I’ve actually never seen a student take this to heart so much as Jordan has,” he said, crediting Redd for his determination, work ethic and persistence in cultivating his talent into horn playing. “I really believe that the work ethic he’s shown could be applied to any path – but I’m very happy that he chose horn because he is achieving some monumental outcomes!”

After graduating from Southeast, Redd attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where he earned a master’s degree and currently is in the first year of a Doctor of Musical Arts program.

“Going to SEMO really helped me a lot,” said Redd, who transferred to Southeast, following Kenney who was hired as a member of the Southeast music faculty. “The music faculty really did a good job preparing me for the future, especially Dr. Kenney and Dr. Reynolds. The amount of playing I did while I was there forced me to get better. Dr. Kenney also pushed me quite a bit. He is the sole reason why I am where I am today.”

While at Southeast, Redd was a member of the Southeast Marching Band, Show Band, Wind Symphony and Symphony Orchestra, and he played in several chamber groups.

Eventually, he would like to both teach at the collegiate level and play horn professionally.

“I really like helping people, whether it be through performing or in the classroom,” he said.

He offers this advice to current Southeast music majors: “Practice and listen to your professors. It may seem like they ask a lot out of you, but they are only doing it to make you better. It took me entirely too long to realize that. Always go above and beyond for anything that you do, in the practice room and the classroom.”