Edward L. Graves has served as Director of Bands and associate professor of music at Tennessee State University in Nashville, Tennessee since 1979. Teacher and mentor to hundreds of students and graduates in his 25 years at Tennessee State, ‘Prof. Graves’ has developed a band program that has won national and international acclaim for outstanding musical performance, innovative arrangements and precision marching.
Under Prof. Graves’ leadership, the Tennessee State band program has flourished and is appropriately named ‘The Aristocrat of Bands’ for its prominence college band programs and its quality of musicianship. Graves’ leadership mentors 250 student band members recruited from all over the country, and five assistant band directors and majorette coordinators.
With its polished and professional image, the band is often called upon to represent the university’s image among potential students, alumni, corporate supporters and audiences around the world. Under Graves’ direction, the band has traveled to Japan to perform at halftime in the Mirage Bowl. The Jazz Ensemble has traveled to Switzerland as part of the Montreaux Jazz Festival and has toured Nigeria. In 1993 and 1997 the band performed in the Inaugural Parades of President Bill Clinton. The Band has also been featured during numerous television halftime shows and specials.
In addition to his role at Tennessee State, Graves is often sought as a guest conductor, clinician and adjudicator, and performs several of these engagements each year.
Named one of the Outstanding Educators of America, and a past chairman of the Tennessee College Band Directors National Association, Graves’ professional affiliates include the Music Educators National Conference, the National Band Association, the National Association of Wind and Percussion Instructors, the Music Educators Association, and the Tennessee Bandmasters Association. He is also a member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia fraternity, Phi Beta Mu National Band honorary society, and an honorary member of Kappa Kappa Psi Band fraternity.
His career has spanned positions at North Carolina A&T State University as instructor of music, Tuskegee Institute as director of bands, and Shaw University as director of bands and coordinator of the Music Dept.
Born in Starksville, Mississippi in 1940, Graves holds a Bachelors degree in music education from Tennessee State University and a Masters degree in music education from the University of Illinois.