Faculty & Staff

Dr. Shawn Purcell

Jazz Guitar | Jazz Arranging

Adjunct Faculty 
  • Jazz Arranging
  • Applied Jazz Guitar
  • B.A., Duquesne University
  • M.M., Middle Tennessee State University
  • D.M.A., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Shawn Purcell is a native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He is a graduate of Duquesne University where he was awarded a Bachelor of Music in Recording Arts and Sciences in 1993. In 2006, Purcell earned a Master of Arts in Music, with an emphasis in jazz composition and arranging, from Middle Tennessee State University, and in 2011, he completed a Doctor of Musical Arts in Jazz Performance with a minor in ethnomusicology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Purcell is a jazz guitarist, bandleader, arranger, composer, and educator. He has been active as a featured soloist with small ensembles and jazz big bands, and he has shared the stage with many of the world’s top jazz artists including: Nicholas Payton, Tim Warfield, Terell Stafford, The Chicago Jazz Ensemble, Alan Baylock Jazz Orchestra, U.S. Army Blues Jazz Ensemble, The Capitol Bones, Jim Pugh, Chip McNeill, Dana Hall, Jeannie Bryson, Eddie Daniels, Bob Berg, James Moody, Jerry Bergonzi as well as many others. He has performed at jazz clubs and festivals throughout the nation including: The Jazz Kitchen, The Blue Wisp, The Jazz Factory, Blues Alley, IAJE, JEN, PASIC, and Indy Jazz Fest. Purcell has served on the jazz faculty at George Mason University, Middle Tennessee State University, Tennessee State University, and was a Visiting Lecturer in Jazz Studies at Indiana University, Bloomington under the direction of David Baker. He has also led master classes at Duquesne University, Brigham Young University, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, Boise State University, Millikin University, and Texas Tech University. He has served on the faculty for The National Guitar Workshop and as a columnist for Jazz Guitar Life and DownBeat Magazine. As a composer/arranger, Purcell’s works have been commissioned by The Chicago Jazz Ensemble, Tito Carillo, Joan Hickey, University of Massachusetts at Amherst Chapel Jazz Ensemble, and Texas Tech University Jazz Ensemble I, and are published by Really Good Music, LLC. And 3-2 Music. Shawn can be heard on over twenty recordings, including Grammy Award-winner, Chip McNeill’s CD, The Whirl, jazz vocalist Darden Purcell’s CD, Easy Living, U.S. Army “Blues” drummer Steve Fidyk’s recent release Heads Up! on Posi-Tone Records, featuring Trumpeter Terell Stafford and Saxophonist Tim Warfield, and Alan Baylock Jazz Orchestra’s latest release Prime Time, featuring trumpet legend Doc Severinson.

From 1996-2004, Purcell was the guitarist in the United States Air Force premier jazz ensemble, The Airmen of Note, based in Washington D.C. During his nearly eight years with “The Note” Purcell performed throughout the United States as well as overseas. International tours included England, Germany, Turkey, Luxembourg, The Azores, Belgium, Oman, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Italy, Kuwait, and Bahrain.

In 2011, Purcell became the guitarist with the U.S. Naval Academy Band, Annapolis, MD. In 2013, Shawn auditioned and won the position as guitarist with the U.S. Navy Band “Commodores” jazz ensemble in Washington D.C.

Contact Dr. Purcell: spurcel2@gmu.edu
Visit Shawn online at www.shawnpurcell.com