Bio

“Pianist Gary Motley swings with the sensibility of Wynton Kelley”, praised Downbeat Magazine. Gary embarked on a solo career in 1994 and is at the forefront of jazz in the southeastern United States. Based in Atlanta, he has captivatedaudiences in venues around the world. His career achievements as a recording artist, composer, performer, arranger, educator and piano virtuoso led to his induction into the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame in 2015. Making artistic expression his life’s work, he has performed with notable artists of the jazz world ranging from Dave Brubeck to Regina Carter and Kenny Barron and was featured on NPR’s Piano Jazz with Marian McPartland. Recognized by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Great American Jazz Piano Competition, Gary explores many genres of music while maintaining a relentless standard of excellence. His latest recording, Tone Poems, was released in October, 2020.

In addition to his work as an artist, Gary composes, arranges, and produces music for an extensive network of artists, virtual platforms, and musical settings. He has created arrangements for Cynthia Erivo, Freddy Cole, Eroica Trio, The Atlanta Master Chorale, Jennifer Holiday, The Science Gallery of Dublin, Keith David, Carmen Bradford, The Vega String Quartet, Barbara Morrison, The LaGrange Symphony Orchestra, and countless others. In 2020, he was commissioned to arrange a musical work for TED Countdown, a global initiative to address climate change.

Gary is also committed to music education and awareness. He is Professor of Performance and founding Director of Jazz Studies at Emory University where he developed the Robert Strickland Jazz Studio—an innovative, interactive teaching facility that integrates the rich heritage of American jazz with today’s technology practices. Gary is a member of the Jazz Education Network and the National Academy of Recording Art and Sciences.