Kelly Durbin

Senior Lecturer I - Arts And Humanities

Professional Preparation

M.S. - Master of Music, Jazz Studies
University of North Texas College of Music - 1991

Research Areas

Current Goals at UTD
  • To continue working towards developing a more integrated program of music classes, so that students may move further in their studies as they develop.
  • To expand the scope of MIDI and digital audio classes being offered.
  • To increase the number of students active in the music classes by provIding interesting and stimulating classes.
  • To increase the number of performing ensembles under the jazz umbrella so that we can accommodate the increasing number of interested students.
  • To further raIse the level of musicianship in our Jazz ensembles.
  • To bring historically important jazz legends to our campus to perform in the jazz concert series
  • To become a more effective teacher in each of my classes.


Senior Lecturer
University of Texas at Dallas, Richardson, Texas [1995–Present]

Additional Information

Personal Statement

Kelly Durbin created and directs the UT Dallas Jazz Ensemble. He teaches classes in digital music/MIDI, music fundamentals, jazz history, jazz and commercial piano, jazz theory, jazz small group, and jazz improvisation. 

Kelly Durbin brings 30 years of performing experience to his teaching. He currently remains active as a jazz pianist performing at local and regional festivals and venues, often with international jazz artists. He has worked with the Woody Herman Orchestra, Frank Tiberi, David "Fathead" Newman, James Clay, LeRoy Cooper, Shelley Carroll, Hank Crawford, Mack Goldsbury, Jimmy Greene, Chris DeRose, Cornell DuPree, Tom Morrell, Greg Bissonnette, Billy Hart, Ed Soph, Sebastian Whittaker, Fred Hamilton, Chuck Rainey, Lynn Seaton, Jay Clayton, and Rosanna Vitro, to name a few. He was a long-time member of the Marchel Ivery Quintet, as well as ensembles led by bassist James Gilyard and saxophonist Wayne DeLano. 

Prior to arriving at UT Dallas, Kelly Durbin taught jazz piano and traditional class piano at Cedar Valley College. During the 1999-2000 school year, he was also a full time Adjunct Professor at the University of North Texas, where he taught advanced jazz theory, aural skills, and small group. During his graduate studies at UNT, he was granted the Teaching Fellowship in jazz piano for two years. He studied piano at UNT with Steve Harlos, Dan Haerle, and Bob Rogers. 

Kelly Durbin serves as a member of the UT Dallas Arts and Performance Jazz Advisory Board, where he plays in integral role in the planning and implementation of the annual Jazz Series. He performs an annual concert at UT Dallas, in addition to other faculty recitals. He is often invited to lecture, conduct workshops, adjudicate, and perform jazz in universities, high schools, museums, and arts centers.


A few of the more notable of 200 professional engagements m which I was invited to perform during the past year mclude the following:


  • Performed on the UTD jazz concert serIes with the James Gilyard Ensemble


  • Performed in concert at Weatherford College with the Marchel Ivery Quartet.
  • Presented my faculty recital at UTD. Guest musicians included Karl Lampman, James Gilyard, Joel Fountain, and vocalist Peggy Lauren Lohr
  • Performed a concert at the Dallas Museum of Art with the Chris DeRose Quartet.


  • Performed with the Wayne Delano Quartet at the Denton Arts and Jazz Festival.


  • May
  • Conducted the UTD Jazz Band in the Spring Arts Festival.
  • Performed a concert at the Dallas Museum of Art w/ the James Gilyard Ensemble


  • Guest lecturer - The Dallas Museum of Art Summer Seminar 2002
  • Shaped by the City: Art and Literature of the Urban Expenence.
  • As part of this summer course, I presented a lecture/demonstration with colleague James Gilyard entitled, "How to Listen to a Jazz Performance".


  • Performed a jazz concert at the Shakespeare Festival.


  • Performed a concert at the Dallas Museum of Art w/ the James Gilyard Ensemble


  • Performed a concert wIth vocahst Sandra Kaye at the Sammons Jazz Festival. Other members of the group mcluded James Gilyard, Shelley Carroll (Ellington Orchestra), and Andrew Griffith. Also included on the program was the mternationally renowned Monty Alexander Trio (concert was recorded by KNTU FM).
  • Performed my "Kelly Durbin and Friends" concert at UTD. Sidemen mcl uded Chris Seiter, Karl Lampman, Dennis Durick, James Gilyard, and vocalIst Toni Bishop.


  • Numerous (140) jazz and commercial engagements with ensembles ranging from duos to big bands, as well as solo piano performances. The partIal lIst of artists includes Marchel Ivery, James Gilyard, Wayne DeLano, Ed Soph, Pete Brewer, and Shelley Carrol.
Service contributions to the university
  • Presented the UTD Jazz Ensemble m concert for a Umverslty "open house" for high school seniors.
  • Contracted to bring the internationally renowned Cedar Walton Trio to campus as headliner for our jazz series.
  • Presented my faculty recitals in March and October.
  • Conducted the UTD Jazz Ensemble for the "Swing Thing" program In March with the Chamber Singers (Duke Ellington tribute).
  • Conducted the UTD Jazz Ensemblein performances for the Winter and Spring Arts Festivals.
  • Upon request of the President's Office, assembled a Jazz trio to piay the dedication of the Engineering Building

News Articles

Kelly Durbin & Friends To Perform In an Evening of Jazz Feb. 13 at UTD
RICHARDSON, Texas (Jan. 22, 2004) — The University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) will present Kelly Durbin & Friends featuring UTD faculty member and jazz pianist Kelly Durbin along with jazz bassist James Gilyard, saxophonist Karl Lampman, drummer Dennis Durick and vocalist Peggy Lauren Friday, Feb. 13, at 8 p.m. in the University Theatre. 

Durbin directs the Jazz Ensemble at UTD and teaches classes in music theory, MIDI, jazz history and jazz keyboard. Kelly received his master of music degree from The University of North Texas and has enjoyed long tenures with the Marchel Ivery Quintet and the James Gilyard Ensemble. His professional credits include work with David "Fathead" Newman, James Clay, Chuck Rainey, Billy Hart, Cornell Dupree, Ed Soph, Lynn Seaton, Hank Crawford, Sebastian Whittaker and Roseanne Vitro.
UT Dallas’ Kelly Durbin Brings Together Local Musicians for Jazz Concert
RICHARDSON, Texas (Oct. 31, 2006) — Kelly Durbin, jazz pianist and faculty member at The University of Texas at Dallas, will perform with various local musicians at 8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 10, in the Jonsson Performance Hall on campus.

Durbin will perform with Rodney Booth (trumpet), Andrew Griffith (drums), Karl Lampman (saxophone), Peggy Lohr (vocals) and Lyles West (bass). Kelly Durbin and Friends is one of the most anticipated annual events of the arts and performance season.
Jazz Artists to Join Faculty Member for Concert
Kelly Durbin, jazz pianist and faculty member at UT Dallas, will present a concert featuring several of Dallas’ finest jazz musicians on Friday, April 4, in the Jonsson Performance Hall at 8:00 p.m.  

Durbin will perform with James Gilyard (bass), Simone Jackson-Rodgers (vocals), Karl Lampman (saxophone) and Lyles West (bass). “Kelly Durbin and Friends” is one of the most highly anticipated annual events of the Art & Performance Season.