By Amanda Hatfield Anderson
BREVARD -- Growing up on Merritt Island, Christian Tamburr has always had a passion for music.
"I was very fortunate to grow up in a home, where there was music playing all the time," he said. "My father, Owen, plays guitar, and from the time I can remember, would find myself sitting on his lap, strumming the strings while he played the chords of the guitar."
After inheriting a baby grand piano from his great aunt at 8 years old, Mr. Tamburr recalled his love for the instrument, attempting to play along with his dad on guitar.
"It was through this process that I developed my ear for listening and playing along to music, without the notes or chords," Mr. Tamburr said.
Now an accomplished musician, with his own Las Vegas show, Mr. Tamburr has been named the Florida Tech School of Arts and Communications "Music Artist in Residence" for periods during the spring and fall 2014 semesters.
Mr. Tamburr's residency will kick off with a special performance of the Christian Tamburr Quintet on Tuesday, Feb. 11 at 7:30 p.m. in the Gleason Performing Arts Center. Admission is free.
"During the day of the 11th, I will be on the FIT campus, working with various music ensembles and private lessons," Mr. Tamburr said. "We will present our kick-off concert that evening, featuring my internationally touring Quintet, with my special guest vocalist, Matthew Bryan Feld from NYC."
The master classes Mr. Tamburr will host will focus on the needs of the students in their perspective ensembles and classes.
"Our goal is to expand some of those master classes for students outside of the immediate FIT student body, inviting students from other schools and age groups," he said.
Mr. Tamburr added that the Quintet will then travel to DeLaura Middle School and Space Coast Junior/Senior High School to present outreach performances on Wednesday, Feb. 12.
"My music is always evolving and changing, but my passion lives in the jazz genre," he said. "With that being said, it is important for me to always keep one foot rooted in the past, with the other in the future."
Pulling inspiration from the great American songbook all the way through to The Beatles, Adelle, Katy Perry, Sting and Ed Sheeran, Mr. Tamburr said his goal is to take his musical approach, with a typical jazz instrumentation, and present music that an audience, aged 17 and older, can relate to.
"For me, it's about the integrity of the talent, the level of musicianship and the content that the audience can relate with," he said. "Finding that balance is key."
The members of the Christian Tamburr Quintet include special guest vocalist Matthew Bryan Feld, Scott Giddens on piano, Billy Thornton on bass and Peter Miles on drums.
Mr. Tamburr's residency dates include return visits on March 10 through 12, April 1 through 2 and April 21 through 23, with fall dates still to be announced.
"This residency is the first of its kind for FIT and our area," Mr. Tamburr said. "It's an opportunity to support a program that is thinking proactively about the importance of the arts in education and our community."
He added that, by supporting live music and the people, who are wishing to develop and create more of it, people are showing, as a town, that they are able to put down their smart phones for an evening and see something real, something tangible -- something that cannot be downloaded, but must be experienced live.
"We want more for our children, our students and our culture," Mr. Tamburr said.
Grateful for the opportunity Florida Tech has presented to him to help build its music program, Mr. Tamburr is looking forward to returning to the Space Coast.
"Brevard is my home. I love coming home," he said. "I love that, through FIT and this residency program, I will have the ability to inspire and create new musical and artistic opportunities for the students in our area. My band is excited and I am excited to be home for a few days to play for an audience that I have grown up with."
The Christian Tamburr Quintet will kick-off Christian Tamburr's "Music Artist in Residence" at Florida Tech on Tuesday, Feb. 11 at 7:30 p.m. in the Gleason Performing Arts Center. Admission is free.
For more information, call (321) 674-7384 or visit www.christiantamburr.com.