Theresa Quinn, keyboards, vocalist- Performer
BMHOF Class of 2014
Theresa Quinn is an innovativepianist, organist and vocalist who studied piano performance and voice and at the prestigious IndianaUniversity School of Music and the State University of New York at Buffalo.
She’s also a musician who has never shied away from fresh approaches to music.
“It’s all about new challenges, new repertoire, new shows, new ways to present music,” she says.
It’s also why she is one of the most wide-ranging musicians in the region, playing everywhere from church organ lofts to theatre stages to nightclubs.
A Western New York native and self-proclaimed “product of a dedicated public school system,” she returned to Buffalo after college to teach Music Theory and MusicHistory, plus direct the instrumental and choral ensembles at the BuffaloSeminary.
But her musical path took her to Nashville, where worked as staff songwriter and demo musician for apublishing and producing company, responsible forall instrumental accompaniment and vocal arranging for staff ‘pitch’ recordings spanningdiverse musical genres.
Seeing issues songwriters werehaving with copyrighted music being unfairly used after pitching to majorlabels, she attended law school in New York City. Upon graduation, she worked in the shadow ofCarnegie Hall for a well-respected entertainment lawyer, drafting contracts forartists and independent films.
But in the wake of the 9/11 attack (in which she lost several friends), Quinnreturned to Buffalo in 2004 and as an attorney for Magavern Magavern Grimm LLPdowntown. She helps individual artists, organizations and not-for-profits with entertainment-relatedcontracts, copyright issues and litigation disputes. Recently she negotiated a new record dealfor the 10,000 Maniacs, 1994 inductees to the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame. After discovering many local lawyers aretalented musicians and singers (for example Willie Schoellkopf, a 2011 Hall of Fame inductee), she formedand directed the “Caroling Counselors,” a four-part a cappella vocal ensemble which performs for many Western New Yorkcharities and events.
As a busy working musician, Theresa performswith many notable bands. She plays an eclecticmix of blues-influenced originals, innovative interpretations of noteworthyBlues, Rock, R&B and the American Songbook with her seven-piece group, featuringtight three-part harmonies and the horn arrangements of Phil Sims (touring musicianand arranger with the Tommy Dorsey Band). Theresa is the pianist in the "all girl"band Girls Gone Mild with power-housemusicians Alison Pipitone, Susan Rozler and Mary Ramsey. She has also performed professionally withmany other Hall of Fame members such as Party Squad (’93 and whose member havebeen inducted in ’90, ’91, ’92, ’06 and ’08); Mark Winsick (‘10) and CharlieO'Neill (‘11). Theresa has been a bagpiperwith the historic Gordon Highlanders, Buffalo’s City Guard "D"Company founded in 1837 (‘04); and a co-creator and performer of acclaimed cabaretacts including several sold-out performances at the preeminent Premier Center Cabaret at Musicalfare in Snyder.
Theresa has been music director, performerand pianist for some of the best professional theatre companies in Buffalo,including Alleyway Theater, Buffalo State College Theater Department, BuffaloUnited Artists, Jewish Repertory Theatre, Musicalfare Theatre, O’Connell andCompany, Shakespeare in Delaware Park, and the State University of BuffaloTheatre Department; and has been a member of six Artvoice award-winning ensembles and productions. For several acclaimed and unusual productions at Musicalfare, Theresa has arranged complete musical scoresto suit a full cast of actor/musicians playing instruments onstage. She also arranged and directed a four-part jazz vocalensemble for Shakespeare in Delaware Park's 2010 production of Much Ado About Nothing. Mixing her writingand performing backgrounds, she co-created an original musical, Talk to Me Now, with Randall Kramer.
Continually serving as musicdirector and lead musician in churches since she was 16, including King'sTemple on the east side of Nashville and Canisius College, Quinn has been music directorat the historic Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church in the Elmwood Village sinceher return to Buffalo.
She has also taught in the theatre department of Buffalo State College.
Quinn said she has been influenced throughout her career by “several great and inspiring teachers,” citing George Kelver, Frina Boldt, John Armesko, Bill Staebill and her music teachers at Indiana and in the Iroquois Central schools.
Community service has always beenimportant to Quinn. She has served as anofficer and secretary of the WNED Board of Trustees, (also serving as a memberof the board’s Executive Committee, and chair of the Planned Giving Committeeand the Program Impact Committees); on the Board for the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame; the Board ofTrustees of Arts Services Initiative of Western New York, Inc. (ASI), anonprofit umbrella organization which provides services to artists andmanagement of the New York State Council of the Arts decentralization grants(also serving as chair of the Big Easy concert series committee); and annualevent committees for Give 4 Greatness, which fundraises for, and elevates theprofile of arts and cultural organizations in Western New York, advocating for programsthat promote the arts and encourages collaboration among the region’s arts andcultural organizations, businesses and community leaders.
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