B i o g r a p h y
Justin Binek is an internationally recognized jazz and classical singer, pianist, and clinician/adjudicator. Selected as a 2022 and 2023 Quarterfinalist for the GRAMMY Music Educator Award, he is also an acclaimed arranger and composer whose works, including his jazz-inspired Missa Lucis (an ecumenical mass for soloists, choir, rhythm section, and horns that premiered at Carnegie Hall in June 2022) have been published by Kerry Marsh Music and Anchor Music Publications. Justin is a co-author of the upcoming Third Edition of Richard J. Lawn's Experiencing Jazz textbook (Routledge Press) , and he is a contributing author to Diana Spradling’s groundbreaking book, Jazz Singing: Developing Artistry and Authenticity and Katrien Van Opstal's Vocal Jazz Technique: The Mixing Table Model (both available from Anchor Music). Justin has presented numerous clinics and performed many times at the JEN, IAJE, and ISME Conferences. Justin has served as a member of the National Association for Music Education’s Council for Jazz Education, and also served on the boards of the Pennsylvania chapter of ACDA and the New Jersey Association for Jazz Education.
"If you're into jazz vocals, pure and never simple, Justin Binek's your guy. We relish his intelligent approach to a lyric, his impressive scatting, and his nifty piano work."
- Nigel Vermaas, contributing editor to Cue Media
His European quartet (featuring pianist Ewout Pierreux, bassist Jos Machtel, and drummer Toni Vitacolonna) released the album “Songbook” in 2013, he was a guest artist at the 2013 and 2016 Standard Bank National Jazz Festivals in Grahamstown, South Africa, and his trio (featuring bassist Micah Jones and drummer Erik Johnson) performed at the 2014 JEN Conference in Dallas. Justin served as the director of the New Jersey Honors Jazz Choir from 2007 to 2013, and he has directed numerous other state- and region-level honors choirs, earning a 2020 DownBeat Student Music Award for Honors Vocal Jazz Ensemble Outstanding Performance with the 2019 Oklahoma All-State Jazz Choir. He serves on the faculties of the Halewynstichting Jazz Workshop in Dworp, Belgium; the Tiffin University Summer Camp in Tiffin, Ohio; and the Jazz Harmony Retreat in Creston, Iowa. Justin is also a featured in-app clinician on Michele Weir's new ScatAbility app for iOS, the first voice-specific jazz improv practice app for mobile devices. Notable scholarly works include his 2017 dissertation, "The evolution of Ella Fitzgerald's syllabic choices in scat singing: a critical analysis of her Decca recordings, 1943-1952," and the original song "Oote" and the accompanying analysis "Jan Hanlo's Oote and Jazz Music: A Compositional Journey," published in Ode aan Oote (Uitgelezen Boeken, 2016).
"The best scatting I've heard in years. That is what scatting is all about: horn-like lines."
- Don Albert, veteran correspondent for DownBeat and Jazz Journal International
Justin currently serves on the faculty of Kansas City Kansas Community College as an Associate Professor of Music specializing in Music Theory and Jazz Improvisation, where his students have earned numerous DownBeat Student Music Awards in solo, ensemble, and audio engineering categories. He received a Doctorate of Musical Arts in Performance with a Jazz Studies emphasis and a minor in Choral Conducting from the University of North Texas in 2017; at UNT, he served as a Doctoral Teaching Fellow, teaching undergraduate and graduate Applied Jazz Voice lessons, undergraduate and graduate classes in the vocal jazz curriculum, and directed vocal jazz ensembles.
Justin previously served as Head of Vocal Jazz Studies at The University of the Arts in Philadelphia and as Director of Choral and Jazz Ensembles at the University of Mary in Bismarck, ND. Under his direction, the UArts Jazz Singers performed at the 2008 ISME World Conference; his UArts ensembles also gave feature performances at the Berks Jazz Festival, Ohio Jazz Summit, and the DMEA, NJMEA, and ACDA-PA Conferences. At U-Mary, the Concert Choir and Chamber Choir were prominently featured in the Public Television documentary “A Soulful Sound: The Music of the Germans from Russia.” Justin earned a Master of Music Degree in Voice Performance with a Minor in Music Theory from Western Michigan University, and Bachelor’s Degrees in Music Education, Saxophone Performance, and Voice Performance with a Minor in Theology from the University of Mary.