Karlton E. Hester, Ph.D. (composer/flutist/saxophonist), began his career as a composer and recording artist in Los Angeles where he worked as a studio musician and music educator. He received his Ph.D. in composition from the City University of New York Graduate Center and is currently Director of Jazz Studies at the University of California in Santa Cruz. As performer on both flute and saxophone, he is music director of the Fillmore Jazz Preservation Big Band and Hesterian Musicism. Hester is currently music director of Hesterian Musicism, founding director of the Fillmore Jazz Preservation Big Band in San Francisco and served as the Herbert Gussman Director of Jazz Studies at Cornell University from 1991-2001. His formal study included Harry Nelsova and Paul Renzi on flute, Joe Henderson and John Handy in jazz improvisation, composition with Bruce Saylor and Robert Starrer, as well as studies with Frank Chase and Bill Tremble on saxophone.
Hester specializes in premeditated, spontaneous and electro-acoustic composition. His compositions span a wide range; from numerous solo cycles for various woodwinds to chamber configurations, music videos and electro-acoustic symphonic works written in an eclectic array of styles. He has been the recipient of composer fellowships, grants and commissions from the National Endowment of the Arts, New York Foundation for the Arts, New England Council of the Arts, Arts International, ASCAP, the William Grant Still Foundation, a Postdoctoral fellowship from the Mellon Foundation, amongst others.