Gary Wurtz became the Dean of the Micky Elliott College of Fine Arts at Stephen F. Austin State University in the fall of 2022, having served as interim dean for the 2021-22 academic year. For five years prior to that he was the Director of the SFA School of Music, after having been the trumpet professor and director of the Swingin’ Axes jazz band for twenty-four years. His other duties at SFA have included serving as the Associate Director for Undergraduate Studies, directing the Trumpet Ensemble, performing in the Pineywoods Brass Quintet and serving as Director of the esteemed SFA Summer Band Camps. His many students have gone on to positions as public school band directors, military bandsmen, professional and amateur performers, college professors, church music ministers, businessmen, lawyers, and many other worthy professions. He has served the university as chair of the Chairs Forum, Chair of the Faculty Senate, and numerous other committees, including the Master Planning Committee. Centennial Celebration Committee, Strategic Planning Committee, Academic Admissions Standards Committee, University Scholarships Committee, Salary Equity Committee, and many others. In 2012 Dr. Wurtz was the recipient of the Teaching Excellence Award for the College of Fine Arts at SFA, and he was a finalist for the SFA Foundation’s Excellence in Teaching Award in 2014.
Wurtz came to SFA from the Dallas area where he spent several years as a free-lance trumpeter and private instructor. He held the principal trumpet chair in the Richardson Symphony Orchestra from 1986 to 2001, taking a year off in 1989-1990 to play co-principal chair in La Orquesta Filarmónica de la UNAM in Mexico City and as principal trumpet in the National Orchestra of the Dominican Republic in Santo Domingo. At home in Nacogdoches, he has performed as principal trumpet in the Orchestra of the Pines, with whom he has been featured on the Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 by J.S. Bach (twice), Aaron Copland’s Quiet City, Concerto in Re by Johann Friedrich Fasch and Concerto for Trumpet by Alexander Arutunian.
Wurtz has worked extensively as an orchestral musician, jazz musician, soloist and studio musician. He appears frequently as a soloist and clinician, both in the classical and jazz fields, at colleges, high schools and with professional organizations.
A native of Alamogordo, New Mexico, Wurtz holds a Bachelor of Music Education from West Texas A&M University (1985), Master of Music Education from the University of North Texas (1987) and the Doctor of Musical Arts in Trumpet Performance from the University of North Texas (2001). His primary teachers have included Dr. Leonard Candelaria, Bert Truax, David Ritter and Art Holt.
Wurtz has been married to his wife, Mindy, since 1987. They have two children, a son, Gage, and a daughter, Hannah.
Gary Wurtz is or has been affiliated with the International Trumpet Guild, Texas Music Educators Association, Texas Jazz Educators Association, American Federation of Musicians, Pi Kappa Lambda, Kappa Kappa Psi, and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia.
Wurtz is available as a clinician, adjudicator and performer, and is an artist clinician for Schilke Trumpets.