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Fighting spirit and awarded escapades

November 4, 2019 | By Wendell Slater with contributions by Brandy Gottlieb |

Spaniola is a UWF music professor, an award-winning composer, and director of music theory, and jazz studies.

With his first album under Big Round Records, the award-winning Dr. Joseph Spaniola says he is on a quest to engage the hearts and minds of his audience with the powers of communicative music. Spaniola’s ESCAPADE: Music for Large and Small Ensembles (a Parma, Big Round Records release) was recently named a Top Ten Album of Fall 2019 by the Global Music Awards.

Spaniola is a UWF music professor, an award-winning composer, and director of music theory, and jazz studies. His award-winning compositions have been performed and recorded by ensembles all over the world, including Europe, Japan, South America, China, Taiwan and Singapore. Spaniola served as the chief composer and arranger for The United States Air Force Academy Band (1998-2007) and the non-commissioned officer in charge of music production and recording. He has arranged, produced, and written for artists such as jazz legend Sammy Nestico; soprano Reneé Fleming; Irish tenor, Ronan Tynan; trombonist Bill Watrous; and Broadway and television performer, Constance Towers. His work has also been featured Inaugural Lone Star Film and Television Awards

Spaniola’s album; ‘ESCAPADE: Music For Large and Small Ensembles’ has been quickly gaining recognition, accolades, and awards- to include The American Prize’s ‘Composer’s honorable mentions’ and the Global Music Awards ‘Silver Medal Winner for Outstanding Achievement’. ‘ESCAPADE’ was also named ‘Top Ten Album of Fall 2019’ by the Global Music Awards.Dreams’, a track on the album, received The 2018 – 2019 American Prize in Composition third-place honors in the Instrumental Chamber Music – Larger Ensemble Category. The American Prize is a nonprofit organization that conducts a series of contests in the classical arts genre; and the Global Music Awards, which was founded in 2011 is called the ‘Gold Seal of the Music Industry’. The Album’s featured track ‘Escapade’ was a composition Dr. Spaniola created while composing for The US  Air Force Academy Band; Escapade won the National Band Association/Revelli Memorial Composition Competition back in 2001.

Spaniola believes his mission is to create moments that allow the audience gets carried away with his music. Within those moments, he surmises, are a person’s own memories emphatically connecting to the music’s rhythm. Musically activated memories play a big part in Spaniola’s album. The three-part composition “Klempirik Farms” reflects memories of his family farm, what he describes as “an ideal, radiant place, a boundless source of peace, joy, and quiet strength…” Spaniola went on to say,  “Each piece of music I compose is like creating this child and releasing them out into the world, you don’t know what their journey will be but you wish for the best.”

"ESCAPADE" is a brilliant celebration of the sheer exuberance of the wind band and wind ensembles -Colin Clarke, Fanfare Magazine

While developing the ‘Escapade’ album, Spaniola also penned the UWF’s Argo Fight Song, which was released in the summer of 2018. Spaniola’s mission has led him to compete, and complete numerous projects. Yet, the UWF professor also commits his time to teach, and lead the UWF Jazz Ensemble during the semester in their free showcase concerts at  UWF’s Center for Fine and Performing Arts.

Spaniola is on a mission to create unforgettable musical connections for his listeners; and when looking at the incredible awards, the glowing reviews, and his educational legacy at the University of West Florida- some would say he is very successful in his mission.