Heitlinger, Alex B
Director of Jazz and Contemporary Performance, Assistant Professor
NC 720
Last Updated: 1/21/19 -

Dr. Alex Heitlinger, Director of Jazz and Contemporary Performance, brings a wide range of experience as a performer, composer, and educator to UVU’s Music Department. Since moving to Utah in 2015, he has established himself as one of the top-call jazz and session trombonists in the region, and has become an in-demand clinician and educator. His roles at UVU include directing jazz and contemporary ensembles, teaching courses in jazz improvisation and arranging, and serving as a private instructor of jazz trombone.

Although perhaps best known for creating the humorous jazz-inspired YouTube video,The Lick (which now has over 2.4 million views), Dr. Heitlinger’s work as a jazz trombonist, composer, bandleader, and producer has been well-received by critics and audiences around the world. Jazz radio legend Bob Parlocha named Heitlinger’s debut album Green Light (Synergy Music) one of the top jazz albums of the year, and frequently shared tracks on his nationally syndicated jazz programs. Heitlinger’s second album, The Daily Life of Uncle Roger, also received numerous positive critical reviews, with three pieces from the album receiving ASCAP Young Jazz Composer awards. Recent recording projects include albums with pianist/composer Peggy Stern, pianist/composer Carmen Sandim, and vocalist Andrea Miller. Heitlinger is currently compiling music for a big band album and has fulfilled recent commissions from the Utah Arts Festival, the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music’s Trombone Choir, and the City of Austin Arts Council. 

Having worked extensively as a freelance musician in Denver, New York, Boston, Austin, and Salt Lake City, Heitlinger has shared the stage with numerous internationally recognized jazz, pop, and Latin music artists and bands including Art Lande, Wycliffe Gordon, Joshua Redman, Terrell Stafford, Jeff Hamilton, Eddie Daniels, Chuck Findley, John Clayton, Ray Anderson, Bob Brookmeyer, Gunther Schuller, Richie Cole, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Alex Sipiagin, Richie La Bamba, Lenny Pickett, Teo Macero, Rosemary Clooney, Darcy James Argue's Secret Society, The Duke Ellington Orchestra, The Birdland Big Band, Wayne Gorbea y Salsa Picante, Ochun, Choco Orta, Jose Pepito Gomez, Lisandro Arias, Azouhouni Adou, Slavic Soul Party, and David Wax Museum. He has performed at venues across the U.S. and in Canada, Mexico, France, Germany, Ivory Coast, and Madagascar, performing at numerous music festivals including the JVC Jazz Festival, Vail Jazz Festival, Newport Folk Festival, Salt Lake City Jazz Festival, South by Southwest, Jazz Education Network Conference, Saltillo (Mexico) Jazz Festival, and Madajazzcar.

As an educator, Dr. Heitlinger has presented recent guest lectures and master classes at BYU Idaho, Idaho State University, Utah State University, Utah Music Educators Association Conference, and the Universidad San Francisco de Quito (Ecuador). He continues to serve as a frequent guest adjudicator and clinician at local schools and festivals across Utah. Dr. Heitlinger holds degrees from the University of Colorado at Boulder, The New England Conservatory, and The University of Texas at Austin.

"His music showed a lot of maturity, technical proficiency, but moreover, he has a voice. That’s rare."

- Maria Schneider (Grammy-winning jazz composer)

“With a foot firmly planted in modern post bop, Heitlinger's writing for this sextet demonstrates a keen sense of interplay for the front line, as he develops themes that are just as often about intertwining contrapuntal lines as more straightforward harmony.”

- All About Jazz

"...very much in the exploratory spirit of Booker Little's amazing early 1960's sextet... melodic and sonorous, full of appealing hooks and rich harmonies."

- Darcy James Argue (Grammy-nominated jazz composer)

“Heitlinger’s elaborate, richly lyric tunes give each improviser plenty to chew on. Each tune contains numerous, discreet episodes and plenty of harmonic movement. But his dense arrangements, which convey a much larger sound than you’d expect from a sextet, guide the listener through each section with an abundance of sonic warmth”

- Downbeat Magazine