Tom Knific

Photo of Tom Knific
Thomas Knific (Tom)
Professor, Jazz Studies, Bass
(269) 387-4710
(269) 387-1113
1708 Dalton Center, Mail Stop 5434
Mailing address: 
School of Music
Western Michigan University
1903 W Michigan Ave
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5434 USA
  • Diploma Academia Chigiana (Italy)
  • B.M., Cleveland Institute

Adept as both a classical and jazz musician, Tom Knific has been principal bassist of orchestras in the United States, Latin America, and Europe. He has performed as a soloist and in chamber music festivals in Europe, Canada, Asia, Latin America, and the US.

As a jazz artist Knifice has appeared throughout Europe, Central and South America, Asia, Canada, Africa and the US, including the Aspen Festival, International Association for Jazz Education and Jazz Education Network conferences and the International Society of Bassists conventions. He has given concerts and master classes at prestigious institutions including Carnegie Hall, Merkin Hall, Symphony Space, Lincoln Center, Paris Conservatory, Janacek Academy, Berlin University of the Arts, the Copenhagen Opera House, China Conservatory in Beijing, and The Library of Congress.

Knific has toured and recorded with artists including Dave Brubeck, Randy Brecker, Art Farmer, Billy Hart, Gene Bertoncini, Harvey Mason, John Abercrombie, Fred Hersch, Edward Simon, Toots Thielemans, Eric Marienthal, and Kenny Werner. He is leader of the Western Jazz Quartet, a WMU faculty ensemble in residence, which has appeared worldwide and received critical acclaim for their five CDs of original music.

He has taught at the Interlochen Arts Academy, Michigan State University, and the Cleveland Institute. Knific has given over 100 master classes worldwide. He appears on over 30 CDs, including four solo recordings. He has appeared on the Universal, Mercury, Polonia, Koch International, SMR, Jazzheads, Centaur, Azica, BluJazz, Naxos and Sea Breeze labels. A prolific composer, his works are published by Editions Delatour, Paris and ISB Editions, Dallas.

His students perform in orchestras on three continents and have toured with major jazz artists including John Scofield and Betty Carter. He received the DownBeat Jazz Education Achievement Award in 2004.

Knific’s teachers included Franco Petracchi, Eugene Levinson, Stuart Sankey, Lawrence Angell, Frank Deliberto, Jim Leihenseder, Bill Durango, and Dave Holland.

Knific is past president of the International Society of Bassists.

Tom Knific's website
Jazz studies website