Steve Rudolph

Steve Rudolph's Biography

Steve Rudolph was born in Evansville, Indiana on April 10, 1949, and spent his formative years in Warrick County, Southern Indiana, graduating from Boonville High School. His musical training began as a trumpet student, receiving first place for trumpet performance at the Indiana State Solo & Ensemble contest five years in a row, '63 - '67. At Butler University, '67 - '70, he studied with Delbert Dale, John Colbert, and Jackson Wiley. The rich jazz tradition in Indianapolis (Montgomery Brothers, Floyd Smith, Ann Chamberlain, Jimmy Coe, Claude Sifferlin, Steve Allee, Carroll DeCamp, John Von Ohlen, Pookie Johnson) fed his interest and at age 22 (1971), he changed his main instrumental focus from the trumpet to the piano. In '77 he was hired by Buddy Morrow to perform with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra where he backed up Helen O'Connell and the Mills Brothers. Steve left the Dorsey tour after one year and moved to Harrisburg, PA to lead a trio six nights a week at the Holiday Inn Town's Dauphin Lounge. Guest artists Johnny Coles, Jr. Cook, Ira Sullivan, Al Grey, Bob Mintzer, Joe Lovano, Eric Kloss, Sal Nistico, John Von Ohlen, Terry Silverlight, Roger Rosenberg and others appeared with Steve's trio. By the time the job at the Holiday ended in '80, Steve's reputation in Central PA had grown and he was very much in demand. He stayed in Harrisburg, performing regularly and serving as an advocate for his art form, organizing a jazz society (the Central PA Friends of Jazz), hosting jazz radio programs, teaching, and booking jazz artists in area clubs and concert venues.

Steve is a past President and a founder (1980) of the Central PA Friends of Jazz, one of the most successful nonprofit jazz organizations in the country. CPFJ, in its twenty-fifth year, hosts eight concerts and the Central PA Commerce Bank Jazz Festival annually, along with youth bands, scholarships, 1000+ paying members, monthly newsletter and musician referral service. He served as Executive Director from '89 – '92, and was on the Board of Directors and Music Committee from '80 - '98 & 2000 - '01. Since arriving in Harrisburg in 1978, Steve has been largely responsible for the growth and development of the thriving jazz scene in Central Pennsylvania.