Saturday, November 18, 2017

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Pitt Warner ('69) Pitt Warner ('69)
 


Endowment Created by Legendary Jazz Alumnus

The Pitt and Virginia Warner Jazz Studies Endowment will support jazz students.
By Teresa Monaco
 

“Pitt Warner was a San Diego musical icon who played with the very best musicians, and we are fortunate that he was able to perform with our students and ensembles.”

Pitt Warner ('69) became a professional drummer at the age of 14, and a sought-after local band member since coming to San Diego in 1955. He played regularly with the San Diego-based Latin jazz band, The Bordermen, and periodically with many others.

Shortly before his 40th birthday, Warner heeded the advice of his wife, Virginia, and enrolled at San Diego State University. It was an association that lasted until Warner’s death in 2016.

After graduating from SDSU with a bachelor’s degree in social science and a teaching credential, Warner taught elementary school and worked as a wedding and portrait photographer. But he continued to perform, often with SDSU’s jazz ensembles.

“Pitt Warner was a San Diego musical icon who played with the very best musicians, and we are fortunate that he was able to perform with our students and ensembles,” said Bill Yeager, director of jazz studies in SDSU’s College of Music and Dance. “He was a true inspiration to our students and was a role model who exemplified professionalism.”

Support in perpetuity

Virginia Warner (’52) graduated from SDSU with a degree in English. Shortly after she died in 2012, her husband made a cash gift to name the Pitt and Virginia Warner Suite in the Department of English and Comparative Literature. The Warners’ trust benefits SDSU’s School of Music and Dance and College of Arts and Letters.

The Pitt and Virginia Warner Jazz Studies Endowment will provide decades of support for jazz students and the Jazz Studies Program. This fund will support student success and experiential opportunities such as travel, conference and music festival attendance, and exposure to guest artists.

Performance in memory of Pitt

The SDSU Jazz Ensemble will perform its Nov. 7 concerts in honor of Pitt Warner. Featuring pianist and composer Matt Harris, the concerts are scheduled for 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. in Smith Recital Hall.

“Pitt played with our ensembles for nearly 35 years, and he is dearly missed,” said Yeager. “We are grateful that he is giving back to the department in perpetuity, and I know he would be proud of the work our students are doing.”