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About Aaron Lington

Dr. Aaron Joseph Lington is a Full Professor in the Department of Music at San José State University. A Grammy Award-winning baritone saxophonist and composer, Dr. Lington (b. 1974) received his BM in music education from the University of Houston, Moores School of Music, and both his MM in jazz studies and DMA in saxophone performance from the University of North Texas where he studied with James Riggs. His performing and compositional credits include collaborations with the San Francisco Symphony, Maynard Ferguson, the BBC Radio Orchestra, the Count Basie Orchestra, Doc Severinsen, Bo Diddley, Randy Brecker, Joe Lovano, Jamie Davis, Tommy Igoe, Pacific Mambo Orchestra, and many others. In addition, he has won awards for both his playing and writing from Downbeat Magazine, ASCAP, and was the 2003 recipient of the Sammy Nestico Award. He was named the 2011 “Jazz Educator of the Year” by the California Music Educators Association, and has been recognized multiple times in the both the Downbeat Magazine Critic’s Poll and Reader’s Poll. In 2015 he was named as a Silicon Valley Artist Laureate. The San José Mercury News praises Dr. Lington’s playing as “revelatory...he obviously relishes the beautiful, blustery bark of his instrument...” and that he possesses a “...finely honed melodic sensibility...” Josh Davies from the International Trumpet Guild states that Lington “...[shows] a true command of his instrument with a very studied and soulful essence.” Cadence magazine declares “Lington and compatriots come up with a wonderful and totally American jazz sound, [resulting in] a solid mainstream set based on some sweet melodic improvisation.”

In addition to his position as professor at San José State University where he serves as Coordinator of Jazz Studies, Dr. Lington is also the director of the San Jose Jazz High School All Stars. Aaron Lington is a Saxophone Performing Artist for Selmer Saxophones and is a D’Addario Performing Artist and performs exclusively on Rico Reeds.


Present Full Professor, Coordinator of Jazz Studies, San Jose State University Music & Dance

Curriculum Vitae


Research Interests

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Honors and Awards

  • SJSU Annual Author Award 2016-17
  • Silicon Valley Artist Laureate 2015
  • Nominated for “Jazz Record of the Year” for Bicoastal Collective: 2015 Chapter Four in the ECMA Awards
  • GRAMMY Award for Pacific Mambo Orchestra 2014 “Best Tropical Latin Album”
  • Winner of “Jazz Record of the Year” for Bicoastal Collective: 2014 Chapter Three in the ECMA Awards
  • San José State University Presidential Medal of Distinction 2014
  • Endorsing Artist for Selmer Saxophones 2013-present
  • Recognized in the 78th annual Downbeat Magazine Reader’s Poll 2013
  • Nominated for “Jazz Record of the Year” for Bicoastal Collective: 2012 Chapter Two in the ECMA Awards
  • California Music Educators Association (CMEA) 2010-11 Jazz Educator of the Year
  • Nominated for “Jazz Record of the Year” for Bicoastal Collective: 2010 Chapter One in the ECMA Awards
  • Recognized as a “Rising Star” in the 57th Annual Downbeat Magazine 2009 Critic’s Poll
  • San José State University “Salute to the Faculty” Award 2007
  • Recognized as a “Rising Star” in the 55th Annual Downbeat Magazine 2007 Critic’s Poll


2005 DMA, University of North Texas ‐ Saxophone Performance
2001 MM, University of North Texas ‐ Jazz Studies
1998 BM, University of Houston ‐ Music Education

Contact Information


Compositions (33)