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Stephen Guerra, PhD

Stephen has about twenty years of diverse experience across higher education, philanthropy, performance, and investment management. What has tied it all together is his passionate commitment to building new and diverse communities around music making, learning, and listening and his fundamental belief that music making can and should be a part of everyone’s life.

Stephen comes to BCM most recently from a career in higher education, in which he taught, research, organized, and performed music. Through faculty appointments at UMass Amherst, Northern Arizona University, Rutgers, and Yale, Stephen wrote for specialized and general audiences, publishing theoretical articles on Afro-diasporic music and sheet music arrangements. He arranged numerous musician residencies, concerts, and workshops that brought international artists before more than a thousand undergraduates, broadening their musical and cultural appreciation and understanding. He taught and mentored hundreds of undergraduates, nurturing their enthusiasm for a life of music, whether amateur or professional.

Stephen is an active guitarist and composer. Last year, he released Choro in the Time of Bossa Nova, a full-length album by Duo Guerra/Morrow. This year, he has composed an album of originals Choro-Sambas de NYC, which currently lives on his YouTube channel. In the NYC Brazilian music scene, Stephen is known for making things happen—those smaller and larger casual jam sessions (sometimes with friends and family) spontaneously dotted across the city that nourish the vitality of the community itself as well as all those that they touch.

Coming from an immigrant family of modest means in New Jersey, Stephen was the first in his family to attend college. He studied engineering and finance at UPenn and classical guitar, composition, and music theory at Temple University. He earned his Ph.D. in music from Yale University in 2018.