Kris Tiner

Professor, Music (Jazz); Director of Jazz Studies


Kris Tiner is a trumpet artist, composer, and educator active on the West Coast jazz and creative music scene for over 25 years. His playing has been described as “extraordinarily inventive” in Signal to Noise Magazine, “perfectly suited to the moment” in DownBeat, and the LA Weekly states that “trumpeter Kris Tiner can turn barbed wire to beauty.” His music has been performed on five continents, his 90+ recordings have been enthusiastically reviewed in the international jazz press, and he has performance credits on MTV, NBC, PBS, and Comedy Central. Tiner has received awards from ASCAP, the American Composers Forum, Chamber Music America, the Kennedy Center, the Kern County Music Educators Association, and the Levan Center for the Humanities. He was a Lucas Artists Fellow in composition at Montalvo Arts Center from 2012-15. 

He is a recipient of the Paul A. Shaghoian Jazz Educator Award from the California Music Educators Association, and he is a 2023 inductee into the CSUB Alumni Hall of Fame. He has toured widely as a member of the Empty Cage Quartet with recordings on Portugal’s Clean Feed label, and he collaborates with guitarist Mike Baggetta in the duo Tin/Bag. Tiner also performs with the Cathlene Pineda Quartet, Chris Schlarb’s Psychic Temple, the Industrial Jazz Group, and the Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra. He has collaborated with Wadada Leo Smith, Vinny Golia, Kraig Grady, Tatsuya Nakatani, Nels Cline, Lukas Ligeti, Joe La Barbera, Lisa Mezzacappa, and many others. 

Tiner is Professor of Music at Bakersfield College, where he directs the DownBeat award-winning Jazz Studies program. He has also taught at the California Institute of the Arts, CSU Bakersfield, and Taft College. He holds an MFA in African-American Improvisational Music from CalArts and a BA in Music from CSU Bakersfield. Tiner has been a visiting lecturer and performer at Durham University, Bennington College, The Art Institute of Seattle, Northwestern University, Brooklyn Conservatory of Music, and many other institutions throughout the United States and Europe. He has also presented at conferences of the International Society for Improvised Music, the California Art Education Association, and the Music Association of California Community Colleges. He contributed a chapter on the history and practice of systemic music to ‘The Aesthetics of Imperfection in Music and the Arts’, an anthology of writings published by Bloomsbury Academic. Tiner is a board member of the California Alliance for Jazz and the Bakersfield Jazz Workshop, and he has organized a successful series of concerts and multimedia performances in the emerging Downtown Arts District of Bakersfield for many years. He is the founder of Epigraph Records, an independent label dedicated to the documentation of new creative music recorded in Bakersfield.