About Dr. Dave

Dr. David Lee Grilly (1952 -) has been a leader in community based music education programs since the fall of 1970 when at age 18 he began teaching marching and jazz band for the Soka Gakkai International USA in Chicago (see sgi-usa.org).  Both his youth and adult bands and orchestras have participated in SGI-USA culture festivals and competitions throughout the U.S. and Japan for decades. These music groups represent the spirit of “SOKA” (Value Creation) and they serve as “community builders” who create a cultural bridge for world peace and happiness in a realistic way for common folks.   Dr. Grilly teaches all of the concert band instruments specializing in saxophone, clarinet and flute. He has been a jazz and studio musician since 1968 and is currently co-leader of the Grammy recognized “The Grilly Brothers Sextet”, featured regularly at Chicago’s Jazz Showcase. To make a living he has worked as an IT Software Engineer working for public institutions such as the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago and the Illinois Department of Employment Security. Due to health reasons Dr. Grilly was forced to retire from the corporate IT world in October of a 2010.  Since then he has worked as the Director of Music Education for Orchestra Hall Studio in Chicago’s Logan Square area and as Video Producer for the Chicago SGI-USA Peace Concert Series.

Dr. Grilly has received both his B.A. in Music and an M.A. in General Studies Combing Music Education and Information Systems from Roosevelt University and in 2012 was awarded a Ph.D. from Corllins University for his lifelong contribution to building a “culture of peace” through the arts for the sake of American Kosen-Rufu.   His doctorate has been recognized by the Secretary of State for the State of Maryland and with recognition from U.S. Department of State authorized by then Secretary Hilary Clinton.

Dr. Grilly has participated in the Post-Doctoral Fellow program offered through University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Professional Development Program.  His main objective there was utilize a post-graduate thesis in Ethno-Musicology at the University of Chicago in 2002 as the basis for a doctoral dissertation.  Originally titled, “Jazz and the East” his thesis explored the influence of the music of India, Japan and the Middle East since the late 1950’s on modern American Jazz.  Using the life of the great jazz saxophonist John Coltrane as an example he discusses at length the change in Coltrane’s approach to improvised music as being a “Messenger of God” utilizing these eastern influences.  The main purpose of his dissertation is to carry this cultural interaction a “Giant Step” further by expanding its focus on “creating a culture of peace through the arts”. Recently, American jazz icon Herbie Hancock (now a professor at Harvard) advises our educational system to make a fundamental shift in focus:  science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) to include the arts (STEAM) for the sake of world peace. Politics and economics have failed to bring peace and understanding to all the people of the world. However, through the invisible humanistic bridge provided by the arts, especially music since it is most reality accessible to the human spirit, heart to heart, creating a “culture of peace” at this most critical juncture in human history is paramount to Dr. David Lee Grilly mission at UAB.