Formally trained as a musician, Bill May has performed regularly as a freelance musician nationally and internationally as a double bassist of orchestral music, operas and musicals. Notably Bill performed, for the 26 years of its existence, with the NJ Pops Symphony Orchestra as co-principal and principal bassist. Internationally, Bill he has performed in Greece, France, Germany, Hungary, Israel, Italy and Turkey.
As an educator Bill served the Newark Public Schools as a teacher and administrator. He concluded his career with the district as Director of Visual and Performing Arts. During his tenure as director of arts education in addition to expanding offerings in visual art and music, he initiated dance and theatre programs at the elementary level. Arts education opportunities were provided to every student in the district including unique partnerships such as the “Newark Early Strings Program”, a partnership with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra; The Newark Museum with programs such as “Express Yourself” and “Arts Infusion”; as well as other partnerships arts organizations such as the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, Lincoln Center Institute, the Manhattan Theatre Club, and McCarter Theatre. Bill initiated annual district arts activities such as “Out of School and So Cool”; the Newark Public Schools Student Dance Festival; the Newark Public Schools Student Jazz Festival; the Newark Public Schools Marching Band Festival; and an extensive artist-in-residence program with individual artists. Bill works with the NJ Department of Education as a writer for (former) Core Curriculum Content Standards; Arts Assessment; Common Core Standards.
Bill’s photography/videography experience encompasses “street photography”, public relations, fashion, portraiture and weddings. His passion is visually documenting jazz musicians. His personal stock of images has more than 500 entries for jazz musicians. One of Bill’s current projects is the compilation of images for volume one of a series of books with narratives and photographs of jazz musicians. Another work in progress is “The Newark Jazz Project”, a series of video interviews of people in jazz with a connection to the Greater Newark-area. Bill frequently exhibits his photographs in selected venues; has photography credits in The New York Times; The Star Ledger; Jet and a number of other publications, as well as album/CD covers and liner notes. His images are included in the book, In the Spirit of Swing: The First 25 Years of Jazz at Lincoln Center, edited by Wynton Marsalis.