Kyle Rightley grew up in the small town of Cortez, Colorado. Though he has fond memories of piano lessons, it was really playing euphonium in school bands and guitar with friends that sparked his pursuit of music as a career. He attended the University of Colorado-Boulder, winning Wallace F. Fisk Performance Awards in 2004 and 2005.
During his time at CU, Kyle collaborated with composers on new works for the Pendulum concert series and played trombone in the jazz big band. He moved to Madison in 2007 to study with legendary tuba/euphonium pedagogue John Stevens and upon finishing his Masters degree, he helped found the jazz-rock group The Big Payback. Kyle also contributes as a guitarist, vocalist, songwriter, and arranger to Driveway Thriftdwellers and the Civil Engineers. His trombone and euphonium playing is featured in Five Points Jazz Collective, Beefus, Capitol City Band, and other area ensembles.
Kyle was a finalist in the Madison Area Music Awards (MAMAs) for best country/bluegrass performer in 2016 and 2015. His EP Human Oscillator, Vol. 1 was a finalist for best electronic album in 2016. Previously, two of his songs have been MAMA finalists: Romeo Knows in 2014 and Jackal in a Suit in 2012.
At Prairie Music & Arts, Kyle teaches guitar and low brass, directs the Strum and Sing ensemble, and is a member of the jazz faculty. “I want my students to learn the common language of music. For me, collaboration is one of the most rewarding aspects of music. My goal is to empower students to be able to make music with their peers, friends, family, or anyone. I also want to help my students find their own individual voice on an instrument.”
Though his primary instruments are guitar, trombone, and euphonium, Kyle can also be heard playing keyboards, concert bells, mandolin, percussion, bass, and just about anything he can get his hands on. When not playing, teaching, or writing music, he enjoys kayaking and cooking Mexican food.