Christopher Villanueva, M.A.

Lecturer, Jazz Studies, Music

Christopher Villanueva, M.A.


Chris Villanueva grew up in San Antonio, Texas. At age 12, he began to privately study improvisation with local jazz legends. Within two years, he was playing professionally in local groups as well as a soloist at wedding, museums, restaurants, coffee shops, community fundraisers, The San Antonio River Walk, and other special events. At age 15, he studied at the Berklee College of Music Summer Performance Program. As a senior at Judson High School, he competed in the TMEA competition and was selected as the top jazz pianist in the state of Texas.

Chris has a Bachelor’s degree in Music Arts and a Master’s in Jazz Studies in Performance from the University of North Texas. He has toured throughout the US as well as internationally. He has been featured in the San Antonio-Express News and La Prensa SA. He has performed at the Tobin Center for the Performing Art, and the historic Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center. Chris consistently performs at jazz festivals throughout Texas including the Fort Worth Jazz Festival, North Texas Jazz Festival, Denton Arts & Jazz Festival, Texas Jazz Festival of Corpus Christi, Austin Jazz Festival, Jazz in the Heights in Laredo, Fiesta Jazz Festival at St Mary’s University, Jazz’SAlive Festival, and the Balcones Height Jazz Festival. He has shared the stage with such internationally known artists as Richie Cole, Kirk Covington, Will Kennedy, Lynn Seaton, Luis Gasca, Tito Puente Jr., Jessy J, Blake Aaron, Peter White, Will Donato, Jeff Kashiwa, the US Air Force Band of the West and the late, great Ray Price.

Chris has more than 20 years of experience as an extremely active jazz musician. He is in demand as well with various ensembles in Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, Corpus Christi, Laredo, and San Antonio. Outside of the jazz world, he stays engaged in multiple genres such as Gospel, R&B, Funk, Blues, Pop, Latin Rock, Salsa, Tejano, and Conjunto-fusion. He teaches privately and maintains an active profile as an adjudicator and clinician. Chris has given workshops and master classes at high schools and colleges. In 2014 and 2016, he was selected to adjudicate the Palo Alto Jazz competition in San Antonio, Texas. He was a clinician for the 2017 Jazz in the Heights Festival held at the Vidal M. Trevino School of Communications and Fine Arts in Laredo, Texas.

He currently leads his own group and stays locked in with every live entertainment venue in Texas. When not working in his own band, teaching, or freelancing, Chris relaxes by doing studio work. He has been featured on more than 50 recording projects as a pianist, arranger, and producer. In 2018, he was recognized by the Latin Academy of Recording Arts and Science as a Co-Arranger and Keyboardist for his participation in a Grammy award-winning project.



  • MUS 2132 – Introduction to Improvisation
  • MUS 3583 – Advanced Improvisation
  • MUS 2183 – Jazz Skills
  • MUS 4183 – Jazz Composition and Arranging
  • MUS 3771/MUS 5711 – Jazz Ensemble II
  • MUS 4581/MUS 5711 – Jazz Combos


  • B.A., M.M., University of North Texas

Honors and Awards


Grants, Patents and Clinical Trials