Born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1978, Shawn took to music at a very young age. As a student, Shawn performed at various district and all state festivals, but his primary inspirations toward a life in music were three fold. First, as a 4 year member of the Massachusetts Wind Ensemble or “MYWE,” Shawn enjoyed learning and studying under legendary conductor Daniel Riley at the esteemed New England Conservatory of Music in Boston. This group was honored to perform for the president of Sony Corporation in Japan, in addition to performing concerts all around New England, Canada, Europe, and Spain. Membership in this group led to Shawn being invited as a scholarship student to the Boston University Tangle Wood Institute (BUTI) and then as a Governors scholar to the world respected Interlochen Arts Camp.
In 1997, Shawn enrolled at The University of Miami to study with saxophone master, Gary Keller. This was a period of enormous development in Shawn’s playing. While at the “U” Shawn was a member of numerous award winning large and small ensembles.
In 2002, with his college degree in hand, Shawn moved to Chicago. While pursuing a graduate degree at DePaul University, Shawn hit the streets at night, sitting in, playing wherever and whenever possible. Shawn developed a reputation that led to his acceptance into the vibrant Chicago music scene. Shawn’s playing truly began to flourish during his time in Chicago. Under the watchful eye of jazz masters such as Larry Novak, Bob Lark, Mark Colby, and Bob Palmieri, Shawn studied harmony intensively, while playing lead alto with the internationally recognized DePaul Jazz Ensemble, he played behind such luminaries as James Moody, Phil Woods, Bobby Shew, Wynton Marsalis, Jim McNeely, Kenny Werner, John Faddis, and David “Fat Head” Newman. The band had highly successful engagements at Chicago’s Jazz Showcase and aboard Norwegian Cruise Lines, “Jazz Party at Sea”. Additionally, he was in several local bands that were big in the “jam band” scene, appearing at many regional festivals and touring extensively.
In May of 2004, at the request of jazz legend Phil Woods, Yamaha invited Shawn to join their cooperation as a clinician, and endorsed artist. At the time, he was the youngest saxophonist to receive this very distinguished honor. With the assistance of Yamaha, Shawn has conducted dozens of clinics, residencies, and performances around the nation each year.
In 2006, while pursuing a doctoral degree at the University of Northern Colorado, Shawn was hired at the Harvard-Westlake School in North Hollywood. He is currently enjoying his 5th year as the director of jazz studies at this elite Los Angeles High School. He directs classes including; 3 big bands, 10 combos, jazz history and improvisation. Furthermore, he frequently performs and records regularly with top musicians in the Los Angeles area.