Jazz Program at UMSL | UMSL

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Jazz Program at UMSL


The jazz studies program at the University of Missouri – St. Louis is entering a new era.  Under the leadership of Prof. Adaron Jackson, UMSL is building on the foundation of excellence established by former director Jim Widner and is working to position itself as the leading center for jazz education in the midwest.  

As part of a student’s comprehensive jazz education, in addition to performing with the Jazz Orchestra, students can participate in an improvisation lab or study privately with St. Louis’ finest jazz performers and teachers, who are adjunct faculty members of the music department. The UMSL Jazz Orchestra was featured at the Jazz Education Network’s inaugural conference in 2010, the Notre Dame Jazz Festival in 2011, and was selected to perform at the Midwest International Band and Orchestra Clinic in Chicago in December 2012.

The Greater St. Louis Jazz Festival has been host to internationally known music personalities, including: Bassist Ron Carter, Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, Clark Terry, Buddy DeFranco, Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band, Mulgrew Miller, Peter Erskine, John Pizzarelli, Jon Faddis, Lou Marini, Wayne Bergeron, and Shelly Berg. Also appearing at past festivals: Marilyn Maye, Conrad Herwig, Clay Jenkins, Chris Vadala, Byron Stripling, Mike Metheny, Jamey Aebersold, and many others. 

The four-day Greater St. Louis Jazz Festival combines jazz combos at Jazz At The Bistro followed by two days for big bands at the Blanche M. Touhill Performing Arts Center on the campus of the University of Missouri – St. Louis. The goal of the four-day festival is to encourage the musical education and growth of the participating students by interaction with these internationally acclaimed artists. 

In May of 2010, UMSL hosted the first annual Jazz Education Network (JEN) International Conference featuring high school, middle school, and collegiate jazz groups from all across the United States and boasting such headliners as the Clayton Brothers, Stefon Harris, Bobby Shew, Rufus Reid, and many others.

For additional information regarding auditions, schedule, concerts, activities, and performance availability contact:

Adaron Jackson, Director of Jazz Studies
(314) 516-7776