Whether enrolled in The Juilliard School’s jazz program as an undergraduate working toward a bachelor’s degree or a graduate student in the Artist Diploma program, all Jazz Studies students have the opportunity to hone their performing skills as members of the Juilliard Jazz Orchestra and the Juilliard Jazz Ensembles.
Undergraduate and graduate students in Jazz Studies are placed in the Juilliard Jazz Orchestra and several small ensembles, which all rehearse biweekly. Woodwind players and drummers also have the opportunity to take doubling classes to enhance their ensemble abilities. Woodwind players study clarinet and flute; and drummers study vibraphone. The Juilliard Jazz Orchestra is conducted by James Burton III. The small jazz ensembles are conducted by Xavier Davis, Rodney Jones, and Frank Kimbrough. A weekly Rhythm Section class led by Kenny Washington is held for piano, bass, guitar, and drum students to develop skills or playing in big band and small ensembles.
Artist Diploma students are selected to participate in an ensemble-based program where they primarily concentrate on honing their performance, composition, and teaching skills. Biweekly rehearsals are led by Ben Wolfe. Artists in this program also act as student advisors in Jazz Studies.
All Juilliard Jazz students have several opportunities each academic year to perform as members of the Juilliard Jazz Orchestra and the Juilliard Jazz Ensembles. Students perform in on-campus concerts, gaining experience with an eclectic repertoire. Off campus, the Ensembles are also regularly featured at the world-renowned Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola and the Blue Note in New York City. Since the program’s inception, the Juilliard Jazz Orchestra has enjoyed weeklong runs at Jazz at Lincoln Center with guest artists such as Kenny Barron, Lew Tabackin, Gerald Wilson, Bobby Watson, Ernie Andrews, Tom Harrell, and Sean Jones.
Juilliard Jazz students enjoy extraordinary opportunities to participate in master classes and clinics while on tour in the United States and abroad. The Artist Diploma Ensemble, the Juilliard Jazz Orchestra, and its small ensembles frequently perform at festivals, including appearances at the Detroit Jazz Festival and New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, and tour to destinations such as Costa Rica, Colombia, Japan, and Brazil. Our students are selected to participate as ambassadors from Juilliard to teach alongside the faculty and coach students at jazz camps and festivals around the world.