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Jazz Studies

2019 ATHENS JAZZ FESTIVAL - set for April 12-14, 2019

Please join us for the annual non-competitive high school jazz band & combo festival at Ohio University!  

The high school component of the 2019 Athens Jazz Festival will occur on Saturday, April 13, 2019.  Each ensemble will receive written comments and an immediate post-performance workshop with the clinicians. Participating groups also perform a second time during the day for the public at the Baker Center Front Room Coffeehouse. At least one clinic/masterclass will be scheduled for all participants during the day Saturday.  


Click here for information on scholarships available to music majors who intend to make jazz study a focus of their undergraduate experience.



Roger Braun
Courses:­  Director of Jazz Percussion Ensemble,­Percussion­

John Horne
Adjunct Professor
Courses: Jazz Combo, Jazz Improvisation, Guitar 


Matthew James
Courses:­  Director of Jazz Ensemble I, Saxophone 

Assistant Professor
Courses: Director of Jazz Ensemble II,­Jazz Ensemble Methods (pedagogy),­Music Theory
Professor ­
Courses: History of Jazz (graduate level)




Jazz Ensemble I - Matt James, director
Jazz Ensemble II - Sean Parsons, director
Jazz Percussion Ensemble - Roger Braun, director
Jazz Combo - John Horne & Sean Parsons, directors
Jazz Ensembles, Jazz Combos, and the Jazz Percussion Ensemble form the jazz performance experience at Ohio University. These ensembles are open to all qualified students by audition, regardless of major. Concerts on and off campus, tours, and consistent contact with guest artists provide students with a variety of performance opportunities. Students also benefit from a broad range of jazz studies courses, including Jazz Improvisation I and II, Jazz History, Jazz Theory, Jazz Arranging, and Jazz Methods/Pedagogy. Auditions are held each semester and are open to all students, regardless of major field of study. Phone (740)593-4244 for additional information about Ohio University’s jazz offerings.
Auditions ­for big bands and combos occur­ during the first week of classes ­every semester. All OU students are invited to audition, regardless of major. ­Musicians who have no jazz experience are also encouraged to audition. ­Check the jazz ensembles bulletin board on the 4th floor of the School of Music (Glidden Hall, across from room 476) for sign-up sheets.­  No prepared materials are required, as the auditions involve sight reading of big band charts and improvisation (usually on a blues). Amps are provided for bassists and guitarists. Drummers - see the separate posting that describes the time/location for your auditions. Contact Matt James for more information.
Weekly Rehearsal Schedule


Jazz Ensemble I (MUS 2550/5550 section 100): Tues/Thurs 12-1:20pm

Jazz Ensemble II (MUS 2550/5550 section 101): Mon/Wed 11:50-12:45pm

Jazz Combo (MUS 2550/5550 section 102): arranged, usually coached one evening/week

Jazz Combo (MUS 2550/5550 section 103): arranged, usually coached one evening/week

Jazz Percussion Ensemble:  contact Professor Braun




Follow this link for the curriculum for this program, which emphasizes jazz studies coursework within the BA.  The BA in Music is a music major like all of our other degrees, and is perfect for students considering a double major, or a minor/certificate in another field.  


The Minor in Jazz Studies is open to any Ohio University student. ­The degree includes coursework in arranging, improvisation, history, theory, electives, and jazz ensemble participation. ­For a detailed look at the Minor in Jazz Studies, please click here.




Jazz Arranging

Jazz Theory

Jazz Ensemble Methods (pedagogy)

Jazz History

Jazz Improvisation I and II


Jazz Festival guest artists have included:
1998 ­Mike Steinel and Ed Soph
1999 ­Chris Vadala
2000 ­Ted Piltzecker
2001 ­Marvin Stamm
2002 ­Brad Leali
2003 ­Roland Vazquez
2004 ­John Fedchock
2005 ­Jim Riggs
2006 ­Jim Rupp and Tim Cummiskey
2007 ­Sarah Morrow
2008 ­Jeff Coffin
2009 ­Jack Schantz
2010 ­Howie Smith
2011 ­Sean Jones
2012 ­Tim Hagans and Gary Wittner
2013 ­Rob Parton and Bob Thompson
2014 Carl Allen
2015 Jeff Bush, James Moore, and the Big League Big Band
2016 Chris Madsen
2017 Nadje Noordhuis
2018 Roger Hines
Additional visiting artists have included:
Bill Watrous, Jim McNeely, Ashley Alexander, Jerry Niewood, Urbie Green, Gary Carney, Dave Samuels, Jeff Halsey, Dwayne Dolphin, Jeff Tyzik, Steve Houghton, Joe Lovano, Jamey Aebersold, the Jazz Knights Big Band, Amiri Baraka with Gary Bartz, Paul Ferguson, Vaughn Wiester, Alan Baylock, Allen Vizzutti, Vince DiMartino, Scott Hamilton, and more.



Matthew James

Professor of Saxophone & Jazz Studies
(740) 593-0957

Roger Braun

Professor of Percussion
(740) 597-1675

John Horne

Adjunct Professor of Guitar/Jazz Studies
(740) 593-4244

Sean Parsons

Assistant Professor of Jazz Studies, Music Theory