Latin American Ensemble

The Mason Latin American Ensemble, directed by Doctor of Musical Arts candidate Juan Megna, embraces the rhythmic Latin American traditions married to the harmonies of jazz, through music of the past, present and future. The ensemble explores different eras and their composers, as well as new compositions that continue the tradition of crossing musical borders.

Mason Jazz in Brazil! March 2020, Mason Jazz will travel to São Paulo, Brazil for educational outreach events and performances at UNICAMP, Projeto GURI and musical venues. Learn more about this program: Mason Jazz in Brazil

CONCERTS – Fall 2019
  • Monday, NOV 18, 8pm:  Combos/Latin American Ensemble (Free admission, open to the public)
DEPARTMENTAL CONCERT (12:30 – 1:20pm, Harris Theatre, Free and open to the public) 
  • Wednesday, OCT 23:  Latin American Ensemble 
JAZZ ENSEMBLE AUDITIONS – Fall 2019 (current Mason students) 
  • Instrumental Piece:  There is No Greater Love
  • Instrumentalists:  Play the melody for one chorus and improvise for two choruses. In addition there will be sight-reading on the audition. Please bring your own musical accompaniment/backing track for iPod, Phone or CD player. (Bring adapter if your phone does not have a headphone jack)
  • Vocalists:  Sing one song of your choice (jazz preferred), sight-read a solo musical line and sing a brief tonal melody test. Please bring your own musical accompaniment/backing track for either iPod, Phone or CD player.
  • Visit the SEATING PLACEMENT AUDITIONS page to sign up for an audition.
  • If all audition slots are filled, please e-mail Dr. Darden Purcell.

Juan Megna is a drummer/percussionist from Argentina who has lived for 12 years in Brazil where, in 2008, got his degree in Brazilian Popular Music at the State University of Campinas (UNICAMP, Campinas, SP).  In 2015 he moved to Cincinnati, OH and studied at the College Conservatory of Music where he earned his Master Degree in Jazz Performance in the Spring semester of 2017.

In Brazil, he played and/or recorded with many prestigious artists such as Vinicius Dorin (Hermeto Pascoal), Jarbas Barbosa (Banda Mantiqueira), Rubinho Antunes, Felipe Silveira (Rosa Passos), Marcos Souza (Johnny Alf), Bruno Mangueira, Rafael dos Santos, Budi Garcia among many others. Considered a versatile musician, he was part of many groups and ensembles, including the Unicamp Symphony Orchestra (Campinas, SP) and the Brazilian percussion Ensemble “Tambaleio” among others.

In Cincinnati, he was an active member of the local music scene. He played with Craig Bailey, Phil deGreg Trio, Kim Pensyl, Rusty Burge, Aaron Jacobs. He also formed, with Thiago Camargo and Kevin Mc Clennan, the Brasa Trio, performing a repertoire of Brazilian Standards and new composers.

In the Fall of 2017, Juan moved to Washington DC area to begin as a candidate of DMA at George Mason University where he is currently directing the Latin American Ensemble in the Jazz Department. For more information about the Latin American Ensemble, e-mail Juan at jmegna@masonlive.gmu.edu.

The Mason Latin American Ensemble, Fall 2018. Photo by Suzette Niess.

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