Jazz Studies

The Mason Jazz Studies Department combines performance, curriculum and service to support House Resolution 57 which states jazz is “hereby designated as a rare and valuable national American treasure.”

The Mason Jazz Studies program (instrumental and vocal) offers opportunities for improvisation, performance, recording, writing, leadership and service. Our ensembles have performed at places such as:

Our students have won “Outstanding Ensemble” accolades, military band positions and DownBeat Student Music Awards.

Jazz Ensemble performing for the 20th Annual Jazz4Justice concert in 2021
Jazz Ensemble performing for the 20th Annual Jazz4Justice™ concert in 2021

A high point of students' time at George Mason University is Jazz4Justice™, a truly unique event where attorneys, judges, students and members of the Northern Virginia community gather to celebrate their love of jazz. Proceeds from the evening benefit Legal Services of Northern Virginia (LSNV) to continue its mission of service to the Northern Virginia community as well as providing financial support for the Mason Jazz Studies department for scholarships, trips, recordings and student projects.

Our students and community members have the benefit of attending master classes with world-class musicians throughout the year. Past artists include Maria Schneider, Eric Alexander, Sean Jones, Peter Erskine, Doc Severinsen, Peter Bernstein, Byron Stripling, Bobby Floyd, Chip McNeill, Brian Skonberg, Pat Bianchi and more.

Jazz Degrees available: 

  • Bachelor of Music in Jazz Studies (instrumental and vocal)
  • Master of Music in Jazz Studies (instrumental and vocal)
  • Doctor of Musical Arts (Jazz Emphasis). Email Darden Purcell for more information.
  • Minor

Find out more about degree details.

Jazz for Justice dress rehearsal in the Center of the Arts. photo by Evan Cantwell/Creative Services
Allan Fogelson - Jazz Studies

Allan Fogelson graduated with a Bachelor of Music in Jazz Studies in May 2022. Allan studied Jazz Guitar under the tutelage of Dr. Shawn Purcell. While at Mason, Allan performed with the Mason Jazz Ensemble, Jazz Combos, Mason Jazz Vocal Ensemble and played cello in the Mason Symphony Orchestra. Allan won a position with the United States Air Force Band of the West and will be stationed at Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio, Texas.

Mason Jazz Students and Faculty perform for International Jazz Day 2021.