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 ensembles offer opportunities for improvisation, performance, recording, writing, leadership and service. They have performed at the Shanghai Concert Hall (Beijing, China), Center for the Arts, Hylton Performing Arts Center, Virginia Music Educators Association Conference (VMEA), Blues Alley, Kansas City Jazz Summit, JEN Conference 2014 (Dallas, TX), JENerations Jazz Festival 2017 (New Orleans, LA), JEN Conference 2018 (Dallas, TX), ACCENT Vocal Festival, University of Trinidad and Tobago and more. A highpoint of students’ time at George Mason University is Jazz 4 Justice©, an annual concert that combines the Mason Jazz department with local law communities to raise money for the jazz program and public access to justice.

The Mason Jazz Studies department hosts multiple master classes a year for students and jazz community. Artists include Eric Alexander, Peter Erskine, Doc Severinsen, Peter Bernstein, Byron Stripling, Bobby Floyd, Bria Skonberg, Alexis Cole, Stockton Helbing, and more. Spring 2020, we are excited to host American composer, Jazz Orchestra leader and multiple Grammy award-winner, Maria Schneider.

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


ENSEMBLESOpen to all university students, regardless of major, based on audition

CONCERTS – Spring 2020

  • Juan Megna Clinic at the Jazz Education Network (JEN) Conference:  Friday, JAN 10, 2pm (Hyatt Regency, New Orleans)
  • Metropolitan Jazz Orchestra – Ellington, Basie and Bird:  Saturday, FEB 8, 8pm (Hylton PAC) Purchase Tickets:  hylton.calendar.gmu.edu/metropolitan-jazz-orchestra
  • Mason Jazz Faculty at Blues Alley:  Monday, FEB 10, 8pm & 10pm. Purchase Tickets: www.bluesalleylive.com/?fuseaction=home.artist&VenueID=3&artistid=20797
  • Mason Jazz Festival: Saturday, FEB 29, All day (Harris Theatre) Schedule and Registration:  music.gmu.edu/visit-us/mason-jazz-festival/
  • Latin American Ensemble Global Discovery Trip to Brazil:  Friday, MAR 6 – Sunday, MAR 15th! (Performances and workshops at UNICAMP, Projeto GURI and much more! Details TBD) 
  • Brazilian “Friends of Music” event with the Latin American Ensemble:  Sunday, MAR 22, Time TBD (Monson Grand Tier)
  • Big Band Showdown with the Matthews HS Jazz Band and NJW All-Star Orchestra:  Monday, MAR 30, 8pm (Center for the Arts) Purchase Tickets: cfa.calendar.gmu.edu/big-band-showdown
  • Mason Jazz Concert/Lecture for Local Schools:  Wed. APR 1, 10:30am (Hylton Performing Arts Center)
  • Jazz Combos/Latin American Ensemble:  Wed. APR 8, 8pm (de Laski 3001) 
  • Metropolitan Jazz Orchestra with special guest artist, MARIA SCHNEIDER:  Saturday, APR 11, 8pm (Center for the Arts) Purchase Tickets:  cfa.calendar.gmu.edu/metropolitan-jazz-orchestra
  • Jazz Combos:  Wed. APR 15, 8pm (de laski 3001) 
  • Hylton PAC Gala – Darden Purcell + Studio Vocalists:  Friday, APR 17, 8pm – 11:30pm, Purchase Tickets
  • Jazz Workshop:  Wed. APR 22, 8pm (De Laski 3001)
  • Big Band Jam:  Sat. APR 25 (Hosted by the Blues Alley Jazz Society, held at the Sylvan Theatre. Performances by the Mason Jazz Vocal Ensemble and Mason Jazz Ensemble – Details TBD)  
  • Mason Jazz Vocal Night:  Monday, APR 27, 8pm (Center for the Arts) Purchase Tickets: cfa.calendar.gmu.edu/mason-jazz-vocal-night
  • Mason Jazz Ensemble at Blues Alley:  Tuesday, APR 28, 8pm & 10pm (Split performance with the GW Jazz Ensemble at Washington DC historic Jazz club, Blues Alley) Purchase Tickets: http://bluesalley.com/
  • International Jazz Day:  Thursday, APR 30 (Center for the Arts) Purchase Tickets:  cfa.calendar.gmu.edu/international-jazz-day-concert
  • Law Day:  Friday, MAY 1, 4pm – 8pm (Weiner, Spivey and Miller Law Office)
  • Mason Steel Pan Night:  Sunday, May 3, (Harris Theatre)

DEPARTMENTAL CONCERTS – 12:30PM (Harris Theatre – free and open to the public) 

  • Latin American Ensemble: Wed. FEB 19
  • Jazz Combos:  Mon. FEB 24
  • Jazz Voice Studio:  Wed. FEB 26
  • Jazz Combos:  Wed. MAR 4
  • Steel Pan Ensemble:  Fri. APR 10


  • Maria Schneider:  Early April – Day/Time TBD


  • Sun. FEB 16, 3pm:  Tomas Jackson MM Piano (Harris Theatre)
  • Thurs. APR 2, 8pm:  Noah Nipp, Jr. Bass (De Laski 3001) 
  • Mon. APR 6, 8pm:  Zoe Jorgenson , MM Bass (Harris Theatre)
  • Tues. APR 7, 8pm:  Alex Steadman, Sr. Voice (Harris Theatre)
  • Thurs. APR 16, 8pm:  Leigh Pilzer DMA Saxophone Lecture Recital (De Laski 3001)
  • Sun. APR 19, 2pm:  Jason Seiler, Jr Guitar (De Laski 3001)
  • Wed. APR 29, 8pm:  Emma Pivetta, Non-degree Saxophone Recital (De Laski 3001)
  • Sun. MAY 3, 4pm:  Justin Paschalides, MM, Piano Pedagogy (Choral Room)
  • Sun. MAY 3, 8pm:  Tom Mulherin, MM Piano (Harris Theatre)
  • Thurs. MAY 7, 8pm:  Brandon Ciocco, MM Guitar (Harris Theatre)

JAZZ ENSEMBLE AUDITIONS – Fall 2020 (current Mason students) 

  • Instrumental Piece:  Coming soon
  • 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


Purchase at https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/masonjazzvocalensemble or e-mail the school of music for hard copies.




George Mason University: Music Library’s move to Fenwick met with Music and Fanfare! 

George Mason University:  Mason Joins Worldwide Jazz Day Celebration with an All-Jazz Concert!