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.”

DEGREES

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

FACULTY

ENSEMBLES – Open to all university students, regardless of major, based on audition

CONCERTS – Fall 2019  

  • Sunday, AUG 25, 5:30pm:  Mason Jazz Welcome Back Party (De Laski 3001) – Dinner, Meet and Greet, Orientation, Faculty Concert and Student Jam. Mandatory for Jazz Majors. Encouraged for those auditioning/playing in jazz ensembles. All are welcome, bring a friend and hang!
  • Monday, SEP 23, 8pm & 10pm:  Shawn Purcell “Symmetricity” CD Release Party (Blues Alley) Purchase Tickets
  • Saturday, SEP 28, 5pm: Arts By George (School of Music, De Laski Performing Arts Building) Purchase Tickets
  • Saturday, OCT 5, 7-11pm:  Mason Jazz Guitar Night (Epicure Cafe, cover charge at door TBD, open to the public) 
  • Monday, NOV 4, 8pm:  Jazz Combos/Steel Pan Ensemble (De Laski 3001, Free admission, open to the public) 
  • Friday, NOV 8, 8pm:  Jazz 4 Justice (Center for the Arts) Purchase Tickets
  • Sunday, NOV 10, 1pm:  Mason Jazz Ensemble at Trumpet Day (De laski Performing Arts Building)
  • Wednesday, NOV 13, 8pm:  Jazz Workshop (Harris Theatre, Free admission, open to the public) 
  • Sunday, NOV 17, 3pm: Latin American Ensemble/NJW All-Star Orchestra (De Laski 3001, Free admission, open to the public)
  • Monday, NOV 18, 8pm:  Jazz Combos/Latin American Ensemble (De Laski 3001, Free admission, open to the public)
  • Monday, NOV 25, 8pm:  Mason Jazz Vocal Night w/ special guests Forest Park High School, Platinum Vocal Jazz (Center for the Arts) Purchase Tickets
  • Friday, DEC 13, 8pm: Mason Jazz Vocal Ensemble with the American Festival Pops Orchestra (Hylton PAC) Purchase Tickets
  • Saturday, DEC 13, 8pm:  Mason Jazz Vocal Ensemble with the American Festival Pops Orchestra (Center for the Arts) Purchase Tickets
  • Friday, JAN 10, 2pm:  Juan Megna Clinic at the Jazz Education Network (JEN) Conference, New Orleans, LA.

PAST EVENTS

DEPARTMENTAL CONCERTS (12:30 – 1:20pm, Harris Theatre, Free and open to the public) 

  • Wednesday, OCT 2:  Steel Pan Ensemble (de Laski 3001) 
  • Wednesday, OCT 9:  Jazz Voice Studio
  • Wednesday, OCT 23:  Latin American Ensemble
  • Wednesday, OCT 30:  Jazz Combos
  • Wednesday, NOV 13:  Jazz Combos

MASTER CLASSES (de Laski band room, free and open to the public) 

  • Monday, SEP 23, 1:30pm:  Stockton Helbing
  • Monday, SEP 20, 12:30pm: Pan Workshop with Glenn Rowsey
  • Monday, SEP 30, 1:30pm:  LADAMA w/ Mason Jazz Combos
  • Tuesday, OCT 1, 7:20pm:  Pan Workshop/Rehearsal with Glenn Rowsey
  • Thursday, OCT 3, 4:30pm:  LADAMA w/ the Mason Jazz Vocal Ensemble
  • Tuesday, OCT 22, 3pm: Grammy Award Winner Chip McNeill with the Jazz Workshop

RECITALS All recitals are free and open to the public

  • Monday, OCT 21, 8pm:  Juan Megna, DMA percussion (Harris Theatre)
  • Saturday, DEC 7, 4pm:  Eljhaie Brathwaite, Junior steel pan (Choral Room) 

DEPARTMENT HANDBOOK

JAZZ ENSEMBLE AUDITIONS – Spring 2020 (current Mason students) 

  • Instrumental Piece:  Ornithology (taken at any tempo) 
  • 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

RECORDINGS

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

PAST EVENTS

PAST NEWS

PRESS AND ACCOLADES

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!