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 2021, we are excited to host American composer, Jazz Orchestra leader and multiple Grammy award-winner, Maria Schneider.


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

Fall 2020 Events

Jazz Recitals

  • Saturday, SEP 19, 5:30pm:  Noah Nipp, Bass Junior Recital (Virtual event)
  • Saturday, SEP 19, 8pm:  Jason Seiler, Guitar Junior Recital (Virtual event) 
  • Friday, SEP 25, 8pm:  Zoe Jorgenson-Speirs, Bass MM Recital (Video) 
  • Sunday, OCT 18, 5:30pm:  Alex Steadman, Voice Senior Recital (Virtual event) 
  • Sunday, OCT 18, 8pm:  Emma Pivetta, Saxophone Music Education Recital (Virtual event)
  • Sunday, NOV 15, 8pm:  James Weiss, Guitar Junior Recital (Virtual event) 
  • Tuesday, NOV 17, 8pm:  Justin Paschalides, Piano MM Pedagogy (Virtual event) 
  • Friday, DEC 11, 8pm:  Tom Mulherin, Piano MM Recital (Video) 

We had an incredible spring planned before COVID-19 hit. Below is our typical concert schedule.

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)

JAZZ ENSEMBLE AUDITIONS – Spring 2021 (current Mason students) 

  • Instrumental Piece: 
  • 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




E-mail dpurcel2@gmu.edu 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!