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KU Jazz Ensemble I - Winner, 2015 DownBeat Award, Best College Big Band

The KU Jazz Studies Program offers a Bachelor of Arts in Jazz Studies and has both performance and academic components, including three big bands, six combos, and classes in arranging, improvisation, jazz history, jazz theory and jazz pedagogy. KU Jazz groups and individual students have distinguished national credentials, winning 22 DownBeat Student Music Awards since 1992. With the generous support of the Gregory Harding Memorial Jazz Fund and the Lipscomb Jazz Fund, the Jazz Studies Program also sponsors clinics and master classes during the academic year.

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KU JAZZ FACULTY Dan Gailey Director of Jazz Studies Composition/Arranging

Danny Embrey Lecturer in Jazz Studies Jazz guitar

Matt Otto Assistant Director of Jazz Studies Jazz saxophone

Jeff Harshbarger Lecturer in Jazz Studies Jazz bass

Brandon Draper Lecturer in Jazz Studies Jazz drums

T.J. Martley Lecturer in Jazz Studies Jazz piano

“My experience in the Jazz program has been phenomenal - I’ve had the opportunity to work with world renowned guest artists, win a DownBeat award, and tour Europe.” Michael Raehpour Music Education ‘17 | Andover, Kansas

The DownBeat Student Music Awards are presented annually and considered the most prestigious awards in jazz education. The KU Jazz Studies Program has received a total of 22 DownBeat Student Music Awards since 1992. The KU Jazz Workshop is an exciting week of instruction in all aspects of jazz, with special emphasis placed on small group performance. The workshop faculty includes outstanding performers and teachers from around the United States, offering personal instruction in jazz improvisation, combos, big bands, jazz history, and jazz theory. Student and faculty concerts and jam sessions offer students at all levels the chance to perform and grow in improvisational, small group, and ensemble playing. The workshop is open to students entering 9th - graduating 12th grades. For more information:

The KU Jazz Festival is a focal point for jazz performance and education in the central United States. The festival annually provides the region with a wonderful opportunity to hear and learn from world-class jazz musicians and educators, and is open to all college high school and junior high/middle school big bands and jazz combos. During the festival, more than 50 college, high school, and middle school jazz ensembles and combos perform for a panel of distinguished jazz educators and musicians in a non-competitive environment. Evening concerts feature a first-rate lineup of some of the most important and exciting musicians in the world of contemporary jazz, while daytime clinics and master classes with these and other artists allow students and community members to interact with them outside of the concert hall. Recent artists have included Kurt Rosenwinkel, Dave Douglas, Christian McBride, Kenny Garrett and many others. For more information:

The University of Kansas prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, ethnicity, religion, sex, national origin, age, ancestry, disability, status as a veteran, sexual orientation, marital status, parental status, gender identity, gender expression and genetic information in the University’s programs and activities. The following person has been designated to handle inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies: Director of the Office of Institutional Opportunity and Access,, 1246 W. Campus Road, Room 153A, Lawrence, KS, 66045, 785-864-6414, 711 TTY.


KU School of Music Jazz Program Brochure  
KU School of Music Jazz Program Brochure