Jazz Ensemble

The UVA Jazz Ensemble, under the direction of trumpeter/composer John D’earth, has become one of the most creative college big bands in the country. The group’s performances feature classic repertoire from across the spectrum of jazz history, jazz arrangements of music from diverse genres, and original compositions and arrangements by the students and the director.

Giving three major concerts a year in Old Cabell Auditorium and various extra performances, the Jazz Ensemble is an extended big band that includes flutes, vocalists, and sometimes other instruments not normally associated with big band music. 

At UVA we are interested in developing the individual voices of our jazz students. The Jazz Ensemble follows the Duke Ellington model of how to create a jazz orchestra: the aggregate of distinct musical personalities creates the sound and direction of the whole.  We play music from the entire big band tradition but also explore new music and original compositions/arrangements from within the band.

The Jazz Ensemble encourages its members to immerse themselves in the art form called jazz, to understand its history, and to listen, repeatedly, to the music.  Jazz, and the blues from which it sprang, are both gifts from Black America to the rest of the world.  Jazz gives music back to the musicians by teaching two things: be yourself/ tell your own story, and learn to master musical language on your instrument. The UVA Jazz Ensemble avidly pursues these twin goals of expertise and creative expression.

 The Jazz Ensemble was recently featured in UVAToday on its tremendous musical impact at UVA and around Charlottesville.


McIntire Department of Music
112 Old Cabell Hall
P.O. Box 400176 Charlottesville, VA 22904-4176

Email: music@virginia.edu