Jazz Ensemble

The UVA Jazz Ensemble, under the direction of trumpeter/composer John D’earth, has become one of the more 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 two 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. 

During these covid semesters we have adapted to the pause in live performance by making multi-track recordings. (virginiajazz.org)  When we were able to rehearse again, outside, we performed that music in a November concert from the tent in front of Old Cabell Hall.  Covid has inspired and required new methods of continuing in our music.  One way this has happened is through the inclusion of strings and other orchestral instruments into our sound.  We intend to continue this trend. (see the Jazz Ensemble Audition Page for information about auditioning for the Spring semester; Auditions for the Jazz Ensemble)

The UVA Jazz Program focuses on developing the individual voices of our jazz students. We follow the Duke Ellington model of how to build a jazz orchestra: allow and encourage the distinct musical personalities of the musicians to create the overall sound and direction of the music.

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: 1. master musical language on your instrument, and 2. Tell your own story; “Be yourself, everyone else is already taken,” as Oscar Wilde exhorted. The UVA Jazz Ensemble avidly pursues these twin goals of expertise and creative expression.

Auditions for the Jazz Ensemble and for the four jazz small groups usually take place in the Fall, on the first Thursday of Classes, at 7:30 pm, in room B18 of Old Cabell Hall.  This Spring we are encouraging musicians to come forward if they are interested in re-auditioning, or in auditioning for the first time.  The band is interested in developing satellite groups of musicians (strings, woodwinds, for example) to participate in the music.  Contact Jazz Ensemble Director, John D’earth, jed6p@virginia.edu., to discuss your interest in this. Put ‘Jazz Ensemble’ in the subject line.

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

To see a list of all jazz events at UVA please visit http://music.virginia.edu/jazz-events



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

Email: music@virginia.edu