Jazz Ensemble - Spring 2023

Brother From A Sister City! - featuring Award Winning French Pianist Damien Groleau and vocalist Tina Hashemi performing John D’earth’s Ephemera.
April 23, 2023 - 8:00pm
Old Cabell Hall on the UVA Lawn
$10 for the general public,  $9 for UVA Faculty & Staff,  $5 for students, and Free for UVA Students who reserve in advance. 

damien groleau photo by mariellehuneauBrother From A Sister City! - featuring Award Winning French Pianist Damien Groleau and vocalist Tina Hashemi performing John D’earth’s Ephemera.

On Sunday, April 23rd, at 8:00 PM in Old Cabell the UVA Jazz Ensemble, directed by John D’earth, will present Brother From A Sister City, featuring renowned French pianist, Damien Groleau. The evening will also feature vocalist Tina Hashemi’s revival of D’earth’s settings for three short poems, Ephemera, along with classics like Thad Jones’ Back Bone, Maynard Ferguson’s Fox Hunt and Michael Brecker’s African Skies, original compositions and arrangements by fourth year guitarist Michael McNulty, and several compositions by Monsieur Groleau.

Damien Groleau is from Charlottesville’s sister city of Besancon, France.  D’earth met Damien as part of a delegation from Charlottesville to Besancon in 2018.

“Damien was very welcoming and generous,” D’earth recounts.  “He invited me into his performances at the Arts Festival that was happening and it was obvious that we hit it off, musically.  Damien’s music is full of introspection and sensitivity but one night we played salsa with a great conga player and bass player and it was like old times in the Bronx!  He can do anything…”

D'earth, who has conducted over thirty years’ worth of concerts at UVA, has been trying to get Damien Groleau here as a guest artist since the beginning of the pandemic.  Now they have made it happen!

“We have had to reschedule two or three times,” D’earth reported.  “We have a great band with some advanced players.  It’s always exciting to see someone of Damien’s calibre interact with the students.  Our pianists, Ben Berry and Alex Halpern, and the rhythm section, especially, will learn a lot from Damien during his ten-day residency.”

The band will also learn from collaborating with Tina Hashemi, a rising jazz vocalist who graduated two years ago, from UVA, and has created a stir in jazz circles locally, and in D.C. and New York.  She is about to record her second album.  Tina will be singing the three poems of D’earth’s Ephemera. Originally commissioned for big band by the Albemarle High School Jazz Ensemble under Greg Thomas, to be sung by their fifteen year old vocalist, Veronica Swift (O’Brian), who is recently on the cover of Jazz Times, their performances of Ephemera garnered several awards. The poems, homilies about transience, appearance and illusion, disappearance, are by D’earth’s late brother, Paul Smyth.

“When I did this with Ronnie, a few years back, I was amazed by her musicianship and comprehension.  I realized that, of course, she understood: we grew up listening to the same music!  Now I’ll hear the piece sung by another singer that hears it like I do.  Tina has such a swinging spirit and finely-tuned ear in everything she does!  All the musicians who play with her are amazed by her abilities.”

The Jazz Ensemble has offered it’s services, and it’s guest artists, to the Jefferson Area Board for the Aging (JABA) for a fundraising Gala at the Paramount Theater on the Friday following the UVA, April 23rd, concert in Old Cabell Hall.  This special fundraising event will feature the same cast of characters at philanthropic prices.  

Damien Groleau is no stranger to Charlottesville having performed and recorded here with vocalist Paulien and guitar luminary Royce Campbell with an all-star lineup of some of Charlottesville’s best players. He will be giving masterclasses while he is here and the French Dept. is hoping to interview him, in French, about his life and music.

The Jazz Ensemble would like to extend a special “Thank You” to the Alliance Francaise of Charlottesville for nurturing the sister city relationship and bringing Damien here in the first place.  They would also like to thank Jazz4Justice, a group from the legal community that supports Legal Aid and Jazz Scholarships by partnering with university jazz ensembles.  April 23rd will be the fourth concert for which the Jazz Ensemble has partnered with Jazz4Justice.

The UVA Jazz Ensemble comprises undergraduates, graduate students, and community members.  They offer two concerts per academic year and present numerous guest artists both from our area, and from the national and international jazz scene.

Tickets are $10 for the general public,  $9 for UVA Faculty & Staff,  $5 for students, and Free for UVA Students who reserve in advance.  Tickets can be purchased at the UVA Arts Box Office, on-line at https://artsboxoffice.virginia.edu/, by phone (434) 924-3376 or in person at the Arts Box Office or at the door on the night of the concert. The UVA Arts Box Office is located on the John and Betsy Casteen Arts Grounds, inside the lobby of the UVA Drama Building at 109 Culbreth Road. For directions, please visit UVA Visitors Map or view directions via Google Maps.

Old Cabell Hall is located on the south end of UVA’s historic lawn, directly opposite the Rotunda. (map) Parking is available in the central grounds parking garage on Emmet Street, in the C1 parking lot off McCormick Rd, and in the parking lots at the UVA Corner.  Handicap parking is available in the small parking lot adjacent to Bryan Hall.

If you can't make it to Old Cabell on Sunday night we will be livestreaming the concert .

Concert Program

Livestream Link 

For more information please contact the Department of Music at 434.924.3052 or music@virginia.edu

To find out more about Jazz events at UVA visit https://music.virginia.edu/jazz-events.

All programs are subject to change.


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

Email: music@virginia.edu