UO jazz ensembles (listed below) are open to all University of Oregon students (including Part-time and Continuing Education students) by audition regardless of major. Auditions for the UO jazz ensembles are held during the week PRIOR to the first full week of classes each Fall term.
The Oregon Jazz Ensemble (OJE)
1:00 – 1:50 MWF
Steve Owen, director
The Oregon Jazz Ensemble is the premier large jazz ensemble at the University of Oregon. Recognized throughout the nation for its excellence in interpretation and performance of the wide variety of styles of music associated with the jazz genre, the OJE regularly performs new literature for jazz ensemble including works by internationally renowned composers/arrangers as well as students of the UO jazz program. In addition to its concerts on campus, the OJE is a frequent performer at jazz festivals and educational conferences, including the International Association of Jazz Educators Conference, Oregon Music Educators Conference, the Northwest MENC Conference, Western International Band Conference, Kent-Meridian Jazz Festival, Reno Jazz Festival , Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival, and other regional events. Performing with the OJE in recent years have been a host of jazz artists including: Julian Lage, Ben Wendel, Walter Smith III, Seamus Blake, Ingrid Jensen, John Hollenbeck, Theo Bleckman, Don Braden, James Moody, Randy Brecker, Peter Erskine, Ron MIles, Dick Oatts, Jon Faddis, Rufus Reid, Billy Pierce, Conrad Herwig, Jim Snidero, David Scott, Maria Schneider, Paul Mazzio, David Pietro, Bobby Shew, Luis Bonilla, Shane Endsley, and Kaveh Rastegar. In 2014 and 2018, the OJE toured Europe with invitations to and performances at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Montreux, Switzerland; the Vienne Jazz Festival in Vienne, France; the Umbria Jazz Festival in Perugia, Italy; and the La Spezia Jazz Festival in La Spezia, Italy.
The JazzArts Oregon Combo
Two one-hour rehearsals/week
Paul Krueger, director
The JazzArts oregon Combo is a small group of student musicians representing the University of Oregon’s Jazz Studies Program in concerts throughout the region. Ensemble members are chose annually in a musical, talent based audition prior to the beginning of each school year. The auditions are judged by a panel led by the Director of Jazz Studies.
The Herbert T. Merker Scholarship Endowment
A scholarship fund has generously been established by Herb Merker to support the JazzArts Oregon Combo. Hebert T. Merker Jazz Combo Scholarship recipients comprise the group for the duration of their award year receiving scholarships of app. $1000 for the academic year.
Like the OJE, Jazz Ensembles II and III offer exciting playing opportunities to our students while training them to be solid performers of the musical styles associated with jazz. UO Jazz Ensembles perform regularly on and off campus including formal concerts each term as well as participation in the Oregon Jazz Celebration and at regional jazz festivals. As with all of the jazz ensembles, membership is open to all UO full-time and continuing education students by audition.
Small jazz ensembles are at the center of the jazz curriculum at the School of Music. They offer serious students a place for honing improvisation skills in ensembles that examine both standard jazz repertoire as well as original and transcribed material. Ensembles are coached by faculty and graduate teaching fellows. The curriculum focuses on performance techniques, improvisational methods, theory, and styles associated with the jazz idiom.
The UO Latin Jazz Ensemble
One two-hour rehearsals each week
Mike Denny, coordinator
6:00 – 7:50 p.m. Mondays
The UO Latin Jazz Ensemble offers all UO students the opportunity to develop skills in Afro-Cuban and Brazilian performance practice. In addition to their primary instrument, student ensemble members are asked to understand the roles of and to play the traditional hand percussion instruments in each genre studied. This ensembles is coached by graduate teaching fellows under the supervision of faculty and performs on campus and off. As with all of the jazz ensembles, membership is open to all UO full-time and continuing education students by audition.
Jazz Guitar Ensemble
One-hour rehearsal each week
Mike Denny, director
3:00 – 3:50 F
The guitar ensemble places an emphasis on sight-reading, cohesive ensemble playing, and improvisation. Literature is comprised of published arrangements for an ensmble of five guitars. Original compositions and arrangements are encourared. Each term there is at least one public performance.