programs > jazz

The New York Summer Music Festival is home to the most experienced and established jazz faculty in the Northeast and offers instruction in all areas of performance, technique, history, and improvisation. NYSMF’s jazz program is suited for both advanced young artists seeking a focus in jazz performance, and for students wishing to learn about jazz for the first time.


Featured Events

  • Free master classes with legendary jazz performers
  • One-on-one instruction with world-class jazz faculty from the Manhattan School of Music, Juilliard, NYU
  • Daily rehearsals with top professional jazz conductors
  • Daily classes in improv, jazz history, and jazz repertoire
  • Weekly and biweekly performances

john-and-jasonNYSMF Jazz Visiting Artists

Students will have the opportunity of a lifetime to perform in master classes alongside some of the most celebrated names in the jazz world. Past NYSMF Jazz Visiting Artists include:

Bass – John Patitucci, Jennifer Leitham, Rufus Reid
Trombone – Wycliffe Gordon, Luis Bonilla, Dana Leong
Saxophone – Dick Oatts, Donny McCaslin, Charles Pillow
Trumpet – Ingrid Jensen, Tony Kadleck
Drums – John Riley*
Piano – Mike Holober
Electric Strings – Dana Leong, Martha Mooke, Kenny Baker

*John Riley comes to NYSMF courtesy of REMO, Zildjian, and Yamaha.

Private Jazz Instruction

Students may take private lessons in all instruments from the NYSMF Jazz Faculty. Our instructors are all associated with such prestigious institutions as the Manhattan School of Music, The New York Pops, and Columbia University, and every faculty member has tremendous real-world experience as a professional jazz musician.


Jazz Faculty

Conductors – Justin DiCioccio, Mike Holober, Pete McGuinness, Sherrie Maricle, and Tony Kadleck
Trumpet – Nathan Warner, Dan Urness
Trombone – Tim Vaughn, John Yao
Saxophone – Alejandro Aviles, Aaron Irwin, Janelle Reichman, Jason Rigby
Bass – Robert Sabin
Guitar – Jesse Lewis, Matt Davis
Voice – Tim Brent, Brenda Earle Stokes, Kat Calvosa
Piano – Tim Brent, Brenda Earle Stokes, Robert Roman
Drums – Gernot Bernroider, Jeff Davis, Jeremy Noller

jazz-drummer-1Ensembles and Classes

Select Jazz Ensemble – Professional-level ensemble that showcases students performing alongside NYSMF staff, faculty, and guest artists in advanced jazz orchestrations. Performs weekly.

Big Band Jazz Ensemble – The featured jazz ensemble of the festival, playing advanced jazz charts and highlighting NYSMF’s top student soloists.

Lab Jazz Ensemble – Open to all students, on all instruments, looking to develop the skills needed to perform in a jazz ensemble. Includes introductions to jazz form, improvisation, harmony, and ensemble playing.

Jazz Choir – Performs classic jazz repertoire arranged for large vocal groups. Emphasis is on jazz articulation and vocal improvisation.

Jazz Combos – As many as ten mixed jazz combos (or more) per session are coached by a member of our jazz faculty. Open to all students, including vocalists and non-traditional jazz instruments.

Jazz History – A comprehensive course covering jazz’s traditions and its main innovators through the years. Students will study important recordings and the innovations of past and present masters of jazz.

Jazz Improvisation Ensemble – Focuses on the practical benefits (and fun!) of learning standard jazz repertoire. A realistic, small group setting with students performing alongside faculty in a workshop environment, the class will simulate professional rehearsals and performances.

Improvisation – All improvisation classes are taken in conjunction with performing ensembles. These workshop-style classes are open to all students. The Introductory course is on the basics of jazz theory, articulation, blues form, scales, harmony, rhythm, and group interaction. The Intermediate-level course course covers modes, ii-V7-I progressions, transposition, and repertoire. The advanced-level course covers jazz theory, instrumental techniques, repertoire and concepts.