Department of Music

Jazz Studies at UNCW

UNC Wilmington offers a Bachelor of Music in Performance with a concentration in Jazz Studies. The curriculum includes a wide array of jazz courses and performance opportunities to ensure a solid foundation in jazz. The UNCW Department of Music also offers music degrees in music education, performance, and general music, as well as minors in music.

UNCW offers a comprehensive jazz curriculum that includes two levels of jazz improvisation, jazz history, jazz arranging I and II, jazz pedagogy, and a modern jazz performance practice course that combines historical perspectives and improvisational practices in jazz from 1940 to the present.

In addition to teaching at UNCW, each member of the UNCW Jazz faculty maintains a busy performance schedule as a soloist as well as a recording and supportive musician. The collective musical experiences of the jazz faculty read like a Who's Who of Jazz. Joining the UNCW Jazz faculty this year is renowned drummer and vibraphonist, Joe Chambers. The UNCW Jazz Faculty are active clinicians &, performers throughout the country and are dedicated to the pedagogy and perpetuation of jazz as an art form.

The UNCW Big Bandsperform music that includes swing through bebop and modern styles. In addition to their concert schedule, the UNCW Big Bands have produced several recordings, including four compact disc recordings (On the Edge, Portraits of Swing, Travelin' Light and Summation), as well as a videotape called "Sing Like a Pro." They have performed at various jazz festivals, including the 1997 Graz Jazz Festival in Austria and the prestigious North Sea Jazz Festival in The Hague, Holland.

The UNCW Jazz Combos have garnered numerous awards over the years at various jazz festivals including a gold award (first place) for the best university combo at JazzFest U.S.A. (sponsored by Down Beat magazine) held at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida. They have also been invited to perform at various prestigious jazz festivals including the North Sea Jazz Festival, the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland, as well as the Graz Jazz Festival in Austria. The UNCW Combos have been featured on CD's for both Jazziz and Jazz Player magazines as well as featured on several UNCW CD's including Summation and On the Edge.

Annual Guest Artist Jazz Festival
The UNCW Jazz Program hosts an annual guest artist jazz festival that provides an opportunity for the students to participate in master classes and clinics, as well as, perform with world-class jazz artists such as Bob Berg, Marvin Stamm, Rufus Reid, Ingrid Jensen, Ed Shaughnessy, Vincent Herring, Denis DiBlasio, and Slide Hampton to name a few. Download a Jazzfest Ensemble Registration (pdf.)

The UNCW Jazz Scholarships and Awards
Jazz Awards are available for qualified students participating in the jazz program, and in particular, the UNCW Big Band. While the number of awards is based upon programmatic needs and instrumentation, the amount of the awards is based upon the student's ability.

In addition to the Jazz Awards, the Cape Fear Jazz Appreciation Society Scholarships in Music are annual awards established by The Cape Fear Jazz Appreciation Society in support of students who are interested in majoring in music as a jazz studies major. The scholarships are based primarily on study of jazz instrumental performance and/or composition. The student should not only be pursuing a degree in music, but also actively involved within the jazz program, including the jazz ensembles. The scholarships are available to incoming freshman as well as continuing students.

Summer Jazz Program
The UNCW Summer Jazz Workshop, directed by Frank Bongiorno, provides a week of intensive jazz study and interaction with the UNCW Jazz Faculty and guest artists for middle and high school student participants from throughout the state and abroad. It is designed to meet the needs of participants of varying abilities and experience levels while covering virtually every aspect of jazz study. The students' daily schedule includes jazz theory and improvisation classes for beginner, intermediate as well as advanced study study; jazz ensemble classes, including big band and combos; as well as master classes and private lessons on each instrument of the jazz ensemble by the UNCW Jazz Faculty. See the UNCW Summer Workshops for more information and registration form.