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Jazz Studies

Dr. Ben Markley, Director of Jazz Studies

Check out the University of Wyoming Jazz Festival!

Jazz Studies is an integral part of the music department at the University of Wyoming. The program is anchored on a strong curriculum of academic jazz courses, in addition to providing many opportunities to perform on and off campus in a variety of venues, including concerts, festivals, and clinics. Courses such as Jazz Improvisation/Theory, Jazz Arranging, Jazz History, and Jazz Techniques provide students with a comprehensive understanding of the significance of jazz in contemporary culture, while participation in the instrumental jazz ensembles, vocal jazz ensemble, and jazz combos allow students to put practice into experience.

The Jazz Studies program is available for all undergraduate and graduate students and complements the outstanding traditional music curriculum. Students are able to supplement their music education with a broad jazz curriculum that helps prepare them for a variety of situations in music whether as an educator or performer.

University of Wyoming Jazz Faculty

Andrew Wheelcock - Drumset
Ryan Fourt - Jazz Guitar
Dr. Ben Markley - Director of Jazz Studies, Jazz Piano, Jazz Improvisation, Jazz Combos, Vocal Jazz Ensemble
Dr. Scott Meredith - Jazz Techniques, Trumpet
Dr. J. Scott Turpen - Wyoming Jazz Ensemble, Saxophone
Gonzalo Teppa - String Bass

Faculty Jazztet

This group features the University of Wyoming Jazz faculty with occasional guest artists. The Faculty Jazztet is available for feature concerts as well as clinics at schools. Contact Dr. Scott Turpen if you are interested in having the ensemble perform.

Instrumental Jazz Ensembles

Three 18+-member jazz ensembles form the heart of the instrumental jazz groups. The Wyoming Jazz Ensemble is Wyoming's premiere big band and has regularly earned the highest ratings national jazz festivals. Moreover, the group has received much acclaim for accompaniment of some of the biggest names in jazz music who visit campus for performances. Beyond performances, all three Jazz Ensembles also serve an educational purpose for students to learn the history, various styles, and pedagogy of jazz music. The jazz ensembles perform a variety of repertoire from all styles and periods of jazz music. Faculty and student compositions and arrangements are often programmed. These groups perform during the academic year and tour throughout the region.

Guest Artists

Each year many world-class jazz artists are brought to the University of Wyoming for solo concerts, to perform with the Wyoming Jazz Ensemble, and to present clinics for University students. Recent guest artists have included: Chris Vadala, Allen Vizzutti, The Mingus Big Band, Regina Carter, Wynton Marsalis, John Fedchock, Gregg Bissonette, Ellen Rowe, Eric Marienthal, Denis DiBlasio, Stefon Harris, Ingrid Jensen, Eddie Henderson and The New York Voice to name only a few. Contact the Fine Arts Box Office for ticket and concert information.

Jazz Combos

These small jazz groups focus on the art of improvisation as individuals and as an ensemble. With the guidance of faculty coaches, students in jazz combos prepare and perform their own compositions and arrangements throughout each semester. Here students learn the intricacies of performing with a small number of musicians and hone their improvisation skills.

Vocal Jazz Ensemble

This 10-16 voice select ensemble with rhythm section performs regularly on and off campus and adds the very important component of vocal jazz improvisation and popular singing to the jazz curriculum.

Contact Us

Department of Music

1000 E. University Avenue, Dept. 3037

Laramie, WY 82071

Phone: (307) 766-5242

Fax: (307) 766-5326


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