Welcome and Recent News

This page will be periodically updated with news about students, faculty, staff, and alumni of the Jazz Studies program. For more information about our division, use the menu links above.

Current members of the Jazz Studies community recieve daily news and updates through the division's standing Canvas page.

Skillicorn Receives Presser Award

The Jazz Studies faculty and staff are very proud that Alexa Torres Skillicorn, current MM jazz violin student, has been honored with The Presser Foundation's 2021 Graduate Music Award via the College's leadership.

Her proposal is Ethnography of Practice: Oral History for the Development of Embodied Jazz Violin Praxis. "The [Presser Foundation's graduate granting] program is designed to encourage and support, in a special way, the advanced education and career of truly exceptional graduate music students who have the potential to make a distinguished contribution to the field of music." A listing of recent UNT College of Music recipients of this award is found here.

Image: Alexa Torres Skillicorn
Image: Alexa Torres Skillicorn

Alexa's performance and research abilities demonstrated in recent years have been among the premier highlights of our burgeoning Jazz Strings program and the division at large. We cannot wait to see the results of this ethnography and for Skillicorn's continued impact in jazz education!

Seven winners in the 2021 DownBeat Student Music Awards!

2021 DownBeat Magazine Student Music Award winners!

The Division of Jazz Studies is pleased to announce that the division is represented by seven winners in this year's annual awards presented by the premier jazz publication.

Image: 2021 UNT DownBeat SMA winners announcement

Image: 2021 UNT DownBeat SMA winners announcement

Jazz Soloist
Eric Hitt (MM'19, current DMA), Upright Bass

Vocal Jazz Soloist
Katelyn Robinson

Small Vocal Jazz Group
West End • Rachel Azbell, Director

Large Vocal Jazz Ensemble
UNT Jazz Singers • Jennifer Barnes, Director

Jazz Arrangement
Kara Walton (BM'20), “Do I Love You Because You’re Beautiful”

Jazz Arrangement, Small Ensemble
Jackson Churchill, “Silent Way”

Jazz Arrangement, Big Band
Simeon Nathanael Davis (BM'20, current MM), “Herbs and Roots”

The full list of winners can be found through DownBeat's online edition of the June 2021 magazine. It is always great to see so many alumni represented as well.

Congratulations to all of this year's winners, their collaborative peers, and mentor faculty!

Prof. Tixier profiled in D Magazine

UNT Assistant Professor for Jazz Strings Scott Tixier was recently profiled by Alex Temblador in the April edition of D Magazine , one of the region's premier cultural publications. In the feature, Prof. Tixier described his winding route to Denton by way of New York and Parisian conservatories. He reflects on his opportunities to continue recording during the pandemic as well as his relationship to jazz music as a Black man and French immigrant.

Image: Scott Tixier at Modern Electric Sound Recorders studio in Dallas. Credit: Elizabeth Lavin

Image: Scott Tixier at Modern Electric Sound Recorders studio in Dallas. Credit: Elizabeth Lavin

In speaking about his recent livestreamed performance at Dallas' Moody Hall as part of the Chamber Music International Festival, Prof. Tixier expressed his joy at performing even in these strange times:

“Moody Hall was incredibly necessary for my soul,” he says. “I didn’t realize how much I needed it. The energy from being onstage again defined the momentum in my life. More than 1,000 people have tuned in so far, and even if I couldn’t see them, I somehow could feel them. Playing in this empty hall was dramatic and grave but also joyful, electric, and exhilarating."

Welcome Kimberly Hannon Teal to UNT!

The division of Jazz Studies is proud to announce that Kimberly Hannon Teal begins her tenure at UNT in August of 2021 as Assistant Professor of Jazz History and Research. Her research addresses contemporary jazz and she is interested in how live performance contexts contribute to musical experiences and meaning. She holds a PhD in historical musicology from the Eastman School of Music, where she also taught music history and served as the Director of Graduate Advising. Her writing can be found in American Music, Jazz Perspectives, The Journal of the Society for American Music, and Jazz Research Journal. She comes to UNT from the University of Arkansas.

Three Mean Green among 2021 ASCAP Foundation Herb Alpert Award recipients

Image (NewMusicBox): The 2021 Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composer Award recipients

Image (NewMusicBox): the 2021 Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composer Award recipients

Three members of the North Texas Jazz family are among the recipients of the ASCAP Foundation's 2021 Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composer Award. Via NewMusicBox:

The ASCAP Foundation has announced the 20 recipients of the 2021 Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composer Awards plus an additional 6 composers who received honorable mention. Established in 2002, the program recognizes gifted young jazz composers up to the age of 30. Through a partnership with the Newport Festival Foundation, one of this year’s Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composer Awards recipients will be featured at the Newport Jazz Festival, conditions permitting. The awards carry the name of the trumpeter, composer and bandleader Herb Alpert in recognition of The Herb Alpert Foundation’s multi-year financial commitment to the program. Additional funding for the program is provided by The ASCAP Foundation Bart Howard Fund. The recipients, who receive cash awards, are selected through a juried national competition. The ASCAP composer/judges for the 2021 competition were Ambrose Akinmusire, Wycliffe Gordon and Jihye Lee.

Image: Ariel Sha Glassman

Image: Ariel Sha Glassman

Ariel Sha Glassman, current MM composition and arranging student and director of the Five O'Clock Lab Band, won for her big band chart "Captain Iso".

Image: Yu Nishiyama

Image: Yu Nishiyama

Yu Nishiyama (BM'17) won for her piece "Honorary Whites" for 17-piece big band.

Image: Courtney Wright

Image: Courtney Wright

Courtney Wright, former MM composition and arranging student and director of the Seven O'Clock Lab Band, won for her big band chart "Like Thad".

We are extremely proud of each of these amazing writers!