Welcome and Recent News

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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.

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!

Saxophonists win at NASA 2021 regional competitions

Current UNT saxophonists Gus Arnold (BM'19) and Ian Weidmann have come in first and second place respectively in the 2021 Region IV Jazz Saxophone competition of the North American Saxophone Alliance.

Gus Arnold and Ian Weidmann both also hold the lead alto saxophone chairs in the One and Two O'Clock Lab Bands respectively, as well.


Gus Arnold and Ian Weidmann in performance

Image: Gus Arnold and Ian Weidmann in performance

U-Tubes win 2021 ITA Competition

Image: ITA announcement on Facebook.

The U-Tubes Jazz Trombone Ensemble has won the 2021 Kai Winding Jazz Trombone Ensemble Competition from the International Trombone Association (ITA). The ensemble, under the direction of graduate teaching assistant Jack Courtright and sponsored by Prof. Nick Finzer, is comprised of an octet of tenor and bass trombonists with a rhythm section.

The U-Tubes Jazz Trombone Ensemble performing in Lab West

Image: The U-Tubes performing a concert in Lab West on March 2, 2021.

Other UNT wins from this year's competition are:

  • University of North Texas Trombone Consortium, Steve Menard and Natalie Mannix, directors
    Emory Remington Trombone Choir Competition

  • Jack Courtright, finalist; Jackson Churchill, first alternate
    JJ Johnson Jazz Trombone Competition (ages 25 and under)

  • Theodore Van Winkle, honorable mention
    Robert Marsteller Tenor Trombone Competition (ages 22 and under)

  • Jackson Churchill, second alternate
    Carl Fontana Jazz Trombone Competition (ages 22 and under)

Alum Sturino added to Yamaha Artists Roster

John Sturino modeling a Yamaha tom drum

Image: John Sturino modeling a Yamaha tom drum.

From Yamaha–

BUENA PARK, Calif. (January 12, 2021) — Yamaha Drums today announced the signing of New York-based drummer, arranger, composer and educator John Sturino (BM'16, MM'19) to the roster of Yamaha Artists.
"John's versatility as a drummer makes him the perfect addition to the family of Yamaha drum artists," said Greg Crane, manager of Artist Relations, drums, Yamaha Corporation of America. "We look forward to supporting his skills as a composer and arranger, as well as his efforts as an educator and his premier musicianship on the stage."

Sturino is a dynamic and versatile performer on multiple instruments, having performed the music of Frank Zappa with Zappa alumnus Arthur Barrow and touring internationally with the One O'Clock Lab Band.

As a committed supporter of music education, Sturino maintains a regular schedule as an educator as faculty of the Stanford Jazz Worship and most recently, as a fellow at the University of North Texas. Sturino also co-founded the Kenosha Jazz All-Stars—an annual summer youth program that brings jazz education and performance experience to middle and high school students—and currently teaches virtual private lessons from his studio in Brooklyn.

In addition to teaching, Sturino is a budding jazz composer and arranger for notable professional and student-level jazz ensembles. This year, Sturino was awarded a Commission Grant for a new large ensemble work from the International Society of Jazz Arrangers and Composers, debuting at the organization's 2022 symposium.

Joshua Jennings wins National YoungArts award

First-year undergraduate jazz trumpet performance student Joshua Jennings has won a spot amongst the 2021 National YoungArts Foundation Merit winners.

Image: Joshua Jennings playing a jam session on a New York City street corner.

From NYAF–

YoungArts' winners are the nation’s most accomplished young artists in the visual, literary, design and performing arts. Selected from a competitive pool of applications and representing artists from across the country, YoungArts winners gain access to one of the most comprehensive programs for emerging artists in the United States, offering financial, professional and artistic development opportunities over the course of their careers.

Winners are chosen for their caliber of artistic achievement by esteemed discipline-specific panels of artists through a rigorous blind adjudication process and are awarded in three categories: Finalist, Honorable Mention and Merit. This year, YoungArts award winners at all levels receive cash prizes between $100 and $10,000.

Finalists have the opportunity to participate in National YoungArts Week in January. All award winners join a 20,000-strong alumni community, made up of a rich network of peers, and are provided support and opportunities throughout their artistic careers.

Congratulations to Joshua!