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!

Fall 2020 Announcements and Procedures

Hello – and welcome back.


Updated August 26, 2020

We make music in interesting times. The COVID-19 pandemic has provided many opportunities to reflect upon how we create, educate, and advance this deep and powerful art form.

The faculty and staff from the Division of Jazz Studies are looking forward to resuming instruction this academic year in a safe and responsible environment. We will be adhering both to the broad safety instructional guidelines from the university as well as additional measures relating to our experiential music-making environments. While most lecture-based or academic jazz courses will be delivered either remote or partially-remote, the experiential courses such as lab ensembles (MULBs and MUENs), jazz chamber music (MUCMs), and recitals will be face-to-face in strict accordance with policies and procedures. Applied studio instruction varies per instructor and student elections. Details for meeting delivery can be checked against your class schedule at MyUNT or the Registrar's Schedule of Classes.

The following outlines those procedures and guidelines.

University and College of Music Information

UNT Health Alerts | College of Music - Returning to Campus Fall 2020 | College of Music  - Instructional Guide
  • Face masks and coverings must be worn at all times within university buildings and outside on the grounds. Masks can be removed when playing a woodwind or brass instrument, but reapplied after playing.
  • Six-foot (6') social distancing is to be maintained as practically as possible in classroom spaces and hallways to prevent prolongued close-quarters contact.
  • More time may be given in between class meetings to allow for distanced travel across campus. Adhere to directional signage in classrooms and hallways to maintain flow of traffic and prevent breaking of six-foot personal boundaries.
  • Weather and access-permitting, some courses and ensembles may elect to occaisionally meet outside in appropriate "perch spaces" on campus. The primary "perch" space for the College of Music is the Spec's Charitable Courtyard in the middle of the Main Music Building.
  • All courses that require rehearsals or performance of aerosol-producing instruments (woodwinds, brass, voice) will be restricted to thirty (30) minutes maximum of playing. This allows for the newly installed MERV advanced air filtration systems in the College to ventilate and recycle the air in each space.
  • All classroom spaces will be cleaned at the conclusion of each meeting time per the protocols and resources provided by the University.
  • Practice rooms in Practice Buildings North and South are being individually reserved for two hour time blocks through After reviewing the site, please direct any questions you might have to
  • All faculty teaching studios have been outfitted with 141 Ture HEPA H13 air filtration devices in the Music Building, Music Annex, Practice Buildings, Bain Hall, and the Murchison PAC / Annex.
  • Maximum occupancy will be restricted to three persons in the Jazz Office MU 284 and four persons in the Jazz Library MU 285. Staff and student librarians will strictly enforce this policy.
  • No persons external to the UNT community will be allowed on campus in order to prevent community spread of the coronavirus. This presently includes visitors to rehearsals, audiences for performances, and in-person guest artists.

Ensemble and Jazz Chamber Music Auditions, Proficiency Examinations (August 17-28)

Registration and Audition Information | Proficiency Exam Information

Most instrumental studios are conducting auditions in person the week of August 17. Exceptions are noted including for the jazz bass and vocal jazz studios.
Ensemble placement results will be posted to the Jazz Studies Canvas page rather than the hallway posting boards to discourage congregating in confined spaces.

  • Initial MULB placements will be posted on Monday, August 24.
  • Initial MUCM placements will be posted on Wednesday, August 26.
  • Placement revisions throughout the first week of classes will be updated on Canvas.

Proficiency exams will mostly be administrered in-person. See the above link for more details.

Adjusted Ensemble and Jazz Chamber Music Protocols


The nature of our ensembles and rehearsal spaces have required finding new locations and meeting times, as well as establishing particular distancing protocols. While rehearsals will not entirely be about playing this semester, we will be delivering as close to the original experience as possible while complying with NASM credentialing standards for contact and credit hours.

Per UNT College of Music policy, all ensembles (lab bands or combos) that include aerosol-producing instruments will meet for a maximum of 30 minutes in any one sitting. To accomodate at least thirty minutes twice a week of playing time for each course section, the following adjustments have been made to meeting times and rooms:

All large jazz big bands will rehearse in the “square” set-up for the duration of the semester in room 258 or room 282 (Lab West) as marked by the white tape. The Lab West configuration places horn sections into the audience seating. These configurations ensure maximum distancing between ensemble players/director while remaining both practical and effective for the ensemble. These set ups will guarantee a minimum of nine feet (9’) side-by side distance between players of like instruments and nine to thirty (9-30’) feet distance between the four different sections of each ensemble.

All non-aerosol producing ensembles, such as the guitar labs or Jazz Strings Ensemble, will maintain minimum six feet (6') distancing in their setups.

All vocal jazz ensembles will rehearse in room 262 with limited personnel and maintaining nine feet (9') distancing of masked performers. New monitoring equipment is being procured to compensate for this new set up.

Zebras Popular Commerical Music Ensemble will be rehearsing fully remote with an objective of professionally-produced "quarantine" style video performances.


Jazz Chamber Music is being broken up this term into two eight-week sections to maximize rehearsal opportunities for the twelve anticipated combo groupings. Once placed into a named chamber small group, your registration will be swapped to the approripate section in either eight-week term. Anyone who does not make a named grouping will be placed into a Combo Class instructed by the excellent teaching fellows assisgned to Jazz Chamber Music.

Rehearsal schedules are as follows:

Performances, Recitals, and Recordings

As noted previously, there will not be any live performances this term with audiences present. This means regular weekly performances in the Union Syndicate have been suspended. End of term performances from ensembles are still be negotiated and will likely be through pre-recorded or live streaming. The College of Music has made a significant investment in upgrading the HD streaming capabilities of the major performance halls and expanded those capabilities to Lab West, the Recital Hall, and the Merrill Ellis Intermedia Theater (MEIT). It will now be possible for the College to live stream multiple simultaneous performances. Further details on final term performances and streaming will be coming soon.

Degree recitals will move foward in Lab West with extra setup and preparation time starting at 6:00 p.m. to allow for distancing by the media technicians. The current plan is for degree recitals to be live streamed through the College of Music's online digital channels.

Options to professionally record Jazz Chamber Music combo groupings for up to 30 minutes worth of music are currently being negotiated. These would be for use by combo small group members individually and collectively for competitions or personal use. We now have experience with socially-distanced and safe protocols for studio recordings from the Lab 2020 sessions this summer. We will base any recording session plans on those protocols which prioritize separate tracking where appropriate.

Looking Ahead

Your faculty and staff have spent a significant portion of their summer break making and revising plans ahead of this Fall 2020 semester. We thank them for their diligence, flexibility, and patience as new information and procedures were established and modified. Do not hesitate to ask either your faculty, staff, or Professor Parton as chair if you have any further questions or concerns.

We also recognize that this planning is not exhaustive and is highly subject to change based upon the evolving coronavirus situation in our community. Make sure to check this website and the Jazz Studies Canvas page for updates regarding any and all procedures and guidelines.

Have a safe, productive, and musical semester!

Black Lives Matter

The faculty and staff of the Division of Jazz Studies at the University of North Texas stands in solidarity with the Black community during what has been an extremely sad and eye-opening past two weeks. We are indebted to the musical legacy of Black American culture that has provided much of the foundation of our livelihoods, studies, and passions. All of us have studied the improvisational and compositional creativity of Black jazz artists and their extended musical communities throughout our careers. We view ourselves as grateful participants in the tradition they established.

The history of our art form in jazz is intricately interwoven with social protest and that aspect does not change now. We are appalled and saddened by George Floyd’s death as we are with each needless loss before and since brought on by the institutional violence, inequitable policies, and police brutality exhibited towards Black Americans. We are musicians, but we are human beings first and recognize that no person should be treated the way George Floyd was, among countless others. This is another instance in a series of blatant wake up calls to ALL Americans that we need to do everything we can to prevent this from happening again. Though the scale of needed societal change is grand, adjusting our individual and institutional actions can have a lasting impact on these issues in our surrounding community. 

We recognize that the Division’s history has not always adequately reflected the values of diversity and inclusion.  The program was founded in the academic year of 1946-47 on a still-segregated campus. It would be many years before full integration took place both within the university and in our program. Despite our best efforts, echoes and residual effects of this founding context still occur.

To overcome our shortcomings, we must listen: to our students, to our community, and each other.  As musicians and as people, we listen in order to understand where our musical partner is rooted and respond to them in kind. As we improvise, we must respect and include all voices, taking explicit care to elevate the marginalized. We recognize and celebrate our students, faculty, staff, and broader community members for who they are – their whole person.

The mission of the UNT College of Music is “to serve our diverse musical culture with excellence, integrity, and imagination.” Reaffirming that Black Lives Matter supports all three aspects of this mission, as we affirm the value of diversity, strive to meet the highest standard of integrity, and imagine a better future. We are resolute in our commitment to this mission and look forward to working more purposefully towards a more diverse and inclusive culture in the Division of Jazz Studies at UNT.

Congratulations Class of 2020!

Down the corridor of years
We'll forget the joys and tears,
But North Texas – North Texas! – we love.

A heartfelt congratulations to the Class of 2020. We are immensely proud of your grit, artistry, and resilience through a trying academic year. Enjoy this video message from Jazz Studies faculty as organized by Prof. Quincy Davis. Welcome to our proud alumni family!


One O'Clock Lab Band takes finals at inaugural Jack Rudin Jazz Championships

The One O'Clock Lab Band, under the direction of Alan Baylock, made the finals round of competition at the inaugural Jack Rudin Jazz Championships organized by Wynton Marsalis and Jazz at Lincoln Center. The band took fourth place overall amongst a prestigious lineup of university jazz programs from across the country on Sunday, January 19, 2020. 

Additionally, UNT Jazz Studies students took home a number of individual and section honors including:

  • Outstanding Saxophone Section
  • Outstanding Trombone Section
  • Outstanding Trumpet Section
  • Outstanding Alto Saxophone, Will Nathman
  • Outstanding Trumpet, Austin Ford
  • Outstanding Trumpet, Chris Van Leeuwen

Congratulations to all of our students and colleague institutions for an amazing weekend in New York City!

One O'Clock Lab Band in Lobby

One O'Clock in Rose Theater


New CD with lots of UNT Jazz Studies alumni participation

The Commission Project, the new CD by the JazzMN Orchestra, involves two generations of UNT alumni as players and composers. Seven of the ten titles are newly-commissioned works. The well-produced CD, released by Momentous Records, includes contact information for the composers of all 10 titles for those who want to purchase the charts.

The alumni composers Gerald Stockton and John Wasson. The alumni players are Rich MacDonald, drums and producer; Brad Dutz, percussion; Pete Whitman, tenor saxophone; Doug Snapp (conductor, artistic director, and founder of JazzMN); Brian Handeland, baritone saxophone; Aaron Hedenstrom, alto saxophone; and Brad Shermock, lead trumpet.

The orchestra's site is:

CD information is here: