The UNC Jazz Studies program has earned numerous accolades throughout its 30 year history, including more than 100 Downbeat Magazine Student Music Awards. Student and faculty groups frequently perform on national and international stages, including tours of China, France and Romania in recent years. The program offers jazz degrees at the Bachelor, Master and Doctoral levels with challenging and rewarding experiences in studying and performing jazz.
The award-winning jazz ensembles at the University of Northern Colorado offer students performance opportunities in big bands, combos, vocal jazz groups, and Latin jazz. With over 30 years of history, UNC's jazz ensembles have earned numerous accolades, including:
- More than 100 Downbeat Student Music Awards. GRAMMY nomination for the album Hot IV by Vocal Jazz I.
- Numerous performances at national and international conferences including The Jazz Education Network, the International Association for Jazz Education, and others.
More than 150 students participate in jazz ensembles. Although the groups are comprised primarily of music majors, they are open to all students by audition. Placement auditions are held at the beginning of the fall semester.
UNC's five big bands, known as "Lab Bands," have a long history of being among the best college jazz ensembles in the country, and offer students exciting, challenging, and rewarding musical experiences.
Vocal Jazz at UNC has a long tradition of national and international acclaim, and UNC's Vocal Jazz I was the first college vocal group to ever receive a Grammy nomination.
UNC's eight small jazz ensembles (or combos) offer challenging and rewarding experiences in studying and performing jazz. Over the years, UNC's jazz combos have performed throughout the country and have won many awards.
The UNC Jazz Guitar Ensemble is a specialized group dedicated to celebrating the instrument’s rich history in Jazz. This group presents the students with a special environment where they perform in a section of 5 to 8 guitarists, plus rhythm section.
Our alumni have careers in jazz all over the world:
Ben Haugland, DA '13, Assistant Professor of Jazz Piano, Texas Tech
Jenna McSwain, MM '10, Professional Musician, New Orleans
Angela Parrish, MM '12, Singer/Songwriter, Los Angeles
Kate Skinner, MM '10, Jazz Lecturer, University of Idaho, Moscow
Chris Smith, DA '13, Professional Musician, New York City
"UNC was the first place I ever truly felt I belonged."
Angela Parrish (MM '12), Singer/Songwriter
Featured in the film La La Land