Leadership Update

The ISJAC Board is delighted to announce its selection of John Beasley to serve as President-Elect at a special election held during its December 13th meeting. Most of our membership will likely be quite familiar with John, if not personally, certainly by his multi-faceted work in music, including writing/arranging music for recordings and TV, film, commercial and artistic projects! In addition to serving as Music Director for the Herbie Hancock Jazz Institute which presents the annual International Jazz Day global gala concert on behalf of UNESCO annually, his writing/arranging has garnered multiple awards for projects with his own MONK’estra big band, as well as many other international ensembles/artists. His background is extremely broad and well-suited to the “big umbrella” ISJAC embraces. We look forward to his leadership – ensuring ISJAC continues to advance its mission to serve the jazz composition community.

This special election was predicated by Dave Stamps (previously serving as President-Elect) opting to give up his seat on the Board to assume the ongoing role of Managing Director at ISJAC. As co-founder of the organization as well as prior Vice President of Operations, there is no one better prepared to take on this role or more passionate about the mission of ISJAC. The Board not only approved of this plan; frankly, it’s a dream come true for us!

Both John and Dave assume these new roles immediately with John’s term as President to begin on July 1st, 2024.

During its December meeting, the Board also elected Michele Fernández to a seat as incoming Vice President of Membership. After recently retiring from a 30-year award-winning teaching career in Miami, Michele turned her attention to composing – with immediate and demonstrable success! With numerous publications, she is in great demand as a clinician, all-state ensemble conductor, and resident composer – with her works featured frequently at major conferences. David Caffey, whose term as Vice President of Membership will expire later this year, has contributed so much to ISJAC over the years and will remain on the Board. Michele’s role as VP begins on July 1st, 2024.

Stayed tuned! The Board expects to announce other additions to its ranks later in January.

2023 prize winners

March 31, 2023 – The International Society of Jazz Arrangers & Composers (ISJAC) announces the recipients of its 2023 Prizes and Commissions. 

Ariel Sha Glassman (Denton, TX) is the 2023 recipient of the ISJAC/USF Owen Prize in Jazz Composition. Established in 2019, the ISJAC/USF Owen Prize is offered to one outstanding student jazz composer age 26 or under. Ariel Sha Glassman receives this year’s prize with her composition, “What You Are Speaks.”

The ISJAC/USF Prize for Emerging Black Composers was created in 2020 as a way to recognize outstanding Black jazz composers under the age of 35. The 2023 Prize goes to Ennis Harris (Los Angeles, CA) for his composition, “Eye In The Sky.”

Meg Okura (Bronx, NY) is the recipient of the second annual ISJAC Fundamental Freedoms Commission. This unique composition commission, open to women composers of any age or nationality, was established in 2021 and reaffirms of ISJAC’s commitment to social justice, inclusivity, and equal opportunity. The 2023 commission by Ms. Okura will be premiered at the ISJAC Jazz Composers’ Symposium in Montréal, Canada in June 2024.

The International Society of Jazz Arrangers & Composers (ISJAC) was formed in 2016 to address issues unique to the global community of jazz composers and arrangers. As the only non-profit organization dedicated solely to serving and advocating on behalf of jazz composers and arrangers of all stripes, ISJAC prides itself on providing unique and meaningful resources, opportunities, and connections for its community.

ISJAC is a member organization comprised of individual members and a consortium of academic, professional, and performance organizations. Learn more about ISJAC and its work at

2023 Prize and Commission Recipients


Fall Giving Campaign Oct 18-28



Dear Friends and Members of the ISJAC Community,

We’re so excited for the future of ISJAC. We’re very proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish the past few years and how we’ve been able to serve and connect the global community of jazz composers and arrangers.

The ISJAC Annual Giving Campaign takes place October 18-28th, 2022. We’re seeking funding so that we may continue the great work we’re doing to serve jazz composers around the world –  providing resources, prizes and commissions, and invaluable presentation and educational opportunities. ISJAC is growing quickly and we’re incredibly optimistic about what is in store for the organization in the future. In the middle of our Giving Campaign, on Saturday October 22nd at 12pm EDT, we’ll host one such of these educational opportunities for our member community – the online New Music Workshop hosted by internationally renowned composers Miho Hazama and Ryan Truesdell.

This past May 2022, we held a successful Jazz Composers’ Symposium at the University of Texas-Austin with an incredible lineup including performances and artist talks from Terri Lyne Carrington, Jim McNeely, Miguel Zenón, Miho Hazama, & John Clayton. Several dozen composers presented and received feedback on their new works and we held a robust poster session that allowed for presentation of musical and scholarly work from our membership base. The Symposium also included masterclasses by leading voices in the industry on a variety of topics, from composition technique to music business and beyond. ISJAC Prize and Commission winners were recognized and their pieces shared with our community. This included the inaugural premiere of our newest ISJAC Prize – the Fundamental Freedoms Commission, designated for women composers. More than anything, our 2022 Jazz Composers’ Symposium – the first in-person ISJAC Symposium since the pandemic – was a fantastic way to gather and connect our global community.

ISJAC has made some big steps for the future, including the recent hiring of our organization’s first employee, Managing Director Annie Booth, this past summer 2022. We look forward to growing our organization and its impact with this big step!

Giving towards ISJAC is tax-deductible and can take several forms. A yearly membership to ISJAC is just $45/year yet makes a difference! As do one-time or recurring donations of any amount to ISJAC. Donations may be designated toward specific ISJAC initiatives, such as the Prize for Emerging Black Composers or the Fundamental Freedoms Commission for Women Composers. To make a tax-deductible donation at any time, visit

For those who have the means and would like to be incredibly impactful to the global jazz community, we’d love to discuss options for endowment and composition prize naming opportunities. Reach out to ISJAC Managing Director Annie Booth at with any questions about endowment or bequests.

Your generous gift today makes an impact on the creative and innovative music of tomorrow. Thank you for your support!