May 16-18, 2024, Nashville, TN, USA, Vanderbilt’s Blair School of Music

The ISJAC International Jazz Composers’ Symposium is a bi-annual conference that brings together hundreds of jazz composers, arrangers, educators, and industry executives for three days of concerts, lectures, panel discussions, and the presentation and honoring of new jazz compositions and arrangements.

The Symposium is known as a robust yet intimate gathering of the world’s finest jazz writers. As a central tenet of the ISJAC mission, the Symposium seeks to unite, develop, and electrify the our global community of jazz arrangers and composers.

Featured Guest Composers
Each Symposium is anchored by several renowned jazz composer/arrangers who are typically in residence for the duration of the conference. Evening concerts feature their works performed by their own ensembles or in conjunction with the resident jazz orchestra. During the day, they discuss their compositional process via guest artist talks, provide feedback to other composers in the masterclasses, debate industry practices in lively panel discussions, or just hang out, allowing for meaningful individual rapport with attendees.

Recent featured guests have included: Terri Lyne Carrington, Miguel Zenón, Jim McNeely, Billy Childs, Maria Schneider, Darcy James Argue, John Hollenbeck, Rufus Reid, Vince Mendoza, Chuck Owen, Bill Frisell, Ron Miles, Christine Jensen & Chris Potter.

New Music Masterclasses/First Takes
One of the most exciting facets of the Symposium is the opportunity for composers and arrangers to share and discuss their new works with their colleagues. Over 35 pieces are ultimately selected by ISJAC’s panel of accomplished artists and anyone can submit their works for consideration. These works are featured in a series of open masterclasses led by the featured guest artists and/or First Takes, led by the composers themselves.

Christine Jensen illustrates Carla Bley’s music with the help of Dana Landry and UNC Jazz Lab Band 1. ISJAC Jazz Composers’ Symposium, May 2019.

ISJAC greatly values and seeks to encourage research and analysis directly related to jazz composition. Scholars are, therefore, encouraged to submit recent papers for presentation at the Symposium. Papers not selected for oral presentation may be considered for presentation at the Poster Session.

Poster Sessions
ISJAC’s Poster Session offers composers, scholars, and educators the opportunity to display their scores, papers, recordings, analyses, etc. and engage in discussions directly with those attending. Unlike other poster sessions you may have attended, this boasts a casual, almost party-like atmosphere and is one of the highlights of the conference.

Eri Chichibu, left, and Migiwa Miyajima, right, talk shop at the Poster Session

SONIC Awards Concert
ISJAC’s adjudicators identify works in each of the following categories: Large Jazz Ensemble Composition, Chamber Jazz Ensemble Composition, and Arrangement, for special distinction and recognition as the recipients of ISJAC’s SONIC Awards. An acronym for Symposium Outstanding New Instrumental Composition,  the works selected are performed during the SONIC Concert by the resident professional jazz orchestra. In addition, the ISJAC/USF Owen Prize in Jazz Composition is given to student composers whose works are also performed at this time.  Inductees into ISJAC’s Hall of Fame are also recognized and honored at this time.

About the most recent Jazz Composers’ Symposium – May 12-14, 2022 at the University of Texas, Austin

isjac symposium banner blue

Featured Performing Artists
Terri Lyne Carrington & Social Science
Jim McNeely with John Mills Times 17
Miguel Zenón Quartet

Featured Presenting Artists
John Clayton
Miho Hazama

Special Curated Sessions
Gail Boyd
Adam Neely
Meg Okura
Omar Thomas
Ryan Truesdell

Fundamental Freedoms Commission
Lauren Elizabeth Baba

ISJAC/USF Owen Prize for Jazz Composition
Daiki Nakajima

ISJAC/USF Prize for Emerging Black Composers
Roella Oloro

SONIC Awards
Mike Conrad
S’yo Fang
Joseph Herbst

New Music Presentations
Philippe Côté
Steve Guerra
Mats Holmquist
Ayn Inserto
Remy Le Boeuf
Bevan Manson
John Mills
Ed Puddick
Jerald Shynett

Full List of Presenters