2019 International Jazz Composers Symposium
at the
University of Northern Colorado
Greeley, CO

May 16-18, 2019


The fourth International Jazz Composers’ Symposium, co-sponsored by the University of Northern Colorado and the International Society of Jazz Arrangers and Composers (ISJAC), will be held in the new School of Music facilities at the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley, CO from May 16-18, 2019.The Symposium is designed as a forum to bring jazz composers of all ages and nationalities together for an informal exchange of ideas, information, and inspiration. This year’s Symposium will include noted master artists Ron Miles, Bill Frisell, Christine Jensen, Vince Mendoza, Darcy James Argue, & Chris Potter among others, in a series of concerts, lectures, master classes, panel discussions, research presentations, and industry sessions.


Featured Artists

Ron Miles is a songwriter and cornet player based in Denver, Colorado. Ron was born in Indianapolis, Indiana in 1963 and moved to Denver with his family in 1974. Ron Miles has previously recorded as a leader for the Prolific, Capri, Gramavision, and Sterling Circle labels. He is one of the finest improvisers and composers of his generation and has been called one of the greatest melodists by clarinetist Ben Goldberg. In addition to leading his own bands, Ron Miles has performed in the ensembles of Joshua Redman, Bill Frisell, Mercer Ellington, Don Byron, Myra Melford, Joe Henry, Madeleine Peyroux, Jason Moran, Matt Wilson, the Bad Plus, Harriet Tubman, Ginger Baker, and Goldberg.

With his most recent project, I Am A Man, Ron Miles, “one of the finest trumpeters in jazz today” (Jazz Times), makes his most powerful artistic statement to date. For this special project Miles grew his trio with guitarist Bill Frisell and drummer Brian Blade—which released Quiver in 2012 and Circuit Rider in 2014—into a quintet, adding pianist Jason Moran and bassist Thomas Morgan. The group’s virtuosic camaraderie animates I Am A Man’s expansive themes, building an album of and for today from the spiritual foundations of black American music. More info about Ron Miles can be found at ronmiles.org.

Bill Frisell’s career as a guitarist and composer has spanned more than 35 years and many celebrated recordings, whose catalog has been cited by Downbeat as “the best recorded output of the decade,” including his recent albums for Savoy – Sign of Life with the 858 Quartet, Beautiful Dreamers, All We Are Saying, a collection of John Lennon interpretations and his debut release for OKeh/Sony Masterworks, Big Sur, featuring music commissioned by the Monterey Jazz Festival and composed at the Glen Deven Ranch in Big Sur, for strings, guitar and drums in a quintet comprised of long-time musical associates. Frisell’s latest album for Okeh/Sony When You Wish Upon a Star, a project that germinated at Lincoln Center during Bill’s two-year appointment as guest curator for the Roots of Americana series (September ’13 – May ’15). It features Frisell with vocalist Petra Haden, Eyvind Kang (viola), Thomas Morgan (bass) and Rudy Royston (drums) performing Frisell’s arrangements and interpretations of Music from Film and Television. Jazz Times described the project as follows: “unforgettable themes are the real draw here, reconfigured with ingenuity, wit and affection by Frisell and a terrific group.” The touring version of the band includes Haden, Morgan and Royston.

Recognized as one of America’s 21 most vital and productive performing artists, Frisell was named an inaugural Doris Duke Artist in 2012. He is also a recipient of grants from United States Artists, and Meet the Composer, among others. Upon San Francisco Jazz opening their doors, he served as one of their Resident Artistic Directors. Most recently, Frisell was commissioned to compose and perform a new composition in San Francisco by the Freshgrass Festival. More info about Bill Frisell can be found at billfrisell.com.

Vince Mendoza has been at the forefront of the Jazz and contemporary music scene as a composer, conductor and recording artist for the last 20 years. According to All about Jazz Mendoza “daringly expands the vernacular by including elements of abstract impressionism, romanticism and a highly unorthodox palette to position him as the clear and natural successor to the late Gil Evans.” He has written scores of compositions and arrangements for big band, extended compositions for chamber and symphonic settings while his jazz composing credits read like a “who’s who” of the best modern instrumentalists and singers in the world today. Mendoza was recognized as ‘Best Composer/Arranger’ by Swing Journal’s critics poll in Japan. His CD “Epiphany” features his compositions played by the London Symphony Orchestra.  “El Viento” and “Jazzpaña” further pushed the boundaries of Jazz and Flamenco Music. His 2011 solo release “Nights on Earth features Mendoza compositions arranged for small and large ensembles, with guest appearances by Luciana Souza, Malian vocalist Tom Diakite, and musicians from Spain, Africa, and Brazil. Mendoza’s most recent Grammy nominated release “Homecoming” celebrates his new compositions for the WDR big band in Koln, Germany. 

Mendoza’s arranging has appeared on many critically acclaimed projects that include dozens of albums with song writing legends such as Björk, Chaka Khan, Al Jarreau, Bobby McFerrin, Diana Krall, Melody Gardot, Sting and Joni Mitchell.  He has 6 Grammy awards and 31 nominations.

Mendoza is the composer in residence with the West Deutsche Rundfunk in Koln. He is also the Conductor Laureate of the Netherlands Metropole Orkest of which he was Chief Conductor for 9 seasons. In addition, he appears frequently as a guest conductor with orchestras throughout Europe, the U.S., Japan, Scandinavia, and the U.K.

Mendoza has also written commissioned compositions and arrangements for the Turtle Island String Quartet, the Chicago Symphony, the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet, the Metropole Orchestra, the Berlin Philharmonic, The Hollywood Bowl, West Deutsche Rundfunk, The Czech National Symphony and the BBC. His music was featured at the Berlin Jazz Festival . He has performed at the Monterey, Montreux and North Sea Jazz Festivals.

Further information and discography available online at www.vincemendoza.net

A world-class soloist, accomplished composer, and formidable bandleader, Grammy Award nominated saxophonist Chris Potter has emerged as a leading light of his generation. Potter’s music showcases limitless creativity and a vibrant sense of swing, prompting critics, musicians, and fans alike to cite him as one of the finest saxophonists today. The New Yorker calls Potter, “A tenorist who can remind you of Joe Henderson at his craftiest, he employs his considerable technique in the service of music rather than spectacle.” Throughout his career, Potter has performed and recorded with artists as diverse as Steely Dan and Herbie Hancock, and has toured the world over with the Dave Holland Quintet, the Overtone Quartet, AZIZA, and the jazz-funk group, Chris Potter’s Underground. The Dreamer is the Dream, by the Chris Potter Quartet, is the current chapter in Potter’s storied career. More info about Chris Potter can be found at chrispottermusic.com.

Montreal-based Christine Jensen is regarded as one of Canada’s most compelling composers. A native of British Columbia, Jensen is an original voice on the international jazz scene, currently leading her own jazz orchestra in addition to several other diverse ensemble projects. Her latest work for jazz orchestra and voice, entitled Under the Influence Suite with Orchestre National Jazz de Montreal, won Quebec’s 2017 Opus Award for jazz recording of the year. 

A prolific composer and busy performer on alto and soprano saxophone, she has released three small group recordings as a leader, Collage (2000), A Shorter Distance(2002), and Look Left (2006), two more with Nordic Connect (a project that she co-leads with her sister Ingrid on trumpet), Flurry (2007), and Spirals (2011), two Juno Award-winning large ensemble recordings, Treelines – The Christine Jensen Jazz Orchestra (2011), and Habitat (2014), and most recently, a new album of works for quintet entitled Infinitude (2017), featuring Ingrid and Ben Monder.

Jensen’s music has taken her all over the world, both through her work as a touring performer and a clinician, and in the form of numerous commissions and guest conducting opportunites with jazz orchestras in North America and Europe. In Canada, in addition to teaching saxophone and composition she divides her conducting time between The Christine Jensen Jazz Orchestra, l’Orchestre National de Jazz de Montréal and McGill University’s Jazz Orchestra 1. More info about Christine Jensen can be found at christinejensenmusic.com.

“For a wholly original take on big band’s past, present and future, look to Darcy James Argue” — so says Newsweek’s Seth Colter Walls. The Vancouver-born, Brooklyn-based composer and bandleader has toured nationally and internationally with his 18-piece ensemble, Secret Society, garnering countless awards and nominations and reimagining what a 21st-century big band can sound like. “It’s maximalist music of impressive complexity and immense entertainment value, in your face and then in your head” writes Richard Gehr in the Village Voice.

Argue made his mark with his critically acclaimed 2009 debut Infernal Machines. 2013 saw the release of Brooklyn Babylon, which, like Infernal Machines before it, earned the group nominations for both GRAMMY and JUNO Awards. His most recent recording, Real Enemies, released in the fall of 2016, earned a third consecutive GRAMMY nomination and has been praised as “wildly discursive, twitchily allusive, a work of furious ambition… deeply in tune with our present moment” by The New York Times’ Nate Chinen.

In 2015, Argue was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in Music Composition and a Doris Duke Artist Award. He has received commissions from the Fromm Music Foundation, the Jazz Gallery, the Manhattan New Music Project, the Jerome Foundation, and BAM, as well as ensembles including the Danish Radio Big Band, the Hard Rubber Orchestra, the West Point Jazz Knights, and the Orquestra Jazz de Matosinhos. He is the recipient of grants and fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts, New Music USA, the Aaron Copland Fund for Music, Composers Now, the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, the Canada Council for the Arts, and the MacDowell Colony. More info about Darcy James Argue can be found at secretsocietymusic.org.



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View the tentative 2019 Schedule.



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