The Jazz Composers’ Symposium debuted in 2006 originally under the auspices of the University of South Florida’s Center for Jazz Composition. Featuring a stellar guest artist line-up of Bob Brookmeyer, John Clayton, & Dave Douglas the first gathering was an instant success! The word was out and the 2nd conference, also at USF, followed in 2008 with increased attendance as well as scintillating appearances by: Stefon Harris, Bill Holman, Jim McNeely, and the Turtle Island String Quartet. Funding for USF’s Center, however, evaporated during the recession and the Symposium lay dormant until it was resurrected by ISJAC in 2017, once again hosted by USF.
While maintaining much the same approach taken in the earlier Symposia, ISJAC has expanded the opportunities for composers to present their music and/or research (now featuring the works of over 70 composers at each conference) introduced an Honors & Awards program, and sought to increase the numbers of curated speakers as well. Beginning with the 2019 conference hosted by the University of Northern Colorado, ISJAC also committed to further enhance access to this inspiring event by producing it in different institutions. The next conference, originally scheduled to take place at the University of Texas at Austin in 2021, has been postponed to 2022 due to the global pandemic.