The International Society of Jazz Composers’ & Arrangers (ISJAC) was formally incorporated as a Minnesota (USA) nonprofit organization on January 4th, 2016, responding to a perceived need to address issues unique to the community of jazz composers & arrangers while providing our members with targeted resources and new opportunities.

The stated mission of ISJAC is:

  1. To unite and serve the international community of jazz arrangers and composers
  2. To advance the understanding and appreciation of jazz composition
  3. To stimulate the creation, performance, and dissemination of new works and research

Clearly the perception was on target, as in less than four years, the Society has welcomed 1,300 members from across the US as well as from 46 other countries!! 

Starting as a volunteer organization with limited financial support coming largely from Consortium Member Universities, ISJAC’s programming to date has been focused primarily on producing its extremely popular, bi-annual Jazz Composers’ Symposium – a conference that draws jazz composers from across the country and, indeed, throughout the world for two-and-a-half-days of premiering/sharing new works, building community,  and discussing issues of significant import to all.  In addition, however, we’ve worked diligently to establish effective lines of communication with our members via the website, bi-monthly newsletter, and our growing social media outreach. 

In addition to the Symposium, other early ISJAC initiatives include:

  • A monthly Guest Artist Blog, which has now published the op-eds, musings, and analyses of over 30 different composer/authors is one of the most popular features and has included such luminaries as:  Maria Schneider, Jim McNeely, John Clayton, and Fred Hersch among many others.  
  • Establishing the ISJAC Hall of Fame to recognize and draw further attention to those jazz composers whose work has lasting artistic significance and continues to influence new generations of young composers. 
  • Launching composition contests to recognize outstanding works:
    • ISJAC/USF Prize for Emerging Black Composers – an annual competition recognizing emerging Black jazz composers with a prize of $1,500 and performance at the Jazz Composers’ Symposium.
    • ISJAC/USF Owen Prize in Jazz Composition – an annual competition recognizing emerging student jazz composers with a prize of $1,500 and performance at the Jazz Composers’ Symposium.
    • ISJAC Fundamental Freedoms Commission – an annual competition recognizing an outstanding woman jazz composer with a $2,500 commission prize and $500 travel allowance to attend the premiere performance at the Jazz Composers’ Symposium.
    • SONIC Awards – The SONIC (Symposium Outstanding New Instrumental Composition) Awards presented at the Jazz Composers Symposium recognize outstanding works submitted in each of 4 categories:  Best Large Ensemble Composition, Best Chamber Ensemble Composition, Best Arrangement, Best Student Composition or Arrangement.
  • Gathering Resources to assist composers with finding grant funding, artist residencies, contest info, etc.