Jazz is thriving at the Conservatory of Music, where students and faculty collaborate on a wide range of projects.
Our students are mentored by an accomplished professional faculty and take private lessons with some of the most renowned musicians based in New York City. Our students also record on state-of-the-art equipment and perform in a variety of venues both on and off campus.
Supportive and Collegial Atmosphere
There is a strong sense of community among our students. Our faculty members are all resident, which creates a stimulating atmosphere for the student, and our affiliate teachers are known to “drop in” on classes unannounced to see what’s going on and to contribute.
At Purchase College, there are numerous opportunities to perform in and out of the curriculum. Each student performs in his or her repertoire and small combo class. We also have a big band and a Latin jazz band. There is a Jazz club on campus with student performances every Thursday evening, and our students perform regularly at openings for the Neuberger Museum of Art on campus. Students also perform for various receptions and as opening acts for major artists at The Performing Arts Center on campus. Off campus, we have established steady weekly gigs at local clubs. Many of our students also perform at Manhattan venues like the Knitting Factory.
Our faculty comes from all corners of the music scene, forming a highly diverse and dedicated team of educators and professional musicians. They are members of notable ensembles, including:
- Arturo O’Farrill Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra
- Bobby Sanabria Big Band
- Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society
- Jon Faddis Jazz Orchestra
- Maria Schneider Orchestra
- Ron Carter Great Big Band
- Vanguard Jazz Orchestra
Purchase Jazz Orchestra
The Purchase Jazz Orchestra is a 17-piece big band that performs jazz from every era. From staples like Ellington and Basie to more modern works by today’s leading composers and arrangers like McNeely, Clayton, Abene, and Schneider, the PJO swings and is always a pleasure to listen to. Grammy® Award-winning Jazz bassist Todd Coolman and legendary trumpeter Jon Faddis direct the group.
Purchase Latin Jazz Orchestra
The Purchase Latin Jazz Orchestra is an exciting ensemble that performs music from all over Latin America. Featuring top students from the Conservatory of Music, the PLJO explores numerous genres, including mambo, cha-cha, danzón, festejo, and porro. Whether performing classic compositions by the masters or newer works commissioned for the ensemble, seeing and hearing the PLJO is always a memorable occasion.
Alumni in the Spotlight
Cyrille Aimée ’09Jazz Studies
Bruce Harris ’05, ’09Jazz Studies
Lucas Cantor ’04Jazz Studies
Samara Joy ’21Jazz Studies
Ella Fitzgerald Scholars
Enjoy this video featuring Ella Fitzgerald Scholars Lucy Wijnands ’20 and Samara Joy ’21 performing “Almost Like Being in Love.”
Deadlines and How to Apply
Visit Music Auditions in the Apply pages for details, including a video with tips on recording your prescreening audition.
Jazz Studies News
Film by Jordan Tetewsky ’16 is New York Times Critic’s Pick
The film demonstrates the collaborative DIY culture found at Purchase—it stars musician Hannah Lee Thompson ’17 and several alums were on the crew.
Regina Spektor ’01 Re-Releases Formative Album 11:11Spektor wrote and recorded 11:11 as a student in the Studio Composition program.
Samara Joy ’21 is the Grammy’s Best New Artist!
The jazz sensation also won Best New Jazz Vocal Album.
Soul Voices Director Knoelle Higginson on AGT
Higginson appeared with the Sing Harlem Choir she directs.