The Jazz Symphony Orchestra celebrates its 20th anniversary


The 68 members Jazz Symphony Orchestra (SJO), led by Music Director Mitch Glickman, celebrated its 20e anniversary with a gala concert on September 18e 2022 at the Carpenter Performing Arts Center in Long Beach, CA, after a two-year hiatus due to the Covid 19 pandemic. Presented in partnership with KJazz 88.1 FM, the evening was hosted by KJazz radio host Rhonda Hamilton and featured GRAMMY®-winning singer Diane Schuur and GRAMMY-nominated pianist and composer David Benoit.

The centerpiece of the annual SJO benefit concerts are world premieres of works commissioned by the organization. Two new works were presented this year – “Hello Wonderland” by Jihye Lee and “Vignette for Orchestra” by Remy LeBoeuf, as well as the debut of “gListen! by Mitch Glickman with beatbox flute soloist Azeem Ward. The 68 members of SJO, comprised of Hollywood’s finest studio musicians and jazz soloists, were introduced in the opening number, “Festival” by former SJO co-music director, the late George Duke.


Music transforms communities, schools and lives

With the mission of bringing essential musical education to underprivileged neighborhoods, the music in schools the program operates with 15 elementary schools from Watts to Long Beach reaching 175 classrooms and more than 4,000 students per week from kindergarten to 5e to note. The one-year program integrates and enhances students’ understanding of math, reading, science, history, and creative writing. Cuts to funding for music education in public schools have increased since 1997. In some of the neighborhoods SJO serves, the schools they work with have not had arts education in decades.

I have had the joy of seeing the program unfold and know how invaluable this program is to our students. The residency ensures that the education and enjoyment of music will become an important and vital part of these children’s lives, now and in the future. …B. Brown Principal of Farragut Elementary School:

The torchbearers of symphonic jazz

Launched in 2002, Symphonic Jazz Orchestra (SJO) is a unique hybrid ensemble dedicated to blending the worlds of jazz and classical music. The ensemble has performed throughout Southern California at venues including the Richard & Karen Carpenter Performing Arts Center, Royce Hall (UCLA), Walt Disney Theater (CalArts), and Marsee Auditorium. Soloists joining the Symphonic Jazz Orchestra include Grammy Award-winning artists including George Duke, Dave Grusin, Christian McBride, Raul Midon, Jane Monheit, Lee Ritenour, Chris Brubeck, Luciana Souza, Ernie Watts, The Yellowjackets and Miguel Zenon. The acclaimed SJO recording “Looking Forward, Looking Back” includes two commissioned works by George Duke and Lee Ritenour, as well as the classic “Rhapsody in Blue” by George Gershwin.

Radio series “Beyond Symphonic Jazz”

Hosted by SJO Music Director Mitch Glickman, Beyond Symphonic Jazz radio show in its fifth year explores where the worlds of jazz and classical music meet with interviews with some very special composers and performers, including Wayne Shorter, Pat Metheny, Don Sebesky, Terence Blanchard, Chick Corea, Carla Bley and Terri Lyne Carrington. The show also features rare recordings as well as new works that carry on the great American tradition of symphonic jazz. The 2-hour show on KJazz 88.1 FM airs every Monday night from 9-11 p.m. (PST) and can be heard online at

SJO Commissioning Competition

Resuming for 2023 is the annual commissioning competition for people who compose symphonic jazz that has been suspended for two years due to the pandemic and the cancellation of SJO concerts, Each year SJO presents a commissioning competition for people who compose symphonic jazz. The Music Advisory Board determines the winner, who is then commissioned to write a new orchestral score, which is premiered by the Jazz Symphony Orchestra at its annual free concert and is listed in the Jazz Symphony Commissions Catalog. ‘organization.

Family Jazz Hour & Arts for Life Free Community Concerts

The following free a public concert presented by members of the Symphonic Jazz Orchestra (SJO) will take place on May 7, 2023. More details to follow.

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Henry R. Wright