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Louis Armstrong Jazz Performance Program

At Columbia University

Directed by Prof. Chris Washburne

The Louis Armstrong Jazz Performance Program in the Music Department at Columbia University offers both undergraduate and graduate students jazz performance experience and private lessons. Listed below is information regarding those opportunities.


Columbia University Jazz Ensemble (V1618/V1619) Sec. 001 F 1-3PM, 112 Dodge Hall. Directed by Steve Wilson

This ensemble offers advanced level jazz musicians an opportunity to perform in a small jazz group setting playing variety of jazz styles.  The repertoire covers 1950s hard bop to more adventurous contemporary styles.  Students are required to compose and arrange for the group under the supervision of Steve Wilson.  The ensemble simulates a professionally working jazz group thereby offering students who are interested in pursuing professional or semi-professional careers important preparatory training. (1 credit hour). 

Columbia University Jazz Ensemble (V1618/V1619) Sec. 002 W 6-9PM. 112 Dodge Hall. Directed by Don Sickler

Columbia University Jazz Ensemble (V1618/V1619) Sec. 003 M 8-9PM. 112 Dodge Hall. Directed by Ben Waltzer

These ensembles are open to both advanced and intermediate jazz performers and offer experience in small group straight ahead styles.  There are no limits to the number of musicians.  The ensembles meet weekly and one end of the semester concert is required (1 credit hour).

For audio and video clips of ensemble performances, go to Live Clips.



All Columbia and Barnard Students students (both undergraduate and graduate) interested in jazz performance opportunities are encouraged to audition. Auditions are required for admittance and will be held on the first Friday of the Fall semester. Sign up for auditions on the MPP Office door (618 Dodge Hall). All instrumentalists and vocalists are invited to audition.  Some previous jazz performance experience is required. For auditions, prepare one jazz standard and one blues song.  Auditions will be accompanied by a rhythm section.  Students will also need to demonstrate sight reading skills and their knowledge of major and minor scales. Auditions are held in 112 Dodge Hall.


On Campus Performance Opportunities

In order to provide more performance opportunities for Columbia's jazz students and to bring more live jazz to the campus, ensemble members perform at various social events around the campus throughout the school year.

Private Lessons

Private lessons are available by audition only and there are a limited number of openings.   Auditions for lessons are held at the same time as ensemble auditions. Please sign up for a lesson audition on the MPP office door (618 Dodge Hall).


Masterclasses and Visiting Artists

Each semester a guest jazz performer is invited to campus to perform with the student ensembles, conduct masterclasses, and play a concert with their professional band. Previous guest artists include: Don Byron, Brian Lynch, Vijay Iyer, Wycliffe Gordon, and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra.

For more information contact Prof. Chris Washburne at cjw5@columbia.edu


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