Prof. George Lewis Gives University Lecture

On Monday March 7, Prof. George Lewis, Director of the Center for Jazz Studies and Case Professor of American Music, presented the University Lecture on the subject of "Improvisation as a Way of Life" to an overflow crowd in the Low Library Rotunda. 

Improvisation as a Way of Life: Reflections on Human Interaction
Many musical improvisers have understood their sounds and practices as addressing larger questions of identity and social organization, as well as creating politically inflected, critically imbued aesthetic spaces.  Following a 1964 suggestion by Alfred Schutz that a study of the social relationships connected with the musical process may lead to some insights valid for many other forms of social intercourse, the realization that improvisation is not limited to the artistic domain, but is a ubiquitous aspect of everyday life, can lead humanists and scientists toward new models of intelligibility, agency, ethics, technology, and social transformation.

Learn more about the event here.

Below: Prof. George Lewis delivers University Lecture, March 7, 2011 (Direct Link to Video)

Louis Armstrong Jazz Performance Program Featured in Columbia Record (with video)

Above: Columbia students and program organizers talk about the growth of the Louis Armstrong Jazz Performance Program and the importance of jazz education at the University. (5:30)


Columbia's Louis Armstrong Jazz Performance Program, Directed by Prof. Christopher Washburne, is the subject of a feature article and video in the Columbia Record, written by Nick Obourn.


Also see: LAJPP Travels to Amman, Jordan
(Columbia Spectator, April 13, 2009)


FAIL (the browser should render some flash content, not this).

Position Announcement: Assistant Professor of Music with a Specialization in African-American Music




The Institute for Research in African-American Studies and the Department of Music at Columbia University are pleased to announce the following position:

The Institute for Research in African-American Studies and the Department of Music at Columbia University seek to hire an Assistant Professor with a specialization in African-American Music. The responsibilities of the position include undergraduate and graduate teaching; research and publication; and institutional service. We seek candidates with specializations in musicology, ethnomusicology, or music-centered studies in arts, humanities or social science fields; whose research centers on global Afrodiasporic/circum-Atlantic positions, practices and discourses; and whose teaching and research are informed by critical race/ethnicity theory and postcolonial discourses. Candidates must have earned the doctoral degree by July 1, 2011.  

To learn more or to begin the application process, please visit the following link:

Review of applications will begin JANUARY 1, 2011.  
(Note correction from earlier posting, which had listed an earlier date.)

Columbia University is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer.

About the Center for Jazz Studies at Columbia University

In 1995 Professor Robert O'Meally first convened the Jazz Study Group, a group of scholars, journalists, musicians, writers and others, to share their perspectives on jazz. Unique in its approach, the Jazz Study Group was among the first high-level scholarly research groups to examine jazz not only as a musical form, but also as a cultural phenomenon that has influenced all aspects of American culture. The idea for a Center devoted to the study of jazz as a culture grew out of these meetings, and in 1999, with the support of the Ford Foundation, the Center for Jazz Studies was born. Since then, the Center for Jazz Studies has extended the scope of its activities, embracing a tripartite mission of research, teaching, and public event sponsorship, in the affirmation that understanding jazz can provide a link to the development of new knowledge.

Advice, Policies, and Application Procedures for Prospective Visiting Scholars and Students

NB: Please note that all requests for Visiting affiliations (scholars or students) must be sent to the Department Chair and relevant Area chair directly, require the approval of a majority of the Department's faculty, and must be initiated at least one semester before (and ideally a full year before) the proposed visiting period begins. The following description of our procedures for accepting Visiting Students and Visiting Scholars is very detailed and specific; but you should read it very carefully before requesting such an affiliation with the Columbia University Department of Music. 

The Department is often approached by scholars and graduate students from other institutions who have plans to spend time in New York and who are seeking a "visiting" (courtesy) affiliation with us.  We are delighted to host several Visiting Scholars and Students annually, under a variety of program auspices, and many of us have been graciously hosted at sister institutions in the past. Visiting Scholars and Students enhance the life of our community and create new connections for future exchanges.

Information for Prospective Undergraduates

Information for Prospective Undergraduate Students (Applicants to Columbia College, Columbia School of General Studies, Barnard College, SEAS with Music Minor, CU/Juilliard Joint Programs).

If you are (or your child is) considering applying to Columbia College, Barnard College, the Columbia School of General Studies, or the Fu School of Engineering as an undergraduate, and you have questions about opportunities for undergraduate musicians at Columbia, this page is intended to help you find the answers you need. There are few subjects about which the Department gets more inquiries.

Here are some of the most common questions and their answers:


Q. I want to find out more about opportunities for undergraduate musicians at Columbia. Where do I start?

A. Here are some key links to explore:

A broad description of all undergraduate music programs at Columbia:

Fall 2010 New and Featured Courses in Music


Music Department Featured Courses for Fall 2010.

Click poster to enlarge or download. We have available spaces in all of these classes, so if you're looking for a cool music class for the fall, check some of these offerings out. 

"The New Thing": Jazz 1955-1980

Course Information

CU Directory Course Number: 
MUSI W4507
John Szwed

"The New Thing": Jazz 1955-80 (Course for Fall 2010)
#: 96398
Prof. John Szwed

An examination of the new jazz that emerged shortly after the middle of the 20th century. The seminar will include the work of musicians such as Ornette Coleman, Cecil Taylor, Don Cherry, Anthony Braxton, Carla Bley, Albert Ayler, and the Art Ensemble of Chicago; the economics and politics of the period; parallel developments in other arts; the rise of new performance spaces, recording companies, and collectives; and the accomplishments of the music and the problems it raised for jazz performance and criticism.

Prof. Chris Washburne and the SYOTOS band at the Kennedy Center

CJWProf. Chris Washburne

and his SYOTOS Band played to a packed house at the Kennedy Center on August 8, 2010. This concert featured percussionist Candido Camero and saxophonist Gene Jefferson. You can watch the webcast at:

Aaron Johnson Releases "Songs of Our Fathers"

Aaron Johnson Songs of Our Fathers

Congratulations to Aaron J. Johnson, a Columbia PhD student in Historical Musicology, who has released "Songs of Our Fathers."

Aaron Johnson Songs of Our Fathers