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Founded in 2001, the Peabody Conservatory’s Jazz Studies Department has quickly grown to become one of the strongest and most comprehensive areas of study within the Conservatory.

The department was built upon a philosophy that emphasizes experiential learning. The benefits of this approach are that it emulates the professional working environment beyond the walls of Peabody and also provides the student with the necessary skills to become a lifelong learner.

In addition to the standard Peabody Conservatory curricular requirements and weekly private instruction, jazz-specific course offerings include:

  • Jazz Fundamentals (two semesters)
  • Jazz Theory/Piano Lab I & II (four semesters)
  • Jazz Arranging/Composition (two semesters)
  • Jazz Improvisation I & II (four semesters)
  • Jazz Eartraining (two semesters)
  • Jazz History (two semesters)

Past visiting artists have included John Abercrombie, Tim Berne, Terri Lyne Carrington, Dennis Chambers, George Colligan, Marc Copland, Peter Erskine, Jerry Granelli, Andre Hayward, Conrad Herwig, Tim Miller, John Patitucci, Rufus Reid, Sam Rivers, David Samuels, Lynn Seaton, Marcus Strickland, Miroslav Vitous, Steve Wilson, and Dontae Winslow.

Current students and alumni of the Jazz Studies Department maintain very active schedules in both performance and education, working frequently in Maryland, Virginia, the District of Columbia, and New York, as well as internationally. Alumni activities of special note include collaborations with Roy Hargrove and Nnenna Freelon, the Music Center at Strathmore’s Artist in Residence Program, Buffet Crampon USA Performing Artists, Inner Circle Music Recording Artists, and faculty appointments at Peabody, the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre, and the University of Tartu.

Faculty

Nasar Abadey

Drummer and composer Nasar Abadey is the founder, leader, and driving force of SUPERNOVA®, which performs music from the threshold of jazz to beyond space and time, expressing their compositions through traditional African rhythms, bebop, fusion, Afro-Cuban, Afro-Brazilian, modal, and free form.

Miles Brown

Bassist, composer, performer, and teacher Miles Brown is a versatile musician who has earned bachelor and doctorate degrees from the Eastman School of Music in jazz performance studies as well as a master’s degree from the Mannes College of Music in classical bass performance.

Blake Meister

Blake Meister has performed and recorded with a diverse group of renowned musicians, including Gary Thomas, Larry Willis, Katharine McPhee, Mýa, Marc Copland, David Kikoski, Gary Bartz, Steve Davis, Warren Wolf, Ahn Sook Sun, Buddy Wachter, Paul Bollenback, Eddie Henderson, Ingrid Jensen, Jeremy Pelt, Jack DeJohnette, Ralph Peterson, Dennis Chambers, Nasheet Waits, and Tim Warfield, among others.

Paul Meyers

Paul Meyers has been active in the NY Jazz scene for many years and has performed and/or recorded with an ever growing list of jazz greats.

Timothy Murphy

Jazz pianist Timothy Murphy has performed and recorded extensively, with performances on internationally released CDs on the JMT, Palmetto, and Timbre labels. He has performed and/or recorded with musicians including Woody Shaw, Greg Osby, Curtis Fuller, Dennis Chambers, Antonio Hart, Charlie Rouse, and more.

Alexander Norris

Alex Norris grew up in Columbia, Md., where he began studying music at the age of 9. After graduating high school he received a scholarship to the Peabody Conservatory to study trumpet. He graduated from the Conservatory in 1990.

John Thomas

Protean artist John Thomas spans the chasm between the concert and jazz saxophone worlds. Equally adept at the arts of improvisation and interpretation, he is constantly pushing the bounds of genre and idiom.