March 7, 2022

Annual Jazz Festival Returns at West Chester University March 23 – 26Criterions Jazz Ensemble

For the first time since 2019, the Wells School of Music at West Chester University will bring world-class entertainment and free live jazz to the surrounding community during the 32nd annual Jazz Festival from March 23 – 26, 2022. Most performances are free and take place on West Chester University’s campus in the Madeleine Wing Adler Theatre, Swope Music Building and Performing Arts Center, 817 S. High Street, West Chester. This year the Festival will expand into West Chester’s borough with a performance at the Uptown! Knauer Performing Arts Center, 226 N. High Street, West Chester. Full listings and details for all programming can be found at

The Jazz Festival is the first programmed by the University since 2019 due to the pause in some productions because of COVID-19.

In celebration of West Chester University’s 150th Anniversary, this year’s 3-day festival is a tribute to the past, present, and future of West Chester University’s Wells School of Music with performances that feature faculty, alumni, and current students, as well as performances by jazz legends.

Dave LiebmanDirector of Jazz Studies Jonathan Ragonese says, “During this, the 150th year celebration of West Chester University, we wanted to celebrate our accomplished alumni, faculty, and students by featuring their work at the festival. Our own faculty jazz group, as well as our beloved student jazz ensemble, the Criterions, are among the many points of pride for the Wells School of Music. As well, alumni of West Chester University’s Wells School of Music perform all over the continent and on world-class stages. We want local audiences to take advantage of these mostly FREE offerings and to hear and enjoy some of the finest jazz artists that are associated with West Chester University.”

Events include:

Wednesday, March 23 at 12 p.m. in the Madeleine Wing Adler Theatre: LARRY MARSHALL TRIO - FREE

Larry Marshall is an alumnus of West Chester University who started playing drums at the age of 5. His recording and touring career have taken him around the world to perform with some of the world’s great jazz artist. He’ll play her with fellow alumnus and bassist, Rob Swanson, and pianist Andy Roberts.

Wednesday, March 23 at 8 p.m. in the Madeleine Wing Adler Theatre: WCU FACULTY JAZZ GROUP - FREE

Featuring Dan Cherry (trombone), David Cullen (guitar), Christopher Hanning (drumset), Marc Jacoby (vibraphone), Terry Klinefelter (piano), Peter Paulsen (bass), Jonathan Ragonese (Saxophone), John Swana (Valve Trombone/EWI)

Thursday, March 24 at 8 p.m. in the Madeleine Wing Adler Theatre: WCU CRITERIONS CELEBRATE ALUMNI - FREE

Director of Jazz Studies Jonathan Ragonese leads the Criterions in a celebration of alumni featuring all-alumni special guests. The evening opens with a performance by the Latin Jazz Ensemble led by Dr. Marc Jacoby.

Friday, March 25 at 1 p.m. in the Madeleine Wing Adler Theatre: JOHN SWANA TRIO - FREE

An alumnus of West Chester University, Swana is from Norristown, PA, and began studying the trumpet at age 11. Swana has performed or toured with the Mingus Big Band, and the Dave Holland Big Band and has also played and recorded with well-known jazz names from across the country and around the world. He plays with Philadelphia jazz guitarist, Steve Giordano, and trumpeter Dave Meashey.

Friday, March 25 at 7:30 p.m. at Uptown! Knauer Performing Arts Center: David Liebman with the Dali String Quartet and featuring WCU's Criterions Jazz Ensemble - TICKETED EVENTDali Quartet

Tickets: $25 – 30 for adults/$15 students at

David Liebman is considered a renaissance man in contemporary music with a career stretching over fifty years. He has played with masters including Miles Davis, Elvin Jones, Chick Corea, John McLaughlin, McCoy Tyner and others. He’ll play with West Chester University’s own quartet-in-residence, Dalí Quartet, in a concert that will also feature West Chester University’s beloved Criterions Jazz Ensemble.

Saturday, March 26 starting at 10 a.m. in the Madeleine Wing Adler Theatre: HIGH SCHOOL JAZZ ENSEMBLE SHOWCASE - TICKETED EVENT

Some of the finest jazz ensembles from high schools around the region will perform in half-hour sets. Student ensembles will receive feedback from WCU faculty. Tickets are $12/$7 students at   

Effective Monday, February 28, 2022, mask wearing is now optional at West Chester University. The University fully supports each person’s choices around whether to wear a mask. As a campus committed to civility toward one another, we expect that everyone will be respectful of individual choices on the matter. We will continue to make masks available at facility entrances. As we learn to live with the virus, protocols are subject to change as health conditions warrant.



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