Important Update: COVID-19

The health and safety of our community guides all of our decisions. As such, West Chester University has been actively monitoring the rapid movement across the globe of the coronavirus, as well as updated travel warnings issued by the U.S. Department of State. Following the CDC’s public health guidance, the University is taking proactive measures to minimize crowds by canceling events that will draw large audiences. Please know that the University did not make this decision lightly. We ask for your understanding as we continue to respond to this fluid public health concern while working in the best interest of all those in our community.


March 24-27, 2021

All events will take place on Zoom & Livestream.

Many thanks to Kappa Kappa Psi for their coordination and help for Saturday’s High School event. Show your support with a shout-out!


Dave Allen image


MARCH 25, 2021 | 3:00PM
Dave Allen Masterclass on YouTube

David Allen, guitar

Guitarist and Composer Dave Allen was first recognized by Guitar Player Magazine as a talent to watch at 16 years old. He has been praised by critics as An exciting and unique player in the mold of Pat Metheny, Ben Monder and Adam Rogers. Monster chops, harmonic resourcefulness, strong melodic sense, considerable compositional talent. (Lyle Robinson of Jazz Guitar Life)
Born in Philadelphia, Allen began performing and composing at the age of 15. After discovering the music of John Coltrane, Pat Metheny, and Keith Jarrett, he moved to New York City to attend the Manhattan School of Music where he studied with Jack Wilkins, John Abercrombie and David Liebman. Over the next twenty years Allen performed with many of the most respected musicians in jazz today, including Mark Turner, Miguel Zenon, Joey Baron, Ravi Coltrane, Dave Binney, Jeff Ballard, Seamus Blake, Donny McCaslin, Marcus Gilmore, and many others. He has released three critically acclaimed recordings and has been written about in the New York Times, Downbeat Magazine and Jazz Times Magazine. He has toured with his own projects and as a sideman throughout the U.S., Europe and Asia.

As a composer, Allen is known for his challenging writing and his use of rhythmic layering and dense harmonies. He is also deeply influenced and inspired by modern painting, poetry and cinema. He has composed works based on the paintings of Willem de Kooning, the poetry of Wallace Stevens, and the films of Stan Brakage. In 2015 Allen was commissioned to compose a suite for string quartet for the Klasik Keyifler music organization in Istanbul. The work, Thrown Voices, was performed in Cappadocia, Istanbul, Berlin and New York. He has recently recently released new recording of his quintet, "The Sky Above Her".

As an educator, Allen often gives masterclasses and workshops when traveling. He specializes in advanced rhythmic concepts and modern harmonic vocabulary and often uses his own compositions in his teaching. He is currently developing a book on modern rhythmic concepts for improvisers and composers. Allen has been a faculty member of the New York Jazz Academy and Bahcesahir University graduate program in Istanbul. He has also taught at New York University and is on the faculty of The University of the Arts and Temple University.

Allen has found a true voice, his effortless technique downplays the apparent complexity, paradoxically creating a cool surface sheen that has a white heat glowing beneath that seduces both the body and mind, again and again. - All About Jazz

Dave Allen is one of a number of spitfire jazz guitarists raising the bar on that ever-popular instrument. But Allen offers more than battle-ready chops—his Untold Stories and Real and Imagined are about original music, loftily conceived, with graceful melodic content and subtle rhythmic challenges.
He’s got the pull to assemble world-class bands every time out.

- David Adler, Jazz Times Magazine

An exciting and unique player in the mold of Pat Metheny, Ben Monder and Adam Rogers. Monster chops, harmonic resourcefulness, strong melodic sense, seamless group interaction, considerable compositional talent and a kick-ass group of talented players make this CD an electrifying piece of work. - Lyle Robinson,

Mr. Allen is a guitarist with a coolly modernistic sensibility, as he demonstrates on a forthcoming album, “Real and Imagined” (Fresh Sound New Talent). - Nate Chinen, New York Times

"Allen has a fully developed and mature approach to composition, technical command of his instrument, and the inspirational fortitude to pull wonderful music from the ensemble. Each piece is like an aural painting or film in the way it slides across the psyche." - Farrell Lowe, All About Jazz

Allen has what could be dubbed as “string-imagination,” the ability to quickly form and rethink patterns like moving water--flowing, lucid and spontaneous, paired with superior comping skills--filling in the gaps with creative touches and chord-work. - Mark F. Turner, All About Jazz

"A number of tracks have melodies that etched themselves in my mind. The music is full of subtlety. Allen has no seeming limit to his technique, but he always puts it to good musical ends." - Budd Koppman,

There is a true sensuality to the guitarist’s sound... unfolding his lines with an edge-of-your-seat stealth - Jim Macnie, Village Voice

Allen has two critically acclaimed CDs featuring his original compositions; "Untold Stories" and "Real and Imagined"

Allen is also seeking ways to integrate his passion for other art forms, such as poetry, film and painting into his musical projects. Deeply influenced by poets such as Wallace Stevens and Adrienne Rich, the visionary experimental filmmaker Stan Brakhage, and the painters Willem DeKooning and Anselm Kiefer.


Steve Rudolph image


MARCH 24, 2021 | 12:00PM
Steve Rudolph Masterclass on YouTube

Blending influences and traditions to create new legacies...

Steve Rudolph, piano

With eleven acclaimed CDs as a leader, he has served as producer, arranger and performer on many recordings including CDs with Johnny Coles, Bill Goodwin, Ali Ryerson, and Matt Wilson. Steve has performed in concert with Louie Bellson, Clark Terry, Terry Gibbs, the Mills Brothers, and Cal Collins, touring extensively in the U.S. and abroad. Currently a Yamaha Keyboard Artist, he is in demand as a clinician and performer. Born in Evansville, Indiana, Steve studied trumpet and composition at Butler University, turning to the piano at age 22. Since moving to Harrisburg in 1978, he has been largely responsible for the growth of the jazz scene in Central PA. Complete information at


Paul Jost image


MARCH 24, 2021 | 3:00PM
Paul Jost Masterclass on YouTube

Paul Jost is an eclectic artist. A vocalist, drummer, arranger and composer who performs regularly in New York, Philadelphia and New Jersey along with recent tours in South Korea, Ireland and Germany. His solo CD Breaking Through (Dot Time Records) continues to receive raves worldwide. One of his originals, "Book Faded Brown," has been recorded by The Band, Rick Danko and Carl Perkins. Jost's newest album in the works, Born to Run Reimagined, was recorded live at The Bitter End this fall with Jim Ridl, John Swana, Donald Edwards, Chico Huff, Tony Miceli and mixed by Toby Scott. Paul can be heard on SiriusXM Radio along with The Jost Project, Can't Find My Way Home (Dot Time Records) performing classic rock in a jazz format.


Michael Mossman image

Michael Mossman: Composition and Arranging Masterclass

MARCH 26, 2021 | 12:00PM
Michael Mossman Masterclass on YouTube

Michael Mossman, trumpet

Mossman's early career included a tour of Europe with Anthony Braxton in 1978 and tours with Roscoe Mitchell in the early 1980s. He also did session work in the 1980s, for Styx among others. He played with Lionel Hampton, Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers, and Machito before joining the Blue Note Records ensemble Out of the Blue in 1985. Following this he worked with Toshiko Akiyoshi, Horace Silver (1989–91), Gerry Mulligan (1992), Dizzy Gillespie, Slide Hampton, Michel Camilo, Mario Bauza, Eddie Palmieri, and the Philip Morris Superband.

In 2019 Mossman's arrangements for pianist Michel Camilo on the album Essence which also features Michael as trumpet soloist. Mossman received a Grammy nomination in 2013 for Best Instrumental Arrangement for his "Afro-Cuban Jazz Suite for Ellington" recorded on Bobby Sanabria's album Multiverse. His work with Academy Award-winning director Fernando Trueba includes scoring music for the Academy Award nominated (2012) film Chico and Rita.

Mossman has been a guest performer, arranger, and conductor with radio orchestras in Germany. He has conducted the Bilbao Orkesta Sinfonica in Spain in a program of his own works. He arranged and conducted "Mambo Nights" with Arturo Sandoval and "Missa Afro-Cubana" with the WDR Bigband of Cologne and Spirits Dancing with David Sanborn with the HR Bigband of Frankfurt (2009). "Latin Jazz Latino" with Joe Gallardo was recorded by the NDR Bigband of Hamburg and released by Skip Records (2006). His ballet Beneath the Mask was performed at Harris Theater in Chicago by Jon Faddis and the Chicago Jazz Ensemble and the Deeply Rooted Dance Company in 2006. His arrangement of Faddis' "Teranga" was performed by the Philadelphia Orchestra at Kimmel Center in 2006. His arrangement of Paquito D'Rivera's "I Remember Diz" was performed by the Louisiana Philharmonic in 2010. He has arranged for the Tri-City Symphony of Davenport, Iowa (2011). His "Latin Tinge" was performed at Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C with Paquito D'Rivera and the Quartet Indigo string quartet in 2010.

Mossman is Director of Jazz Studies at the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College/CUNY and is also on the faculty of the Juilliard School in New York City.


WCU Faculty Jazz Group

WCU Faculty Concert

MARCH 24, 2021 | 8:00PM


The Faculty Jazz Group features both the full-time and adjunct jazz faculty at West Chester University. Special guests include instructors from the Summer Jazz Camp. Everyone contributes a chart to this great once a year concert. This year's group features:

Dan Cherry - Trombone

Dan joined the WCU faculty in 2005. He received his Bachelor of Music degree in Trombone and Voice Performance from Capital University in Columbus, Ohio, where he studied trombone with Joel Pugh and Scott Moore and voice with William Florescu. He went on to receive both his Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees in Trombone from the University of Cincinnati's College-Conservatory of Music. While at CCM, he studied trombone with Tony Chipurn and David Vining and conducting with Terrence Milligan. In addition to his classical music endeavors, Dan is also an advocate and performer of jazz - America's music. From his early days as a high school student playing lead trombone in Pennsylvania's All-State Jazz Ensemble to his current collaborations with WCU jazz faculty in combo settings, jazz has remained an important part of Dan's musical life.

David Cullen - Guitar

David Cullen is a Grammy Award Winning guitarist whose playing has been hailed by the New York Times as "Jazz, Folk, Blues Superstructures". He has performed throughout the United States for Performing Arts Series, Jazz Festivals and Classical Guitar Societies. He has performed in a dazzling wide range of musical styles including Jazz, Classical and World music. He has performed with Will Ackerman, Samite of Uganda and the Jaco Big Band.

Chris Hanning - Drumset

Dr. Chris Hanning is a Professor of Percussion at West Chester University, a recording artist for NFL Films, and performs with the Peter Paulsen Quintet, the Bach Festival Orchestra of Bethlehem, and Philadelphia's premier contemporary music ensemble Relâche. His performing has taken him throughout Europe and the United States with engagements at such prestigious venues as Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, and Royal Albert Hall in London. In 2006 he released Island Grooves, an instructional drum set DVD that received a 4 1/2 out of 5 star rating from Modern Drummer magazine. Chris has recorded several CD's with Relâche, the Bach Choir of Bethlehem, David Liebman and the Manhattan Saxophone Quartet, and a new release with the Peter Paulsen Quintet titled Goes Without Saying. Chris performed on numerous recordings for NFL Films over the past twelve years including several Emmy Award Winning projects. You can hear Chris every year when the Lombardi Trophy music is played during the Super Bowl. He is currently co-writing music with long time NFL Films composer and producer Tom Hedden. You can check out some of his music at firstcom music. Chris is an artist/clinician for Vic Firth, Pearl/Adams, Remo, Zildjian, and Panyard and has presented clinics at Universities, conventions, and percussion festivals across the United States and abroad. Chris also chairs the Percussive Arts Society Contest and Audition Procedure Committee and serves on the PAS Board of Directors.

Marc Jacoby - Vibraphone

Dr. Marc Jacoby is an Associate Professor of Music at West Chester University of Pennsylvania where he serves as Jazz Studies Coordinator and teaches in the Applied Music and Music Education programs. He currently directs the Criterions Big Band and Latin Jazz Ensemble. Before joining the faculty at WCU, Dr. Jacoby was on the faculty of the VanderCook College of Music in Chicago, IL. While in Chicago, he played with many of the regions salsa and latin-jazz groups including the Grammy nominated Orquesta 911 mambo big band. He also co-founded the Orquesta Dos Claves, a latin-jazz big band and workshop for Chicago area youth. The ensemble performed at the Chicago Jazz Festival, Illinois Music Educator's Association Conference, Hot House's Jazz en Clave Festival, Chicago Historical Society, Harold Washington Cultural Center, and school jazz festivals around the region.

Dr. Jacoby had a 20-year career in marching music instructing and arranging pit percussion music for many of the top Drum and Bugle Corps including the 1988 DCI Champions Madison Scouts, Blue Devils, Crossmen, Cadets, and Glassmen. Mark Wessels Publications recently released an audio CD of his arrangements for percussion ensemble that accompany the book, A Fresh Approach to Mallet Percussion.

Dr. Jacoby is an Apple Authorized Trainer, an artist/clinician for the Yamaha Corporation and Vic Firth, Inc., a Sibelius Ambassador/Trainer and is on the Educational Advisory Committee for Latin Percussion, Inc. He has been an active performer and clinician and has presented sessions on jazz education and technology at the Mid-West Band and Orchestra Clinic, Music Educator's National Conference, International Association of Jazz Educators, Association for Technology in Music Instruction, TI:ME national and regional conferences, Winter Guard International, Drum Corps International, and many state teachers conventions.

Terry Klinefelter - Piano

Heralded by the Philadelphia Inquirer as "on the cosmic cusp where Mozart might mingle with Mingus", pianist Terry Klinefelter has performed in a wide variety of settings in both the classical and jazz fields. Appearances include the Philadelphia Orchestra Chamber Music Series, Philadelphia Fringe Festival, Endless Mountain Music Festival, Chadds Ford Winery Jazz Festival, Jazz at the Springs and the Arcady Festival in Bar Harbor, Maine. Dr. Klinefelter has been pianist for the Pennsylvania Ballet, and a soloist with the Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra (where she has also served as keyboardist for many years), the Allegro Society, Bux-mont Chamber Orchestra, and recently with the WCU Symphony Orchestra at the Kimmel Center. She has performed in Mexico, Italy (Rome Festival Orchestra), and collaborated with such diverse artists as renowned early music soprano Julianne Baird (tours with The Jane Austen Songbook), violist Emanuel Vardi, Philadelphia Orchestra violinist Kim Fisher and jazz pianist George Shearing (opening of Bally's Grand, Atlantic City). Past awards include the PMTA Collegiate Artist Award as well as prizes in the Wilmington JCC Young Musicians Contest and a recent teaching grant from the Main Line Music Teachers Association. As a jazz musician, Dr. Klinefelter also performs regularly in the area with many of Philadelphia's finest musicians, and has appeared on several recent recordings (Anne Sciolla's Diva-Free Zone and Paul Klinefelter's Night Mood). Her debut jazz trio CD, Simple Gifts, was praised for its "impressive sonority". Dr. Klinefelter was recently invited to create jazz settings for several poems by renowned poet Dana Gioia for WCU's Poetry Salon this fall, in collaboration with soprano Anne Sciolla.

Dr. Klinefelter began teaching at WCU in 1996, and became a permanent faculty member in 2001. Her principal teacher was Benjamin Whitten; she has also worked with Ena Bronstein, Marilyn Neeley, Harvey Wedeen and Lambert Orkis, and recently studied Taubman technique with Robert Durso. She is a member of Pi Kappa Lambda, a national music honor society, and an active member of the Music Teachers National Association. A longtime yoga practitioner, Dr. Klinefelter recently became a Registered Yoga Teacher and has enjoyed helping her students to experience reduced performance anxiety with this ancient practice. Dr. Klinefelter's students have included winners of the WCU Concerto Competition as well as the Jacobs Steinway Award and other scholarships. Many of her students have gone on to pursue careers as performers and educators. As a teacher in WCU's Community Music School, Dr. Klinefelter's students have included prizewinners in the Keystone Competition as well as several winners of the "Best Soloist" award in area jazz festivals.

Peter Paulsen - Bass

Mr. Paulsen's first CD release, Peter Paulsen Quintet "Three-Stranded Cord", on R&L Records, received international press and national airplay, as well as the second Peter Paulsen Trio release, "Tri-cycle". He has also recorded with the MPH Trio, "Curves", on GPC Recordings, and the Jeff Baumeister Quartet, "Useful Music", on Wahbo Records. His most recent release, Peter Paulsen "Change of Scenery" Sextet also on Wahbo Records, has gained international recognition in both radio and printed media, with an emphasis on a confident and original compositional voice.

Mr. Paulsen is very committed to the education of young, up-coming musicians and has participated in master classes with Francois Rabbath, Hal Robinson, Mark Morton, and Donald Palma and as clinician with Jimmy Knepper, George Young, Clark Terry, Dennis DiBlasio, Valery Ponamerov, Dave Liebman, Gunnar Mossblad and Ed Soph. He is a member of the International Society of Bassists and an active composer of works for his instrument, receiving three prestigious Pennsylvania Council on the Arts composition grants and a composer residency at the Banff Centre for the Arts in Alberta, Canada. The PEW Charitable Trust recognized Peter Paulsen with a 2007 PEW Fellowship in composition and he can be seen in the acclaimed documentary, "12 Short Films of the 2007 PEW Fellows." Mr. Paulsen and his wife, mezzo-soprano Charlotte Paulsen continue to commission, premier, and record many new works for the unusual combination of double bass and voice.

Jonathan Ragonese - Saxophones

Jonathan Ragonese, composer-arranger-saxophonist, is a native of New Cumberland, Pennsylvania. He moved to New York City in 2007 to attend the Manhattan School of Music, he has lived and worked there since. As a saxophonist he has performed and recorded with a wide array of musicians including Steve Wilson, David Liebman, the Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra, Tim Warfield, Tin Can Buddha and Steve Rudolph. As a composer his works have been commissioned and premiered by saxophonist Steve Wilson, Jazz @ Lincoln Center, The Museum of Modern Art, the Vermont Mozart Festival Orchestra, the Harrisburg Symphony, and the The Righteous Girls, Bucknell University, West Chester University and the Harrisburg Youth Symphony. In 2014 Ragonese premiered his ‘Not-this’ for two saxophones, at Carnegie Hall. Jonathan is an active educator, with lectures, writings, and the development of Music Before Words, a music program for infants with educator Renee Bock. His first recording, Ardent Marigolds, was released in 2013, a duo with musical father Steve Rudolph. 2017 brings two new releases, many premieres.

John Swana - Valve Trombone/EWI

John was born in Norristown, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Philadelphia, and began studying trumpet at the age of 11. He was drawn to jazz at the age of 17 after hearing Dizzy Gillespie, and the interest developed into a passion while he was in collage, where he began transcribing the solos of Freddie Hubbard, Clifford Brown, Miles Davis, and Tom Harrell. Swana has performed and/or toured with the Mingus Big Band, and the Dave Holland Big Band, and has also played with well known jazz names such as Don Patterson, Shirley Scott, Mickey Roker, Stanley Turrentine, Harold Mabern, Cecil Payne, Johnny Coles, Ralph Peterson, Charles Fambrough, Bobby Watson, Craig Handy, Chris Potter, Stephen Scott, Tim Warfield, Eric Alexander, Sam Newsome, Brad Mehldau,Vincent Herring, Uri Caine, Tim Armacost, Peter Leitch, Peter Bernstein, Mark Turner, Jon Gordon, Donny McCaslin, Ravi Coltrane, Ralph Bowen, Greg Hutchinson, Ari Hoenig, Seamus Blake, and Robin Eubanks. He has also been heard with Freddie Hubbard, Phil Woods, Ronnie Cuber, Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis, Clark Terry, Frank Foster, John Faddis, Slide Hampton, J.J. Johnson, Bob Minzer, and Charlie Persip.

Rudresh Mahanthappa image

Rudresh Mahanthappa's Hero Trio

MARCH 25, 2021 | 8:00PM


Rudresh Mahanthappa, saxophone

Hailed by Pitchfork as jaw-dropping, one of the finest saxophonists going,” alto saxophonist, composer and educator Rudresh Mahanthappa is widely known as one of the premier voices in jazz of the 21st century. He has over a dozen albums to his credit, including the acclaimed Bird Calls, which topped many critics' best-of-year lists for 2015 and was hailed by PopMatters as "complex, rhythmically vital, free in spirit while still criss-crossed with mutating structures. Rudresh has been named alto saxophonist of the year for six of seven years running in Downbeat Magazine’s International Critics’ Polls (2011-2013, 2015-2017), and for five consecutive years by the Jazz Journalists' Association (2009-2013) and again in 2016. He won alto saxophonist of the year in the 2016 JazzTimes Magazine Critics' Poll and was named the Village Voice's "Best Jazz Artist" in 2015. He has also received the Guggenheim Fellowship and the Doris Duke Performing Artist Award, among other honors, and is currently the Anthony H. P. Lee '79 Director of Jazz at Princeton University. With an astonishing facility and power on the horn, and an inspired array of ensembles he’s led or played in since his emergence in the late ’90s-early ’00s, Mahanthappa continues to create music alive with rhythmic urgency, steeped in the lineage of jazz saxophone and responsive to traditions and practices of the wider musical world.

Born in Trieste, Italy to Indian émigrés in 1971, Mahanthappa was brought up in Boulder, Colorado and gained proficiency playing everything from current pop to Dixieland. He went on to studies at North Texas, Berklee and DePaul University (as well as the Stanford Jazz Workshop) and came to settle in Chicago. Soon after moving to New York in 1997 he formed his own quartet featuring pianist Vijay Iyer. The band recorded an enduring sequence of albums, Black Water, Mother Tongue and Codebook, each highlighting Mahanthappa’s inventive methodologies and deeply personal approach to composition. He and Iyer also formed the duo Raw Materials.

Coming deeper into contact with the Carnatic music of his parents’ native southern India, Mahanthappa partnered in 2008 with fellow altoist Kadri Gopalnath and the Dakshina Ensemble for Kinsmen, garnering wide acclaim. Apti, the first outing by Mahanthappa’s Indo-Pak Coalition (with Pakistani-born Rez Abbasi on guitar and Dan Weiss on tabla), saw release the same year; Agrima followed nine years later and considerably expanded the trio’s sonic ambitions.

Mahanthappa has also worked with Jack DeJohnette, Mark Dresser, Danilo Pérez, Arturo O’Farrill’s Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra, the collaborative trios MSG and Mauger, the co-led quintet Dual Identity with fellow altoist Steve Lehman, and another co-led quintet with fellow altoist and Chicago stalwart Bunky Green (Apex). His exploratory guitar-driven quartets on Samdhi and Gamak featured David Gilmore and Dave “Fuze” Fiuczynski, respectively. In 2015 he was commissioned by Ragamala Dance to create Song of the Jasmine for dancers and a hybrid jazz/South Indian ensemble. He was also commissioned by the PRISM Saxophone Quartet to compose a chamber piece, “I Will Not Apologize for My Tone Tonight,” which can be heard on the quartet’s 2015 double-disc release Heritage/ Evolution, Volume 1.

Mahanthappa is a Yamaha artist and uses Vandoren reeds exclusively.

Francois Moutin, bass

Francois Moutin was born in Paris. His early interest in music was encouraged by his parents. At age 5, Francois began studying guitar, then piano by age 11. The acoustic bass became his most lasting passion as a teenager. Also studying mathematics and physics, Francois received a college degree in engineering and earned a doctorate in physics at the age of 24. Then he elected to become a professional musician.

Three years later, as a member of the legendarey Martial Solal’s Trio, Francois was recognized as one of the finest young bass players in Europe. At 29, he began co-leading the Quintet Moutin with his twin brother Louis, a top echelon Jazz drummer. This project has evolved into the Moutin Reunion Quartet. With this band, the brothers are touring extensively around Europe and the United States. The third album of the Moutin Reunion Quartet "Something Like Now" (after "Power Tree" and "Red Moon"), was released in September 2005.

When he was still living in Paris, Francois worked non-stop with the greatest musicians of this age : Martial Solal, Michel Portal, Antoine Herve, Daniel Humair, André Ceccarelli, Eric Lelann, Jean-Michel Pilc, Christian Escoude. He has also performed with Peter Erskine, Randy Brecker, Niels Lan Doky, Mino Cinelu, Dave Liebman, John Abercrombie, Toots Thielemans, Didier Lockwood, Larry Schneider, Aldo Romano, James Moody, Terry Lyne Carrington, Richard Galliano, Bernard Lubat, Aaron Scott, George Brown, Sunny Murray, Michel Legrand, Archie Shepp, Claude Nougaro, Trilok Gurtu, Bob Berg, Birelli Lagrene, Wladimir Kosma, Marius Constant, Markus Stockhausen, L'ensemble Inter Contemporain. François has performed in every important European Jazz Festival, and he has toured in over 30 countries around the world.

In November 1997, Francois moved his base to New York where he has found steady work in live performance and studio sessions with the premier artists on the New York Jazz Scene. A partial list of their names reads like the yellow pages of Jazz : Franck Wess, Jimmy Heath, Monty Alexander, Benny Powell, Don Alias, Mike Stern, Lew Soloff, Steve Kuhn, Joe Locke, Billy Hart, Jeff Tain Watts, Victor Lewis, Billy Drummond, Richie Beirach, Dave Liebman, Oliver Lake, Harry Belafonte, Odean Pope, James Hurt, Ari Hoenig, Jean-Michel Pilc, Rick Margitza, Franck Kimbrough, Joel Frahm, Greg Tardy, Gene Jackson, Dave Binney, Rudresh Mahanthappa, Vijay Iyer, Adam Rogers, David Gilmore, Ben Monder, John Hart, Billy Drews, Jamie Haddad, Steve Hass Bob James… Francois has also recorded and performed with Arab Music star Simon Shaheen. He is a familiar presence on the stages of such establishments as Sweet Rhythm, Jazz Standard, Birdland, Village Vanguard, Blue Note, Knitting Factory, Zinc Bar, Jazz Gallery, Tonic, Smoke, Lincoln Center, Town Hall, New York Symphony Space, Museum of Modern Art. François has also appeared in some major Jazz Festivals around the coutry like Newport JVC Jazz Festival, Bell Atlantic Jazz Festival in New York, Freihoffer Jazz Festival in Saratoga Spring, Detroit Jazz Festival, Monterey Jazz Festival, San Francisco Jazz Series, or Kansas City Jazz Festival.

Rudy Royston, drums

A native of Ft. Worth, Texas, Rudy Royston was raised in Denver, Colorado. He began playing drums and percussion as a toddler, playing in church and along with an eclectic array of LPs his siblings would have on rotation. The youngest of five, Royston attributes his musical interests and palate to his siblings and parents. Rudy's older brothers and sister were avid listeners of all genres of music, his mother a constant support, and his father the supervisor of shipping at an established children’s percussion instrument making company. Rudy’s brothers would expose him to a myriad of music, and his father would bring home slightly damaged percussion instruments. As a result, Rudy grew up surrounded by bongos, rhythm sticks and xylophones, recorders, metallophones, glockenspiels, drums and many other percussion instruments. In the fourth grade, with his mother's ceaseless support, Rudy began studying music more formally, beginning his studies in reading and writing music. He continued his music studies through middle and into high school—receiving some training on viola and tenor saxophone as well.

While a sophomore in high school, Rudy attended the Telluride Jazz Camp in Telluride, Colorado on scholarship, where he studied jazz drum set for the first time with Duffy Jackson and Ed Soph. It was then Rudy knew he would pursue music the rest of his life. He began studying classical and jazz repertoire, as well as marching percussion, rising to achieve membership into topnotch city and state-wide high school ensembles.

Rudy went on to study marching percussion, classical percussion and Jazz Performance at University of Northern Colorado, Metropolitan State College of Denver, and University of Denver. Rudy graduated with honors from University of Denver, where he received Bachelor of Arts degrees in Music and Poetry. He later received K-12 teaching credentials from Metropolitan State College of Denver.

While in college, Rudy began playing with well-regarded trumpeter Ron Miles, whom Rudy deems his greatest teacher and music mentor. Now a major figure in the Denver music scene, Rudy performed with some of Colorado's finest artists such as Fred Fuller, Dale Bruning, Laura Newman, Fred Hess, Dotsero, Leslie Drayton, Joe Keel, Nelson Rangell and Bill Frisell—with whom he still plays.

Upon graduating college, Rudy went on to play and record in the gospel, alternative rock and jazz scenes in Denver and around the United States. He taught music 10 years in public schools before relocating to the east coast in 2006 to pursue graduate studies in music at Rutgers University, Mason Gross School of the Arts, studying jazz percussion with the great Victor Lewis. Rudy quickly integrated into the New York music scene, performing with world-renowned artists such as Javon Jackson, Bill Frisell, Les McCann, David Gilmore, Ben Allison, Jason Moran, JD Allen, Sean Jones, Jeremy Pelt, Greg Osby, Jennifer Holiday, Tia Fuller, Ravi Coltrane, Ralph Bowen, Bruce Barth, George Colligan, Don Byron, Stanley Cowell, Tom Harrell, John Ellis, Jenny Scheinman, John Patitucci, Dave Douglas, Branford Marsalis, Rudresh Mahanthappa and The Mingus Big Band, to name a few. A lover of all genres of music, Rudy continues to expand his horizons as he gains increasing recognition in the world of Jazz. You may see Royston’s performance schedule, as well as music downloads on his web space:



Statesmen Jazz Ensemble & Jazz Combos

MARCH 26, 2021 | 8:00PM


The Statesmen Jazz Ensemble is the second full big band instrumentation at WCU. This evening’s concert features big band music plus songs played by three jazz combos of the university in a small group setting.

Criterions Jazz Ensemble image

Criterions Jazz Ensemble Featuring the Music of Michael Mossman

MARCH 27, 2021 | 8:00PM


The Criterions is the longest running University jazz band in the country. Originating in the 1920s, they were a student-led ballroom dance band, and provided entertainment for University dances, proms and post-Friday night games. As times changed, the “Crites” became a Faculty-led Jazz Ensemble by the early 1980’s, when the School of Music began Jazz curricula. They are known for their mastery of American popular songs and jazz standards from the early 20th century.

High School Jazz Festival

High School Jazz Festival

For our Virtual Festival we have created a platform for students to watch and learn at their pace. Beyond this we will host a series of interactive masterclasses with the Criterions and Latin Jazz Ensemble, focusing on different sections of the bands. If you wish to learn more about this and participate, please contact Jonathan Ragonese, Director of Jazz Studies directly:

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