The Symphonic Jazz Orchestra (SJO) believes in the power of music to transform individuals, schools and communities. Created in 2002, the SJO is the only organization of its kind in the country, uniquely dedicated to blending the worlds of jazz and classical music with a mission to inspire and educate through its “Music in the Schools” residency program and free community concerts and to commission and perform symphonic jazz compositions in concerts across Southern California. The SJO has presented community concerts, master classes, assemblies, workshops, and in-school residencies, reaching over 50,000 people throughout Los Angeles County.
The 67-member Symphonic Jazz Orchestra has commissioned eleven new works and performed six world premieres, along with three U.S. premieres. Guided by a Music Advisory Board that includes Christian McBride, John Clayton and Rashid Duke, the SJO has performed with guest artists including George Duke, Dave Grusin, Lee Ritenour, Raul Midon and The Yellowjackets.
In 2007, Music Director and SJO Founder Mitch Glickman developed a music education curriculum that was piloted in 4 classrooms and eventually became the “Music in the Schools” Program. Since then, it has expanded to include a team of 12 Teaching Artists that work with 160 classrooms in 11 schools each and every week throughout the school year, serving over 3,600 students. The residencies range from Kindergarten through 5th grade, building an integrated and sequential program that not only exceeds California VAPA and Common Core standards, but also ties heavily into math, science, social students and creative writing.
Our Teaching Artists currently work in over 160 classrooms each week. This means that we reach over 3,600 students with our dynamic music residencies, which builds a strong and relatable foundation for math, science, language arts, history, geography and foreign language.
The residencies consist of year-long, sequential, comprehensive music education for Kindergarten through 5th grade.
With a recent focus towards partnering with schools in underserved neighborhoods, like Compton and Watts, many of the new schools we work in have had NO arts education in decades.