Meadows Jazz Orchestra
The Meadows Jazz Orchestra, under the direction of Adjunct Assistant Professor Dylan Smith, is a 25-member dual group consisting of a traditional large jazz ensemble and a small jazz combo. Students pursuing a variety of undergraduate and graduate degrees from Meadows School of the Arts and from across the SMU campus are selected by audition each fall. Current members of the Meadows Jazz Orchestra include students majoring in music performance, music education, composition, music theory pedagogy, sacred music, engineering, business and statistics.
The MJO explores the repertoire of the artists and traditions of the big band greats such as Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Stan Kenton, Maynard Ferguson, Thad Jones & Mel Lewis and more. The ensemble also performs contemporary compositions, including compositions by members of the Meadows Jazz Orchestra.
Over its 18-year history, four directors have led the MJO: Akira Sato, John Bryant and Dylan Smith. Guest artists have included countertenor John Holiday, bassist Lynn Seaton and saxophonist Dennis DiBlasio, among others. The MJO has also hosted notable master classes and ensembles, including the Count Basie Orchestra and the U.S. Air Force Dimensions in Blue.
In addition to numerous performances held at the Meadows School of the Arts, the ensemble has performed at the North Texas Jazz Festival and The Dallas Woman’s Club; on April 12, 2016, the MJO will make its debut at the Dallas City Performance Hall as part of the Meadows Community Series.