The Meadows Jazz Orchestra, under the direction of Derrick Horne, is a traditional large jazz ensemble of 18 students. Students are selected by audition each fall and are involved in an array of degree programs and majors across the Meadows School of the Arts and the SMU campus. The Meadows Jazz Orchestra has included students majoring in music performance, music education, music therapy, composition, music theory pedagogy, sacred music, creative computation, political science, engineering, economics, business and statistics.
The MJO explores the scope of repertoire from the traditions of the great big bands including Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Stan Kenton, Maynard Ferguson, Thad Jones & Mel Lewis and more. Continually looking forward, the MJO performs a wide range of contemporary pieces including compositions by Pat Metheny, Chick Corea, Marcus Miller, Bob Mintzer, Earth Wind & Fire, Stevie Wonder, and current members of the Meadows Jazz Orchestra.
The Meadows Jazz Orchestra, established in 1998, has performed with guest artists including John Holiday, Lynn Seaton, Dennis DiBlasio, Akira Sato, Kevin Butler, Jamal Mohamed and Derrick Horne, among others. The MJO has also hosted distinguished artists for performances and masterclasses including Alan Hood and Owen Broder, and ensembles including the Count Basie Orchestra and the U.S. Air Force Dimensions in Blue.
In addition to the numerous performances that the MJO has presented at the Meadows School of the Arts, the ensemble has performed at the North Texas Jazz Festival, the Dallas Woman’s Club, the Dallas City Performance Hall, the Bullock Texas State History Museum, and the 2016 Black Tie Dinner. In 2018 the first MJO Alumni Band was formed to great acclaim, widening the reach of Meadows jazz musicians. The Meadows Jazz Orchestra and MJO Alumni Band are in production of their first recording project, led by director, record producer and noted music industry professional Derrick Horne. Release is slated for mid-2020.