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Director of Jazz Ensembles

St. Olaf College

Last Updated: 7/18/22

Job Description

The St. Olaf College Music Department invites applications for a full-time, tenure track position as Director of Jazz Ensembles at the Assistant Professor level to begin August 2023. We seek a dynamic, accomplished teacher-musician to lead our thriving jazz program, which includes two big bands, an active combo program, and an improvisation ensemble. The successful candidate will demonstrate a commitment to supporting a thriving and diverse undergraduate music program.

The position’s primary responsibilities involve leading the department’s two jazz ensembles and improvisation ensemble, as well as teaching courses. These courses may include such existing music department courses as History of Jazz and Jazz Improvisation, as well as new courses aligned with the successful applicant’s expertise. Other teaching possibilities include courses in the musicianship sequence, studio jazz performance instruction and coaching jazz combos. Opportunities to teach interdisciplinary courses outside of the music department may arise, and the successful candidate would welcome the opportunity to work collaboratively with colleagues in other Fine Arts departments in developing innovative cross-disciplinary initiatives. Other duties involve ongoing professional activity and development, service on department and college committees, and active student recruitment.

  • Masters in jazz studies, jazz performance, or a closely related field is required; doctorate or ABD is preferred. Candidates with masters degrees will demonstrate equivalent professional experience.
  • Record of excellence as a jazz ensemble director/band leader
  • Proven experience in directing, or potential to successfully direct, an undergraduate jazz program
  • Evidence of, or demonstrated potential to engage in, successful teaching, mentoring, and training of undergraduate music students in a liberal arts context
  • Active professional career as a jazz performer and/or composer/arranger preferred
  • Strong commitment to undergraduate teaching, and to the missions of the department and college
About the Department:

The St. Olaf Music Department is internationally recognized for its excellent ensembles, including two big bands, seven choirs, two orchestras, two concert bands, an improvisation ensemble, and a gamelan. St. Olaf’s Jazz Band I was voted the “Best College or University Big Band” by DownBeat magazine in 2011 and toured to Cuba in 2016. In just the past year, St. Olaf’s jazz ensembles have performed charts by Thad Jones, Mary Lou Williams, Danilo Pérez, and Sakiku Masuka, and presented the world premiere of a commission from Erica Seguine.

To Apply:

How to Apply:

Go to to submit an application. A complete application includes:
1. Cover letter
2. Curriculum vitae
3. Diversity statement (200-500 word limit): Describe how you would contribute to the development of a diverse and inclusive learning community at our college through your teaching, research, and/or service. Include examples of your contributions when possible.
4. Graduate transcript (official or unofficial)
5. The URL(s) for 20-30 minutes of video recordings, including:

  • representative jazz band performances and rehearsal sessions; the latter should include video from the band members' visual perspective with the candidate mic’d and the camera facing the band leader
  • representative video or live performance recording in which you demonstrate success as an improviser

6. Short statement (1 page) of your approach to undergraduate teaching, drawing on examples from past teaching experiences
7. The contact information for three professional references who can speak to your abilities in teaching and scholarship (St. Olaf solicits letters directly after an initial round of screening.)

Review of applications will begin on November 1, 2022, and will continue until the position is filled. Applications received by that date will receive fullest consideration. Finalist interviews are expected in February 2023. Questions about the position, department, or College may be directed to Louis Epstein, Search Committee Chair, at

Company Details

Northfield, Minnesota, United States