Jazz at Gustavus


Founded in 1970 by Dr. Mark Lammers, the Gustavus Jazz program has a long history of excellence throughout the state of Minnesota and northern midwest. The 2019-2020 academic year marks the 50th anniversary of jazz at Gustavus! There will be special events and concerts year round to celebrate this milestone. Please follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for up-to-date info. Links to the social media pages can be found below.

Dr. Steve Wright continued building upon the program during the 1990s and early 2000s by taking the Gustavus Jazz Lab Band on multiple national tours, recording two CDs, performing at major conferences, and being featured on Prairie Home Companion. The two CDs are available at The Bookmark on the Gustavus campus.

In more recent years, the jazz program has continued its evolution by Dr. Dave Stamps. With a focus on community, cultural/historical awareness, and creativity, the jazz program began a more vibrant touring profile. In 2015, the Gustavus Jazz Ensemble won the College Big Band Division at the prestigious Eau Claire Jazz Festival. The following year, the ensemble travelled internationally for the first time in many decades to Greece and Macedonia for a performance and cultural immersion tour. In 2019, the Gustavus Jazz Ensemble completed a performance tour across South Dakota and Colorado in tandem with the Gustavus Symphony Orchestra. This upcoming year, the Gustavus Jazz Ensemble will return to the international stage with a two and a half week tour to Singapore and Malaysia.

But perhaps the biggest shift has been the growth of the program. The current program boasts two large big bands, a vocal jazz ensemble, and multiple combos. Course offerings include: jazz history, improvisation, music industry & entrepreneurship, recording techniques, applied lessons, and independent studies in composition and arranging. Something for everyone in the evolving jazz and commercial music landscape!

Area Faculty

2021-2022 Guest Artists

We are thrilled to have renowned artists from the Twin Cities join us for masterclasses, mini-lessons, and open rehearsals with the Gustavus Jazz Ensemble. Masterclasses and rehearsals are open to all students, alumni, and the public. This year, we are excited to present:

  • October 29th - Liz Draper (bass) and Abinnet Berhanu (drums)

No upcoming events were found. Please check back soon or visit the College Calendar for general campus events.

Past events
Date Event
Mar 5, 2022 79 p.m. Jam Sessionhttps://gustavus.edu/calendar/jam-sessionThe Enchanted Muse, Mankato