Dean Sorenson - Guest Artist

NMU Jazz Festival


Dean Sorenson!


March 22-24, 2023

General Information

The 2023 NMU Jazz Festival will be held on the beautiful campus of Northern Michigan University on Wednesday, Thursday, & Friday, March 22-24. High school and middle school jazz bands and combos in the region are invited to participate. There is a $250 entry fee for each participating ensemble (additional ensembles from the same school can register for $100).  Space is limited. The registration deadline is Friday, February 10, 2023.  You can download registration materials by clicking HERE.

This year's festival will feature Dean Sorenson, who is Associate Professor and Director of Jazz Studies at the University of Minnesota as well as a prolific and highly sought-after composer, arranger, trombonist, educator and clinician. Please visit his website ( to check out his recent jazz pedagogy books, compositions, and recording projects. We are very pleased that Dean will be joining us for the NMU Jazz Festival this year in Marquette, and we are particularly excited that he will be writing a new piece that will be premiered by the NMU Jazz Band at this event!

See Festival details below!

Festival Schedule


(All events in Reynolds Recital Hall - unless otherwise noted.)

9:00-11:00am - MS Performances and Clinics

11:00am-12:00pm - Lunch (in the Northern Center)

12:10-12:50pm - NMU Jazz Band Performance

1:00-1:45pm - Educational Clinics


THURSDAY, March 23

(All events in Reynolds Recital Hall.)

3:30-5:00pm - HS Performances and Clinics

7:30pm - OPENING CONCERT (Reynolds Recital Hall)
Featuring Dean Sorenson and the NMU Jazz Festival Faculty Combo
(Tickets available through the NMU Ticket Office as of February 21)


FRIDAY, March 24

(All events in the Northern Center - unless otherwise noted.)

9:00-11:30am - HS Performances and Clinics

11:30am-1:00pm - Lunch & Jam Session

1:00-1:50pm - JAZZ FESTIVAL CLINIC (in Reynolds Recital Hall)
(featuring Dean Sorenson) 

2:15-5:00pm - HS Performances and Clinics

7:30pm - FINAL CONCERT (in Forest Roberts Theatre)
Featuring the NMU Jazz Band and Combo with Dean Sorenson
(Tickets available through the NMU Ticket Office as of February 21)

Jams, Clinics and Workshops

High School and Middle School Performances and Clinics

Registered high school and middle school ensembles will perform in scheduled time slots on Wednesday, Thursday, & Friday (March 22-24) and then get feedback and work with festival clinicians.  Performances and clinics will all take place in the Northern Center.

Guest Artist Clinic

Dean Sorenson will be presenting an educational clinic at 1:00pm on Friday (March 24) in Reynolds Recital Hall.  This clinic is free and open to the public.

Jam Session!

The popular jam session for festival participants will be held from 11:30pm-1:00pm in the Northern Center.  Traditionally, jam sessions were the place where emerging jazz artists congregated to try out new ideas and work at perfecting the craft of improvisation. This session will be offered in that spirit, and will provide students an opportunity to practice improvisation and listen to others. 

Two Evening Concerts!

Thursday, March 23, 7:30 p.m.
Reynolds Recital Hall
Featuring Dean Sorenson and the NMU Jazz Festival Faculty Combo
Tickets available at the door and in advance through all NMU Ticket Outlets
(Tickets will be available as of February 21)

Friday, March 24, 7:30 p.m. 
Forest Roberts Theatre
Featuring Dean Sorenson with the NMU Jazz Band & The NMU Jazz Combo
Tickets available at the door and in advance through all NMU Ticket Outlets
(Tickets will be available as of February 21)



Musician Chase Sanborn

History of the NMU Jazz Festival

The NMU Jazz Festival is an annual educational event that brings talented high school and middle school students to NMU from throughout the region to celebrate an original American art form - JAZZ!

NMU has presented numerous jazz clinics and concerts over the last fifty years, but the current NMU Jazz Festival began in 1998 when NMU Friends of Jazz (an NMU student organization) invited the legendary trumpeter Clark Terry to perform a concert with the NMU Jazz Band.  Several local high school bands were invited to participate in clinics in conjunction with this event, and the positive responses from participants and audience members suggested that an annual jazz festival would be well-received. 

Since then, NMU Friends of Jazz has continued to work with the NMU Music Department and the NMU College of Arts and Sciences to bring outstanding jazz artists to NMU on a yearly basis, and the high school and middle school participation in these events has grown steadily - in an average year, more than 25 ensembles (300-400 students) participate in performances and clinics. 

The festival is a highlight of the year for jazz fans in the Marquette community. 


Regina Carter with Friends of Jazz

Past Featured Artists

NMU Friends of Jazz are shown with guest performing artist Regina Carter at the 2015 Jazz Festival. Students not only have a chance to learn from and perform with giants of jazz, they also get to know them personally.

Here are the magnificent musicians we have had the pleasure of hosting over the years:

  • 1998 - Clark Terry
  • 1999 - Jeff Halsey
  • 2000 - Jim McNeely
  • 2001 - John Fedchock
  • 2002 - Jon Faddis
  • 2003 - Peter Erskine
  • 2004 - Mike Stern
  • 2005 - Steve Turre
  • 2006 - Bob Mintzer, Kirsten Gustafson, Kelly Rossum, Dave Ziegner
  • 2007 - Dean Sorenson & Randy Sabien
  • 2008 - Bobby Shew
  • 2009 - Fred Sturm & Bill Carrothers
  • 2010 - Kevin Mahogany
  • 2011 - Michael Philip Mossman
  • 2012 - Ingrid Jensen
  • 2013 - Jim Snidero & Kathy Kosins
  • 2014 - Stefon Harris
  • 2015 - Regina Carter
  • 2016 - Michael Davis
  • 2017 - Chase Sanborn
  • 2018 - Aimee Nolte
  • 2019 - Allen Vizzutti
  • 2020 - Cancelled (due to COVID-19)
  • 2021 - Online Event (due to COVID-19)
  • 2022 - Mike Tomaro

Festival Contact Information

If you have any questions regarding the annual NMU Jazz Festival, please contact Mark Flaherty at 906-227-1037. 

If you would like to bring your group to the festival and it is past the deadline, please don't hesitate to contact Dr. Flaherty. Occasionally we have extra slots available after the deadline. 

Also let him know if you would like to be on the email list for future Jazz Festivals.