Ellen Rowe Publicity Photo

2024 NMU Jazz Festival


Ellen Rowe!

Friday, April 5

General Information

The 2024 NMU Jazz Festival will be held on the beautiful campus of Northern Michigan University on Friday, April 5. High school and middle school jazz bands from throughout the region will participate in a variety of performances and clinics, and an exciting evening performance will showcase NMU students, faculty, and guest clinicians.

This year's festival will feature jazz pianist and composer Ellen Rowe, who is currently the Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of Jazz and Contemporary Improvisation at the University of Michigan. We are very happy that she will be joining us for this year's event - please visit her website ( to learn more about her recent projects!

See Festival details below!


Festival Schedule (in Reynolds Recital Hall)

Friday, April 5 

8:00am - Bothwell MS
9:00am - Escanaba JHS (8th)
9:40am - Escanaba JHS (7th)
10:20am - Escanaba HS 11:00am - Marquette Senior HS
12:00noon - Lunch Break 12:00noon - NMU Jazz BAnd Rehearsal (w/Ellen Rowe)
1:00pm - Performance/Clinic (Ellen Rowe + Faculty/Student Combo)
2:00pm - Roscommon HS
3:00pm - Kingsford HS
4:00pm - Kingsford MS 
5:00pm - Iron Mountain HS
5:00pm - Kingsford HS Combo (Hedgcock Atrium)
5:30pm - Jam Session (upstairs)

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 Friday, April 5, and then get feedback and work with festival clinicians.  Performances and clinics will all take place in Reynolds Recital Hall.

Faculty Combo Performances/Clinics

Ellen Rowe will be presenting educational performances/clinics with the NMU Faculty/Student Combo at 1:00pm on Friday, April 5, in Reynolds Recital Hall.  This presentation is free and open to the public.

Jam Session!

The popular jam session for festival participants will be held from 5:30pm-6:45pm on Friday April 5, in the Hedgcock Atrium.  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. 

Evening Concert!

Friday, April 5, 7:30 p.m.
Reynolds Recital Hall
Featuring Ellen Rowe with the NMU Jazz Band & the NMU Jazz Combo
Tickets available at the door and in advance through all NMU Ticket Outlets
(, 906-227-1037) 



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 - John Fedchock
  • 2001 - Jim McNeely
  • 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
  • 2023 - Dean Sorenson
  • 2024 - Ellen Rowe

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.