The Knoxville Jazz Orchestra is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to growing audiences for jazz music through public performance and education outreach. Since its inception in 1999, the organization has presented dozens of concerts in East Tennessee, appeared on major jazz festivals in the US and Europe, performed and recorded with internationally acclaimed guest artists, and released four critically acclaimed CD recordings.
The orchestra presents six annual concerts in downtown Knoxville with performances at the Tennessee Theatre, the Bijou Theatre and the Square Room. These concerts feature world renowned guest artists backed by a seventeen piece big band comprised of the area’s top professional musicians. This past season, every single show sold out in advance.
Our organization also partners with the Square Room and WUOT 91.9FM to present an afternoon concert series called “Jazz Lunch”. These events are held on the first Wednesday of each month from noon to 1pm. Each month’s concert pays tribute to different historical figure whose music made a lasting impact on jazz. The concerts are performed by small jazz ensembles comprised of local and regional musicians. Admission to the concert includes a lunch buffet.
The Knoxville Jazz Youth Orchestra is one of our organization's primary educational programs. The Youth Orchestra is an honors band for area high school students that rehearses weekly, is coached by the area’s top educators and presents concerts throughout the year. Each year, a dozen or more different high schools from across East Tennessee are represented in this seventeen member band. The youth orchestra is a collaboration with the University of Tennessee School of Music.
Our two most recent initiatives began in 2011: “Jazz on the Square” is a free outdoor concert series on the stage at Market Square Mall. These concerts are presented every Tuesday night, May through August from 8pm to 10pm. Sponsors include Prestige Cleaners, Stellar Visions and Sound and the City of Knoxville.
“Jazz in the Schools” provides free in-school performances to school children in Knox County. These performances are aimed at introducing children to the art form in a fun and informative way. This year, our organization presented the program to more than 30 schools in Knox County. “Jazz in the Schools” is supported by a grant from Knox County.