• America's definitive Third Stream orchestra  Where Jazz and Classical meet in harmony

    America's definitive Third Stream orchestra

    Where Jazz and Classical meet in harmony

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Our Story

Chicago Jazz Philharmonic combines jazz and classical to create new, evolved, “third stream” musical experiences at home and around the world. CJP's third stream approach unites diverse perspectives, expanding the potential of what music brings to life for students, musicians, audiences, and communities.

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The Founders

"Heart and Soul” -Best friends for more than 35 years, Orbert Davis and Mark Ingram founded MusicAlive in 1998 in an effort to repair the damaging effects of the elimination of music arts programming in Chicago schools. Upon witnessing the powerful impact of the arts on elementary students, their vision expanded to give birth to the Chicago Jazz Philharmonic. JazzAlive, now the center of Chicago Jazz Philharmonic’s educational initiatives, reflects a deep commitment to the arts and how it impacts the lives of individuals, diversifies the culture of a community, and defines the fabric of a city.

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  • The Chicago Jazz Philharmonic’s arsenal of 60 musicians is drawn from a wealth of Chicago area talent, across both jazz and classical communities. Orchestra members recount their CJP performances as “unlike anything [they] have ever experienced playing.”

  • Our Staff

    Birdie Soti - Executive Director

    Birdie Soti - Executive Director

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    Orbert Davis - Artistic Director

    Orbert Davis - Artistic Director

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    Mark Ingram - Producing Director

    Mark Ingram - Producing Director

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    Erick Deshaun Dorris - General Manager

    Erick Deshaun Dorris - General Manager

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    Sarah Pietlicki - Program Manager

    Sarah Pietlicki - Program Manager

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    Jordan Mandela - Program Coordinator

    Jordan Mandela - Program Coordinator

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    Arthur Turnbull - Technology Manager

    Arthur Turnbull - Technology Manager

    Crystal Swenson - Office Manager

    Crystal Swenson - Office Manager

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    Phoenix Thompson - Production Assistant | Graphic Designer

    Phoenix Thompson - Production Assistant | Graphic Designer

    Roger Heiss - Sound Engineer

    Roger Heiss - Sound Engineer

    Erendira Izguerra - Librarian

    Erendira Izguerra - Librarian

    Thomas Gunther - Music Copyist

    Thomas Gunther - Music Copyist

  • Orchestra Members

    Rhythm Section
    Leandro Varady, piano
    Stewart Miller, bass
    Ernie Adams, drums
    John Moulder, guitar

    Strings
    1st Violin
    Talia Pavia
    Sylvia de la Cerna
    Barbara Farley
    Elizabeth Brausa
    Jennifer Dunn
    Karen Nelson
    Lucinda Ali
    Kyle Dixon

    2nd Violin
    Kristine Semanic
    Phyllis Sanders
    Gail Salvatori
    Daniel Wilkerson
    Erendira Izguerra
    Lucia Thomas
    Inga Bialach
    Zara Zaharieva

    Viola
    Lynn La Plante Allaway
    Scott Dowd
    Karen Dickleman
    Istvan Loga
    Rachel Taylor

    Cello
    Ellen Frolichstein
    Mellisa Bach
    Seth Woods

    Bass Violin
    Jacques Harper
    Richard Armandi
    John Sutton

    Brass
    Trumpets
    David Spencer
    Mark Olen
    Christopher Davis

    Trombones
    Tracy Kirk,
    Henry Salgado,
    John Blane, Bass Trombone

    Tuba
    Michael Hogg

    French Horns
    Beth Mazur-Johnson
    Jill Williamson
    Timothy Bedard

    Woodwinds
    Flutes
    Stephen Eisen
    Steve Yepez

    Oboe / English Horn
    Amy Barwan, Oboe / English Horn
    June Matayoshi, Oboe

    Clarinets
    Anna Najoom
    Eric Brink
    Michael Salter, Bass & Contra Bass Clarinet

    Bassoon/Contra Bassoon
    Susan Nigro

    Tenor Saxophone
    Stephen Eisen
    Michael Salter

    Percussion
    Sarah Allen, Tympani
    Mark Smith
    Jose Rendon
    Jonathan Wenzel
  • Teaching Faculty

    Roosevelt Griffin

    Roosevelt Griffin

    Director, CJP Youth Ensemble and Jazz Band
    Phyllis Sanders

    Phyllis Sanders

    Director, Strings Ensemble
    Erendira Izguerra

    Erendira Izguerra

    Director, Level I Strings
    Henry Salgado

    Henry Salgado

    Instructor, Brass Master Class
    Artie Black

    Artie Black

    Instructor, Woodwinds Master Class
    Stewart Miller

    Stewart Miller

    Instructor, Rhythm Section Master Class
    Mikel P. Avery

    Mikel P. Avery

    Instructor, Music Discovery
    Phil Fornett

    Phil Fornett

    Instructor, Music Discovery and Drumline
    Forrest Ransburg

    Forrest Ransburg

    Instructor, Jazz Choir and Music Discovery
    Mark Smith

    Mark Smith

    Instructor, Music Discovery Steel Pan
    Roxanne Stevenson

    Roxanne Stevenson

    Director, Jazz Band
    Joel Ross

    Joel Ross

    Instructor, Rhythm Section Master Class
    Kathleen Parks

    Kathleen Parks

    Instructor, Music Discovery and Introductory Strings
    John Sutton

    John Sutton

    Director, Jazz Band Instructor, Rhythm Section Master Class
  • Featured Guest Artists

    T'Keyah Crystal Keymah - Featured Guest Artist, Orator

    T'Keyah Crystal Keymah - Featured Guest Artist, Orator

    T'Keyah Crystal Keymah is best known for her acclaimed work on three pioneering television shows; In Living Color, Cosby and That's So Raven, Disney Channel's #1 hit. Alongside Raven~Symone, T'Keyah plays the character of Tanya Baxter, but millions of children worldwide just think of her adoringly as Raven's Mom. She is also the voice of Bumblebee on the WB's animated series Teen Titans and Trixie's mom, Mrs. Carter on Disney's American Dragon.
    Richard Steele - Featured Guest Artist, Orator

    Richard Steele - Featured Guest Artist, Orator

    Richard Steele is currently a program host and interviewer on Chicago's WBEZ 91.5 FM. For over 30 years, Steele has been one of Chicago's most visible television and radio personalities. In addition, he has co-hosted several Chicago Jazz Festival and the Chicago Blues Festival radio broadcasts, and during his 10 year involvement, these Grant Park festivals have been heard on over 100 stations. The "Real Steele" also maintains an ongoing relationship with African American arts organizations such as ETA and the Black Ensemble Theatre. Steele resides with his wife of 39 years on Chicago's south side.
    Kurt Elling - Vocalist

    Kurt Elling - Vocalist

    Kurt Elling is the preeminent young male jazz singer today. Nightmoves, Elling's first recording for Concord/Universal will propel his career to new heights. This follows a ten-year stretch that saw Elling earn seven GRAMMY nominations for six Blue Note albums, six consecutive years at the top of the Down Beat Critics and Jazz Times Readers' polls, three Jazz Journalists' Association Awards for Best Male Vocalist and the Prix Billie Holiday from the Academie du Jazz in Paris.
    Dee Alexander - Vocalist

    Dee Alexander - Vocalist

    Dee Alexander is one of the most gifted and respected female vocalist today. Though her talents can span every music genre, her true heart and soul are experienced in their purest form through Jazz. From a soft, sultry traditional ballad, to a contemporary Jazz-Funk groove; from a high flying swing, to a scat-filled romp, Dee Alexander delivers on each and every note with a style and grace that is truly her own.
    Terisa Griffin - Vocalist

    Terisa Griffin - Vocalist

    Terisa Griffin has shared the stage with some of music's biggest names such as Isaac Hayes, Diana Ross, Ashford & Simpson, Roberta Flack, Jerry Butler and Patti LaBelle. Terisa has written, produced and starred in a series of One Voice, One Woman shows. Terisa's debut CD, Songbird (2001) received rave reviews while her recording, My Naked Soul (2006) continues to be a favorite on radio stations nationwide.
    Jackie Allen - Vocalist

    Jackie Allen - Vocalist

    Crossing over for a singer whose foundation resounds jazz was a relatively rare phenomenon back in 1994 when Jackie Allen recorded her debut album Never Let Me Go. Twelve years later, with Tangled, her remarkable Blue Note Records debut and eighth CD — Allen continues to explore soundscapes that pay homage to both standby and contemporary standards while crafting originals that richly complement the covers.
    Bobbi Wilsyn - Vocalist

    Bobbi Wilsyn - Vocalist

    Bobbi Wilsyn is an Artist-in-Residence at Columbia College Chicago teaching music and as a singer-actress, Wilsyn has appeared in several musical productions including BEEHIVE, SOPHISTICATED LADIES and Sheldon Patinkin's, I DIDN'T KNOW WHAT TIME IT WAS. She has gained international recognition as the featured jazz-blues vocalist with the CHICAGO JAZZ ENSEMBLE founded by the late William Russo, the ORBERT DAVIS QUINTET and the THOMAS GUNTHER SEXTET.
    Joan Collaso - Vocalist

    Joan Collaso - Vocalist

    Emmy award winner and international vocalist, Joan Collaso, was born, raised and is living in Chicago. Joan’s flowing sensual melodies, colorful improvisations and soulful stylings capture your ear, her spirit will capture your heart. She blends the textures of Jazz, R&B, Blues and Gospel in a way that gives her a distinct sound. While Collaso trail blazes her musical talents and performances all over the world she also weaves her extraordinary skills in her community. As an advocate for social justice Joan has written, produced and performed, for school age children and families, musical plays that teach history and promote education, courage and love
    Maggie Brown - Vocalist

    Maggie Brown - Vocalist

    A Chicago native, Maggie Brown studied music, theater and voice at Columbia College, Chicago. She has performed locally and internationally in her dynamic one-woman show, LEGACY: Our Wealth of Music. In 1995, Maggie launched her own independent label, Mag Pie Records. Her debut recording, From My Window, was nominated by the Chicago Music Awards for Best Jazz CD. Her most recent project is a live concert recording of Maggie and her legendary father, Oscar Brown, Jr. entitled We're Live.
    The Soul Children of Chicago - Vocalists

    The Soul Children of Chicago - Vocalists

    The Soul Children of Chicago is one of the most celebrated youth choirs in the world. Under the direction of Walt Whitman, they have produced five albums, performed all over the world hand have won the prestigious Stellar Award. Other credits include performances with Harry Belafonte, Neil Diamond, Gladys Knight, Stevie Wonder, Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, Yolanda Adams and Garth Brooks. They have also performed for Presidents Bill Clinton, George Bush, Sr., Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon.
    Howard Levy -  Harmonica

    Howard Levy - Harmonica

    Multiple Grammy award-winner Howard Levy is an acknowledged master of the diatonic harmonica, a superb pianist, innovative composer, recording artist, bandleader, teacher, producer, and Chicago area resident. His musical travels have taken him all over the geographical world and the musical map. He is perhaps best known for the four CD’s he recorded with Bela Fleck and The Flecktones, a unique band that set the musical world on its ear in the early 1990’s.
    Ari Brown - Saxophonist

    Ari Brown - Saxophonist

    Ari Brown is a popular tenor saxophonist/pianist is an important member of the Chicago avant-garde jazz scene, and a veteran sideman. His technique and traditional jazz chops are excellent and highly expressive on both of his instruments. Chicago Reader critic Peter Margasak calls Brown a terrific saxophonist with a deep understanding of both Bebop’s complex rhythms and the wild expressionism of Free Jazz.
    Ernest Dawkins - Saxophonist

    Ernest Dawkins - Saxophonist

    Ernest Dawkins is one of Chicago's premier jazz saxophonist whose music reflects his extraordinary talent not just as a musician, but a composer as well. He has recorded eleven CD's and is the founder and leader of his own group, New Horizons Ensemble. He holds a Masters in Music Education from Governors State University, University Park, Illinois and has studied music at the Vandercook School of Music in Chicago, as well as the AACM School of Music. Dawkins currently serves as Chairman of the AACM, the oldest musicians collective of its kind in the United States.
    Nicole Mitchell - Flutist

    Nicole Mitchell - Flutist

    A widely praised soloist (Chicago Tribune), Nicole Mitchell is one of few African American women to take the path as a creative instrumentalist, composer and bandleader. As an exciting younger member of the AACM, she has performed with world-renowned musicians including George Lewis, James Newton, Leroy Jenkins, Ari Brown, Jeff Parker and Malachi Flavors. Mitchell issued her solo debut Vision Quest in 2001. Her latest release is titled Hope, Future and Destiny (2005). As a jazz flutist, Nicole has been Down Beat magazine Critic's Poll winner for Rising Star Flutist from 2001 – 2005.
    Reginald Robinson - Pianist

    Reginald Robinson - Pianist

    Reginald is a premiere pianist/composer of Semi-Classical Music, Ragtime, Latin American and early Jazz & Blues styles. He is also an educator on ragtime music across the U.S. Reginald was first introduced to the sound of Ragtime in the seventh grade (1986) with a school performance of The Entertainer from an assembly program ran by Orbert Davis. He immediately made a mission to find out all there was to know about Ragtime and taught himself to play piano on a small Casio keyboard. He recorded his first demo The Strongman in 1992 and got signed to Delmark Records. In September 2004, Reginald received the prestigious John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Fellowship Genius Grant award.
    Zim Ngqawana - Saxophonist

    Zim Ngqawana - Saxophonist

    Zim Ngqawana's style is rather difficult to define to a single label or genre. With an avant-garde approach to his music he pools his vast knowledge of traditional African music with his equivalently awesome knowledge of jazz to interpret and adapt these classics into new and inspiring interpretations. His music furthermore contains elements of bop, funk, Indian and Western classical music, samba, tango, vocal chants — highly percussive and often danceable.
    Brandon McCune - Pianist

    Brandon McCune - Pianist

    Brandon McCune was born in 1976, this Chicago native makes his home in Newark, NJ. His musical studies began at age three, when his parents enrolled him in the Suzuki Method of Classical Piano. For the past eighteen years, Brandon has been an experienced professional musician (pianist, organist, drummer, trumpeter, bassist) and vocalist, serving as a principal music instructor, composer, counselor, arranger, and performer with a special concentration in jazz, classical, and gospel genres.
    Zach Brock - Violinist

    Zach Brock - Violinist

    One of the most virtuosic and emotive voices of contemporary jazz violin, Zach Brock has followed a path which embraces not only jazz, but also classical, world, and popular music. From critical acclaim as a bandleader to international exposure in collaborations with Stanley Clarke, Snarky Puppy, and Phil Markowitz, Zach continues to gain admiration from both jazz purists and music enthusiasts alike.
    Marianna Soroka - Percussionist

    Marianna Soroka - Percussionist

    Marianna Soroka, an amazing Polish percussionist was featured in the performance of Orbert Davis' Chicago Jazz Philaharmonic Chamber Ensemble performance at the Chicago Jazz Festival in 2011.
    Willie Pickens - Pianist

    Willie Pickens - Pianist

    Willie continues to be one of Chicago's most in-demand pianists for visiting artists. He has performed several times at the famed Chicago Jazz Festival, to rave reviews, and has been the featured pianist on impresario Joe Segal's Jazz Cruises, where he has shared the stage with Clark Terry, Louie Bellson, and Red Holloway, among others. He has also performed with fellow pianist Marian McPartland, both in concert and on her well-loved NPR show, Piano Jazz. 2001 saw the release of their album of duets Ain't Misbehavin' on the Concord label. His performance is straight-ahead, and utterly stable — with dense chords, percussive attack, and flying solos — echoing the artistry of McCoy Tyner.
    Martin ‘Tre’ Dumas

    Martin ‘Tre’ Dumas

    Tre Dumas is a tap dancer and choreographer from Chicago, IL. Mr. Dumas received most of his early dance training and his first teaching experience at Tommy Sutton's Mayfair Academy of fine Arts on Chicago's south side. He's a graduate of Clark Atlanta University with a B.A. in Mass Media Arts with a concentration in Speech and Theatre Arts. Since 1995 he's taught and performed regularly at various festivals including the Chicago Human Rhythm Project, the L.A. Tap Fest, the St. Louis Tap Festival, Maui Tap Experience, Detroit Tap Festival, Calgary Tap Summit, Chicago Tap Summit (which he co-founded), Vancouver International Tap Dance Festival and Columbus Taps among others.
  • Board

    Michael Allaway - Chair

    Michael Allaway - Chair

    Elizabeth Saunders -  Vice Chair

    Elizabeth Saunders - Vice Chair

    Partner, Clermont Partners
    Ms. Kara Lawrence - Treasurer

    Ms. Kara Lawrence - Treasurer

    Chief Financial Officer, Elevance Renewable Sciences, Inc.
    Orbert Davis

    Orbert Davis

    Co-Founder and Artistic Director, Chicago Jazz Philharmonic
    Mark Ingram

    Mark Ingram

    President, Mai-Tech Interactive & Graphics | Founder and Managing Director, Chicago Jazz Philharmonic
    Vaani Kodali

    Vaani Kodali

    Executive Director of Global Marketing, Hill-Rom Inc.
    Rumi Kuli

    Rumi Kuli

    Executive Vice President, Options Xpress
    Linda Rasins

    Linda Rasins

    Principal, Rasins Consulting
    Lesley Picchietti

    Lesley Picchietti

    Principal, Inspire Bliss Coaching and Consulting

    Mark N Moultrie Jr.

    Private Banking Relationship Manager at Northern Trust
  • Advisory Board

    Lauren Deustch

    Lauren Deustch

    Executive Director, Jazz Institute of Chicago
    James Newcomb

    James Newcomb

    Director of Global Brand Management, The Boeing Corporation
    Lynn LaPlante

    Lynn LaPlante

    Violinist, Chicago Jazz Philharmonic
    Rich Daniels

    Rich Daniels

    Director, City Lights Orchestra
    Ron McCurdy

    Ron McCurdy

    Chairman, Jazz Studies Dept., USC Thornton School of Music
    Mary Jo Papich

    Mary Jo Papich

    President, Jazz Education Network
    R. Susan Motley

    R. Susan Motley

    Philanthropy & Non-Profit Sector Program, Loyola University
    Barry Mayo

    Barry Mayo

    President, Radio One
    Kassie Davis

    Kassie Davis

    Executive Director, Chicago Mercantile Exchange Trust
    Kurt Elling

    Kurt Elling

    Jazz Vocalist
    Marta Farion

    Marta Farion

    Director, Kyiv-Mohyla Foundation of America
    Earl Jones

    Earl Jones

    President, Clear Channel Radio Chicago
    Brett Batterson

    Brett Batterson

    Executive Director, Auditorium Theatre