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Hill Country Jazz Festival

Texas State University is proud to announce the 32nd annual Hill Country Jazz Festival. The festival will be held on Saturday, February 8, 2020, on the beautiful Texas State University campus. In addition to our excellent facilities, our outstanding adjudicators, clinicians, and performers promise to make this a memorable experience. As a non-competitive event, The Hill Country Jazz Festival does not select winners but does recognize exemplary big bands, combos, and individual instrumentalists with “Outstanding Performance Awards.”

We are excited to announce that this year’s guest artist is Grammy Award-winning pianist Jim McNeely!  The beginning of Mr. McNeely’s 40-year career included six years with the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis big band (now the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra), four years with the Stan Getz Quartet, and five years with the Phil Woods Quintet. He rejoined the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra in 1996 and continues to this day as the band’s composer-in-residence. McNeely has also been active in the European jazz scene, serving as the director of the DR Big Band in Copenhagen from 1998-2003, and as the director if the HR Big Band in Frankfurt since 2011. Mr. McNeely has been nominated for 10 Grammy awards and won in 2008 for his work with the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra. He also served as the musical director for the BMI Jazz Composers Workshop for 14 years and is currently on faculty at the Manhattan School of Music and William Paterson University

Bands will perform throughout the day on Saturday, February 8. At 5 p.m., there will be an hour-long clinic presented by Jim McNeely. Immediately following the clinic, the Texas State University Jazz Ensemble will take the stage with Mr. McNeely as guest soloist.

In addition to the above activities, an all-star big band will play a free concert on Friday, February 7, at 7:30 p.m. in Evans Auditorium as part of the Eddie Durham Celebration. The band will feature Count Basie Orchestra tenor saxophonist Doug Lawrence, members of the Texas State jazz faculty, local professionals, and Jim McNeely. The evening will also include a talk by Director of the National Jazz Museum Loren Schoenberg. We hope you can attend both events, but all school performances are only on Saturday, February 8.

Jazz ensembles wishing to participate in the Hill Country Jazz Festival should complete the enclosed application and return it by mail with the non-refundable $200 by January 15.