UMKC Conservatory Adds Bachelor of Music in Jazz Studies


The University of Missouri Board of Curators has approved UMKC's Bachelor of Music in Jazz Studies, pending the Coordinating Board of Higher Education (CBHE) final approval. This addition to the Conservatory's degree program underlines the importance of the jazz program at the UMKC Conservatory. Directed by Bobby Watson, the jazz studies program at the Conservatory provides students with rich and varied experiences and opportunities to perform, travel, and work with some of the most important jazz artists working today, including Mel Martin, Donal Fox, Benny Golson, Roy Hargrove, the Mason Brothers, and many others.  The Conservatory Concert Jazz Band was number four on the national airplay charts with the recording of Bobby Watson's The Gates BBQ Suite. Jazz students are Betty Carter Fellows, teaching assistants at leading jazz programs throughout the country, Banff Artist Residents, recording artists and have won many of the world’s most prestigious jazz competitions.

"106 years after the founding of the Conservatory, and 92 years after Charlie Parker was born, Kansas City's Conservatory is home to the University of Missouri system's first professional degree in jazz, ensuring that Kansas City jazz will thrive for generations to come, noted Conservatory Dean Peter Witte." 

Bobby Watson, William D and Mary Grant/Missouri Professor of Jazz Studies and Dan Thomas, Instructor in Jazz Studies and Assistant Director of Jazz Studies, jointly state, "We have been committed to the success of the Jazz Studies program and our students for more than a decade. 2012 has been the culmination of two exciting events: the Jazz Department becoming its own division within the Conservatory and the passage of a nationally accredited degree of Bachelor of Music in Jazz Studies, which will invite many high caliber players to compete for a position to study jazz at the Conservatory. This degree would not have been possible without the efforts of Bill Everett, our faculty and staff, and Dean Witte. We want to express our sincere thanks to everyone for their continued support of our efforts on behalf of our students. Jazz is America’s indigenous music and we are proud to have joined the ranks of other esteemed institutions in the U.S. to offer a specialized 4-year degree in jazz."

"As the community support group for the Jazz Studies program, the members of Jazz Friends are excited to see the culmination of more than a decade of Bobby Watson's efforts at UMKC come together in this new degree," remarks Jon McGraw. "Jazz Friends remains committed to assisting Bobby and Dan as they continue to elevate the UMKC Jazz Studies program to one of the top 5 in the nation."

For more information, please contact:

Name: Dana Self
Phone: 816-235-2949