Jazz - University of Houston
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Noe Marmolejo  
Division Head of Jazz Ensemble
Associate Professor of Jazz  
email: nmarmolejo@uh.edu 
phone: 713 - 743 - 3191


              The Moores School Jazz Ensembles have been presenting diverse programs of music that range from the classic swing music of “Duke“ Ellington, “Count” Basie and Thad Jones to the exploratory music of Radio Head. In addition to our concerts in the beautiful Moores Opera House, the ensembles also hosts the Moores School Jazz Festival every February.  Through this adjudicated festival, the ensembles have performed with world-class jazz musicians like Joe Henderson, Michael Brecker, Brian Lynch, Randy Brecker, Conrad Herwig and Andy Martin. #GoCoogs! 




Under the leadership of Noe Marmolejo, Jazz Orchestra is the premier big band for the Moores School of Music. In addition to performing two concerts per semester at the school, the band regularly appears outside of the school for music festivals, community outreach and events with Houston performance societies such as DaCamera and Miller Outdoor Theater. Each year the band is privileged to perform with a featured guest artist at the annual Texas Music Festival Jazz Institute.  



Jazz Ensemble focuses on the development of younger or inexperienced players, with a more pedagogical approach to rehearsals. Under the direction of Ryan Gabbart, there are two performances per semester at the Moores School of Music. Covering many styles of jazz and commercial music genres, students gain insight into jazz performance while soloists begin to explore jazz improvisation further. 

Annual Festivals



For the opening week of the Moores School of Music in 1997, a concert featuring student ensembles and world-renowned artists was given  nightly. For the evening of jazz music, three of the greatest living saxophonists—Joe Henderson, George Coleman and Joe Lovano—graced the stage with the MSM Jazz Orchestra. From this exceptional event, the seeds were planted to bring world-class jazz to the school each year. 

The annual Moores School of Music Jazz Festival officially began in 1999 with an appearance by The Count Basie Orchestra and saxophonist Michael Brecker. Open to the public, an internationally recognized jazz artist visits to present clinics and perform with the Jazz Orchestra. This event also welcomes junior high and high school jazz ensembles to perform in an adjudicated festival setting for a panel of judges comprised of local professional jazz musicians.


As part of the Moores School of Music Texas Music Festival, the annual Jazz Institute is an intensive week-long day camp in June for middle school and high school students to sharpen their jazz performance skills. Students can expect to be exposed to work in big band and jazz combo settings, study jazz improvisation and theory, rehearse in sectionals and receive masterclasses from the exceptional staff. Registration is very limited, so we encourage students to enroll quickly. 



The Moores School of Music jazz ensembles audition at the beginning of every semester for placement into one of the ensembles.  The jazz ensembles’ specific instrumental needs are five saxophones, five trumpets, five trombones, two drum set, one to two bass, one to two guitar and one to two piano.  We are also happy to welcome up to two vocalists.  
Audition information is available to download here.



Several jazz improvisation courses are available through the school. Introductory courses include the study of all major and minor scales, scale modes, ii-V-I progressions, nomenclature of jazz theory and learning beginner-level tunes. More advanced courses focus on the analysis of famous and notable jazz improvisations by jazz masters from early jazz to the present. Some improvisation courses are designed for music majors, while others serve a larger curious audience at the University of Houston.  


History courses for music majors cover the beginnings of jazz music in the United States through the 1940s and then through the present. Notable periods covered are early jazz, New Orleans and Chicago-styles, swing and early bebop, hard bob, the avant garde, fusion and other contemporary styles. 


Designed for non-music majors, this is a history course that serves as a guide to listening to jazz music, history and its significance as an art form. Students analyze music, identify major figures and movements within the jazz idiom and write two separate papers on a classic jazz recording and live performance.




Our nationally and internationally recognized woodwind and brass faculty provides a total musical learning environment through progressive curricula designed to support your career aspirations.  


We provide an intensive and comprehensive program of study built on a total percussion perspective. We boast one of the finest and most extensive collections of percussion instruments in the country. 


Our program immerses students in the art of solo piano performance, collaborative piano and piano pedagogy, preparing them to embark upon rewarding journeys in the world of music. 


Committed to excellence, our internationally renowned string faculty provides our students with an outstanding and personal educational experience. Global in scope, we pride ourselves on educating our students with the necessary skills to succeed in a diverse and modern musical landscape