with Guest Artists

Art Davis & Tom Garling

NIU Jazz Ensemble

Rodrigo Villanueva, Director 


The NIU Jazz Ensemble is the Laboratory Jazz Big Band at NIU. This group performs advanced and intermediate material covering a wide variety of jazz styles, including new works composed and/or arranged by NIU faculty and students.

The group has performed with several international artists, including Allen Vizzutti, Fareed Haque, Kelly Sill, Stefan Karlsson, Liam Teague, Art Davis, Tom Garling, Gary Smulyan, Mark Colby, Reggie Thomas and Wayne Bergeron.


The Jazz Ensemble regularly participates in jazz festivals and competitions, and performs at least six concerts per academic year.


In 2010, 2014 and 2018 the ensemble was featured at the Illinois Music Education Conference. The group won first place in the College Jazz Big Band division at the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire Jazz Festival in 2010 and 2008.


The group has performed at the Jazz Education Network International Conference, and at various International Jazz Festivals. It has received outstanding recognition at the Elmhurst College Jazz Festival many times and it was honored with Outstanding Performance recognition at the 35th DOWNBEAT Annual Student Music Awards (June 2012).



465 N. McClurg Court (promenade)

Chicago, Illinois 60611

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