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Eastman School of Music Appoints Christine Jensen as Assistant Professor of Jazz and Contemporary Media

SBO Staff • News • September 8, 2022

The Eastman School of Music has recently announced Christine Jensen as Assistant Professor of Jazz and Contemporary Media. Saxophonist and composer Christine Jensen has been described as “an original voice on the international jazz scene… [and] one of Canada’s most compelling composers,” by Mark Miller of the Globe and Mail. Christine will make the move from Montreal to Rochester, joining nine other new full-time faculty at Eastman.

“I am excited to be working, teaching, and learning with colleagues and students in an inspired place of inclusion and openness, sharing my passion for jazz composition, as well as directing the Eastman Jazz Ensemble,” shares Jensen. “I hope to encourage my students’ aspirations and dreams by presenting a firm foundation in which they can build upon, while navigating them to the highest level on stage.”

“Christine Jensen is an internationally renowned composer, band leader, and saxophonist,” says Jamal J. Rossi, Joan and Martin Messinger Dean at Eastman.  “She is also a committed and passionate teacher.  We are excited about the future direction of jazz at Eastman with Christine as a member of our faculty.”

“We are thrilled to welcome Christine Jensen as the newest member of the JCM faculty,” shares Jeff Campbell, chair of the Jazz and Contemporary Media Department. “She brings a wealth the real-world experience that will benefit all the students and faculty in the department as well as the school at large. We look forward to hearing the music performed by the Eastman Jazz Ensemble under her leadership as well as seeing the progress of her writing students. This is an exciting new chapter in the JCM department, and we are very enthusiastic about having Christine Jensen here in Rochester.”

About Christine Jensen:
As a Downbeat Critic’s Poll winner for Rising Star Big Band, Arranger, and Soprano Saxophonist, Jensen is constantly in motion leading her own jazz orchestra and small ensemble. Her jazz orchestra recordings have gone on to win Juno awards, including Habitat (2014) and Treelines (2011).  She is two-time recipient of SOCAN’s Hagood Hardy Jazz Composer Award. Habitat received the coveted five stars in Downbeat and was included at the top of several international critics’ polls, including Jazz Album of the Year in 2014.

Jensen’s music has taken her all over the world; she has received numerous commissions and conducting opportunities in Canada, the United States, and Europe. Her recent guest artist residencies have brought her to Frost School of Music-UMiami, The New School, University of Michigan, UMO Jazz Orchestra, Stockholm Jazz Orchestra, and Luxembourg Jazz Orchestra.  She has performed with Jeremy Pelt, Phil Dwyer, Ben Monder, Gary Smuylan, Geoffrey Keezer, Lenny Pickett, and Donny McCaslin, as well as directing Terrence Blanchard with the Orchestre National Jazz de Montreal.

She is founding artistic director and conductor of the Canadian National Jazz Orchestra, as well as the past artistic director of Orchestre National Jazz de Montreal. As a saxophonist, Jensen continues to collaborate on small and large ensemble projects with her sister Ingrid Jensen, with the addition of guitarist Ben Monder with Infinitude. Her teachers and mentors include Kenny Werner, Jim McNeely, Dick Oatts, Remi Bolduc and John Hollenbeck. Since 2006, she has held composition and arranging lecturer positions at McGill University, Purchase College, and the University of Sherbrooke, as well as guest professor at University of Montreal and being artistic director of McGill Jazz Orchestra and small ensembles.

About Eastman School of Music:
The Eastman School of Music was founded in 1921 by industrialist and philanthropist George Eastman (1854-1932), founder of Eastman Kodak Company. It was the first professional school of the University of Rochester. Mr. Eastman’s dream was that his school would provide a broad education in the liberal arts as well as superb musical training.

More than 900 students are enrolled in the Collegiate Division of the Eastman School of Music—about 500 undergraduates and 400 graduate students. They come from almost every state, and approximately 23 percent are from other countries. They are taught by a faculty comprised of more than 130 highly regarded performers, composers, conductors, scholars, and educators. They are Pulitzer Prize winners, Grammy winners, Emmy winners, Guggenheim fellows, ASCAP Award recipients, published authors, recording artists, and acclaimed musicians who have performed in the world’s greatest concert halls. Each year, Eastman’s students, faculty members, and guest artists present more than 800 concerts to the Rochester community. Additionally, more than 1,700 members of the Rochester community, from young children through senior citizens, are enrolled in the Eastman Community Music School.

The three-semester-long Eastman Centennial celebration began in Fall 2021 and continues throughout 2022. Highlights include acclaimed guest artists performing alongside Eastman’s ensembles; national academic and music conferences; alumni events throughout the country; a documentary being produced in partnership with WXXI, and more. For up-to-date information on the Eastman Centennial, including feature stories, future events, videos, testimonials, ways to engage, and more, please visit our Centennial website at https://www.esm.rochester.edu/100.

About the University of Rochester:
The University of Rochester is one of the nation’s leading private research universities, one of only 62-member institutions in the Association of American Universities. Located in Rochester, N.Y., the University gives undergraduates exceptional opportunities for interdisciplinary study and close collaboration with faculty through its unique cluster-based curriculum. Its College, School of Arts and Sciences, and Hajim School of Engineering and Applied Sciences are complemented by the Eastman School of Music, Simon School of Business, Warner School of Education, Laboratory for Laser Energetics, School of Medicine and Dentistry, School of Nursing, Eastman Institute for Oral Health, and the Memorial Art Gallery.

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