Ray Smith, Director
Lauded as one of the finest university jazz ensembles in the United States, BYU’s Premier Big Band has been thrilling audiences worldwide since 1971. Incorporating music by well-known artists such as Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Glenn Miller, George Gershwin, as well as pieces written by some of the band’s own members, Synthesis plays a wide variety of jazz, fusion, and rock.
Synthesis tours internationally every two years and domestically on the off years. In performances throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia, the group has met with exceptional success, commanding enthusiastic responses from festival, student, and community gatherings. A past sweepstakes champion of the Pacific Coast Collegiate Jazz Festival, Synthesis has participated in the prestigious Montreux International Jazz Festival in Switzerland, the North Sea Jazz Festival in Holland, and the Pori International Jazz Festival in Finland. Synthesis has also been a special guest performer at Tokyo Disneyland and has performed in mainland China.
The group’s tours have spanned nineteen nations and four continents, bringing big band jazz to dozens of sold-out concert halls and jazz festivals. These professional-caliber musicians also perform several times each year on campus.
Mark Ammons, Director
BYU’s Synthesis-in-training group performs locally and regionally and provides a tremendous training situation for up and coming jazz musicians. They also perform on-campus several times a year.
The Faculty Jazz Quintet has produced three CDs thus far and has performed throughout the region. Members include: Ray Smith, woodwinds; Steve Lindeman, piano; Matt Larson, bass; Jay Lawrence, vibes and drums; Ron Brough, drums and auxiliary percussion.
Hayley Kirkland, Director
Known for its complex harmonies, tight grooves, improvisation, and unique combination of vocalists and instrumentalists, BYU Syncopation is a breath of fresh air to audiences of all kinds. There is something for everyone here! Syncopation seeks to provide a transformative experience for our listeners as we explore traditional and modern jazz sub genres including blues, swing, bebop, Latin, funk, pop and fusion, while staying true to our vocal jazz roots through honest and evocative story-telling and lyric interpretation. Under the direction of Hayley Kirkland, Syncopation is comprised of eight to twelve vocalists and a four-piece rhythm section.
Rehearsals for Syncopation will be Tuesday/Thursday 1:00-2:50pm, with an additional sectional once per week (time TBD per group members’ schedules), and 2 out-of-class performances.