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Hill Country Jazz Festival

Update: Our band limit has been reached and applications are now closed. Apologies to any bands that will not be able to participate and we hope to see you next year!


Coming to the Hill Country Jazz Festival, February 4th, 2023......The Duke Ellington Orchestra!



Dear Jazz Educator,

Texas State University is excited to announce the 35th annual Hill Country Jazz Festival. After two years of online and delayed festivals, we are beyond excited at the prospect of seeing high school jazz students and directors on our campus again! The festival will be held on Saturday, February 4, 2023, on the beautiful Texas State University campus. In addition to our excellent facilities, including a just-completed renovation to Evans Auditorium, our outstanding adjudicators, clinicians, and performers promise to make this a memorable experience. As a non-competitive event, The Hill Country Jazz Festival does not select winners but does recognize exemplary big bands, combos, and individual instrumentalists with “Outstanding Performance Awards.”

We are excited to announce that this year’s guest artist is the legendary Duke Ellington Orchestra! Many of you attended four years ago when we hosted the Count Basie Orchestra and remember what a wonderful (and crowded) event that was. We expect this to be the same. While we strive to make festival performances free, the economics of a group like the Ellington Orchestra don’t make that feasible. General tickets for the concert will be $15, but for schools bringing groups larger than 10 the per-ticket cost will be just $5! This is a great deal to see one of the premier jazz groups in the world and I hope you and your students will be able to attend!

Bands will perform throughout the day on Saturday, February 4, in Evans Auditorium and the Performing Arts Center. At 5 p.m., there will be an hour-long clinic presented by a member of the Duke Ellington Orchestra. Immediately following the clinic, the Duke Ellington Orchestra will take the stage at Evans Auditorium.

Jazz ensembles wishing to participate in the Hill Country Jazz Festival should complete the enclosed application and return it by mail with the non-refundable $200 by January 12. Because of limited seating, we have to restrict the number of bands in the festival to 16, that’s why I’m letting you know early!

In addition to the above activities, an all-star big band will play a free concert on Friday, February 3, at 7:30 p.m. in Evans Auditorium as part of the Eddie Durham Celebration. The band will feature Count Basie Orchestra tenor saxophonist Doug Lawrence, members of the Texas State jazz faculty, and Texas State alumni. The evening will also include a talk by Director of the National Jazz Museum Loren Schoenberg. We hope you can attend both events, but all school performances are only on Saturday, February 4.

We look forward to your participation!