The mission of the Asheville Jazz Orchestra is to preserve and advance the big band jazz tradition, through jazz education, performance, and composition.
The Asheville Jazz Orchestra was founded in 2006 and was headed by Dr. David Wilken (trombonist, educator, composer, and arranger) who served as the band's musical and artistic director for 18 years. In 2023 Dr. Wilken stepped back from his position and a new staff was installed to continue the band's mission. Although no longer serving as musical/artistic director Dr. Wilken continues to play with the band and continues to arrange and compose exciting original music for the orchestra.
The AJO is a proud partner of the Asheville Jazz Council, a 501c3, and through their work with the Council, the AJO has performed at many educational music festivals, including the City of the Arts Jazz Festival, Patton High School Jazz Festival, Western Carolina University Trumpet Festival, the NC NCMEA Conference, and the Our World Festival.
The AJO can be heard throughout western North Carolina performing swing dances, on stage at clubs, and in formal concert settings. The AJO's repertoire ranges from the dance classics of the Swing Era through original charts by area composers.
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