Music Director Fellowship

Music Director Fellowship

Applications Now Open!


June 19, 2020 Priority Review Deadline | July 6, 2020 Closing Date


SMF Jazz Academy Music Director Fellowship Program

This funding-dependent program works closely with SMF Jazz Academy’s team and Artistic Educator in Residence, Ulysses Owens, Jr. The Music Director fellow will be chosen by a rigorous application process that includes submission of a curriculum vitae, mock lesson plans, letters of recommendation, and a personal video discussing thoughts about music education and social justice. We highly consider applicants who have completed their undergraduate studies in music and/or music education and have, or are in the process of completing, their master’s degree(s) in music and/or music education. We give preference to those who have already completed undergraduate studies, though highly-qualified candidates will be considered. Applicants who submit their application before June 19, 2020 receive priority review. Application submissions close on July 6, 2020. Fellowship begins August 1, 2020 and includes a stipend and cost-of-living-expense compensation to spend the school year living and working in Savannah, Georgia. > Find out more



About Ulysses Owens, Jr., Artistic Educator in Residence

A drummer who “take(s) a back seat to no one” (The New York Times), performer, author, educator, Ulysses Owens Jr. goes the limit in the jazz world and beyond. Claiming four successful albums of his own (It’s Time for U, Unanimous, Onward & Upward, and Falling Forward), Owens has also gained special attention for his performances on the Grammy Award-winning albums Dedicated to You (Kurt Elling), The Good Feeling (Christian McBride Big Band) Giant Steps and Countdown (Joey Alexander), Out Here, Live at The Village Vanguard (Christian McBride Trio) and most recently, Nat King Cole & Me (Gregory Porter).

A strong believer in community engagement, Owens has ardently supported cultural institutions. From 2012 to 2015, Owens served as the Jazz Vesper Series Artistic Director at the world-renowned Abyssinian Baptist Church. He was also appointed Artistic Music Curator for the legendary Minton’s Playhouse, at the request of chef and restaurateur Alexander Smalls, producing over 85 shows for the jazz club during its 2015 Fall season.

At the request of Wynton Marsalis and Dr. Aaron Flagg, Ulysses serves as Small Ensemble Director at The Juilliard School in the jazz studies department, and is the Visiting Artist in Residence at Utah State University. In May 2020 his first drum method book, Jazz Brushes for the Modern Drummer: An Essential Guide to the Art of Keeping Time, was released by Hal Leonard Publications. His second book, which is a music business/career development book for students, The Musicians Career Guide: Turning Your Talent into Sustained Success, will be released by Skyhorse Publishers and distributed by Simon and Schuster in January 2021.

Owens also remains tightly connected to his hometown of Jacksonville, Florida as Artistic Director for “Don’t Miss A Beat, Inc.,” a nonprofit performing arts organization that his family founded, that empowers “At-hope” children to dream big through a blend of artistic, academic, and civic engagement programming.

Ulysses is thrilled to join the SMF Jazz Academy team and mission and is honored to work with the music director fellow, staff, students, and families.


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