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Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra seeks new executive director

The SRJO sax section
Courtesy of Jim Levitt
The SRJO sax section, left to right: Michael Brockman (obscured), Bill Ramsey, Mark Taylor, Alex Dugdale, Sidney Hauser, Travis Ranney

Co-founder Michael Brockman will vacate the executive director position to become the first full-time artistic director for Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra.

The Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra is the Pacific Northwest’s only permanent and professional big-band orchestra, founded in 1995 by saxophonist Michael Brockman and drummer Clarence Acox.

Brockman and Acox have been serving as co-artistic directors of the non-profit organization since its inception. Brockman has also served as executive director, handling all the business and administrative functions.

After nearly three decades, Brockman has decided to step down from the administrative role, and will focus exclusively on implementing the artistic vision of the organization.

“For 27 years, Michael has done a phenomenal job in his combined roles as executive and co-artistic director for SRJO," said Joe Renn, SRJO board president, in a press release. "The organization has had a track record of annually being in the black, selling out its performances in Seattle, Kirkland and Edmonds, and bringing world-class guest soloists to perform with the band.”

SRJO Film, John Edwards

“We have built an award-winning ensemble, a highly revered music education program and broad-reaching community outreach programs," Renn continued. "Michael has carried two very big jobs simultaneously and he will now focus entirely on his true passion --the music.”

“I am excited about this change,” Brockman stated in the press release. “A dedicated and dynamic executive director will enable our entire organization to move to the next level of development. I look forward to concentrating on the music and to working even more closely with the great members of our band.”

Clarence Acox has retired from leading and performing in the orchestra, and now holds an advisory position of co-founder and artistic director emeritus.

Acox also leaves a strong legacy of commitment to the music, and to jazz education. SRJO has honored Acox by naming its education program after him. The Clarence Acox Jazz Scholars Program provides individual instruction to underserved students in several Seattle middle schools and high schools.

SRJO and the Love Language of Jazz

“Clarence will remain at the heart and soul of the band,” said Brockman.

Both Acox and Brockman have been inducted into Earshot Jazz's Seattle Jazz Hall of Fame.

SRJO's repertoire draws from more than 100 years of jazz, including works by America's most famous jazz composers.

The orchestra grows its repertoire each year by adding previously unpublished works and commissions original works from well-known jazz musicians like bassist Christian McBride and saxophonist Joshua Redman. Most recently, SRJO featured guest saxophonist Tia Fuller.

SRJO includes many of the region's most notable soloists and bandleaders, and itself is an award-winning ensemble. Another full season of SRJO performances are scheduled for 2022-2023 at Benaroya Hall in Seattle and the Kirkland Performance Center.

The new executive director will be responsible for SRJO's administrative and strategic direction to promote large ensemble jazz. The full job description is available here.

The board will begin the search for an executive director immediately and Renn said they hope to fill the position by fall.

Originally from Detroit, Robin Lloyd has been presenting jazz, blues and Latin jazz on public radio for nearly 40 years. She's a member of the Jazz Education Network and the Jazz Journalists Association.