Department of Music : Faculty

Jamie Begian

Professor of Music

Interim Dean, School of Visual and Performing Arts 2015-2016

Department of Music Chair 2011-2015

Department of Music Associate Chair 2018-present

Co-Coordinator of Jazz Studies (2005-Present)

Sight Singing and Ear Training I and II/Jazz Theory/Jazz Arranging /Combos/Jazz Ensemble Vocal Jazz Ensemble/Jazz Guitar Ensemble

Jamie Begian

Jamie Begian carved out a place in the highly competitive New York City jazz scene as a uniquely gifted composer and a dedicated educator. Through his performances with The Jamie Begian Big Band, the PULSE Composer Federation and his teaching at Western Connecticut State University, Jamie Begian has honed his message of uncompromising excellence and uncompromising individuality by demanding the utmost of musical integrity from himself and his students.

As an artist, Jamie’s 17-piece big band has garnered much local acclaim since its inaugural performance in 1998.  years. The Village Voice has called The Jamie Begian Big Band “…some of the most gorgeous post-Gil hues in recent memory.” TimeOut NY says “(Begian’s) horn charts play up sleek, sophisticated harmonies while remaining conscious of the kind of blues-based rhythms and effects that move the crowd” while All About Jazz states “Guitarist Jamie Begian has created a stunningly original big band for the 21st Century that builds on traditions pioneered by composers, arrangers and bandleaders as diverse as Duke Ellington, Gil Evans, Stan Kenton, Sun Ra and 20th Century European jazz and classical artists.”

The Jamie Begian Big Band’s second CD, entitled “Big Fat Grin” (Innova 762) has received much critical acclaim too. calls it “…as fine a collection of original modern jazz compositions as one could expect to find, performed flawlessly by a tight group of talented players” and Lucid Culture says “Big Fat Grin, the new album by the Jamie Begian Big Band delivers everything a modern big band jazz outfit ought to: it’s a treat for anyone who goes for an intricate mesh of textures and a BIG, boisterous, ecstatic yet cerebral sound.”

Jamie was a founding member of PULSE – a federation of 5 composers dedicated to creating new music that defies classification as either jazz or classical music. Since 2004 PULSE has performed at various venues both in and out of New York City including Roulette, Barbes, Galapagos, St. Peter’s Church and a showcase performance at the 2007 International Association of Jazz Education annual conference in New York City. PULSE has also collaborated with the TAKE (Takeh) Dance Ensemble presenting “Five Points” at Merce Cunningham Studios in New York City (December 20111) and “Distance of the Moon” at Judson Memorial Church in New York City (October 2010).

Jamie has received numerous awards as a composer: he won the prestigious “Charlie Parker Award” presented by the BMI Jazz Composers Workshop in 2001 and has won ASCAP Plus awards every year from 2002-2011.

As an educator, Jamie Begian has a long track record of dedicated involvement in the development and progress of his students, evidenced by his being honored as the first recipient of Western Connecticut State University’s “Distinguished Adjunct” award in 2004 as selected by his peers in the music department, helping lead to his eventual full-time appointment as Coordinator of Jazz Studies in 2005. Jamie has served both the department and the university in several administrative capacities such as  Interim Dean of the School of Visual and Performing Arts (2015-2016), Department of Music Chair (2011-2015) and current Department of Music Associate Chair (2018-Present).

Jamie’s mix of enthusiasm for the music and dedication to his craft is apparent to all who work with him, enabling him to command attention in whatever setting, be it in a classroom or on a concert stage, he is engaged in. Both as a performer and as a teacher, Jamie Begian has that rare combination of something unique to say and the ability to say it clearly and passionately in whatever setting he is.

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