The University of the Arts Z Big Band

First Place Winner (Tie) in the College Big Band Division from the 2017 Next Generation Jazz Festival

The celebrated University of the Arts “Z” Big Band, under the direction of Matt Gallagher, is one of the showcase ensembles of the School of Music's more than 40 jazz, contemporary, and traditional music groups. With over 50 years of performances at jazz festivals and concerts throughout the country, the University of the Arts “Z” Big Band is recognized as one of the pre-eminent college jazz ensembles in the United States.

Alumni of the “Z” Band have gone on to have outstanding performing careers in the Philadelphia region and beyond, from Broadway to Hollywood, as well as with the United States service bands and on countless tours with some of the biggest names in the music business. The “Z” Band boasts an extensive repertoire of music rooted in the traditional styles of big band jazz as well as contemporary styles, and has performed at the Midwest Clinic in Chicago, Illinois and the Jazz Education Network Conference.

In 2016 and 2017, the “Z” Band was one of the six university big bands to be invited to the prestigious Next Generation Jazz Festival in Monterey, Calif., and in 2017, they tied for first place in the College Big Band Division.

Recently, the “Z” Big Band was recognized as the winner in the 2015 and 2016 DownBeat Magazine Student Music Awards for the undergraduate big band category.

The “Z” Band has performed with some of the biggest names in jazz including, Arturo Sandoval, Jon Faddis, James Moody, Bob Mintzer, The Yellowjackets, Kurt Elling, Slide Hampton, John Riley, John Fedchock, Gregg Field, Bernie Dresel, Matt Niess, Robin Eubanks, Joey DeFrancesco, Wayne Bergeron, Tom Garling, Larry McKenna, John Swana, Gerald Veasley, and many others.