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Insights into Society and Culture

Pitt: Synonymous with Jazz


Since 1970, internationally renowned musicians—Art Blakey, Dizzy Gillespie, and Sonny Rollins among them—have converged on Pittsburgh each November for the Pitt Jazz Seminar and Concert.

Founded by music professor Nathan Davis, the event brings jazz innovators to campus to conduct free lecture/demonstrations for the public and then to perform before an enthusiastic sellout crowd at Carnegie Music Hall, located across the street from Pitt’s Cathedral of Learning.

In Pitt’s William Pitt Union, an original sketch by trumpeter Miles Davis is part of a display that includes instruments and other memorabilia from jazz greats, many of whom have performed at Pitt. On the walls nearby, plaques bear the images of musicians who have been inducted into Pitt’s International Academy of Jazz Hall of Fame, established in 1977.

Pitt also is home to the University of Pittsburgh-Sonny Rollins International Jazz Archives, one of the world’s premier collections of jazz-related memorabilia.