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Jazz Exploration: The Pivotal Duke Ellington with Dr Kelsey Klotz

Fall 2022

Mondays 6:30-8:00pm, Oct. 24-Dec. 5

*Note: the class will not meet Nov. 14.

Online Class

This six week online workshop will focus on pianist, composer, and bandleader Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington. Ellington was and remains a pivotal figure in jazz history, known for his unique way of crafting compositions for the individual members of his band. This class will chart his chronology, beginning with his days in the Cotton Club in 1920s New York City, through the swing era and his work with Billy Strayhorn and others, his resurgence in the 1950s with his 1956 performance at the Newport Jazz Festival and iconic Time cover image, his shortlisting for the Pulitzer Prize, his political work, and today’s efforts to remember and honor him. Throughout, we’ll focus on his compositions, his close relationships with the musicians in his band, and what jazz meant to him.

Part of a series of virtual workshops taught by Dr. Kelsey Klotz, this is a perfect complement to the informative course series, as well as an excellent stand-alone deep dive, particularly meaningful in preparation for enjoying our premiere holiday production of Duke Ellington’s Nutcracker Suite.

Technical requirements:

Access to reliable wireless internet and computer. Zoom will be the platform used for this course.

Instructor Bio:

Dr. Kelsey Klotz is a lecturer in UNC Charlotte’s Department of Music. In 2016, Dr. Klotz earned her PhD in musicology from Washington University in St. Louis, where she also earned a graduate certificate in American Culture Studies, and was awarded Washington University’s Dean’s Award for Teaching Excellence. Dr. Klotz received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music, with a piano concentration, from Truman State University.

As an educator, Dr. Klotz teaches critical listening as a method for musical analysis and encountering perspectives different from one’s own. Dr. Klotz is currently working on a book manuscript titled Dave Brubeck and the Performance of Whiteness, which examines white cool jazz pianist Dave Brubeck’s career, music, and reception in the 1950s and 1960s.

Dr. Klotz has presented her research at meetings of the Society for Ethnomusicology, the Society for American Music, the American Studies Association, the American Studies Association, the Feminist Theory in Music conference, and various regional meetings. In 2016, she received the Charles Seeger Prize for the best student paper at the 2015 national meeting of the Society for Ethnomusicology. Her work has been supported by the Brubeck Travel Grant, the Berger-Carter Jazz Research Grant, and the Dissertation Fellowship from Washington University’s Center for the Humanities.


Registration is open now through October 20.

$125 for the full session (includes $15 non-refundable registration fee)


Payment and Refund Policy

Tuition is due at the time of registration. Full payment may be made by check, money order or credit card. A full refund will be granted up to one week before the first program day – minus a $15.00 registration fee.


Questions? Call the JazzArts Academy at 704-334-3900 or email at

Special Thanks to our program sponsors: Infusion Fund , North Carolina Arts Council, Knight Foundation, Doris Duke Foundation, Charlotte Woman’s Club, and Akers Foundation