August 5-9, 2024

With Michael Zilber & CJC Faculty

This advanced program is open to six to eight talented high school musicians who have the opportunity to learn from and collaborate with renowned Bay Area jazz artists. During the week-long program, participants will engage in rehearsals, master classes, and private lessons, culminating in a public performance at the California Jazz Conservatory. 

Unlike traditional programs that involve one instructor working with an ensemble, the student group will receive daily instruction from a full ensemble of professional musicians. Through intensive rehearsals, students will develop their skills in improvisation and arranging/composition. The high school jazz intensive is open to all rhythm section instruments and horns. 

Take advantage of this unique chance to learn from and perform with some of the best jazz musicians in the Bay Area!

Sample Schedule


10 – 11 am group plays from assigned tunes for all faculty

11:15 am – 12 pm individual private lessons

1 – 3 pm group rehearsal with faculty

3 – 4 pm student-run rehearsal

Tuesday – Thursday:

10 am – 12 pm master class

1 – 3 pm group rehearsal with faculty

3 – 4 pm student-run rehearsal


11 am – 1 pm dress rehearsal for students

2 – 4 pm faculty open dress rehearsal

6 – 7:30pm concert at the California Jazz Conservatory


Tuition: $1500

Students should prepare one ballad and one uptempo tune, memorizing the melody and changes.

Please choose from the following:

Ballads – Say It Over and Over Again (as recorded by John Coltrane), Lonely Woman (Ornette Coleman), Ruby, My Dear (Thelonious Monk), Meaning of the Blues (as recorded by Michael Brecker, composed by Bobby Troup)

Up Tempo – Ugetsu (Cedar Walton), 52nd Street Theme (Thelonious Monk), Captain Marvel (Chick Corea), In and Out (Joe Henderson)

Concert key lead sheets for the above tunes can be found here.

Students will also sightread a piece, provided at the audition.

Audition Date: April 20, 2024

For more information and audition prescreening, please contact Young Musicians Program director Erik Jekabson at erik@cjc.edu or call the CJC at 510.845.5373

Dr. Michael Zilber is the director of the Jazzschool’s multiple DownBeat award-winning Advanced High School Jazz Workshop.

To Apply

Contact Erik Jekabson for consultation and audition pre-screening erik@cjc.edu

Refund Policy

Tuition is non-refundable.


High School Jazz Intensive Faculty Information

About Dr. Michael Zilber (saxophone)

California saxophonist and composer Dr. Michael Zilber, has directed the CJC Summer High School Jazz Intensive since 2007. He created and led the Advanced High School Jazz Workshop at the CJC in 2004, an acclaimed group that has more than 20 Downbeat national awards to its credit as best high school group and outstanding ensemble in the past 2 decades.  Many of its former players have gone on to great musical success in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and elsewhere.

Zilber is described by NEA Jazz Master David Liebman as “one of the best players and composers around anywhere. Period!” The Canadian-born ex-New Yorker has 13 albums to his name as a leader or co-leader. He has performed, toured and/or recorded with many jazz luminaries over the years, including co-leading  and recording in groups w Liebman, Mike Clark, Steve Smith and John Stowell,  to name a few. Says ALL ABOUT JAZZ,  “Zilber is one of the true masters of modern jazz saxophone, his prodigious talents evidenced by his recordings and live performances are truth.”

While in New York, Zilber worked with many lauded contemporaries, including  Mark Feldman, Wayne Krantz, Rachel Z, James Genus, Rodney Holmes,  Drew Gress,  Dave Kikoski, Dave Douglas, Bruce Barth and numerous others. He also released his first CD, 1989’s The Heretic,  on OWL/EMI featuring Gil Goldstein, Harvie S and Danny Gottlieb, as well as the OWL/EMI 1992 follow-up, Stranger in Brooklyn, with Liebman, Genus and Rachel Z.

After moving out to San Francisco, Zilber co-led a band with drumming great Steve Smith for eight years, releasing the top 20 recording Reimagined: Jazz Standards, Volume 1 in 2003. For the past 15 years, he has teamed up with guitar virtuoso John Stowell, incuding  on 2016’s Basement Blues, which All About Jazz’s Dan McClenaghan calls “as compelling and modernistic and compelling as any group out there,” hailing Zilber as “soulful and flawless”. Their 2015 Origin Records recording Live Beauty, made DownBeat magazine’s “best of the year” list for 2015, as well as garnering rave reviews from JazzTimes and All About Jazz. This was a follow-up to the group’s Shot Through With Beauty, which NPR jazz critic Andrew Gilbert picked as a top 10 record of the year. On Turning Ten: The Billy Collins Project, providing musical settings for the American Poet Laureate’s poems, was hailed by famed jazz journalist Bill Milkowski as a “work of art of the highest order.”

Zilber’s  “Originals for the Originals” project, a 2017 Origin album release of the same name featuring high-profile sidemen Dave Kikoski, James Genus and Clarence Penn,  received numerous rave reviews, and, as ALL ABOUT JAZZ’s Paul Rauch opines “Originals For the Originals is a top 10 of 2017 candidate without a doubt.”  It was also a top 5 CD on KPFA’s year-end list.

His Jazz Orchestra release,  East West: Music for Big Bands was a double CD on Origin, released November 2019.  On  East West, his 12th CD as a leader, Zilber composed/arranged and led an ambitious, once-in-a-lifetime project with two all-star big bands – one in New York, the other in San Francisco.  As described by leading Jazz Journalist Andrew Gilbert, “East West – Music for Big Bands embraces multiplicity. It’s not either/or, it’s and/also. It’s beauty AND burn, intense swing AND sweet balladry, all united under Zilber’s commanding and ever-expanding creative purview.”

Starting in 2018, Zilber formed a bi-coastal group with legendary New York drumming great, Mike Clark.  In addition to prominent gigs at Kitano and Small’s in New York, as well as the San Jose and Monterey Jazz Festivals, SFJazz, the Bach Dynamite Club, and Kuumbwa (among other major venues), the co-leaders released Mike Drop on Sunnyside Records of New York in the Summer of 2021  The recording reached the top 10 on the national Jazzweek charts and was named one of Downbeat’s top CDs of the year.  As All About JAZZ raves, “A first encounter with saxophonist Michael Zilber in a live setting leaves a very large impression. Enshrouding the marvelous facility and deeply melodic approach to improvisation is “the sound” which allows the listener to receive the music in a soulful way. When that sound and imagination are driven by the post-bop mastery of drummer Mike Clark, illuminating things can and will take place.”

The Clark-Zilber quartet recently recorded new material in New York written and arranged by Zilber, set for an upcoming release on a major jazz label,  The group includes New York jazz masters Jon Davis on piano and Alexander Claffy on Bass,. The group performed this year at Small’s and Room 623 in Manhattan as well as Mr. Tipples and Bird and Beckett in San Francisco.

Zilber and his wife recently relocated to Los Angeles, where he is integrating into the LA jazz scene, and he now splits his musical time between there, San Francisco, and New York.


About Peter Horvath (piano/keyboards)

Peter Horvath is a Hungarian-born contemporary jazz pianist, keyboardist, and composer. He began taking classical piano lessons at the age of six and won the National Jazz Combo Competition in Hungary at 17. After attending the Vienna Conservatory of Music, he moved to the United States in 1983 to study at the Berklee College of Music. Since then, he has performed, recorded, and toured with a wide range of world-class artists, including Bobby Hutcherson, Joe Henderson, Eddie Henderson, Charles McPherson, Arturo Sandoval, Ledisi, and many others. Horvath currently teaches at the California Jazz Conservatory, Saint Mary’s College of California, and Stanford Jazz Consortium.

Horvath’s first solo recording, FOREIGN MATTER, was well received in the national contemporary jazz radio scene, and his latest album, ABSOLUTE REALITY, features acclaimed jazz musicians such as Bob Mintzer, Randy Brecker, and Lenny White. The album showcases Horvath’s original compositions that blend various styles, including funk jazz, Latin, and straight-ahead jazz, as well as mid-tempo tunes and ballads. Horvath’s music reflects the diversity of the Bay Area’s musical scene and his extensive touring and recording experience.


About Jason Lewis (drums)

Jason Lewis is a percussionist who graduated from San Jose State University’s classical percussion program under the direction of Tony Cirone of the San Francisco Symphony. He has taught privately in the Bay Area, coached at the Stanford Jazz Workshop, and performed clinics at schools in the San Jose area. Lewis has played with various musicians, including Gary Burton, James Moody, Larry Coryell, and Regina Carter. He has performed with the San Jose Symphony and the San Jose Civic Light Opera, and has toured and recorded with Boz Scaggs, Michael Brook, Djivan Gasparyan, Ann Dyer, and Taylor Eigsti. Lewis has also been featured on several recordings, TV shows, video games, and movie soundtracks.


About Jayla Chee (bass)

Jayla Chee, a San Francisco Bay Area native, began playing upright bass during her sophomore year of high school after previously playing the trumpet. She participated in programs such as the Monterey Jazz Festival’s Next Generation Jazz Orchestra, YoungArts, and Carnegie Hall’s National Youth Orchestra. Chee has played music internationally in Canada, Mexico, Brazil, China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong, as well as across the United States. She has performed with renowned artists such as Kurt Elling, Sean Jones, Wynton Marsalis, Derrick Hodge, Allison Miller, Randy Napoleon, Vince Lateano, Pasquale Grasso, and Andrew Speight. Currently, Chee is studying jazz bass performance with Gerald Cannon at The Juilliard School and divides her time between California and New York.