The Northern Illinois University School of Music formed the Liberace Jazztet in August 2001 upon receiving a generous grant from the Liberace Foundation for the Performing and Creative Arts. This support was renewed annually until 2010. It now receives annual funding from the Rosebud Foundation, and was renamed the NIU Rosebud Jazztet in 2011. This group is comprised of senior/graduate level students in the NIU School of Music, and the individual students are recognized as “Jazztet Scholars.” The Jazztet is a perfect complement to an outstanding jazz program that is coordinated by internationally renowned jazz educator Reggie Thomas. The NIU graduate jazz studies program has been recognized by U.S. News and World Reportas one of the ten best in the nation.
The NIU Jazztet has performed by invitation at the world’s first venue designed specifically for the acoustics of jazz, Jazz at Lincoln Center (Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola) (March 2005, & June 2008 ). The Jazztet has also performed at the Elmhurst College Jazz Festival, as one of 39 ensembles from six states, and they were chosen as one of the three “Outstanding” ensembles to perform on the final Awards/Showcase Concert for seven consecutive years. Additional invited performances by the NIU Jazztet include the Iowa City Jazz Festival (July 2006), the Festival Jazz en Lima in Peru (April 2004, 2009), JVC Jazz Festival in New York City (June 2003 & 2008); 2008 Clark Terry Jazz Festival in Pine Bluff Arkansas, the International Association of Jazz Educators Conference in Toronto (January 2003), the Bogota Colombia Jazz Festival in September 2009, and the Detroit Jazz Festival in 2011. In its years of existence, the NIU Jazztet will have completed invited performances in Illinois, Missouri, California, New York, Canada, Peru, and Colombia. The NIU Jazztet released four CD recordings under former NIU Jazz Studies coordinator Ronald Carter, who served as producer of the recording and mentor to the performers.