UNO Jazz Combo & Big Band, Shangai Guests saxophonist Xiaolu Zhang & guitarist Xiongguan Zhang, Wednesday October 30, 2019

6:30pm-8:00pm Show | 90 minute performance | Doors open at 5pm |

Food and Beverages will be served from 5pm – 8:00pm


$5 valet at entrance of Marriott Downtown at the Capitol District, just mention you are attending The Jewell and they will provide a different color valet ticket.

$5 College Students, Tickets can be purchased on site when showing student I.D

Music at the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO)

The UNO School of Music is one of three academic units within the College of Communication, Fine Arts and Media. With a metropolitan mission of community engagement, music students are highly involved in performance and education throughout the Omaha community.

Students at UNO have performed with the Omaha Symphony, Opera Omaha, Omaha Performing Arts, Omaha Community Playhouse and a variety of arts venues throughout the city. Our international touring program has linked to the global community with students visiting Latvia, Austria, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Ireland, Japan, China, Lithuania, and Mexico—just to name a few! Based in a student-centered curriculum, we offer comprehensive undergraduate programs in music education, music performance, music technology and music entrepreneurship.

Students study on their applied instrument or voice with faculty members who have the expertise to provide students with a strong foundation of musicianship. Small class sizes and team-taught courses give students a lot of personal attention—attention that makes the difference for our students’ academic success. For non-majors, the school is a place for many to continue the enjoyment of music making.

Ensembles are open to both majors and non-majors and can provide non-major students with an outlet for creative expression and a place to make connections with other students. In addition to our numerous ensembles, courses in music appreciation, jazz studies, world music, rock history, and opera are all available for study. Whether you are seeking a degree in music or are interested in participating in a music course or ensemble, the UNO School of Music is an exciting place with many wonderful opportunities!

Jazz at the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO)

In addition to hosting the annual UNO Great Plains Jazz Festival, the UNO Jazz Ensemble makes regular appearances at nationally recognized jazz festivals and at state and regional conferences. UNO Jazz Ensembles and Combos have been selected multiple times by nationally competitive recorded audition processes to perform at premier festivals and conferences including the University of North Texas Jazz Festival, the Notre Dame Jazz Festival, the Midwest International Association for Jazz Education conference, and the North Central National Association for Music Education Conference. UNO Jazz Ensembles have toured Europe five times (2003, 2008, 2013, 2016, and 2019) with performances in Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, and Finland. UNO Jazz has also appeared in Asia five times (2010, 2012, 2015, 2017, and 2018) with performances in China, Japan, and South Korea. The UNO Jazz Ensemble has performed with many internationally renowned guest artists including Peter Erskine, Slide Hampton, Eric Marienthal, Jon Faddis, Randy Brecker, Diane Schuur, and many others.

University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) Jazz Combo I

UNO Jazz Combo I, under the direction of Dr. Darren Pettit, is a group comprised of the most talented jazz students from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. The group is a composer’s workshop and only performs original compositions or arrangements written by members of the ensemble. Jazz combo I has performed in Lithuania, Latvia, China, South Korea, and Japan, and has participated and won composition and improvisation awards at many national jazz festivals including the North Texas State Jazz Festival, the University of Northern Colorado Jazz Festival, the Kansas University Jazz Festival, the International Association of Jazz Educators Regional Conference in Chicago, and the Great Plains Jazz Festival. Jazz Combo I recently won the Omaha Performing Arts Combo Competition for the fourth year in a row, and as a result, they have had private masterclasses with and performed as the opening act for Terence Blanchard, Dee Dee Bridgewater, and The New Orleans Jazz Orchestra. The group has also participated in masterclasses and/or performed with Delfeayo Marsalis, Eric Marienthal, Donny McCaslin, David Benoit, Nathan East, Randy Brecker, James Carter, the San Francisco Jazz Collective, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Jon Faddis, Chris Potter, Chip McNeill, Dave Pietro, and Peter Erskine. Currently this group performs several times each semester in the Omaha area.

UNO Jazz Faculty Bios

Pete Madsen, trombonereceived a bachelor’s of science degree in music education from the University of Missouri, a master of music degree from Northern Illinois University, and a doctor of musical arts degree in trombone performance from the University of Illinois. Dr. Madsen’s duties at UNO include directing the jazz ensembles and jazz combos, coordinating the UNO Great Plains Jazz Festival, and the UNO Jazz Camp and teaching applied low brass, jazz survey, low brass ensemble, and improvisation. He has performed extensively in jazz, pop, and classical venues, having played with Bill Watrous, Pete Christlieb, Aretha Franklin, Frank Valli, the Jim Widner Big Band, the Omaha Big Band, the Nebraska Jazz Orchestra, the Omaha Jazz Orchestra, the Illinois Symphony, the Omaha Symphony, the Omaha Brass Ensemble, and the Missouri Symphony Society. Dr. Madsen is also in high demand as a guest artist/clinician and has performed and/or adjudicated throughout the United States and in Europe, Japan, and Brazil. As a member of the Continental Trombone Quartet, Dr. Madsen has performed and presented clinics at the Eastern Trombone Workshop, the Midwest Clinic, and the International Association for Jazz Education International Conference. The Continental Trombone Quartet has also performed in Spain, Mexico, Brazil, China, and Canada. Dr. Madsen is a Getzen Artist/Clinician.

Darren Pettit, saxophonereceived his bachelor’s degree in saxophone performance from the University of Nebraska at Omaha in 1995. While attending UNO, he was awarded the Presser Scholarship and the Dean’s Award from the College of Fine Arts. He then received a full scholarship to the University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music where he received a master’s degree in saxophone performance. Mr. Pettit performs regularly with the Omaha Symphony, the Omaha Community Playhouse, and the Las Vegas Lab Band. Currently, Dr. Pettit is the head of theory/composition at UNO where he teaches music theory, ear training, jazz arranging, and Combo 1. Under his direction UNO Combo 1 has performed in Colorado, Kansas, Iowa, Texas, Colorado, Latvia, China, Japan, and South Korea. He recently completed his Doctor of Musical Arts Degree in Jazz Studies/Composition from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln.


Xiaolu Zhang – Jazz Saxophone Teacher

Xiaolu Zhang – Shanghai Conservatory of Music Saxophone Teacher and Jazz Director

            Zhang Xiaolu is a performing saxophonist who teaches jazz history, basic theory, and saxophone at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music. He also plays clarinet. He has 20 saxophone students and 80 students who study introduction to jazz.  Some are composers, some are vocalists, and some are instrumentalists. He heard jazz for the first time around the age of five from his grandfather, also a saxophonist. In fact, all his uncles play the saxophone. According to Xiaolu, his grandfather, who passed away in 1986, played a kind of pop music, very old Shanghai pop music, probably the kind of music heard in the dancehalls popular in Shanghai in the 1920s and 1930s. When he was 10 years old Xiaolu’s father traveled to the United States and brought back “. . . something like Dixieland” and 33 rpm records. Although his father played the saxophone (and clarinet), he was not a professional musician. He was an acrobat/contortionist in a circus. Xiaolu studied at Boston University and took master classes in 2004 at Stanford where he worked with Dave Liebman. Xiaolu says about the attraction of jazz: “Actually, I play classical and jazz. I play all kinds of music. I like all kinds of jazz, from swing to funk. It’s the freedom in the jazz music. It’s not like orchestral music where you have to play exactly as the composer wished. But with jazz, it’s your music. You can play anyway you like.”

Xiongguan Zhang –  Jazz Guitar Teacher

            Xiongguan Zhang has been the jazz guitar teacher at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music in China since 2015. Originally from Nanjing, China, Xiongguan received his undergraduate degree from the Shanghai Conservatory before continuing his studies at the famed New England Conservatory of Music in Boston. He has established himself as one of the most progressive young jazz guitarists to emerge in recent years, building his reputation as a band leader, performer, and composer. Xiongguan has already released several albums as a leader, and he continues to perform across the world and throughout China in such prestigious venues as the House of Blues and Jazz in Shanghai, The Meeting Jazz Club in Xian, JZ Club in Guangzhou, and the Blue Note in Beijing.