George Duke Legacy Project


Let's Make This Happen! 




In memory of the Symphonic Jazz Orchestra's co-music director, we have created the George Duke Legacy Project.

George Duke was a musical innovator, creator, and mentor to so many. His legacy as a recording artist is vast, from Cannonball Adderly to Jean-Luc Ponty, Frank Zappa to Michael Jackson, to over 40 recordings as a solo artist. Simply put, George forever changed the landscape of jazz, r&b, funk, pop and classical music.

For over nine years, George Duke served as co-music director of the Symphonic Jazz Orchestra. During his tenure, George appeared in numerous concerts and benefits as soloist with the SJO, and in 2011 composed a new concerto for bass soloist Christian McBride and the SJO.

The project will raise funds through an Indiegogo crowd sourcing campaign for the:

  • Recording of George Duke's "Bass Concerto" for Christian McBride & the 67-member Symphonic Jazz Orchestra
  • SJO's ongoing "Music in the Schools" residency programs in underserved communities throughout Southern California
  • Creation of the ASCAP/George Duke Commissioning Competition.

If you would prefer to make a tax-deductible contribution by writing a check: 

Please make it out to: SJO

Send it to:   SJO

                     PO Box 1421

                     Culver City, CA 90232


Symphonic Jazz Orchestra’s Featured School of the Month

Goethe International Charter School

The mission of Goethe International Charter School of Los Angeles (GICS) is to prepare children in grades K-5 for the global society in an educational environment that is small, academically rigorous and accountable. The school encourages its students to become knowledgeable, self-motivated, critically thinking people who respect, understand and can communicate with people from cultures different from their own. –

Goethe is a dual language school, students are taught in both German and English.


To the delight of students, parents, staff and the Symphonic Jazz Orchestra (SJO), we began our award winning Music in the Schools programming at Goethe in September. SJO Teaching Artists currently conduct weekly grade specific music workshops for Transitional Kindergarten (TK), Kindergarten, 1st, 2nd and 3rd grades. Programming for the 4th and 5th grade classes will begin in November.



Second grade students from the “Clown Fish & Trigger Fish” classrooms are pictured (above left) making music by using their bodies by following their Teaching Artist’s conducting movements to music being played. During this teaching session, students learned about the four different groups of instruments and discovered how vibration and movement are necessary to make music. Students from the 3rd grade “Tiger Sharks and Lion Fish” classrooms are pictured (above right) demonstrating this same principle.


First graders at Goethe began their learning of key music concepts recently and will be learning to read music by singing and glockenspiel (bell playing) in their classrooms throughout the school year.


TK and Kindergartners are busy learning basic music concepts, such as solfege, rhythm, and musical pitches on the staff through song, dance and instruction.


Click on the Music in the Schools at the top of this page for specific grade level workshop descriptions. To learn more about Goethe International Charter School click here. 


Play it Forward with Music & Golf

The 12th annual Unofficial golf tournament

will take place on

Friday November 7th 2014


10 am – 6pm (with an 11 am Shotgun start!)

at the

Knollwood Golf Club in Granada Hills 


The tournament will benefit the Symphonic Jazz Orchestra’s George Duke Legacy Project to continue and expand their Music in the Schools program. 


Playing style: Best Ball/Scramble for each foursome

 Special SJO tournament fees: (one player) $100 (foursome) $400 

Includes- green fees, cart, lunch and refreshments, range balls, and awards ceremony


  For more information and to register click here.


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Founded in 2001, the Symphonic Jazz Orchestra is a non-profit organization dedicated to perpetuating the uniquely American genre of symphonic jazz through its commissioning program, and inspiring the next generations of listeners through its “Music in the Schools” program, and Community Outreach Program.   Learn More