About Us

Debuting in 2002, the 68-member Symphonic Jazz Orchestra (SJO) is a unique hybrid ensemble dedicated to blending the worlds of jazz and classical music. The ensemble has performed throughout Southern California at such venues as the Richard & Karen Carpenter Performing Arts Center, Royce Hall (UCLA), Walt Disney Theater (CalArts) and Marsee Auditorium.

Soloists joining the Symphonic Jazz Orchestra have included Grammy Award winning performers including George Duke, Dave Grusin, Christian McBride, Raul Midon, Jane Monheit, Lee Ritenour, Chris Brubeck, Luciana Souza, Ernie Watts, The Yellowjackets and Miguel Zenon. The SJO’s acclaimed recording “Looking Forward, Looking Back” includes two commissioned works by George Duke and Lee Ritenour, along with George Gershwin’s classic “Rhapsody in Blue.” Hosted by SJO music director Mitch Glickman, the SJO’s radio series “Beyond Symphonic Jazz” on America’s #1 jazz station KJAZZ 88.1 FM, reaches an international audience each week. The orchestra’s commissioning program has resulted in eighteen newly commissioned works from both established and emerging composers from across the country.


Mitch Glickman

Music Director and SJO Founder

Award-winning composer, producer and conductor, Mitch Glickman’s diverse career covers the fields of film, television, opera, theater and recordings. Glickman founded the Symphonic Jazz Orchestra in 2001, and formerly served as Associate Music Director of the American Jazz Philharmonic, created by composer/conductor Jack Elliott.


As a concert composer, Glickman’s concert works have been commissioned and premiered by a wide range of leading American ensembles including the Symphonic Jazz Orchestra, American Jazz Philharmonic, Henry Mancini Institute Orchestra, Oberlin Orchestra, Third Wheel, Turtle Island String Quartet, and the Angel City Chorale. Glickman’s choral, chamber and symphonic works have been performed in concert halls across the country including Royce Hall, Ford Amphitheater, Walt Disney Theater at CalArts, Cerritos Center for the Arts, and Broward County Performing Arts Center. His works have been supported by grants from the Center for Cultural Innovation, American Music Center, Seaver Institute, and other leading foundations.  Glickman’s composition “Blues & Fuguette” was one of the three winners of the American Composers Forum – L.A. Chamber Music competition.

Glickman’s film and television composing and arranging credits include the acclaimed, independent films “Street of Pain” starring Steve Carell and “Proudheart” starring Lorrie Morgan, along with such television series as “Cheers,” “Life Goes On,” “Night Court,” “Grammy Living Legends” and the annual “Grammy Awards” telecast. He has also worked as music production supervisor for the Emmy Award winning dramas, “Picket Fences” and “The Practice.” He has composed and arranged music for a broad range of commercials including Lexus, Prodigy, Coca-Cola, Fox Sports, and Life Cereal. As a vocal arranger, Glickman has written for such diverse singers as Kurt Elling, Barry Manilow, Luciana Souza, Leon Redbone, Raul Midon and Phil Perry.

Glickman has conducted numerous concerts across the country featuring legendary jazz artists Ray Brown, Bud Shank, Christian McBride, Dave Grusin, Luciana Souza, Phil Woods, and The Yellowjackets, and has led such diverse ensembles as the American Jazz Philharmonic, United Kingdom Symphony Orchestra and the South Florida Youth Orchestra. He also served as Assistant Musical Director of the New York Lyric Opera’s production of Monteverdi’s opera “Coronation of Poppea.”

Glickman has produced a number of Grammy nominated recordings including The Bud Shank Sextet Salutes Harold Arlen, Young Musicians Debut Orchestra with conductor Lalo Shifrin, Guido Basso, American Jazz Philharmonic, as well as the Symphonic Jazz Orchestra’s debut recording on Mack Avenue Records. He has produced over 1,000 concerts across the country in his 30+-year career, ranging from an orchestral concert at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, to national concert tours featuring such artists as Ray Charles, Stan Getz, David Benoit and Dionne Warwick, to jazz and Latin series throughout Southern California.

As an educator, he leads assemblies, master classes and workshops across the country, and was a teaching artist for the Los Angeles Music Center’s Educational Division and M.I.N.D. Institute. Glickman also serves as Director of Music Programs for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) and produces and hosts the weekly radio series “Jazz at LACMA” heard every Sunday evening on KJazz FM radio. He is a graduate of the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and studied at the Schoenberg Institute in Vienna.

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Alex Dilks Pandola

Development Manager

Alex Dilks Pandola founded Green Light Productions where she produced numerous plays and films written and directed exclusively by women. Alex has worked extensively as a producer and fundraiser with nonprofits including: The GRAMMY Foundation & MusiCares, The Los Angeles Youth Orchestra and The Debbie Allen Dance Academy,


where she produced Debbie Allen’s “Hot Chocolate Nutcracker” and worked on the touring production of “FREEZE FRAME: Stop the Music.” As a nonprofit specialist, Alex has helped organizations win grant awards from The National Endowment of the Arts, The Los Angeles County Arts Commission, The Ahmanson Foundation, The Ralph M. Parsons Foundation and The Annenberg Foundation, to name a few. She received her BA from American University in Theatre and her MFA from Columbia University in Theatre Management and Producing. 

Stacey Wiren

Outreach Manager

Stacey brings a unique mixture of experience working in non-profit organizations and schools.  She organized a fundraising event for Habitat For Humanity Greater Los Angeles in which 60 students practiced yoga for 24 hours. She also spent time as a Charity Fundraiser/Recruiter for the London based company, Pell and Bales,


where she secured donations from corporate and individual sponsors for various charities including the Red Cross. During her 8 years as a Behavioral Aide for children with autism spectrum disorder, she worked one on one with children in schools across the L.A. area. She created programs to facilitate social interaction and used behavioral intervention techniques to assist children ages 3-16. She has seen firsthand the need for arts education and is passionate about SJO’s mission to bring music programs into underserved schools.

Jill Sowell for Staff Pages



Program Coordinator

Jill Sowell has a background in television writing, as an executive story editor for ABC Family’s “Lincoln Heights” and as a staff writer for the CW’s “One Tree Hill.” She has volunteered and taught for several programs with a focus in education. She is the co-chair for ¡Hola Zorros!, the extra-curricular Spanish Program at Farragut Elementary School in Culver City,


overseeing program operations, writing curriculum, teacher training and teaching for the program as well. Jill spent five years teaching writing to at risk and incarcerated youth for InsideOUT Writers in Los Angeles County juvenile halls, at Tarzana Treatment Center and at Virgil Middle School, as well as editing newsletters of the students’ work for the program. Jill graduated from Brown University with dual majors in Theatre Arts and American Civilization.

Our Boards

Board of Directors

Steve Bland

Mark Eisenberg

Anne Finestone

Kerri Glickman

Mitch Glickman

Jan Glusac

Jinko Gotoh

Vinita Khilnani

Christopher Kronick

Jill Lawrence

Joseph Lewczak

Vicki Rice


Merle Kreibich

Dr. Peter Pelikan

Cindy Ruth

Steve Ruth

Music Advisory Board

Billy Childs

John Clayton

Joseph Conlan

Rashid Duke

Peter Erskine

Mitch Glickman

Ruth Cameron Haden

Eddie Karam

Christian McBride

Bob Mintzer

Ernie Watts


Remembering George Duke

George served as Co-Music Director of Symphonic Jazz Orchestra for nearly ten years,
performing in concert with the orchestra, performing benefits, as well as composing a
new work for the SJO, “Dark Wood: Duke Bass Concerto for McBride.”

Following his passing in 2013, the SJO set out to record his 22-minute epic concerto featuring bassist Christian McBride performing on upright, electric and fretless bass. The CD is available by clicking here.

Music Director Mitch Glickman remembers, “George was so incredibly multi-
faceted. Brilliant recording artist, gifted producer, outstanding composer/arranger – but
what made him so unique is that his talents crossed so many genres. Most people don’t
know about his Gershwin recording, or his orchestral work for the Montreux Jazz
Festival “Muir Woods Suite” or his concerto written for Christian McBride and the
Symphonic Jazz Orchestra.”

“There are so very few George Dukes in the world. An amazingly giving, warm, open,
and positive person. Beyond his extraordinary talents was an even more extraordinary person. We have lost a very special soul.”

To learn more about George and his discography, please visit GeorgeDuke.com