Mitglieder eines Orchesters sitzen mit ihren Instrumenten auf einer Treppe.

The College Jazz Orchestra

Students from all disciplines and semesters have one thing in common: the joy of making music together. Under the direction of Jochen Welsch, the College Jazz Orchestra creates a varied program consisting of Jazz, Funk, Blues, Pop, and Soul every semester. The big band was established at the University of Mannheim in 2010.

Since then, the College Jazz Orchestra has performed regularly at the opening of the university’s Schlossfest, has put on its own concert every semester, has played multiple times at “Jazz im Schloss” of the departmental student committee for Business Administration, and has given a charity concert for the “Renaissance 2.0” campaign.

But the College Jazz Orchestra is also growing in popularity outside the university. For example, it added to the opening night of the “Festival des deutschen Films” (German film festival) 2012 on the Parkinsel in Ludwigshafen.

  • Director of the College Jazz Orchestra: Jochen Welsch

    Jochen Welsch initially studied philosophy and journalism at the University of Karlsruhe, before he decided to study Jazz Trombone at the Nuremberg University of Music in 2001. In 2002, he transferred to the Mannheim University of Music and Performing Arts, where he additionally studied composition and arrangement with Prof. Jürgen Friedrich. He eventually completed his studies in the summer of 2007. Since then, he has been touring across Germany and abroad for various music and dance theater productions, and he has collaborated with Maria Schneider, Ed Partyka, Bobby Shew, mathias rüegg, Ack van Rooyen, Jiggs Whigham, Xavier Naidoo, Janice Dixon, Rüdiger Oppermann, Get Well Soon, Casper, Joris, Moop Mama, and more. In addition, Jochen Welsch can be heard in numerous radio programs of the BR, WDR, and SWR.

    He played in the Bundesjugend-Jazzorchester (Federal Youth Jazz Orchestra) under the direction of Peter Herbolzheimer. Today, he leads several big bands himself. Furthermore, he was in charge of establishing the big band of the school music department of the University of Music and Performing Arts Mannheim. He became a teacher there for combo and big band conducting in 2008, after having co-founded and developed the Jugendjazzorchester Karlsruhe.
    Jochen Welsch worked as a composer and arranger for the Würzburg Jazz Orchestra, Lucerne Jazz Orchestra, Thomas Siffling, TU Big Sound Project Darmstadt, SAP, Johannes Enders, and Ingolf Burkhardt, among others.
    In 2007, he founded the Mannheim Contemporary Composers Orchestra. Already in 2006, he started working with the Format Acht octet. Since 2009, he has been playing the sousaphone in the band Blassportgruppe.
    In 2010, he was entrusted with the establishment of a big band at the University of Mannheim. Since then, he has also been running various workshops. He regularly conducts and organizes concerts of the big band Kicks 'n Sticks in the Alte Feuerwache in Mannheim.
    Since 2018, he has been the musical director of the Rhein-Neckar Jazz Orchester and went on tours to Italy and Portugal. He also produced a CD as a cultural ambassador of the Rhein-Neckar-Kreis.

    Find out more about Jochen Welsch on his website.

  • Singer: Stefan Ebert

    The Mannheim singer Stefan Ebert has been part of the band from the beginning. With his music, the College Jazz Orchestra has developed its own concert program which premiered in spring 2019.

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