Charlie Young, coordinator of jazz studies at Howard University was recently named the artistic director and conductor of the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra (SJMO). He will assume the role in 2013 and replace jazz maestro David Nathaniel Baker Jr.
Young has been a member of the SJMO since 1995 and has served as the ensemble’s principal saxophonist for more than 15 years. He has been a member of the Duke Ellington Orchestra since 1988, serving as its conductor and is currently the lead saxophonist. Young and his jazz quintet presented the inaugural concert and lecture at the opening of the New American University in Cairo in 2008. His performing and recording career includes working with the National Symphony Orchestra, the U.S. Navy Band, the Count Basie Orchestra and the Seattle Symphony Orchestra. He has shared the concert stage with many of the music industry’s leading icons ranging from Clark Terry and Ella Fitzgerald to Stevie Wonder and Quincy Jones in venues ranging from London’s Royal Albert Hall to New York’s Carnegie Hall. He is also published on more than 30 recordings, including his latest release “So Long Ago.”
Young, a native of Norfolk, Va., studied at North Texas State University and earned his master’s degree from Howard University. He is a recognized clinician in the field of jazz education as well as classical and jazz saxophone performance.