John Daversa

Title/Position: Assistant Professor of Music, Chair, Department of Studio Music and Jazz


Why did you choose music as your career?

Since I can remember, I have been deeply passionate and moved by music. I think, feel, and hear music from the moment I wake up until I go to sleep; it fuels me. For me, life is too precious a gift to pursue anything else. There is no plan “B”.

Finish the statement, “Music is…”

expression of the human experience through sound.

What do you hope to pass on to students at Frost?

Every human being is exquisitely unique, possessing infinite pathways of success. Aim to approach every task and every moment with immense excitement, creativity, joy, humility, integrity, gratitude, without expectation and watch what happens. What you want for yourself, give freely to others. Our musicianship is simply an extension and expression of our level of consciousness.

What would a prospective student be surprised to learn about you?

I love Rock, Pop, Country, Hip-hop, Soul, & Gospel music!

What is your favorite quote ABOUT you?

“Studying with John Daversa is like jumping into the ocean; it’s completely open, renewing, and the depths of the experience can be endless.  Every encounter I have with John is one that leaves me feeling as if I have re-realized my path and know how to take advantage of the detours. I am constantly learning from John’s concepts and his music. He doesn’t just teach his students how to become better musicians, but how to be honest and expressive artists and happier human beings.”
~Sam Wilkes

John Daversa is Chair of Studio Music and Jazz at the Frost of Music as well as an internationally respected performer, composer, arranger, producer, bandleader, educator, and Schilke and BFM Jazz recording artist. In December 2016, John Daversa’s Kaleidoscope Eyes: Music of The Beatles, was nominated for three GRAMMY® awards: Best Large Jazz Ensemble, Best Arrangement, Instrument or A Capella (Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds), and Best Arrangement, Instruments and Vocals (Do You Want To Know A Secret).

Daversa’s celebrated career has included appearances on “The Today Show,” “Late Night with David Letterman,” “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” as well as such gatherings as Live 8 in Berlin, the Hamburg Music Festival, the Java Jazz Festival, the Monterey Jazz Festival, the Montreal Jazz Festival, the Montreux Festival, and the Playboy Jazz Festival. He has recorded with such notable and distinguished artists as Herbie Hancock, Fiona Apple, Michael Bublé, Sheryl Crow, Caymi, Andraé Crouch, the Bob Mintzer Big Band, and The Yellowjackets.

In 1996, Daversa founded the John Daversa Progressive Big Band, an influential jazz ensemble of considerable distinction. Their 2011 album Junk Wagon: The Big Band Album won Best in Show and Awards of Excellence in creativity, originality and
production from The Global Music Awards. described it as “Daversa’s fearless exploration…takes him off the beaten path, as he creates bold and ballsy big band music for the modern epoch.”

Daversa’s latest big band release, 2016’s, Kaleidoscope Eyes: Music of the Beatles reverently puts a distinctive twist on the iconic Beatles songbook by combining a 40 piece orchestra with vocals by Renee Olstead and Katisse Buckingham.
The album has been recognized with six Gold Medals from the 2016 Global Music Awards. “This is art,” said jazz legend Terence Blanchard. “This is what music should be. No recreation. No mimicking. Just honesty—Fearless honesty.”

In addition to his other accolades, Mr. Daversa is a recipient of the Herb Alpert Award, the David Joel Miller Award, the National Trumpet Competition, the ITG Jazz Soloist Competition, and a finalist in the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition.

Daversa earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Music from The University of California, Los Angeles, a Master of Fine Arts degree in Jazz Studies at California Institute of the Arts, and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Jazz Studies at the University of Southern California. He previously taught at both USC and California State University Northridge, California. He endorses Schilke Music Products

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Contact Information:

  • John Daversa
  • Phone: 305 284-4012
  • Email: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
  • Office Location: PLF North 319

Mailing Address:

  • Frost School of Music
  • P.O. Box 248165
  • Coral Gables, FL 33124-7610

Courier Address:

  • Frost School of Music
  • Patricia Louise Frost Music Studios North
  • 5499 San Amaro Drive
  • P.L.F North 319
  • Coral Gables, FL 33146