December 15, 2021

Faculty Focus: Meet Ingrid Jensen, renowned trumpeter and Director of the MSM Jazz Arts Department

Ingrid Jensen speaks to us about teaching at MSM in Faculty Focus, our website series showcasing MSM faculty members.

A dedicated jazz educator and acclaimed performer, Associate Dean and Director of Jazz Arts Ingrid Jensen has been called one of the most gifted and in-demand trumpeters of her generation. In the decades following her graduation from Berklee College of Music in 1989, Ms. Jensen has collaborated with artists across genres, including Sarah McLachlan and Esperanza Spalding, and has performed alongside Corinne Bailey Rae on Saturday Night Live.

What is your teaching philosophy?

My teaching philosophy is based on uncovering and inspiring the characters and stories that my students bring to the table with both their developing voices and their individual musical toolkits.

Enhancing their perspectives and encouraging their directions while exploring all the elements of music that make them want to dig deeper and remain eternal students is my ultimate goal.

What do you enjoy most about teaching at MSM?

The high level of the students and the integrity they maintain while creating even better versions of their musical selves. They are all very honest players, deep thinkers, and extremely curious about everything music-related. Their focus is intense and I am constantly inspired by their hunger to learn and grow as they become the future of this music, shaking the direction of jazz and beyond into a fresh space of expression and global healing.

Which musicians inspire you the most?

I am inspired by the trailblazers, the originals. The musicians who clearly respect the paths that led them to find their own direction, but are fearless and daring enough to allow their true muse to flourish, thrive and keep them peeling away the layers of life that expose their true essence to us all.

Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Joni Mitchell, Kenny Wheeler, Prince, Stevie Wonder, Bjork, Ornette Coleman, Paul Bley, Carla Bley, Freddie Hubbard, Terri-Lyne Carrington, Geri Allen, my sister Christine! So many more….

What big projects is the Jazz department working on for this academic year?

We have a number of big projects coming up. We already launched a few this fall – which were amazing in their own right when I think back on our last year of near lockdown. It was a miracle that we got two concerts launched last year plus two combo fests! We will have four large ensemble events this spring: Celebrating Mary Lou Williams, John Beasley and the Bird, Monk, Duke and Chick Project, The Composers Concert and finally, Mingus!!

Can you tell us about any of the notable alumni of the MSM Jazz department?

There are too many to name! The ones who come to mind to me at this writing are Miho Hizama, Matt Holman (on faculty), Sherisse Rogers (on faculty), Ambrose Akinmusire, Jason Moran, Ron Carter (also on faculty) I’m missing so many but I was told to keep this short…my apologies amazing MSM grads!

What high-profile concerts coming up are featuring MSM Jazz students?

Both the John Beasley project and the Mingus project will be performed this spring at both MSM and Dizzies Club at Jazz at Lincoln Center. I’m looking forward to all of the events and our students and guest artists will undoubtedly be bringing a high level of music to both venues.

“Their [MSM Students’] focus is intense and I am constantly inspired by their hunger to learn and grow as they become the future of this music, shaking the direction of jazz and beyond into a fresh space of expression and global healing.”

Jazz Arts: Interim Associate Dean and Director, Trumpet