Chicago Jazz Philharmonic

America's definitive third stream orchestra

aka Chicago Jazz Philharmonic   |   Chicago, IL   |


Chicago Jazz Philharmonic unites jazz, classical, and other genres to create a new, evolved, “third stream” sound. On stage and in classrooms, CJP develops audiences and cultivates musicians, from school age to adulthood, locally and globally.

Ruling year info


Principal Officer

Mrs. Rhapsody Snyder

Founding Artistic Director

Mr. Orbert Davis

Main address

1111 N Wells St, STE 501

Chicago, IL 60610 USA

Show more contact info

Formerly known as

MusicAlive! NFP



NTEE code info

Symphony Orchestras (A69)

Arts Education/Schools (A25)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Sign in or create an account to view Form(s) 990 for 2023, 2022 and 2021.
Register now


Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Recognizing that jazz and classical genres are often disconnected from each other (in performances, audiences, education), Chicago Jazz Philharmonic seeks to ‘bridge the gap’ between traditional understanding of jazz and classical genres and performance. Through the process of creating, performing, and educating with Third Stream repertoire creative practice is expanded, cultural connections are made and new artistic pathways are forged.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Concert Performances

Since its groundbreaking debut as the headliner of the 2004 Chicago Jazz Festival, the orchestra has delivered stellar performances at the Auditorium Theater and Millenium Park, as part of the Made In Chicago Jazz Concert Series. Each concert has CHICAGO (performers) JAZZ (composition) PHILHARMONIC (in a classical concerto setting) presenting a repertoire full of world premiere works that bridge the jazz and classical divide.

Population(s) Served
Artists and performers

Education is a central and imperative piece of the Chicago Jazz Philharmonic. Its programs reflect its commitment to education not only as a tool to generate future musicians and concert audiences, but also in and of itself, the value of arts-integrated education. The Chicago Jazz Philharmonic prides itself on being an orchestra that developed from its education programming (formerly, MusicAlive! NFP) and is committed to serving and providing the community with as many opportunities as possible.

The mission of the CJP’s Jazz Alive program is to institute music learning at the beginning of a student’s formal education by providing a linear track of music instruction and enrichment from kindergarten through college, following each student through this progression. This initiative utilizes the ‘feeder school’ concept, where elementary and middle school students continue on a music track into an associated high school.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
Economically disadvantaged people

Jazz Academy is an out-of-school community music program that invites young musicians from all across the Chicago metropolitan area and beyond to participate in a two week intensive summer camp and/or a Saturday program during the school year. The Jazz Academy is an inclusive program where students are welcomed at any level and teachers work to meet their individual needs.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people

Where we work


Professional Orchestra of the Year 2023

Illinois Council of Orchestras

External assessments

Evaluated via the Impact Genome Project (2018)

Affiliations & memberships

League of American Orchestras 2010

International Association for Jazz Education 2004

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of students enrolled

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Preteens, Children, Adolescents

Related Program

Jazz Alive

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

What began as Orbert Davis’ dream for a symphonic orchestra capable of blending the best of jazz and classical music, has become a metaphor and artistic vehicle for the merging of so much more, locally and worldwide. Needs being addressed by CJP performance and education programs include:

1) Providing access to quality performance and education programs: CJP programs are intentionally mounted in areas of cultural and socio-economic need. While some performances may take place downtown at major cultural venues, others are programmed in community venues throughout the Chicagoland area. Education programs target schools and communities with little to no music programs and ensure there is no financial barrier to access.

2) Developing and diversifying audiences: the experience of being a CJP audience member is incomparable to purely jazz or classical experiences. Chicago Jazz Philharmonic concert-goers blend these disparate audiences, and come from diverse communities, ethnicities, multi-generational ages, and socio-economic status – representing the depth and breadth of our cities’ peoples.

3) Cultivating well-rounded musicians: CJP is cultivating a new movement and generation of musicians that can perform fluently across various genres, breaking down barriers in higher education institutions, and connecting players that would not ever otherwise had the opportunity to collaborate and perform together.

Performance Programs: In ensembles ranging from the full 60-piece orchestra to the double quartet, Chicago Jazz Philharmonic performs a wide repertoire combining jazz and classical idioms in original arrangements and world premieres. In general, artistic programming has consistent elements of CHICAGO (performers) JAZZ (composition) PHILHARMONIC (in a classical concerto setting). Opportunities for new cross-genre collaborations are continually sought to uphold qualities of innovation and diversity in the repertoire.

Education Programs: Chicago Jazz Philharmonic’s approach to music education is to holistically develop a successful student – with the aim of setting our students up for success whether in music, in school, another passion, and life in general. With a philosophy of “meeting students where they are” CJP’s education programs have a wide spectrum of impact - to teach important life skills, combat student attrition, or perhaps earn a seat in the CJP orchestra.

International Residencies: Chicago Jazz Philharmonic travels 3-5 of its core musicians, under the direction of Orbert Davis, and partners with local resident orchestras (university or professional level) to engage in 3-5 days of workshops, rehearsals, and culminating performance. This program seeks to build a global orchestra based upon bilateral exchange and deep cooperation. This program has taken place in Louisville, KY (2009), Poland (2009 and 2014), Cuba (2014), and Bulgaria (2016).

Chicago Jazz Philharmonic is currently operated by a 7-member staff, 9-member Board of Directors and 20-member Advisory Board. Staff leadership is comprised of Executive Director Rhapsody Snyder, working alongside two Co-Founders – Artistic Director Orbert Davis, and Producing Director Mark Ingram. Day-to-day operations are carried out by a Development Manager, an Education Programs Manager, a Communications Coordinator, and a Program Assistant.

The Chicago Jazz Philharmonic’s arsenal of 60 musicians are drawn from a wealth of Chicago area talent. Between the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Sinfonietta, and first-rate jazz musicians here, it is no wonder that orchestra members recount their CJP performances combining jazz and classical languages, as “unlike anything [they] have ever experienced playing.” Orchestra musicians are recruited first for their internal diversity, that is, their ability to play across various genres and musical languages. This, in turn, has created an orchestra that, as a whole, is externally diverse.

The Chicago Jazz Philharmonic’s education programs have given professional artists an opportunity to inspire, teach, and mentor Chicago Public School students, not to mention serve as an additional source of steady income. Apart from participating in school-wide assemblies, several orchestra musicians also undergo intensive training from CJP staff to become teaching mentors for our “Jazz Alive” education programs. Teaching artists receive continuing professional development in pedagogy, classroom management, and curriculum training throughout the year. Currently, the Jazz Alive program regularly contracts with approximately 20 teaching artists (15 of whom are also orchestra musicians).

The organization’s achievements were recognized with the prestigious 2016 MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions. In addition to being able to establish a stable operating reserve, this funding enabled the organization to develop a comprehensive 5-year strategic plan, currently on-track in implementation. An overarching directive of the organization’s strategic plan is to employ CJP’s “Change Narrative” to inform its artistic planning and it has been a decisive factor in shaping our programming on the stage and in the classroom ever since.

As CJP enters its second decade, our dreams include expanding and deepening international partnerships, strengthening ties with local Chicago communities through performance and education programs that reflect the particular needs of our home city, and establishing a physical facility that will house rehearsal space, music instruction, and practice studios, to attract cross-genre music learners of all ages and levels.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on demographics (e.g., race, age, gender, etc.), We look for patterns in feedback based on people’s interactions with us (e.g., site, frequency of service, etc.), We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive, We share the feedback we received with the people we serve, We tell the people who gave us feedback how we acted on their feedback

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback, It is difficult to find the ongoing funding to support feedback collection, Staff find it hard to prioritize feedback collection and review due to lack of time, It is hard to come up with good questions to ask people


Chicago Jazz Philharmonic

Unlock financial insights by subscribing to our monthly plan.


Unlock nonprofit financial insights that will help you make more informed decisions. Try our monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights?
Learn more about GuideStar Pro.


The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.


Connect with nonprofit leaders


Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.


Connect with nonprofit leaders


Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

Chicago Jazz Philharmonic

Board of directors
as of 08/22/2023
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Ms. Lesley Picchietti

Inspire Bliss Coaching and Consulting

Mark Ingram

Discover Music: Discover Life, Inc.

Orbert Davis

Chicago Jazz Philharmonic

Lesley Picchietti

Inspire Bliss Coaching and Consulting

Elizabeth Saunders

Clermont Partners

Mark Moultrie, Jr.

BMO Harris Bank

Andy Chidester

Metolious Partners

Pablo Sampaio

PMG Financial

Michael Hora

Laughing Acres Family Foundation

Broderick Lewis

Tyson Foods

Richard Parrott IV

Global Money World

Jasmine Primm

Home Chef

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 8/22/2023

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

The organization's co-leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Black/African American
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

Transgender Identity

Sexual orientation


We do not display disability information for organizations with fewer than 15 staff.

Equity strategies

Last updated: 08/22/2023

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We disaggregate data by demographics, including race, in every policy and program measured.
Policies and processes
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.