Walter Smith III, Melissa Aldana headline 57th Annual Reno Jazz Festival

Three-day festival to draw more than 10,000 people to University of Nevada, Reno

Chilean tenor saxophonist Melissa Aldana will headline the three-day Reno Jazz Festival from April 25-27.

Melissa Aldana

The 2019 Reno Jazz Festival will feature performances by composer and tenor saxophonist Walter Smith III and Chilean tenor saxophonist Melissa Aldana during the three-day jazz festival.

In addition to evening concerts featuring internationally acclaimed artists, the 57th annual Reno Jazz Festival offers daytime competitions, workshops, performances and clinics by dozens of professional jazz artists and adjudicators for more than 10,000 young jazz musicians and attendees. The three-day festival culminates in a festival showcase concert and awards ceremony to honor the best and brightest young standouts.

Reno Jazz Festival line-up:

  • Thursday, April 25 at 7:30 p.m.: Co-sponsored with the Performing Arts Series, Walter Smith III and The Collective will kick off the Reno Jazz Festival in the University of Nevada, Reno Nightingale Concert Hall. Smith is one of the most identifiable voices in contemporary jazz. He is widely recognized as an adept performer, accomplished composer and inspired educator. Smith released his fifth album, TWIO, in 2018 with his longtime trio of Harish Raghavan and Eric Harland including guest appearances by Christian McBride and Joshua Redman.
    Tickets: Adult, $29; senior, $24; University faculty/staff and For the Love of Jazz members, $24; youth/student, $15; University student with ID, $5 (tickets must be purchased in person at the Lawlor Events Center Ticket Office)
  • Friday, April 26 at 7:30 p.m.: Chilean tenor saxophonist Melissa Aldana will perform alongside bassist Pablo Menares, pianist Sam Harris and drummer Jimmy MacBride in Lawlor Events Center. Coming for from a famed lineage of saxophonists, including Kilo and Marcus Aldana, she was inspired from a young age by the instrument and still performs with her grandfather's the Selmer Mark VI, to this day. In 2007, she moved to the United States to study at the Berklee College of Music. She became the first female instrumentalist and the first South American to win the Thelonious Monk competition. Aldana is also a recipient of the Martin E. Segal Award from Jazz at Lincoln Center and a double recipient of the Altazor Award, Chile's highly prestigious national art prize.
    Tickets: Adult, $29; senior, $24; University faculty/staff and For the Love of Jazz members, $24; youth/student, $15
  • Saturday, April 27 at 6:30 p.m.: The Reno Jazz Festival concludes with the Showcase and Awards Ceremony in Lawlor Events Center.
    Tickets: Adult, $18; University faculty/staff and For the Love of Jazz members, $15; youth/student, $11

The Reno Jazz Festival has a rich tradition of hosting jazz superstars and the finest jazz students, educators and professional musicians in the nation since 1962. Over the past 57 years, the festival has grown considerably in size and stature and is now one of the largest events of its kind in the United States.

Full-day festival passes

Single-day, two-day, and the premier three-day Jazz Fan Pass include day and evening access to festival events, clinics and concerts. Jazz Fan Passes include premier seating for performances in Lawlor Events Center. Passes range from $15-$80. Purchase online through Wednesday, April 24 at or in person at the festival.

Evening festival concert tickets

To purchase tickets to the evening events only contact the Lawlor ticket office at 775-784-4444 or purchase online at

For more information, contact the University of Nevada, Reno School of the Arts at 775-784-4278. For more information about volunteering at the Reno Jazz Festival, please email, or register at

    The Performing Arts Series and the Reno Jazz Festival are presented by the University of Nevada, Reno School of the Arts. The School of the Arts embraces its role as a vibrant center for arts and culture in northern Nevada. Its degree programs provide a strong foundation in a range of artistic disciplines, enabling students to contribute as artists, educators and scholars at the local level and beyond. The School, as part of the College of Liberal Arts, also supports and encourages the research, innovation, and the artistic endeavors of its faculty. The school encourages broad campus and community participation in the arts through its numerous performances, lectures, shows, core courses and outreach activities that explore diverse cultures and encourage lifelong learning.

    The University of Nevada, Reno Jazz Festival and Performing Arts Series receive financial support from the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency; the Nevada Arts Council, a state agency; the City of Reno; the Edna B. & Bruno Benna Foundation; the United States Marine Corps; the University of Nevada, Reno; the University of Nevada, Reno Graduate Student Association; and the Associated Students of the University of Nevada, Reno and additional support from The Row, Eldorado Resorts; CLM Design; Steinway and Sons of Reno.

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