Women’s Jazz Leadership Initiative

The Jazz Institute of Chicago Women’s Jazz Leadership Initiative fosters a community of professional women musicians and female students in Chicagoland by focusing on dialog, connection, and musical exchange.


About the Program:


WJLI meets 1-2 times a month. This year, our meetings will include:


  • Discussions based on important topics relevant to today’s jazz scene in Chicago
  • Mentor led masterclasses and jam sessions. (Our mentors are professional women musicians in Chicago. Scroll down to see some of our past mentors.)
  • Free concerts at the Symphony Center, Logan Center for the Arts, or jazz club in Chicago. PLUS meet and greets with artists at some concerts.
  • Planning our annual “Women in Jazz” concert, to be held in March 2018. The participants in our program organize all aspects of this concert including production, marketing, volunteer management, and event support.  
  • Planning and participating in a mandatory Women’s Jazz Workshop Day in the spring of 2018.


We are pleased to provide accepted WJLI members a full scholarship for the program, making it free of charge to participate in this initiative.


Eligibility and Expectations:

  • Applications are open to all female high school and college students.
  • Members of the Women’s Jazz Leadership Initiative are also required to attend at least three of our jazz concert opportunities. In addition, it is mandatory that participants attend and assist in planning our annual Women in Jazz concert in March and out Women’s Jazz Workshop Day in April.
  • Accepted students must attend all WJLI events and meetings. More than 3 absences will result in removal from the program.


Our first meeting will be on Wednesday November 15th @ 6:00 PM at 410 S. Michigan Avenue Suite 500.


The schedule of events for the year will be released that evening.

To Apply:

Applications are due Nov. 1st 2017 by 11:59 PM.  Complete your application now

For questions and more information, contact Morgan Pirtle at morgan@jazzinchicago.org or by phone at 312-427-1676 x2.


“WJLI was an opportunity to network, be social, and resume build. I was able to accomplish all of that and more by joining this group. What is most valuable about this, though, is the knowledge and experience that I gained and will be able to apply to any endeavors of a similar nature in the future. This organization has directly impacted multiple facets of my life, and I can’t begin to explain how grateful I am for that.”

– Canisha, WJLI Member 2016-2017


Previous WJLI Mentors/Faculty

Click on the names of our WJLI mentors below to visit their websites.

Juli Wood, saxophone

Dee Alexander, voice

Audrey Morrison, trombone

Marlene Rosenberg, bass

Katie Ernst, bass




If you are a professional woman musician or woman in the music industry and you are interested in becoming a mentor for our program, please contact Morgan Pirtle at morgan@jazzinchicago.org for more information.


This program is supported by the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts, The Symphony Center, and the Edith Appleton Foundation.

Upcoming Women’s Jazz Leadership Initiative Events

See All Scheduled Events

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