The Conductor

Michael Van Allen 

Assistant Professor of Jazz Studies & Performance
Cox Hall, Rm. 121 | (585) 594-6299 
M.M. in Jazz Piano-Performance - New York University 
B.M. Music-Jazz Concentration - State University of New York, Binghamton 

A Rochester native, Mike Van Allen has been a Professor of Jazz Studies here at Roberts Wesleyan College since 2003 where he teaches courses in jazz theory/improvisation and history, as well as private lessons. He also directs the jazz combo and newly-formed jazz choir, which debuted at last year’s Christmas Gala concert. Mike earned his bachelor’s degree in music at Binghamton University in 1996 studying under jazz director Al Hamme, and his Masters in Jazz Piano Performance at New York University in 1999. His principal teacher at NYU was Grammy winning arranger and composer Jim McNeely, pianist for the world renowned Village Vanguard Orchestra. Other teachers that Mike worked with at NYU include such jazz greats as pianists Mike Holober, Don Friedman, Ted Rosenthal, Michael Weiss, and Pete Malinverni, bassists Ron McClure and Mike Richmond, and saxophonists Ralph LaLamma and Jon Gunther. After grad school, Mike spent a year honing his piano skills while performing on a cruise ship for Celebrity Cruises. Upon returning to NYC, he formed his own jazz quintet which recorded an album in 2001 and was performed live on Rochester’s jazz radio station, 90.1fm. During this time Mike also began directing and arranging for a cappella groups, winning national awards for best arrangement of a song in 2002 and runner-up for best collegiate arranged album in 1999, the Binghamton Crosbys’ “Super Bo’s”. Currently, Mike performs frequently around the Rochester area playing both piano and/or bass with such groups as the Rodger Eckers quartet, the Brad Batz group, Fishbone Soup, and a jazz fusion project.

MUS 330 Jazz Theory/Improvisation
MUS 266 Jazz Combo 
MUS 1021 Jazz Improvisation 
MUS 120 Jazz History
Roberts Vocal Jazz Ensemble