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The Youth Jazz Orchestra faculty are all professional jazz musicians and experienced educators with individual expertise on saxophones, trumpet, trombone, percussion, bass, and piano. Here are some details on each of the instructors.


Diego Rivera: Director, Saxophone Instructor

A world-class musician, composer, arranger and educator, Diego Rivera has entertained audiences for over 20 years. He currently serves as the Director of Jazz Studies at the Butler School of Music, University of Texas at Austin.

Rivera was born in Ann Arbor, MI and raised ‘just up the road’ in East Lansing, MI. He attended Michigan State University where he studied with Branford Marsalis, Andrew Speight, Ron Blake and Rodney Whitaker. In 1999, he began his professional and touring career with the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra on their Big Band ‘99 tour. Since that maiden voyage, he has performed concerts at the most prestigious venues and festivals across the United States, Canada, Europe and Asia.

A passionate educator Rivera has presented masterclasses at schools and universities both in the United States and abroad. In 2019 he was awarded the Dortha J. and John D. Withrow Teaching Award, Michigan State University’s highest honor for excellence in teaching and scholarly achievement at the College of Music. He has years of experience involved with multiple youth jazz initiatives and many of his ensembles and students under his direction have won awards and recognitions at jazz events and festivals.


Paul Deemer: Trombone

Paul Deemer is an adjunct professor, clinician, and lecturer of Jazz Trombone at The University of Texas at Austin and Texas State University. Paul also holds a Master’s degree in Studio Music and Jazz from the Frost School of Music in Miami, Florida. Paul has toured in over 7 different countries and recorded on over 50 albums and can be seen performing in the Austin area with his bands Dreemr and the Paul Deemer Quintet.

Paul has performed with Gary Clark Jr., Calexico, Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, Jackie Venson, Robert “Sput” Searight’s (Snarky Puppy) the Sput and Nate show, the Walkmen, and the Grooveline Horn section for The Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band.

He was featured as the guest artist and clinician with the University of Arizona Concert Jazz Band for the Arizona Jazz Festival and has been a featured performer TMEA convention in San Antonio and at the American Trombone Workshop. He had the honor of conducting one of the Region 26 jazz bands in Austin and has given a masterclass at the renowned Booker T. Washington High School of Performing Arts in Dallas. Paul teaches and gives clinics throughout the state of Texas.


Adam Jackson: Percussion

Adam Jackson is a Lecturer in Jazz Drum Set at The Butler School, University of Texas, Austin.

Adam is a dynamic and versatile drummer. He began his musical journey in church at the young age of 8 and began seriously pursuing percussion after learning to play Jazz in middle and high school. At age 18, Jackson moved to New York City where he attended The New School and became a sought-after musician. He has had the pleasure of working with many great artists such as Billy Harper Quintet, Jose James, Takuya Kuroda, Bilal Laura Izibor and Emily King. New to Austin, Jackson is excited to be joining a new, amazing music community. Since relocating he has shared the stage with some of Austin's finest like Dale Watson, Red Young, Ephriam Owens, Elias Haslanger, Mike Sailors, Bruce Saunders Quartet, James Robinson, BLK ODYSSY, and Harry Edohoukwa.

“I am most looking forward to connecting with each drum student,” Jackson said. “I fully intend to do all I can to help them reach their personal goals and share my professional knowledge. Growing with each student will be a very special process.”

“The thing I enjoy most about teaching and working with students is helping them realize their potential,” Jackson said. “Showing them how to do things the right way through application so they can take the lessons they learn and use them in a real-world setting.”


Ross Margitza: Piano

Dr. Ross Margitza is a pianist, trumpeter, composer, arranger, and educator. As a young musician, he studied with his father and grandfather, who were professional pianists in the city of Detroit, Michigan. Ross started playing piano at six years old and trumpet at age ten. He decided he wanted to become a jazz musician after listening to the recording “West Side Story,” by pianist Oscar Peterson.

Ross received his Bachelor of Music from Michigan State University, his Master in Music from Northern Illinois University, and his Doctorate of Musical Arts from the University of Texas at Austin. He performed with musicians such as Russell Malone, Jon Faddis, Phil Woods, Gerald Wilson, Patti Austin, Wess Anderson, Roy McCurdy, Antonio Hart, Lynn Roberts, and Christian McBride. He also performed with the Gerald Wilson Orchestra, Detroit Jazz Orchestra, Glenn Miller Orchestra and Tommy Dorsey Orchestra. In 2009, Dr. Margitza placed second and won the audience favorite award in the Phillips Jazz Piano Competition. He currently resides in Austin, TX and is the Director of Instrumental Music at St. Andrew’s Episcopal School.


Mike Sailors: Trumpet

Originally from Charleston, South Carolina Mike grew up playing in his local church. He went on to attend the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in 2001, Michigan State University in 2007 and The University of Texas in 2010.

Mike Sailors has performed throughout the United States and internationally. He has appeared at venues such as the Blue Note, Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola, The Jazz Standard, Yoshi’s, and Carnegie Hall to name a few. He has worked with bands and artists including the Birdland Big Band, Bobby Sanabria and The Multiverse Big Band, the Fat Cat Big Band, the Baby Soda Jazz Band, the Hot Sardines, the Captain Black Big Band and The Mingus Jazz Orchestra, among others. Along with an active performing career, Sailors has maintained a busy career in composition and arranging.

In 2019, Sailors joined the faculty of The University of Texas Butler School of Music, where he leads the Jazz Trumpet Studio and mentors young artists looking to build careers in music. He currently splits his time between New York City and Austin, Texas.


Jeremy George: Bass

Dr. Jeremy L. George is the Director of Jazz Studies and Assistant Professor of Music at Huston-Tillotson University in Austin, TX. He received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Music Education from Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University in Tallahassee, Florida under the leadership of Dr. Julian E. White and Dr. Shelby Chipman. He received his Master’s Degree in Music Education and Ph.D. in Music Education from Florida State University.

Dr. George was appointed band director at James S. Rickards High School in 2015 and he has played an integral roll in developing the program. His commitment to excellence led to him being awarded the Tom Bishop Award by the Florida Bandmasters Association in 2018 which recognizes directors for making a huge positive difference in a relatively short period of time. Under his tutelage the Raider band has received superior ratings on the district and state level in Symphonic Band, Marching Band and the Raider Jazz Band.

As a professional, Jeremy also serves as an adjudicator and clinician. As a performer, Dr. George is the current bassist and musical director for Tallahassee Night’s Live, a highly active live entertainment guild with an ambitious performance schedule throughout the southeast region, and has shared the stage with on many nationally acclaimed Grammy Award-winning Gospel, Jazz, Hip Hop and R&B recording artists such as Ledisi, Kanye West, Jamie Foxx, Andre Hayward, Diego Rodriguez, Marvin Sapp, Dorothy Norwood, Angela Spivey, Pat Row, Eric Roberson, and Jimmy Cozier just to name a few. Jeremy also serves as a performing artist for many bass companies such as Anaconda Basses, DR Strings, Gallien Kruger Amps, Aguilar Pickups, and Inearz Audio. He also maintains an ambitious gig, session, and masterclass schedule.




Phone: (512) 327-JAZZ (5299)

Address: P.O. Box 170141

Austin, TX 78717

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