Chuck Owen

Owen paints with intriguing hues . . . . .refreshes with lyrical lines and hues . . . .(and) is suffused with some of the tastiest contemporary sounds around.”

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River Runs Cover


“An incredibly colorful portrait . . . . the voices of Jack Wilkins and LaRue Nickelson soaring throughout.”
Dave Liebman


“A tour de force in contemporary orchestral composition…
Rufus Reid


“Pure joyful sounds. Harmony that lives up to the word. Jazz has never sounded better.”
Bob Belden


“‘River Runs deep . . . .free-flowing into cross-currents, but always moving
forward towards it’s destination . . . . an Ocean of Melody, Sound and Soul.”
Randy Brecker

Composers Notes

There is little more conducive to an extended, free-flowing conversation than finding yourself floating leisurely down a sparkling river on a warm, sunny day. Nevertheless, I find one of the most desired attributes in a canoe or raft partner is the ability to sense intuitively when to maintain perfect silence and just let the sounds of the river speak for themselves. Wanting to accord the same respect to my listeners, I’m tempted to let “River Runs” simply speak for itself – knowing it will address each listener in a completely unique way and with much more eloquence than I am likely to muster here…..more

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Chuck was honored with two nominations in this year’s GRAMMY Awards.

“Bound Away” (Mvmt. I) was nominated as “Best Instrumental Composition” while “A Ridge Away” (Mvmt. IV) was nominated in the category of “Best Instrumental Arrangement”.   The list of those joining Chuck as nominees in the above categories is quite awe-inspiring – literally a “Who’s Who” of jazz composers:  Gordon Goodwin, the late Clare Fischer, Vince Mendoza, Scott Healy, Kim Richmond, Nan Schwartz, and Gil Goldstein.  The GRAMMY Awards will be given out in Los Angeles on Sunday, Jan. 26, 2014.

Chuck will be attending and presenting a clinic at this year’s International Conference of the Jazz Education Network (JEN).  The informal talk entitled “River Runs: Extended Jazz Composition for Orchestra” will be held on Thursday, Jan. 9 at 11:00 AM in the Dallas, TX Hyatt Regency Hotel.  You must be registered for the Conference to attend.

River Runs Lecture Tour
[ September 2013 ]

Chuck will take River Runs “on the road” in early October by offering a series of conversations and workshops to over a half dozen University jazz programs.  While offering insights into the compositional process and decisions involved specifically in the creation of River Runs, he will also seize this opportunity to work with student jazz ensembles, as well as discuss career/funding strategies for jazz musicians.

Oct. 3 – Valdosta State Univ.

Oct. 4 – Cincinnati Conservatory of Music

Oct. 7/8 – Hope College

Oct. 9 – University of Toledo

Oct. 10/11 – University of Michigan

Oct. 15 – Appalachian State Univ.

Oct. 16 – Western Carolina Univ.

Following an 8-year hiatus, Chuck has once again taken over the reins of the USF Jazz Ensemble for the 2013/14 academic year.  In 2005, after serving in this role for 23 years, Chuck had stepped down to focus on the development of the USF Center for Jazz Composition as well as his own composition projects.  With Prof. Tom Brantley similarly (and reluctantly!) deciding this past year he needed to focus his attention on his incredible trombone studio, Chuck has resumed stewardship of this talented and dynamic group!  Keep your eyes open for upcoming concerts and guests.

Feb. 12-15, 2014 will find Chuck in San Antonio, TX working with an extremely talented group of young musicians as part of the Texas Music Educators Association conference.  The public concert is scheduled for Sat., Feb 15 at 1:00 pm in the Gonzales Convention Center.