Jordan VanHemert is the Director of Jazz Studies at the Schwob School of Music at Columbus State University. VanHemert is a composer/arranger, saxophonist, and educator whose commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion has led a national slate of masterclasses, consulting, and presentations focused on expanding the landscape of music to be more inclusive of students from diverse backgrounds. VanHemert centers his Korean American identity as a means of discussing identity, creativity, and developing an individual voice as an artist.
DR. JORDAN VANHEMERT is a Korean American saxophonist and composer lauded for his skill as a modern jazz improviser.
Critics recognize VanHemert’s music as being profoundly relevant; noted jazz journalist and historian Scott Yanow recently praised VanHemert’s debut release as “quite impressive,” stating that his piece “Autumn Song” “could eventually become a standard.” Additionally, critics recognize VanHemert’s album I AM NOT A VIRUS AS “full of generous emotions.” (Sonograma Barcelona) and the “beautiful harmonious, melodious base” of his compositions, calling them “Sophisticated but quite accessible for many.” (JazzMania Belgium)
VanHemert has performed or recorded with many notable artists, including Rodney Whitaker, John Webber, AJ Rafael, Heather Cornell, Rob Smith, Dmitri Matheny, Chris Vadala, Geri Allen, and many others.
Dr. VanHemert currently serves as Director of Jazz Studies at the Schwob School of Music. Prior to his appointment at Columbus State University, Dr. VanHemert served on the faculty of Hope College. He was also the Music Director and founder of the Holland Concert Jazz Orchestra, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to jazz advocacy, education, and performance.
VanHemert's music, including his new album I AM NOT A VIRUS, is informed by his passion for social justice, employing his distinctive compositional voice to address issues of race, inclusion, and identity. In recognition for his work as a strong advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion in academia. Dr. VanHemert is an official AWARENESS TIES ambassador who regularly works with music organizations to promote inclusion, including consulting for Hope College, PARMA Recordings, Vandoren USA, Conn Selmer, and the West Michigan Jazz Society. In recognition of his work, he was awarded the GROW Diversity and Inclusion Award at Hope College, where he served as a faculty advisor to the college’s Asian Student Union.
He holds degrees from Central Michigan University, the University of Michigan, and the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. VanHemert is a Vandoren Artist-Clinician and Selmer Paris Saxophones Performing Artist. He performs exclusively on Vandoren reeds and mouthpieces and Selmer Paris saxophones.
Photo by McCoy Khamphouy