March 14, 2024
On Campus

On Stage: The Jon Irabagon Quartet

The 2023-2024 Wittenberg Series continues with a performance at 7 p.m. on Monday, March 18, in Weaver Chapel

A night of mesmerizing and innovative sounds at the forefront of the contemporary jazz scene is coming to Wittenberg as part of the 2023-2024 Wittenberg Series. The Jon Irabagon Quartet will present a special concert at 7 p.m. on Monday, March 18, in Weaver Chapel.

Led by the virtuosic saxophonist Jon Irabagon, known for his boundless creativity and astonishing technique, the quartet pushes the boundaries of jazz, redefining the genre with their unique blend of modern improvisation and traditional influences.

First-generation Filipino-American Irabagon has been influenced by the self-empowering and individualistic philosophies and aesthetic of the great Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians ensembles, as well as the historic world-class tenor saxophone lineage from his hometown of Chicago. Equally adept at composing for rising stars in new music and the most intricate modern jazz ensemble, Irabagon builds on this foundation by adding modern classical and late-period John Coltrane to his compositional base, focusing primarily on mixed chamber ensembles to take advantage of hand-chosen musicians’ voices and attitudes.

After earning a bachelor of music from DePaul University, Irabagon continued his education with a master of arts from the Manhattan School of Music and post-graduate studies in the jazz program at Juilliard, where he received an Artist Diploma. He was the winner of the 2008 Thelonious Monk Saxophone Competition, winner of the Rising Star award in Downbeat Magazine for both alto and tenor saxophones, and the recipient of a Philippine Presidential Award, the highest civilian honor an overseas Filipino can receive in commemoration for their contributions to the perception of Filipinos worldwide.

Named one of New York City’s 25 Jazz Icons by Time Out New York, Irabagon composes for his ensemble Outright!, which received a 5-Star Masterpiece review in Downbeat Magazine for Unhinged (2014), as well as the Jon Irabagon Trio and the Jon Irabagon Quartet. In January 2023, he joined the University of Illinois Chicago faculty, teaching jazz saxophone, direct combos, and courses in jazz history.

Other musicians joining Irabagon include Matt Mitchell, Chris Lightcap, and Dan Weiss. A pianist and composer, Mitchell delves into the intersections of acoustic, electric, composed, and improvised new music. He currently composes for and leads multiple ensembles, featuring renowned musicians such as Tim Berne, Ava Mendoza, and Tyshawn Sorey. He is a pivotal member of significant creative music groups, including Tim Berne’s Snakeoil and John Hollenbeck’s Large Ensemble.

Lightcap is an accomplished bassist and composer with a wide-ranging performing and recording career. He has worked with Marc Ribot, Regina Carter, Craig Taborn, Glen Hansard, The Kronos Quartet, and many others. His playing is featured on more than 80 albums, and as a bandleader/composer, he has produced six critically acclaimed albums of original music. Weiss has been hailed as one of the top five jazz drummers by The New York Times, and his large ensemble recording “Fourteen” made the top ten list of its best recordings of 2014. An innovative drummer and forward-thinking composer, he was named “The Top Up and Coming Percussionist” two years in a row in the Downbeat Critics Poll and a Top 5 Jazz Drummer by Modern Drummer in 2014. Audio and sound engineering are being provided by Mr. Bartley Davis.

The Wittenberg Series was created in 1982 during President William A. Kinnison’s tenure. Since its inception, Nobel Laureates, scientists, significant literary figures, most of America’s foremost modern dance companies, as well as hundreds of prominent psychologists, educators, economists, writers, theologians, urban planners, and historians have visited campus to participate.

Doors open 30 minutes prior to the beginning of each lecture or performance. Below are further details related to remaining Series’ events.

Remaining 2024 Wittenberg Series Events:

Tuesday, April 9, 2024: Leventhal Family Lecture, 7 p.m., Bayley Auditorium, featuring Eli Saslow, currently a writer at-large for The New York Times, who was formerly with the Washington Post

For more information on the Wittenberg Series, click here. To make special arrangements or become a friend of the Wittenberg Series, contact Katie Warber at

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About Wittenberg

Wittenberg's curriculum has centered on the liberal arts as an education that develops the individual's capacity to think, read, and communicate with precision, understanding, and imagination. We are dedicated to active, engaged learning in the core disciplines of the arts and sciences and in pre-professional education grounded in the liberal arts. Known for the quality of our faculty and their teaching, Wittenberg has more Ohio Professors of the Year than any four-year institution in the state. The university has also been recognized nationally for excellence in community service, sustainability, and intercollegiate athletics. Located among the beautiful rolling hills and hollows of Springfield, Ohio, Wittenberg offers more than 100 majors, minors and special programs, enviable student-faculty research opportunities, a unique student success center, service and study options close to home and abroad, a stellar athletics tradition, and successful career preparation.

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