The GDYO Jazz Program consists of a 15 member Jazz Orchestra and a 5-7 member Jazz Combo. Few youth orchestras in the country have established jazz programs as a part of their instrumental and orchestral programs.

The program includes instruction in instrumental techniques, improvisation, music theory, music history, composition, musician etiquette and how to function in the music business. The focus of the program is excellence in jazz music education and performance.

  • Weekly rehearsals
  • Instruction by professional jazz musicians and educators
  • Jam sessions in area jazz venues
  • Interaction with top jazz professionals in masterclasses

Rehearsals take place every Sunday from September through May.

Jazz Combo 2:00 – 4:00
Jazz Orchestra 4:30 – 6:30

Kris Berg - Conductor of Jazz Orchestra and Director of GDYO Jazz

Kris Berg has been performing, arranging and composing jazz music since the age of sixteen. Originally from St. Louis, Kris moved to Denton, Texas where he earned both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in jazz studies from the University of North Texas.

A best selling big band composer and arranger for over 20 years, Kris’ charts are published by Warner Brothers, Belwin Jazz, Kendor Music, Doug Beach Music, Walrus Music, J.W. Peppers and Both professional and school bands all over the world frequently perform his charts. He has written arrangements for jazz artists such as Delfeayo Marsalis, John Pizzarelli, Wayne Bergeron, Phil Woods, Kurt Elling and Chris Vadala. His popular bass method book, Bass Lines in Minutes, has helped hundreds of young bass players approach the art of the jazz walking bass line.

Kris’ latest release is his big band CD, “Time Management,” (MAMA Records, MAA 1046) featuring the Metroplexity Big Band with special guests Phil Woods, Wayne Bergeron, Clay Jenkins, Denis DiBlasio and Andy Timmons. “Time Management” is the winner of two Global Music Awards and is the follow up to his highly acclaimed 2012 release, “This Time / Last Year.” Both recordings feature Kris’ unique writing and arranging as well as many of the outstanding musicians in the Dallas area.

An award winning bassist, director and educator, Mr. Berg is endorsed by Yamaha Basses, Bag End Loudspeakers and Acoustic Image Amplifiers and has appeared at jazz festivals and camps throughout the United States. He has been selected as guest director for the IAJE Community College All-Star Jazz Band, as well as All-State Jazz Bands in Montana, Oklahoma, Maine, South Carolina, Nebraska, Arizona, Texas and Wyoming. Kris has appeared or recorded with the likes of Wayne Bergeron, Phil Woods, Kurt Elling, John Pizzarelli, Randy Brecker, Peter Erskine, Delfeayo Marsalis, Bob Mintzer, Bobby Shew and many others. He has also been involved in music ministry for over 20 years at Willow Bend Church in Plano.

As an educator, Kris was the Director of Jazz Studies at Collin College near Dallas for over 25 years. Having built the jazz program at Collin, Berg directed ensembles, taught jazz courses and is the founder of both the Collin Jazz Fest and the Texas All-Star Jazz Camp. Under his direction, Collin jazz ensembles performed multiple times at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland, the Jazz Education Network Conference and jazz festivals all over the United States and the Bahamas. Mr. Berg currently resides in north Dallas with his wife Yvette and daughter Kristen and has two grown sons, Michael and Jonathan, who are successful public school educators.

Dr. Alex Fraile - Conductor of GDYO Jazz Combo

Alex Fraile is a professional saxophone player and educator. He was born in Miranda de Ebro, Spain. At the age of 9 years old, he started to play the saxophone at his hometown’s conservatory. His career as a professional musician started when he moved in 2005 to Barcelona to pursue his undergraduate degree in Jazz Performance at the Conservatori del Liceu, getting the opportunity to study with some of the best Spanish jazz musicians, such as Perico Sambeat, Llibert Fortuny, Jon Robles, David Mengual, Horacio Fumero, and Mariano Diaz. During his time in Barcelona, he was part of different jazz and hip-hop projects, such as the Roc Calvet quartet, Rafael Lechowski, Loren, Amores Perros, and his own jazz quartet where he mixed all of these influences to produce an innovative sound. He has played in many different Spanish festivals and clubs throughout Spain and Europe. He recorded with Rafael Lechowski for Spanish National Television as well as multiple albums with a wide range of groups. In 2009, he recorded his first album, Días en Barcelona.

The same year, he moved to the United States to pursue a graduate degree and to study with Brad Leali (Count Basie Band), Stefan Karlson (Eddie Gomez Trio), Ed Soph, Lynn Seaton, and Fred Hamilton. He has received a Master’s degree and a Doctoral degree in Jazz Performance from the University of North Texas, where he was also granted a teaching fellowship. He has had the chance to study with some of the best international jazz musicians, such as Steve Wilson, Rich Perry, Benny Golson, Seamus Blake, and Will Vinson among others. He has been a part of the Grammy-Nominated One O’Clock Lab Band, recording over three records (Lab 2012, Lab 2013 and Lab 2015), and touring extensively around the United States. Since he moved to the United States, he has performed in multiple festivals and clubs throughout the country, sharing the stage with a wide array of professional musicians in the Dallas-Fort Worth area as well as international jazz artist such as Mike Stern, Bobby McFerrin, John Clayton, Peter Erskine, Terrell Stafford, and Andy Narell among others. He is currently based in the Dallas-Fort Worth area where he teaches and performs regularly. All of these experiences have contributed to his formation as the accomplished, well-rounded musician that he is today.