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The Youth Jazz Ensemble of DuPage is a non-profit high school level conglomerate honors jazz ensembe. Placement in the ensemble is based on audition and is open to any high school student in or around the DuPage County and Chicagoland areas.


The Youth Jazz Ensemble of DuPage (YJED) is a non-profit 501 (c) founded in 1999 by Robert Blazek. Our mission is to assemble, by audition the top high school jazz talent in the DuPage and surrounding areas and combine their skills in the performance of jazz music literature. YJED creates the opportunity to work with professional studio musicians as well as college professors in the Chicagoland area. These masters in the jazz field share their talent through rehearsal clinics, concert performances, and our yearly studio recording projects. Through these experiences, YJED students gain the love and tradition for America's own great music - jazz.

About the Director:

Robert Blazek

Robert is a 1980 graduate of Northern Illinois University in DeKalb. While at N.I.U. he performed with the 2 O’clock Jazz Ensemble under the direction of Ron Modell. He earned his M.M.ed. in 1988 from VanderCook College of Music. He was privileged to study clarinet from Clark Brody, Larry Combs, J. David Harris and Stan Davis. Robert studied conducting from Margaret Hillis (Chicago Symphony Orchestra Chorus) and Seiji Ozawa. He has performed with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra under Sir Georg Solti and Seiji Ozawa as well as the Grant Park Symphony. For 22 years he has been Director of Bands at Monroe Middle School in Wheaton. While at Monroe Middle School his bands qualified for the I.G.SM.A. State Festival each of those 22 years. Achieving Division I Concert Band ratings at State Competition 20 years and Division I Jazz Band ratings each of the 22 years, 12 of those years with a second jazz band as well. Robert hosted I.G.S.M.A. District VII /State Jazz contests for 10 years and Solo and Ensemble Contests three times.


Robert served as I.M.E.A. Jazz Chair for District 9 for 5 years. Under his direction the Monroe Concert Band performed at the 2010 Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic in Chicago.


In 1998 Robert started the Youth Jazz Ensemble of DuPage. YJED is a non-for profit 501c3 organization. In 2001 YJED was selected as a finalist for the Essentially Ellington Festival in New York City. At the Festival they received “Honorable Mention” status. In 2003 YJED was selected to perform with Terell Stafford at the Illinois Music Educators Association Convention in Peoria. In 2005 YJED had the honor of performing with Gordon Goodwin at the Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic in Chicago and in 2008 YJED was selected as the winner of the “Conglomerate Division” for the Essentially Ellington Festival. YJED has had the privilege of performing/recording with such jazz greats as Mark Colby, Rob Parton, Orbert Davis, Terell Stafford, Victor Goines, Wycliffe Gordon, Steve Weist, and Clay Jenkins.


He is the Director of Music at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Crystal Lake.

Robert lives in Huntley with his wife Cheri.

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