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School of Music

Faculty and Staff

Sonia Jacobsen

Title: Research Lecturer / Jazz / Ethnic Music
School of Music
Phone: 803-777-1607

School of Music Room 219

Office Hours:

Sonia Jacobsen website

Sonia Jacobsen YouTube Channel



Sonia's childhood was split between Australia and Denmark. Her music studies took place in France and New York. From 1987-92 she studied musicology and jazz saxophone at Grenoble University and Chambéry Conservatory. From 1992-1996 she studied jazz at The New School University in NY.

After graduating, she joined the faculty at The New School Jazz for ten years. Then she moved to Columbia, SC, where she teaches mainly world music and composition since 2006, at the School of Music at the University of South Carolina.

As a saxophone player, she has performed with many musicians of note, among them Richard Bona, JoJo Meyer, Joe Lovano, Kenny Werner, Richie Beirach, Joel Sachs, Kristina Reiko Cooper, Rob Thomas, Lew Soloff, and Gilad Dobrecky.

Sonia Jacobsen's compositions have received numerous awards and prizes, namely from IAJE (International Association of Jazz Educators), ASCAP, American Music Center, American Composers Forum, American Scandinavian Society, Danish Foreign Ministry/Cultural Affairs, and L'Orchestre National de Jazz, France.

Her music has been performed by orchestras such as Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra (Germany), Philharmonia Virtuosi (NY), L'Orchestre National de Jazz (France), New Juilliard Ensemble (NY), and Richmond Concert Jazz Orchestra (LA).

Sonia has performed in and/or been music director of a number of ensembles ranging from string quartet to jazz ensembles and big band to large orchestra.

She is founder and director of the New York Symphonic Jazz Orchestra, and she was co-founder and co-director of Mosaic Orchestra, which had a biweekly jazz club gig in NY in the late 90's.

She strives for a synthesis between the classical and jazz worlds by bridging them with her experience in world music and contemporary rhythms.