The College of Arts and Architecture

Dan Yoder

Jazz Studies

Dan Yoder has served as Penn State’s director of jazz studies for twenty-nine years. Centre Dimensions, the top jazz band, has achieved acclaim at jazz festivals throughout the Midwest and East Coast. In addition to directing Centre Dimensions, he also advises the jazz combos and teaches courses in improvisation, harmony and arranging, jazz pedagogy, as well as a jazz history course for non-music majors. Prior to his Penn State appointment, he held a similar position at the University of Iowa. 

Professor Yoder is active as a guest conductor and clinician. He conducts district and regional jazz bands throughout the state of Pennsylvania, and has conducted all-state jazz ensembles in six states. He is in demand as an adjudicator at jazz festivals throughout the Mid-Atlantic region. 

As a performer, Yoder has been saxophone soloist with the U.S. Navy Band in Washington, D.C., as well as lead alto saxophonist with the U.S. Army Blues. He remains active as a guest soloist and freelance performer. Recent performances include the Newport Jazz Festival in Newport, Rhode Island.

Yoder has written more than seventy-five compositions and arrangements for jazz ensemble. In addition, he has published articles in the Jazz Journal, Pennsylvania Music Educators Association News, and Westwind. His textbook, Beginning Improvisation, is published by Prentice Hall. He is past president of the Pennsylvania unit of the International Association of Jazz Educators.