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John V. Brown Jr.

Professor of the Practice of Music
Box 90665, Durham, NC 27708-0665
Biddle Music Building, Office 064, Durham, NC


Bassist, composer, producer, actor and educator John Brown is a native of Fayetteville, NC. He is a graduate of the School of Music at UNC-Greensboro, and the School of Law at UNC-Chapel Hill. John has performed for President & Mrs. Barack Obama, and at major venues and festivals in the United States and abroad with artists like Wynton, Ellis and Delfeayo Marsalis, Elvin Jones, Diahann Carroll, Rosemary Clooney, Cedar Walton, and Nicholas Payton. He boasts a Grammy® Nomination for his performance and co-writing on Nnenna Freelon's 1995 Concord release, "Shaking Free." John also has an Emmy® Nomination for producing the first ever Duke Student Arts Showcase.

Equally gifted in classical music, John has performed as a substitute with the North Carolina Symphony since 1992, and performs with the Opera Company of North Carolina and the Carolina Ballet. John’s extensive performance experience includes feature films, television movies, theater, and recordings. He has taught at Duke University since 2001, and is currently the Director of the Jazz Program and Professor of the Practice of Music. He has also been a faculty member at UNC-Chapel Hill, NC Central University, NC State University and Guilford College. In addition to teaching and performing, he serves on the Board of Directors for the Duke Cancer Patient Support Program and is a member of the Screen Actor’s Guild. He served on the juries that awarded the 2017, 2019, 2021 (as Chair) and 2023 (as Chair) Pulitzer Prizes in Music, and he has served on numerous grant panels including the National Endowment for the Arts and the North Carolina Arts Council. John is a YAMAHA® Certified String Instructor and is an Acoustic Image®, AMT®, Epifani® and Warwick® Artist. Learn more at

Office Hours

Office Hours are on Mondays and Wednesdays (from late August through late April) from 6:15-7:15 and by appointment set up via email.

Current Appointments & Affiliations

Professor of the Practice of Music · 2018 - Present Music, Trinity College of Arts & Sciences
Vice Provost for the Arts · 2020 - Present Duke University

Education, Training & Certifications

University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill · 2000 J.D.
University of North Carolina, Greensboro · 1994 B.Mus.