John V. Brown Jr.
Professor of the Practice of Music

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." 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 and 2019 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

Contact Information

Some information on this profile has been compiled automatically from Duke databases and external sources. (Our About page explains how this works.) If you see a problem with the information, please write to Scholars@Duke and let us know. We will reply promptly.