Faculty Portrait

Contact Information

Name: Duncan McElman

Title: Lecturer in Music

Office Location: Capistrano 451

Email: duncanmcelman@csus.edu

Office Phone: (916) 278-6950

Education : MM, Sacramento State

Courses Taught : Applied Music - Saxophone (jazz), Jazz Ensemble


Duncan McElman is an award-winning baritone saxophonist and educator noted for his powerful sound, ferocious sense of swing, and deep commitment to passing on the music to future generations. 

A native of Carmichael, California, McElman attended Rio Americano High School and was a three-year member of their renowned "AM Jazz Ensemble," where he earned soloist awards at various regional and national competitions, including the Charles Mingus Festival and the Essentially Ellington Festival and Competition. He was a two-year member of the SFJAZZ High School All Stars Orchestra, where he was part of a band that won first place in the prestigious Monterey Next Generation Jazz Festival and the Charles Mingus Festival. During his high school years, Duncan was selected for the baritone saxophone chair in the 2017 Jazz Band of America, as well as the 2017 Monterey Next Generation Jazz Orchestra, with whom he performed at Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola at Jazz at Lincoln Center and the 60th Monterey Jazz Festival alongside Jeff Hamilton and Gerald Clayton.

In May 2021, Duncan completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Miami Frost School of Music. While at Frost, he studied with Gary Keller and Troy Roberts and was a featured soloist in performances alongside such jazz luminaries as Maria Schneider, Dave Leibman, Wycliffe Gordon, Brian Lynch, John Daversa, and Shelly Berg, among others. During his undergraduate degree, he was the recipient of several notable awards. In 2019 he was selected as the baritone saxophone chair for the prestigious JAS Jazz Academy in Aspen, Colorado, working under the direction of Christian McBride. In 2020 his combo focusing on early (pre-1940) jazz music was awarded "Best College Combo" by the Teagarden Jazz Festival, where Duncan also earned the honor of being selected "best overall college musician."

In 2023, Duncan received his Master’s degree in Music Performance (Jazz) at California State University, Sacramento, where he served as a Graduate Assistant and studied under professors Brian Landrus and Jacam Manricks, as well as performed with the schools top big band and jazz combo. He was recently awarded a coveted “Outstanding Performance” award in the Graduate College division by Downbeat Magazine during their 2022 Student Music Awards. He went on to win the Graduate College Small Ensemble Division in 2023 as a member of the Sac State Grad Combo. That same group also won the college combo division of the 2023 California Jazz Championships. As part of that Graduate Assistantship, Duncan spent the 2023 school year directing the school's second big band, leading the group to the finals of the same 2023 California Jazz Championships, ending the year with an unprecedented second-place finish in the College Big Band Division.