Dan Atkinson - Camp Founder & Director

Dan Atkinson

A native of San Diego, Daniel Atkinson joined UC San Diego Extension in September 2001 as Director of the Department of Arts, Humanities, Languages and Digital Arts. Atkinson directs a staff of 13 and is responsible for a budget of $3 million annually. The department sponsors approximately 150 courses per academic quarter in subjects ranging from Studio Art to Creative Writing to eight different foreign languages. He also founded and directs the annual UC San Diego Jazz Camp and the UC San Diego Helen Edison lecture series.

The UC San Diego Jazz Camp’s unique curriculum introduces students to jazz styles ranging from bebop to open improvisation. While students are predominantly from the Southern California area, camp enrollees have come from as far away as Korea, Japan, Switzerland, Canada, Mexico, Maine, New York, and Wisconsin. Camp “alumni” have gone on to study at schools including Peabody, Eastman, Berklee, Harvard, Columbia, Princeton, USC, and CalArts.

Atkinson also works as Jazz Program Coordinator for the non-profit Athenaeum Music & Arts Library. He previously held the position of Program Director from 1988-2000, when his responsibilities included the expansion of the library’s evening lectures in music and art appreciation and the founding of its evening chamber music series. He founded the Athenaeum’s jazz concert series in 1989. Under his coordination, the Athenaeum’s jazz program includes 16-18 jazz concerts annually, presented in quarterly subscription series at three different venues. Atkinson holds an M.A. in Humanities from Stanford University and is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Pomona College, where he earned a B.A. in Philosophy. Raised in a musical family, Atkinson began his study of the classical guitar at age eight. While an undergraduate he also played the Renaissance lute. He has studied under guitarists Jack Sanders of the California Institute of the Arts, Richard Jensen of UCLA, and Klaus-Dieter Schütze of the Hochschule der Künste in Berlin.

Atkinson began his career as an arts administrator in the mid-1980s as Project Director for the Center for World Music in San Diego, organizing and presenting a series of free summer concerts of world music and dance in Balboa Park. After completing his graduate work at Stanford, Atkinson worked in San Francisco as Development Director of American Inroads, at that time the Bay Area’s largest presenter of “New Performance”: contemporary dance, theater, new music, and performance art.

In addition to live concert presentations, Atkinson has been active in producing music for radio and television and on CD. He has produced eight albums including “Standards” (Alan Pasqua, Dave Carpenter, Peter Erskine), which received a Grammy nomination in 2008. He was Associate Producer of fifteen jazz programs for the PBS television series, Club Date. Atkinson is a Voting Member of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (Grammy Awards) and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (United Kingdom). He was formerly President & CEO of KMF Audio, Inc., a music recording technology start-up company.

Since September 1998, Atkinson has been a member of the Board of Directors of the Western Jazz Presenters Network, a professional association of more than 40 non-profit jazz presenters in the Western States and Western Canada. As Board Treasurer, he serves alongside the directors of the Monterey, San Francisco, Seattle, and New Mexico jazz festivals.