Friday, March 16, 2012

Monterey Jazz Festival receives $285,000 in grants

The Monterey Jazz Festival just announced that the Surdna Foundation has awarded a three-year grant totaling $225,000 to support Monterey Jazz Festival’s Next Generation Jazz Festival and Next Generation Jazz Orchestra through 2015.

The 2012 Next Generation Jazz Festival, which includes the 42nd Annual High School Jazz Competition, will showcase over 60 competitively selected high school and college groups at the Monterey Conference Center, March 30 – April 1, 2012. The event, established in 1971, has been described by saxophonist Joshua Redman as “the Superbowl” of high school jazz competitions. Admission is free to the public.

The concurrently-established Next Generation Jazz Orchestra selects the best high school jazz musicians in the country to represent the Monterey Jazz Festival. In addition to performing at the Monterey Jazz Festival, the Orchestra tours domestically and internationally, past tours include Australia, Canada, Europe, and Japan. The ensemble is slated to tour Canada in June, 2012.

“The Monterey Jazz Festival is excited and extremely grateful to the Surdna Foundation for their assistance in funding these two vital cornerstones of our program,” said Paul Contos, Education Director of the Monterey Jazz Festival. “The opportunity to bring young musicians from multiple disciplines throughout the United States is invaluable--to experience what it means to be professionals and passionate artists. These programs would not be possible without Surdna’s assistance in supporting these important resources for young people.”

The Monterey Jazz Festival has also received a $50,000 Art Works grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and an additional $10,000 NEA Jazz Masters Live Program grant to support the Festival’s Artist-In-Residence, Commission Artist, and Showcase Artist for the 55th Monterey Jazz Festival in 2012.

“The NEA has been an important supporter of our education programs over the last 20 years,” said Tim Jackson, Artistic Director of the Monterey Jazz Festival. “The ability to present superlative jazz artistry as diverse as Jack DeJohnette, Bill Frisell and Ambrose Akinmusire is a foundation of our mission and I am proud the NEA shares our vision.”

As the 2012 Artist-In-Residence, the award-winning trumpeter, Ambrose Akinmusire, will act as a clinician and performer during the Next Generation Jazz Festival, March 30 - April 1; as a mentor and clinician at the Festival’s Summer Jazz Camp, June 11 - 22, and will appear at the 55th Annual Monterey Jazz Festival, September 21 – 23, with his own groups and as a guest soloist with his former student band, the Festival’s own Next Generation Jazz Orchestra, of which Mr. Akinmusire was a member in 1999 and 2000.

Guitarist Bill Frisell, called “the most innovative and influential jazz guitarist of the past 25 years” by The Wall Street Journal, will be the Festival’s 2012 Commission Artist, chartered with creating and debuting a new work at the 55th Monterey Jazz Festival.

2012 NEA Jazz Master, GRAMMY®-winning drummer, composer, and pianist, Jack DeJohnette, will act as the Festival’s 2012 Showcase Artist, and will be performing throughout the Festival weekend with several of his own projects. Considered to be one of the greatest drummers in jazz, Mr. DeJohnette’s important, influential, and lasting musical associations with Charles Lloyd, Miles Davis, and Keith Jarrett have inspired countless musicians and fans since the mid-‘60s. The NEA Jazz Masters Live is a program of the National Endowment of the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest.

The Surdna Foundation seeks to foster just and sustainable communities in the United States. For more information, please visit

For a complete listing of projects recommended for Art Works grant support, visit

For more information about the Monterey Jazz Festival and its Jazz Education Programs, visit

About the Monterey Jazz Festival
The Monterey Jazz Festival celebrates the legacy of jazz and expands the boundaries of and opportunities to experience jazz through the creative production of performances and educational programs. The 2012 Monterey Jazz Festival will take place September 21 - 23, 2012.

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