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Offering the world's most promising young musicians college level training by internationally acclaimed jazz masters and presenting public school-based jazz education programs for young people around the world.
A Global Year for the Monk Institute

Dear friends,

It's hard to believe that another year has come and gone. In 2013, the Institute continued to accomplish its mission by offering a wide range of jazz education programs for young people and adults across the nation and around the world. 
During the past year, the Institute reached more people through jazz education than ever before, demonstrating what we've always known: jazz is neither restricted by national boundaries nor language nor differences in culture. Indeed, one thing that makes jazz such a valuable art form is its ability to serve as a catalyst for tolerance and cultural exchange.

In 2013, the Institute and UNESCO successfully presented the second annual International Jazz Day, celebrated in every nation on earth. We produced the 26th annual Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition, which resulted in the first-ever win by a Chilean, Melissa Aldana. Additionally, Melissa is the first female instrumentalist to win the competition. The talented students from the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance, our college program, visited Israel, Turkey, and Sweden to conduct informances and workshops with students of all ages.
We also remained true to our commitment to America's public schools. Institute-sponsored public school education initiatives, from the Performing Arts High Schools Jazz Program to our Peer-to-Peer Tours, impacted thousands of students across the U.S. in 2013.

You can read about these accomplishments below. On behalf of the Thelonious Monk Institute, we wish you all the best in the new year!


Herbie Hancock, Chairman

Tom Carter, President

Melissa Aldana Becomes First Female Instrumental Competition Winner
In September, the Institute helped launch the professional careers of 13 talented young saxophonists at the 2013 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Saxophone Competition, held at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. The three finalists received scholarships totaling $50,000 and first place winner Melissa Aldana of Chile also received a Concord Music Group recording contract. Aldana is the first female instrumentalist to win the Monk Competition, and the first second-generation participant - her father was a semifinalist in our 1991 Competition.
This year's semifinalists came from as far away as the Netherlands and Australia, collectively representing a powerhouse of technical and improvisational skill. As JazzTimes writer Evan Haga wrote, "Each of the 13 hopefuls performed a 15-minute program of his or her choosing, and each performed with the assets you should require from a saxophonist when you plunk down a $30 cover at a club. Intonation, by and large, hit the bull's-eye and then split the arrow; phrasing displayed such flawless execution and focused attention to form that you hardly saw room for improvement." September's competition resoundingly demonstrated the continued vitality of jazz as a performance art. The 2013 semifinalists were:
Melissa Aldana, Chile (1st place)
Braxton Cook, Maryland 
Sam Dillon, New York
Lukas Gabric, Austria
Andrew Gould, New York
Michael Griffin, Australia
Danny Janklow, California
Mike Lebrun, Massachusetts
Godwin Louis, New York (3rd place)
Tivon Pennicott, Georgia (2nd place)
Clay Pritchard, Texas
Dean Tsur, Israel
Ben Van Gelder, Netherlands 


Following the marathon five-hour semifinals round at Baird Auditorium, finalists Aldana, Pennicott, and Louis proceeded to the Kennedy Center's Eisenhower Theater to compete for major scholarships and a record contract. They again shared the stage with veteran competition rhythm section Carl Allen (drums), Reginald Thomas (piano), and Rodney Whitaker (bass). Aldana captured the audience's attention with her performances of Jimmy Van Heusen's "I Thought About You" and her original composition "Free Fall." Tivon Pennicott performed Sonny Rollins' "Strode Rode" and Charlie Chaplin's "Smile," and Godwin Louis performed Hoagy Carmichael's "Skylark" along with his original composition, "Our Father," inspired by the Lord's Prayer. The three finalists were judged by an all-star panel including Jane Ira Bloom, Jimmy Heath, Branford Marsalis, Wayne Shorter and Bobby Watson.


Photo: (l-r) Finalists Melissa Aldana, Godwin Louis and Tivon Pennicott after the semifinals round.


Another highlight of the evening was the Institute's trademark All-Star Gala Concert, featuring an impressive array of musical guests including John Beasley, Brian Blade, Terri Lyne Carrington, 2006 Competition finalist Gerald Clayton, Kurt Elling, James Genus, Roy Hargrove, Marcus Miller, John Patitucci, Danilo P�rez, Cassandra Wilson and others. The group paid tribute to Institute Trustee Wayne Shorter, only the second person to receive the Institute's prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award, in recognition of his extraordinary, six-decade career as a saxophonist, educator and composer. The evening concluded with a heartfelt tribute to the late George Duke, a longtime Institute collaborator who was to have served as the evening's Musical Director. Stunning vocalist Ledisi performed "You Never Know" from DreamWeaver, Duke's final album, released just two months prior. This was followed by Take 6's shimmering rendition of Duke's "Fly Away."


Photo: 1st place winner Melissa Aldana (middle) with Institute Chairman Herbie Hancock (left) and Lee Godown, Vice President of Global Government Relations for General Motors.


As usual, the Competition & Gala netted considerable publicity for the Institute, with coverage appearing from prestigious jazz news outlets such as DownBeat and JazzTimes, as well as The Washington Post, The New York Times, NPR and ABC News among others.
We look forward to next year's Competition on November 8-9. Stay tuned for the announcement of the 2014 instrument!
For more photos of this and previous years' Competitions, check out our website.

2nd Annual International Jazz Day Hosted by Istanbul, Turkey
The Institute partnered with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to promote and present the second annual International Jazz Day on April 30, 2013. Led by UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova and UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador and Institute Chairman Herbie Hancock, this global celebration paid tribute to jazz and its diplomatic role in uniting people around the world.

Istanbul, Turkey served as the 2013 Global Host City, hosting a daylong series of jazz workshops, seminars, roundtable discussions, film screenings, and student master classes. The centerpiece event, an All-Star Celebration Concert at Istanbul's historic Hagia Irene
featuring 36 artists, was streamed live around the world. The celebration enjoyed widespread support from the Turkish business community, notably Turkish Airlines, Akbank and Garanti Bank. United Airlines, Google, Microsoft, William C. Powers, Carolyn C. Powers and others from the international community also provided support.

Photo: Panelists (l-r) Charlie Gans, Yavuz Baydar, Hugh Masekela and Marcus Miller participate in a roundtable discussion on Jazz and freedom.

A number of prominent educators, historians, writers and musicians presented an extraordinary Day Program across Istanbul. Open to the public were talks including "Women and Jazz," "Jazz and Freedom," and "Jazz Festivals: The Work and Art of Promoting Jazz Around the World." The day's events also featured a master class led by students from the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance, guided tours of a photo exhibit featuring American jazz legends around the world, a screening of the documentary film "Atlantic Records: The House That Ahmet Built" and numerous concerts by local jazz musicians and students. Prominent jazz writer Charlie Gans, Institute co-founder and jazz drummer Thelonious Monk, Jr., and renowned artists Anat Cohen, Robert Glasper, Ramsey Lewis, and Keiko Matsui were among those participating.

The first International Jazz Day Global Concert in 2012 brought together an unprecedented cast of artists and public figures from around the world to celebrate the global impact of jazz. In 2013, the Institute and UNESCO continued this tradition, with luminaries including Branford Marsalis, Jean-Luc Ponty, Zakir Hussain, Esperanza Spalding and Joss Stone performing together on one stage (view the full list of artists here). The repertoire ran the stylistic and emotional gamut, from John Coltrane's blazing "Resolution" to Hugh Masekela's rousing revolutionary anthem "Stimela" to John Ellison's soul standard "Some Kind of Wonderful." Attendees also heard remarks from International Jazz Day Co-Chair and UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova and human rights activist Martin Luther King III among others. Live streaming technology made it possible for hundreds of thousands of people around the world to view the festivities live. True to the international nature of the event, the Global Concert enjoyed audiences on every continent.

Photo: (l-r) Institute Chairman Herbie Hancock, Institute Trustee Wayne Shorter, Esperanza Spalding and Milton Nascimento perform on Nascimento's "Travessia (Bridges)" at the 2013 Global Concert.

International Jazz Day 2013 was celebrated in every nation on earth. More than one billion people worldwide were reached through live performances, education programs, community outreach initiatives and media coverage. Libraries, jazz clubs, city and town councils, jazz appreciation groups, and private citizens worked hard to make the dream of a global celebration of America's music a reality. Whether it was a community big band's "flash mob" in Jakarta, a University symposium in Padua, a jam session in Accra, or a children's workshop in Shanghai, the creativity and sheer energy of music lovers the world over made April 30, 2013 a day to remember.

You can find more pictures from International Jazz Day (2012 & 2013) at jazzday.com

College Program: From Los Angeles to Istanbul
,Seven gifted young musicians from around the world continue to study tuition-free with the greatest living jazz legends at the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music in Los Angeles. At this graduate level college program, the students work closely with Distinguished Professors Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter, plus a host of Artists-in-Residence including improvisational experts and composers. The members of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance Class of 2014 are:

Mike Cottone, trumpet
Joshua Johnson, saxophone
Eric Miller, trombone
Jonathan Pinson, drums
Dave Robaire, bass
Miro Sprague, piano
Diego Urbano, vibes

In 2013, the Institute engaged master clinicians including renowned vibraphonist Steve Nelson, trombonists Hal Crook & Delfeayo Marsalis, trumpeter Nicholas Payton, drummer Lewis Nash, and others. The artists discussed a variety of topics including improvisation and composition, with the focus of each lesson varying with the personal experiences and interests of each master. Trombonist Eric Miller's reflections on his favorite Institute memories read like a who's who of the jazz community:

"Learning how to be professional and how to practice from Ron Carter; watching Jimmy Heath cheer us on and dance as we play; learning about Sci-Fi movies and books from Wayne Shorter and how he ties them together with his music; learning about music from around the world with Herbie Hancock; studying how to compose for strings and for harp with Billy Childs; participating in controlled free jazz experiments with Hal Crook; playing music from the San Franscisco Jazz Collective with Robin Eubanks; learning about the emotions behind chords with Stefon Harris; studying hexatonics with Jerry Bergonzi; studying privately with Alan Kaplan, Delfeayo Marsalis and James Newton; learning how to construct a well-thought out solo that tells a story with Dick Oatts and Steve Nelson...."

While absorbing vast amounts of information from their instructors, students also pursued the development of their own compositional and stylistic concepts. One of the program's aims is to allow each student to experiment without the typical financial pressures of a working musician's life. During the two-year program, students expand jazz in new directions through original works and performances with their peers. In the words of pianist Miro Sprague: "As a member of the Institute ensemble I have had the unique opportunity to develop original music and rehearse and perform consistently with an incredible group of like minded young musicians."

Photo: (l-r) Students Dave Robaire, Josh Johnson, Mike Cottone and Eric Miller perform together at the blue whale in Los Angeles.

Besides their work in the classroom, in the practice room, and on the bandstand, the Institute of Jazz Performance students (also known as the Monk Fellows) traveled to public schools in California and across the United States to get still a younger generation excited about jazz. Their trademark "informances" (informational performances) combined lectures on jazz history with live musical examples, immersing audiences in sonic demonstrations of critical concepts. Students from Los Angeles to Washington, D.C. benefitted in 2013 from the Fellows' expertise.

Photo: Monk Fellow Diego Urbano (r) performs for students at Istanbul's Galatasaray High School on International Jazz Day.

The Fellows' experience extended beyond U.S. borders. In August, they traveled to Israel to perform with Jane Monheit and lead master classes at the Red Sea Jazz Festival. In April, they led an informance at Galatasaray High School in Istanbul, Turkey and even performed at the All-Star Global Concert as part of International Jazz Day. In November, they traveled with Artist-in-Residence Dick Oatts to Stockholm, Sweden, where they led clinics, sectionals, private lessons and nightly jam sessions at the Royal College of Music and performed with the college's jazz orchestra. International visits continue to be an important feature of the Fellows' time with the Institute. As Improvisation Artist-in-Residence Oatts remarked, "Developing respect for different cultures and understanding where their students come from will only enhance the ability to relate and teach concepts that are invaluable to all musicians."

Photo: (l-r) Royal College of Music Director of Jazz Studies Stefan Grahn, Institute West Coast Director Daniel Seeff, Monk Fellows Diego Urbano, Miro Sprague & Josh Johnson; Royal College of Music jazz vocal student Jonna Christensen, Monk Fellows Mike Cottone, Jonathan Pinson & Eric Miller; and Improvisation Artist-in-Residence Dick Oatts in Stockholm, Sweden. 

After graduating this coming May, the students will join the program's growing ranks of outstanding alumni who have become the next generation of leading jazz musicians - artists like now-internationally recognized Ambrose Akinmusire, Gretchen Parlato, Lionel Loueke, Wayne Escoffery, and Helen Sung, among others. We wish the Class of 2014 the best of luck as they enter into the final months of their Institute experience.

Learn more about our College program by visiting our website.

The Institute in America's High Schools: Peer-to-Peer Tours & Champions of Jazz
The Institute's public school education programs are at the core of our mission to preserve and perpetuate America's indigenous musical art form. Bringing jazz masters together with students ensures that the complex knowledge and traditions that make jazz a revered musical art form find new bearers in the next generation. In 2013, we gave some of our most talented students opportunities to help spread the word about jazz to their peers.

Over the past year, the Institute worked with hundreds of aspiring music students at 11 public performing arts high schools in Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York, Newark and Washington, DC, as part of our Performing Arts High Schools (PAHS) Jazz Program. Students received intensive jazz training from the Institute's teaching artists and internationally acclaimed guest artists, along with private lessons and instruction in theory, composition, improvisation, history and styles. High school seniors received guidance with the college audition process and have gone on to attend some of the nation's most prestigious college, university and conservatory music programs.

As they learn and develop their skills as performers, students in our PAHS program have the opportunity to serve as resources for their counterparts across the country. In 2013 the Institute again invited promising high school jazz musicians on weeklong Peer-to-Peer educational tours. Last spring, students from performing arts high schools in Los Angeles and Houston traveled to Memphis/the Mississippi Delta and Indianapolis/Bloomington, respectively, with jazz greats Herbie Hancock, Antonio Hart, Lisa Henry and Ingrid Jensen providing mentorship.

Photo: Institute Chairman Herbie Hancock performs with Los Angeles County High School for the Arts student Kalia Vandever on a Peer-to-Peer tour stop in Cleveland, MS.

The Los Angeles students performed at BB King's Blues Club and Delta State University, and the Houston students gave five public performances at venues including the Indianapolis Artsgarden and the Jazz Kitchen. An all-star student ensemble selected from six public performing arts high schools across the nation accompanied renowned trumpeter Terell Stafford on a tour of the Los Angeles public schools. This group had the opportunity to perform two concerts at Herb Alpert's Vibrato jazz club.

Photo: Institute clinician and acclaimed saxophonist Antonio Hart (r) interacts with High School for the Performing and Visual Arts student Jyron Walls at a Peer-to-Peer stop in Indianapolis.

In November, leading jazz radio station WBGO recognized the Institute's educational work at its 2013 Champions of Jazz Gala, which included performances by 2013 Competition winner Melissa Aldana, Institute teaching artists Christian McBride and Don Braden, College program alumna and Competition winner Gretchen Parlato, and the Newark Arts High Quartet, an ensemble in our PAHS program. 

Attendees were also treated to a special video tribute from WBGO. The video highlights the incredible work of our clinicians and performing arts students alike. We are proud to say that their dedication makes it possible for jazz not only to persist, but thrive, both in the musical community and among the public at large. We thank all involved in making 2013 a successful year for the Institute's high school programs and for jazz education in general.
WBGO Tribute to the Monk Institute
WBGO Tribute to the Monk Institute
More videos from the 2013 Peer-to-Peer tours are available on our website.

The Institute on Social Media
The Institute continued to enhance its online presence in 2013, sharing content from all of our educational activities with our followers on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube as well as our websiteWe continued to build our audiences on all of these outlets, increasing our following on Twitter and Facebook by 40% and 34%, respectively, from September to December. We have also begun digitizing and uploading souvenir programs from past Competitions. If you would like to stay connected day-to-day with news, photos, videos, and more from the Institute's many programs, we invite you to "Like" and/or "Follow" us on your chosen platform.

Ph: 202-364-7272 | F: 202-364-0176 | Email: info@monkinstitute.org | monkinstitute.org 

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