Arts + Culture

President Clinton to join jazz legends at gala concert

World's finest young jazz trumpeters to compete at UCLA

Courtesy of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz
President Bill Clinton on sax

After 10 of the world’s most outstanding young jazz trumpeters compete at UCLA next fall at the 2014 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Trumpet Competition, three will be chosen to go horn to horn, vying for more than $100,000 in scholarships and prizes, a guaranteed record contract and a chance perhaps to jam with President Bill Clinton.


This year's competition, hosted by the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, which partners with UCLA’s Herb Alpert School of Music on a two-year graduate music program for young musicians, will precede an All-Star Gala Concert at the Dolby Theatre Nov. 9, when the institute will present its Maria Fisher Founder’s Award to Clinton. A lifelong devotee of jazz, President Clinton has been a supporter of the institute for more than two decades.

The institute, a nonprofit jazz education organization, began collaborating with the Herb Alpert School of Music in 2012, thanks to the leadership of renowned jazz musicians Herb Alpert, Herbie Hancock and Kenny Burrell, a professor of ethnomusicology and music and director of jazz studies at UCLA.

The semifinals of the competition will be held Nov. 8 at Schoenberg Hall, where each of the competitors will perform before a panel of jazz greats that will include Ambrose Akinmusire, Terence Blanchard, Randy Brecker, Roy Hargrove, Quincy Jones and Arturo Sandoval. In the past, graduates of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance, currently offered at UCLA, have competed.

Following the finals competition on Nov. 9 in Hollywood, the All-Star Gala Concert will bring together some of the most renowned jazz artists of our time, including Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Terri Lyne Carrington, Ron Carter, Vinnie Colaiuta, Jimmy Heath, Marcus Miller and Dianne Reeves. Hancock and Shorter regularly teach at the institute at the Herb Alpert School of Music at UCLA.

Each year, the Maria Fisher Founder’s Award is given to an individual who has made major contributions to the perpetuation of jazz music and the expansion of jazz and music education in schools around the world. Past recipients of the Founder's Award include Shorter, Madeleine Albright, George Benson, Aretha Franklin, Quincy Jones, B.B. King and Stevie Wonder.

“President Clinton has been a jazz advocate for decades and supported the education programs of the Thelonious Monk Institute throughout his presidency,” said Hancock, chairman of the institute. “He continues to be recognized for his creativity on the tenor saxophone, skills he honed during his youth through public school music programs."

The first "In Performance at the White House" event of Clinton's administration was an evening of jazz on the south lawn that was televised on PBS. Throughout his eight years in office, Clinton showcased jazz at the White House on numerous occasions and, through the U.S. Department of State, enabled jazz masters to travel around the world with young jazz professionals and students, serving as ambassadors of music. A special highlight was the Summit of the Americas, where President Clinton and Secretary of State Madeleine Albright showcased jazz and the institute's musicians before 34 world leaders.

The Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition is frequently compared in stature to classical music's International Tchaikovsky Competition and the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. Each year, the competition features a different musical instrument, and major scholarships and prizes are awarded to talented young musicians.

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