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Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz celebrates 25th anniversary with piano competition and star-studded gala concert

September 2, 2011

Ellis Marsalis is a judge for this year's competition.

The Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz will celebrate its 25th anniversary with its International Jazz Piano Competition and an all-star gala concert in Washington, D.C., Sept. 11-12. In partnership with major sponsor Cadillac, the 25th anniversary celebration will include a series of events and performances aimed to honor the history of the institute and its impact on jazz education.

Highlights include the 2011 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Piano Competition Semifinals, in which 12 semifinalists from around the world will compete, and three finalists will be announced at the end of the Sept. 11 program at the Smithsonian Institution.

The competition finals and gala concert will feature an appearance by Aretha Franklin, the Monk Institute's Founder's Award honoree. In addition, there will be performances by leading jazz artists Herbie Hancock, Terence Blanchard, Ellis Marsalis, T.S. Monk and Jason Moran, as well as graduates of the Monk Institute’s Jazz Performance Program, including Ambrose Akinmusire, Gretchen Parlato, James Westfall and Ben Williams, among others.

As part of the evening, the three competition finalists will compete for scholarship prizes and a recording contract with Concord Music Group. Past competition winners will perform a special tribute to the life and music of Thelonious Monk. This year's judges include Herbie Hancock, Ellis Marsalis, Jason Moran and Danilo Perez.

“I feel honored that I have been selected to be a judge in the Monk Competition,” said Marsalis, a Monk Institute board member. “I have had an affiliation with the Institute for many years and recently recorded many of Monks' compositions with my quartet. Being a judge at the 2011 competition is very special to me.”

The Monk Institute’s staffs at Loyola University New Orleans, as well as in Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles, are all involved in preparations for the event, and proceeds from the gala concert will support Monk Institute programs in these cities and around the world.

Since 2007, the Monk Institute of Jazz Performance was based at Loyola University. In April, plans were announced to relocate the Jazz Performance program to the University of California, Los Angeles while still maintaining educational and community outreach programs at the Loyola campus.

“The Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance was created to celebrate the cultural and historical importance of jazz music and to cultivate jazz education,” said Monk Institute President Thomas C. Carter. “We are firmly committed to providing our free outreach programs across New Orleans and nurturing the next generation of masters of the art form.”

Tickets for the competition finals and gala concert can be purchased online at www.kennedy-center.org or by calling the Kennedy Center box office at 202-467-4600 or 800-444-1324.

For more information, contact Jess Brown in Loyola’s Office of Public Affairs at jlbrown@loyno.edu or call 504-861-5882.

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Loyola at a Glance is written and distributed for the faculty, staff, students and friends of Loyola University New Orleans. It is published by the Office of Public Affairs, Greenville Hall, Box 909, 7214 St. Charles Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70118. (504) 861-5888.

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