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Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Announces Major Commitment to New Orleans and Brings Top Music Education Program to the Birthplace of Jazz

Loyola press release - April 2, 2007

NEW ORLEANS, LA – Kicking off National Jazz Appreciation Month with a major call to action, the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz today announced its “Commitment to New Orleans initiative which includes the relocation of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance to the campus of Loyola University New Orleans from Los Angeles.

The Institute’s “Commitment to New Orleans” also includes ongoing school and community jazz education programs to help strengthen the school system, provide employment for New Orleans musicians, attract displaced musicians living in other areas of the country back to their hometown, and unite the city’s jazz, arts, and cultural communities.

The Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance program is the world’s most intensive graduate-level college jazz education program attracting top young jazz musicians from around the globe. During the announcement, the inaugural New Orleans class, performed alongside jazz legends Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, and New Orleans native, Terence Blanchard who serves as the program’s artistic director.

New Orleans is the birthplace of jazz – and jazz is what made this city the place we know and love,” said Herbie Hancock, chairman of the Institute. “With our “Commitment to New Orleans” and a strong partnership with Loyola University New Orleans and the New Orleans University Consortium, we’re working to keep jazz alive and vibrant in its home by bringing the next generation of great jazz musicians here to learn and by introducing jazz and its history to young people throughout the city. We know that when jazz flourishes, New Orleans will flourish too.”

Tom Carter, president of the Monk Institute, said “The Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz is making a major commitment to New Orleans by embarking on a four-year initiative to help revitalizing the city through jazz music. A century ago, New Orleans gave the world jazz. This revered American art form is synonymous with New Orleans and its culture and has been a unifying force in the city for over one hundred years. We strongly believe that jazz will help the city’s reemergence in the wake of America's most devastating natural disaster.”

“The mission of the Institute fits well with Loyola’s commitment to think critically, act justly, and engage in the world around us,” said John Snyder, Professor of Music Industry Studies and Coordinator of Music Industry Studies. “The Institute is committed to making an impact on the community, providing a means for these jazz masters to go out and spread their message and share their knowledge with the next generation of musicians.”

New Orleans is nationally and internationally known for its jazz. The Institute is a natural fit with Loyola, the entire New Orleans consortium, and the city,” said Dr. Ed Kvet, Dean of the College of Music and Fine Arts at Loyola University.

The Institute’s Artistic Director, Terence Blanchard, added “After Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans was shaken and its musical roots were threatened. I grew up in this city and learned about jazz here at Loyola with other young jazz musicians like Wynton and Branford Marsalis and I know that the Institute will have a great impact on jazz and in our communities. We are going to work hard to help jazz and New Orleans flourish once again.”

“In the 1940s and 1950s, Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, and others would congregate at our apartment to learn from each other and to share their musical knowledge,” said Thelonious Monk Jr. “That’s the mission of the Institute – to foster the next generation of musicians and help jazz music thrive for years to come.”

The Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance will be associated with the New Orleans Consortium, and will provide special programs on the campuses of Tulane University, the University of New Orleans, Delgado Community College and three Historically Black Colleges and Universities: Dillard, Southern, and Xavier.

The “Commitment to New Orleans” is the largest program initiative in the Institute’s twenty-year history. For the first time, one program will embody the Institute’s entire mission of fostering the next generation of jazz greats, educating young people about jazz, and helping to expand and perpetuate jazz.

The Institute today also launched its other jazz education programs for schools across New Orleans. Following the announcement, the Institute began its “Jazz in America: The National Jazz Curriculum” with an informational performance led by jazz sensations Bobby Watson, Lisa Henry, Otis Brown, and Richard Johnson for McMain High School students. As McMain’s auditorium is still in need of repair after Hurricane Katrina, the program was held at Loyola’s Roussel Performance Hall.

Some of the other components of the “Commitment to New Orleans” include: Jazz Masters which puts jazz greats such as Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Ron Carter, Dianne Reeves, Jimmy Heath, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Dave Holland, Danilo Perez, Clark Terry and many others in schools, and Jazz in the Classroom where Monk students and local New Orleans musicians will present in school and after school music training classes for intermediate and advanced student musicians. The Institute’s students will also perform all across the city and state to help bring jazz to every community.

The partnership with Loyola University New Orleans offers the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz the rare opportunity to expand its college program to include major broadcasting capabilities. Loyola is providing the Institute with its own broadcast studio that will be used by the students, faculty and major jazz masters for videotaping and for presenting live broadcasts via television, webcasts, and podcasts as produced by the Music Industries Program at the University. Classroom instruction, master classes and concerts will be documented for broadcasts to schools and the general public.

The Institute is also pleased to announce a major partnership with Black Entertainment Television (BET) and BET J, the cable channel’s 24-hour jazz channel. BET and BET J will feature ongoing programming about the Institute’s New Orleans Initiative including the many educational components as well as concerts showcasing the college students with major jazz artists and with public school students throughout the city.

About the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz

The Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz is a 501(c) (3) nonprofit educational organization established in 1986 by the Monk family and the late Maria Fisher, founder of the Beethoven Society of America. The Institute was created in memory of Thelonious Monk, the legendary jazz pianist and composer who believed the best way to learn jazz was from a master of the music. The Institute follows that same philosophy and for the past 20 years has brought young aspiring jazz artists together with renowned jazz musicians. The Institute is devoted to the preservation of jazz and the continued expansion of this truly American musical art form. More information at www.monkinstitute.org.

About Loyola’s College of Music and Fine Arts

Loyola’s College of Music and Fine Arts provides students with an opportunity to pursue both a strong foundation in the liberal arts and professional training in the performing and fine arts. In this fashion, students can study subjects such as history and philosophy along with graphic design, music therapy, performance, sculpture, and stagecraft. The College of Music and Fine Arts prides itself on the relationship between its faculty and students and its comprehensive array of opportunities for performances, exhibits, and ensembles which afford students the opportunity to present their work on a consistent basis. The low ratio of students to faculty enables a strong emphasis on individual student attention and individual instruction. More information at www.loyno.edu.