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Monk Institute fellows join Herbie Hancock and Dee Dee Bridgewater on U.S. Department of State tour of China

Loyola press release - May 17, 2010

The Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance continues its longstanding partnership with the U.S. Department of State by presenting a 10-day jazz education and performance tour of China. This tour marks the institute's first visit to China and will introduce tens of thousands of young people and adults in China to jazz, a musical form considered to be America's greatest musical contribution to the world.

Internationally renowned pianist, composer and institute chair Herbie Hancock and acclaimed vocalist Dee Dee Bridgewater will headline the tour. They will be accompanied by the six fellows who attend the Monk Institute graduate-level college program at Loyola University New Orleans. These students, who perform as the Thelonious Monk Institute Ensemble, receive full scholarships and regularly study and perform with the world's most accomplished jazz musicians.

The group will led a masterclass for Beijing's aspiring young musicians at the National Center for the Performing Arts on Monday, May 10 and performed at the Forbidden City Concert Hall on Tuesday, May 11. Additionally, the musicians presented major concerts on May 13 and 14 at the Entertainment Hall of the Shanghai 2010 Expo. These concerts are a gift from the United States to the people of China and citizens from around the world who attend the expo.

“The institute's tour of China represents our continued commitment to working with young musicians from all parts of the globe,” said Hancock. “Music has always served as a bridge between different cultures, and no musical art form is more effective as a diplomatic tool than jazz.”

The U.S. Department of State is the major sponsor of the institute's educational tour of China. Additional support is being provided by the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, Marriott, and United Airlines, the official airline of the Monk Institute.

The China tour is the most recent in a series of international diplomatic, cultural and educational tours presented by the Monk Institute and the U.S. Department of State since 1995. Past programs have included a tour of seven African nations; India and Thailand; Chile, Argentina and Peru; Egypt; and Vietnam. The institute has also partnered with the United Nations to perform at three annual "International Day of Philosophy" events presented by The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

In 2009, the institute's college students accompanied Martin Luther King III, Herbie Hancock, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Chaka Khan, Terri Lyne Carrington, George Duke, along with a Congressional Delegation lead by Congressman John Lewis and former United Nations Ambassador Andrew Young on a State Department tour of India commemorating the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and Coretta Scott King's historic trip to India to study Gandhi's nonviolence movement.

For more information or to schedule an interview, contact Sean Snyder in Loyola’s Office of Public Affairs at smsnyder@loyno.edu or call 504-861-5882.