Sue Mingus and Justin DiCioccio, producers

Friday, February 14 – Monday, February 17, 2014
To take place at Manhattan School of Music and the Jazz Standard

The country’s most talented young jazz musicians will take part in clinics, jam sessions and compete in High School combo and big band categories—ALL SESSIONS FOCUSED on the music of CHARLES MINGUS—Participants coming from California, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon and Wisconsin

Friday, February 14 – Monday, February 17 Mingus Ensembles Perform at the Jazz Standard

February 3, 2014, New York – The music and legacy of Charles Mingus will be returning to Manhattan School of Music on Saturday, February 15 and Sunday, February 16, 2014, when the MSM Jazz Arts Program collaborates with Let My Children Hear Music/the Charles Mingus Institute to host the Sixth Annual Charles Mingus High School Competition and Festival. In addition, each evening Mingus ensembles will perform at the Jazz Standard, and on Sunday evening (February 16), the competition’s outstanding high school soloists selected earlier that day, will be invited to sit in with the Mingus Big Band. Sue Mingus and Justin DiCioccio are the festival’s co-producers.

The 2014 Charles Mingus High School Competition & Festival will bring some of North America’s most talented young jazz musicians to New York City to attend work¬shops, play in jam sessions and to compete in combo and big band categories, with all of the sessions showcasing Mingus’s music, published by Hall Leonard Publishing Corporation, a sponsor of the competition. Ten schools from throughout the United States, announced in early January, were selected by leading jazz musicians and jazz educators to take part in this year’s competition. The states represented include California, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon and Wisconsin. The goal of the competition is to provide an opportunity for high school music students to explore the enormously varied works of Charles Mingus, who left one of the largest and most personal legacies in 20th-century American composition, and to find their own individual voices within the music.

Prizes will be awarded in the following categories: Best Combo, Best Big Band, Outstanding Big Band Sections (in Regular and Specialized categories), Outstanding Soloists, Outstanding Student Arrangers, and the Mingus Spirit Award.

Festival Performances at the Jazz Standard featuring the Mingus Ensembles
Friday, February 14 through Monday, February 17 at the Jazz Standard

The Mingus ensembles have a longstanding relationship with the Jazz Standard, located at 116 East 27th Street between Park Avenue South and Lexington Avenue. They will be performing Friday, February 14 through Monday, February 17. Three sets are scheduled for Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m.; 9:30 p.m.; and 11:30 p.m.; and on Sunday two sets are scheduled at 7:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. On Sunday night, outstanding soloists named earlier that day in the high school competition, will be invited to sit in with the Mingus Big Band. On Monday, the Mingus Orchestra will perform two sets taking place at 7:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. For tickets, call 212 576 2232.

For information about the Charles Mingus High School Competition and Festival, call 212 736 4749 or visit or Manhattan School of Music is located on the northwest corner of Broadway and 122nd Street in New York City. All events at MSM are FREE and open to the public. For reservations and information about the Mingus performances at the Jazz Standard visit

Saturday, February 15: Clinics and Student Jam Session
at Manhattan School of Music (located at Broadway and 122nd Street)

An afterrnoon of woodwind, rhythm and brass clinics as well as a round table discussion for participating band directors; Mingus film clips and a student jam session featuring Mingus’s music will be taking place. The public is invited to attend.

  • 12:00 p.m. -- Mingus Film Clips
  • 12:30 p.m. – Mingus Dynasty: Alex Foster, alto saxophone; Seamus Blake, tenor saxophone; Philip Harper, trumpet; Joe Fiedler, trombone; Orrin Evans, piano; Mike Richmond, bass and Donald Edwards, drums
  • 1:00 p.m.
    Woodwind Clinic: Alex Foster, alto saxophone; Howard Johnson, baritone saxophone
    Room 607
  • Rhythm Clinic: Orrin Evans, piano; Mike Richmond, bass; Donald Edwards, drums
    Ades Performance Space
  • Brass Clinic: Alexander Pope Norris, trumpet; Joe Fiedler, trombone
    Carla Bossi-Comelli Studio, 610

  • 2:45 p.m. – Round Table Discussion: Education and Mingus
    Moderated by Ken Pullig (retired Chair of Jazz Composition, Berklee College of Music) and Dave Schroeder
    Room 607
  • Student Jam Sessions
    Featuring the music of Charles Mingus played by Festival participants
    Ades Performance Space and Carla Bossi-Comelli Studio, 610

Sunday, February 16: Mingus High School Competition for Combos and Big Bands

at Manhattan School of Music (located at Broadway and 122nd Street)

Two categories have been created for each of the competition’s combo and big band categories –one for regular high schools and another for a specialized schools and programs (magnet schools that focus on the arts). In addition, outstanding soloists are selected in all categories, with one winning soloist eligible for the MSM Charles Mingus scholarship, a full scholarship to attend Manhattan School of Music. The public is invited to attend.

Adjudicators will include:
Combo Adjudicators:
Sy Johnson, Alexander Pope Norris, Mike Richmond
Big Band Adjudicators: Alex Foster, Ken Pullig, David Schroeder

Combo Category (Regular High School)

  • 9:30 a.m. – Folsom High School Jazz Combo I, Folsom, CA; Curtis Gaesser, Band Director
    Mingus: Opus 4; Duke Ellington’s Sound of Love; Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting (arr. by Joey Cozza and Emery Mesich)
  • 10:00 a.m. – Lexington High School Jazz Combo, Lexington, MA; Andrew Held, Band Director
    Mingus: Pithecanthropus Erectus (arr. by Kira Daglio Fine); Self Portrait In Three Colors (arr. by Sean Kim); Dizzy Moods (arr. by Hersh Gupta)
  • 10:30 a.m. – Rio Americano High School Jazz Combo, Sacramento, CA
    Max Kiesner and Josh Murray, Band Directors

    Mingus: Better Get Hit In Your Soul; Portrait; O.P. (arr. by the combo)
  • 11:00 a.m. - The Rivers Select Combo I, The Rivers School, Weston, MA
    Philippe Crettien, Band Director

    Mingus: Reincarnation of a Lovebird (arr. by Richard Oates); Diane, Alice in Wonderland (arr. by James Hotchkis and Jamie Juviler); Sue's Changes (arr. by Rachel Hawley)

Combo Category (Specialized Schools and Programs)

  • 11:45 a.m. – Batterman Ensemble, Wisconsin Conservatory of Music, Milwaukee, WI
    Mark Davis and Eric Jacobson, Band Directors

    Mingus: Fables of Faubus; Goodbye Pork Pie Hat and O.P.(arr. by the Batterman Ensemble)
  • 12:15 p.m. – The Jazz House Messengers, Jazz House Kids, Montclair, NJ
    Bruce Williams, Band Director

    Mingus: Goodbye Pork Pie Hat; Pithecanthropus Erectus; So Long Eric (arr. by  Bruce Williams)
  • 12:45 p.m. Manhattan School of Music Precollege Combo, New York, NY
    Felipe Salles, Band Director

    Mingus: Pithecanthropus Erectus; Remembering Rockefeller at Attica; Duke Ellington's Sound of Love (arr. by MSM Precollege Combo)

Big Band Category (Regular High School)

  • 2:00 p.m. – Boston Latin School Big Band, Boston, MA
    Paul J. Pitts, Band Director

    Mingus: Pedal Point Blues (arr. by John Stubblefield); Goodbye Pork Pie Hat (arr. by Sy Johnson); Song With Orange (arr. by John Stubblefield)
  • 2:30 p.m. – Lexington High School Jazz Ensemble, Lexington, MA
    Andrew Held, Band Director

    Mingus: Don’t Let It Happen Here (arr. by Howard Johnson); Self-Portrait In Three Colors (arr. by Sy Johnson); Eh’s Flat, Ah’s Flat Too (arr. by Sy Johnson)
  • 3:00 p.m. – Newark Academy Big Band “Chameleon”, Livingston, NJ
    Julius Tolentino, Band Director

    Mingus: Nostalgia in Times Square (arr. by Sy Johnson); O.P. (arr. by Sy Johnson); Fables of Faubus (arr. by Sy Johnson)

Big Band Category (Specialized Schools and Programs)

  • 3:45 p.m. – Pacific Crest Jazz Orchestra, The American Music Program, Portland, OR
    Thara Memory, Band Director

    Mingus: Duke Ellington's Sound of Love (arr. by Jack Walrath); Slippers (arr. by Andrew Homzy); Nostalgia in Time Square (arr. by Sy Johnson)
  • 4:15 p.m. – The Jazz House Big Band, Jazz House Kids, Montclair, NJ
    Julius Tolentino, Band Director

    Mingus: Opus 4 (arr. by Boris Kozlov); Duke Ellington's Sound of Love (arr. by Jack Walrath); Song With Orange (arr. by John Stubblefield)
  • 4:45 p.m. – La Guardia High School Senior Jazz Band, New York, NY
    Kevin Blancq, Band Director

    Mingus: This Subdues My Passion (arr. by Charles Mingus); Gunslinging Birds (arr. by Steve Slagle); Open Letter to Duke (arr. by Steve Slagle)

5:30 p.m. -- Closing Concert & Awards Ceremony
MSM Mingus Ensemble, Ku-umba Frank Lacy, Combo Director

Matt Woroshyl, Alto Sax
Adam Larson, Tenor Sax
Ben Benack, Trumpet
St. Clair Simmons, Trombone
Sharik Hasan, Piano
Connor Schultze, Bass
Evan Sherman, Drums
6:00 p.m. – Awards Ceremony with Sue Mingus and Justin DiCioccio

Sue Mingus remarked “Our adjudicators were impressed by the high quality of the submissions and thrilled to hear Mingus music played with such heart and commitment. We are all very excited to see Mingus energy thriving and inspiring these young musicians.”

Justin DiCioccio, one of the first jazz educators to introduce Mingus’ music to students some thirty
years ago said, “Not only was Mingus the foremost jazz bassist of his time, but as a composer his music has the essence of what jazz is about.”

“You are guaranteed a great and profound experience when you perform music by this giant of jazz “composition.” stated Gunther Schuller.


Charles Mingus, one of the most important figures in 20th-century American music—wrote music that is still far ahead of its time. A virtuoso bass player, accomplished pianist, bandleader, and composer, Mingus recorded over a hundred albums and wrote more than three hundred compositions, leaving the second-largest legacy in American music after Ellington. Mingus received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Smithsonian Institute, and the Guggenheim Foundation.

Following his death in 1979 from ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease), the Library of Congress acquired his entire catalog of work, including original scores, recording tapes, and personal effects. A National Endowment for the Humanities grant enabled the cataloging of all his compositions. Microfilm copies were donated to the New York Public Library. He has also been honored with a U.S. postage stamp.

The Mingus repertory bands’ critical and popular success testifies to the power of Mingus’s composition. The availability of his music through published arrangements, educational books, school courses, and workshops, coupled with the hugely successful Charles Mingus High School Competition, have extended the reach of his legacy. Students, musicians, scholars, and fans are exploring and embracing Mingus in ever-increasing numbers.

Charles Mingus’s 1959 album, Mingus Ah Um (Columbia Records), was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame, February, 2013, at the 55th Grammy Awards Ceremony.

Sue Mingus founded the Charles Mingus High School Competition in 2008 and formed a collaboration with Justin DiCioccio for its presentation in 2009 at the Manhattan School of Music, where it has remained ever since. She produces the competition, selects the clinicians, and oversees the adjucation process.

Since Charles Mingus’s death in 1979, Sue Mingus has created and continues to direct repertory ensembles that carry on the music of her late husband. The Mingus Big Band, a New York institution, performs weekly to packed crowds at Jazz Standard, alternating with the Mingus Dynasty and the Mingus Orchestra. She produced Mingus’s monumental 31-musician Epitaph in its 1989 premiere at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall and many subsequent performances.

In 2002, Pantheon released Sue’s memoir of her life with Mingus entitled Tonight at Noon, which was a New York Times Notable Book and a Los Angeles Times Best Book of the Year. It was released in paperback by DaCapo Press and has been translated into several languages.

She has produced numerous Grammy-nominated recordings with Mingus repertory bands, as well as the Grammy-winning “Mingus Big Band Live at Jazz Standard” in 2010 for “Best Large Jazz Ensemble.” Sue Mingus has published educational books, starting with the ground-breaking Charles Mingus: More than a Fake Book, as well as the series Charles Mingus: More than a Play-Along, distributed by Hal Leonard Publishers, along with a dozen Mingus Big Band charts, a book of guitar charts arranged by Jack Wilkins, and, most recently, a new series for younger students called Simply Mingus. This year she has been instrumental in the creation of Charles Mingus courses at both Manhattan School of Music and Rutgers University.

Justin DiCioccio, Associate Dean and Chair of MSM’s Jazz Arts Program, is internationally recognized as one of the foremost jazz educators of our time. He recently became Acting Dean of the True School of Music (TSM), an innovative new music school in Mumbai, India, that opened in September, 2013. His inventive approach as an educator has earned him the title “the musician’s teacher,” and his many performances, conducting appearances, jazz and percussion clinics, and workshops are widely recognized in the professional and educational fields. Mr. DiCioccio was inducted into the Jazz Education Hall of Fame, has served as program director and clinician for Carnegie Hall Jazz Education, acts as a consultant to Jazz at Lincoln Center and Wynton Marsalis and is conductor of the Grammy Jazz Ensemble. He developed and directed the LaGuardia High School of the Arts jazz program, the first fully accredited secondary jazz program in the United States. Mr. DiCioccio is the recipient of a citation from the mayor of New York for “Distinguished and Exceptional Service to Young Instrumentalists” and is active with the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts, the Music for Youth Foundation, the National Young Arts Organization and the National Foundation for Jazz Education. He is a three-time recipient of the Presidential Scholars Teacher Recognition Award in the jazz field by the U.S. Department of Education. In May 1998, the Commission Project, in partnership with the New York City Board of Education, created the JD Award for Outstanding Service to Music in New York City Schools. On March 1, 2010, he was confirmed as the State Department Appointed Cultural Envoy Jazz Ambassador to Tbilisi, Georgia.

Mr. DiCioccio’s performing and conducting credentials include concerts, commercials, Broadway shows, and recordings with jazz, orchestral, rock, and new music groups. Mr. DiCioccio is a former member of the Rochester Philharmonic and for five years was a member of the Marine Band “The President’s Own,” in which he served as the official White House drummer during the Kennedy and Johnson administrations. Justin DiCioccio was named Chair of MSM’s Jazz Arts Program in 1999 and Associate Dean in 2011. He has been a member of its faculty since 1984.

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Debra Kinzler

Director of Communications
Manhattan School of Music
917 493 4469