Dynamic Maximum Tension, the new album on Nonesuch records by MSM Jazz Arts faculty member Darcy James Argue and his group Secret Society — the recording also features Dean of Jazz Arts Ingrid Jensen — has been featured recently in two national media outlets: The New York Times writes about the album in its column “5 Classical Music Albums You Can Listen To Right Now” and the album is featured on NPR‘s program Fresh Air.
Read The New York Times article here.
Listen to the NPR program here.
MSM Jazz Orchestra was the featured group on October 16 at Merkin Hall in NYC for the concert”Swing! The Great Big Bands of the Swing Era” at the Kauffman Music Center.
The concert was part of the critically acclaimed series: “What Makes It Great?” conducted by Ron Kapalow.
Photo by MSM President James Gandre.
Learn more about the series here.
MSM Jazz Arts alumnus Jahari Stampley of Chicago has been named first place winner of the 2023 Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz International Piano Competition.
Four of eight semi-finalists in the competition are MSM Jazz Arts alumni and a current student: Alan Bartuš (MM ’25) of Lučenec, Slovakia; Esteban Castro (PC ’17) of Hackensack, New Jersey; Dabin Ryu (MM ’20) of Seoul, South Korea; and Jenny Xu (MM ’19) of Surrey and Vancouver, British Columbia.
Jahari stands next to Herbie Hancock in the photo above.
The competition held by the Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz, the world’s preeminent jazz education organization, in association with the Perelman Performing Arts Center (PACNYC), awarded major scholarships and prizes including a $50,000 first place award.
World-renowned pianists Bill Charlap, Orrin Evans, Herbie Hancock, Hiromi and Danilo Pérez served as the Competition judges.
Read more here.
MSM Jazz Arts master’s student Motswedi (Moe) Modiba has advanced to the finals in the Sing! China competition program on Chinese television, watched by hundreds of millions of spectators. The South African native is singing in Chinese; she speaks the language having lived in the country previously. MSM faculty member Jean Baylor is coaching Moe for her performances. The program is modelled after the US TV program The Voice.
Clips of her performance have been trending on both Chinese and South African social media platforms, and Moe has been invited to perform during an upcoming state visit to China by the South African president. She is the first Black and first performer from South Africa to appear on the show, and news of her appearance is being reported by major news outlets in China and in South Africa.
Watch a clip of Moe’s performance here at the 20-minute mark.
Read a news story from South Africa here.
The New York Times classical music critic Zachary Wolfe reviewed Treemonisha praising MSM alumnus and faculty member Damien Sneed’s reworking of Scott Joplin’s opera.
“Sneed gamely inhabited a Joplin-like idiom in the newly composed material,” writes the critic.
Zachary Wolfe also hailed MSM alumnus Justin Austin (BM ’14, MM ’17) who has a lead role in the production: “Baritone Justin Austin vibrated with passionate life as Joplin and Remus.”
Read article here.
MSM Jazz Arts alumnus the Grammy-nominated Jimmy Greene (DMA ’18) has been named to a full professor position at Western Connecticut State University.
A native of Connecticut, Greene is considered one of the most respected saxophonists of his generation. Greene and his groups perform regularly in jazz venues, festivals and clubs worldwide. In addition to his recordings and appearances as a leader, Greene appears on over 75 albums as a sideman, and has toured and/or recorded with Horace Silver, Ron Carter, Tom Harrell, Freddie Hubbard, and Harry Connick, Jr., among many others.
Learn more about Jimmy Greene here.
Ambrose Akinmusire (BM ’05), who studied Jazz Trumpet at MSM with Laurie Frink, has been named the Artistic Director of UCLA’s prestigious Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz Performance in residence at the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music. He is a 2007 graduate of the program.
In 2007, Akinmusire won the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition and the Carmine Caruso International Jazz Trumpet Solo Competition, two of the most prestigious jazz competitions in the world.
The Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz Performance is a tuition-free two-year program that accepts one ensemble of musicians for each class.
Learn more about the program here.
Jazz voice student Moe — Motswedi Modiba (MM ’24) — from Pretoria, South Africa, won the Best New Age R&B category of the South African MetroFM awards on May 7. It was her first time being nominated for an award. The MetroFM Awards are considered the South African equivalent to the American Music Awards.
“This is a huge milestone for me,” says Moe. “I want to thank MSM for creating a space for me to flourish and really put my best foot forward, especially because I’m so far from home.”
Moe studies at MSM with Jean Baylor.
More about the awards here.
Christian McGhee (BM ’21, MM ’23) is a film composer and multi-instrumentalist studying for his master’s at MSM after completing his bachelor’s degree. Christian is also a music director and orchestrator.
The BMI Future Jazz Master Award is an annual competition open to rising jazz stars enrolled at colleges and universities nationwide. The award was established by Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI) in 2015.
More about Christian McGhee here.
More about the BMI Future Jazz Master Scholarship here.
Vocalist and MSM Jazz Arts student Martina Barta (MM ’23) is the featured jazz vocalist with the classical ensemble Orquestrina Baborak on March 11 at The Berliner Philharmonie concert hall in Berlin, Germany, home to the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra.
Martina, a Czech singer and musician, will be singing in a program that includes music by Gershwin and Bernstein; the concert is conducted by internationally renowned Czech Hornist Radek Baborak.
More information about the concert here.
U.S. President Joe Biden says he would nominate trusted confidante and long-time economic adviser Jared Bernstein (BM’ 78) to head the White House Council of Economic Advisers (CEA). Jared Bernstein, 68, is one of three senior economists on the council and has worked in Democratic administrations for decades.
Jared Bernstein studied double bass at MSM with Orin O’Brien. He played in jazz bands and worked as a social worker in New York City before getting a doctorate. He served in former President Bill Clinton‘s Labor Department and then as Biden’s chief economist when Biden was vice president.
Read our Q&A with Jared here.
Read the news story about the nomination here.
MSM Jazz Arts student Michael Migliore (MM ’23) (in photo on left) played bass with Samara Joy, the winner of the 2023 GRAMMY award for Best Jazz Vocalist, in a performance that took place during the awards. The artist and her band received a standing ovation from the televised audience.
Michael Migliore studies at MSM with legendary bassist Buster Williams.
Watch the performance here.
The New York Times writes about pianist and composer Jason Moran‘s (BM ’97) new album From the Dancehall to the Battlefield that “puts the music of James Reese Europe through a contemporary prism,” says journalist Seth Colter Walls.
Jazz pianist, composer, and band leader James Reese Europe was active in the 1910s, took part in the first world war, and returned to the New York music scene in 1919 before being murdered by a disgruntled band member that year.
The new recording “rewinds jazz’s history a bit and brings Europe’s sound into a relationship with successive waves of jazz and contemporary music,” writes Seth Colter Walls.
Read the article here.
Find out more about the album here.
Jazz pianist, composer, and MSM faculty member Phil Markowitz has released Solo Piano Live in Rome, a nearly 90-minute live recording of a concert held at the Auditorium Parco della Musica in Rome. The three-encore performance includes original compositions and re-imagined standards. The album is Mr. Markowitz’s first solo release in his long and storied career.
Available at Amazon Music and iTunes. More about the album here.
MSM Jazz Arts faculty members Damien Sneed and Theo Bleckmann are both featured in a groundbreaking series at New York City’s Town Hall celebrating four women composers who have shaped American culture over the decades.
Theo Bleckmann is part of Meredith Monk‘s Vocal Ensemble on Saturday, October 15, for the New York premiere of Memory Game. On January 7, composer/producer/arranger Damien Sneed will be music director in a program celebrating the Grammy-winning Gospel singer, songwriter, record producer, musician, and evangelist Elbernita “Twinkie” Clark.
Also being celebrated as part of this Town Hall series: legendary singer-songwriter Judy Collins and composer Laura Kaminsky.
More information on the series here.
Jazz Arts faculty member Damien Sneed received a rave review for his conducting and arrangement of the June performance of The Ordering of Moses at Riverside Church. The Harlem Chamber Players presented R. Nathaniel Dett’s 1937 oratorio in honor of the centennial of the Harlem Renaissance, for the Juneteenth weekend.
MSM Alumna Krysty Swann (BM ’08)was the mezzo soprano soloist.
“Sneed’s harmonization gave it a discordant underbelly reflective of struggle — a reminder that it has been only two years since protests for George Floyd swept the globe, and one year since Juneteenth, an annual observation of Emancipation dating to 1866, was consecrated as a federal holiday,” writes NY Times critic Oussama Zahr.
Read the review here.
The feature article in Opera News by Karen Chilton with photography by Darío Acosta spotlights MSM faculty member Damien Sneed conducting The Ordering of Moses at the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine in New York City on June 17, presented by the Harlem Chamber Players.
Read the article here.
Learn more about the production here.
Recent MSM graduate, composer, and arranger Eliana Fishbeyn (MM ’22) is among 21 young composers named a 2022 ASCAP Foundation Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composer. She received the honor for her composition Unknown Knowns for big band, which had previously won the Sophie Desmarais International Composition Competition for Large Jazz Ensemble at the Université de Montréal in 2021.
Eliana Fishbeyn is a composer and arranger of Russian-Jewish heritage from Chapel Hill, North Carolina, who currently resides in New York City. She graduated with her Master’s degree in jazz composition at Manhattan School of Music in May 2022, having studied with Jim McNeely and Phil Markowitz.
The ASCAP Foundation Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composer Award is granted annually to encourage talented young jazz composers during the earliest stages of their careers. The recipients receive cash awards and are selected through a juried national competition.
Learn more about the award here.
Congratulations to MSM faculty and alumni who won 2022 GRAMMY Awards for classical, jazz, and composing/arranging!
The awards were presented on April 3, 2022 in Las Vegas. Winners include MSM alumni Anthony Roth Costanzo (MM ’08) (in photo on left) and J’Nai Bridges (BM ’09) soloists in the Metropolitan Opera’s production of Philip Glass’ Ahknaten which won Best Opera Recording.
View the full list of winners here.
View all MSM faculty and alumni nominated for the 2022 awards here.
The GRAMMY Awards take place on Sunday, April 1, with more than 30 MSM alumni and faculty members nominated, including MSM trustees Terence Blanchard (HonDMA ’19) and Anthony Roth Costanzo (MM ’08), as well as J’nai Bridges (BM ’09), and faculty member, Miguel Zenón.
Read the full list of MSM community nominees here.
GRAMMY-winning jazz musician Ron Carter, a MSM alumnus and faculty member, is one the most recorded jazz bassist of all time with over 2,200 individual recording credits, and has been named one of the “10 Greatest Bassists of All-Time” by Rolling Stone.
At the Carnegie Hall concert, Ron Carter will play select material from his six-decade career, leading groups in three combinations: trio, quartet, and octet.
Ron Carter has performed and collaborated with other legends of jazz and music including Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, Antônio Carlos Jobim, Gil Scott-Heron, Wayne Shorter, Paul Simon, McCoy Tyner, Aretha Franklin, Stan Getz, Roberta Flack, Bill Evans, Chet Baker, and dozens more.
Learn about the concert here.
Ally Alchrecht (MM ’17) Jazz Trumpet is the newest trumpet instrumentalist with the Commodores Jazz Ensemble, part of the United States Navy Band.
Previously she was a member of the United States Air Force Band of the Golden West. Highlights with the USAFB include performing as a soloist at the Hollywood Bowl with the LA Phil, on ESPN live for Monday Night Football, and at the Monterey Jazz Festival.
Ally graduated with her Master’s Degree in Jazz trumpet from Manhattan School of Music in 2017 where she studied with Tony Kadleck.
Learn more about Ally here.
MSM Jazz Arts drum set faculty member John Riley received the Lifetime Achievement in Education Award at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention on November 11.
Critically acclaimed performer, author, and teacher, John Riley has worked with the world’s leading jazz musicians for over 30 years. A multiple Grammy award winner, John has played on hundreds of recordings and at major venues with jazz icons such as Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Joe Lovano, and many others.
Learn more about John Riley here.
Congratulations to MSM Jazz Arts faculty member and saxophonist Miguel Zenón, originally from Puerto Rico, who is nominated for the jazz recording El Arte del Bolero (Miel Music), a duet he recorded with Venezuelan pianist Luis Perdomo.
The 22nd Latin GRAMMY Awards will take place on NOV 18 at the MSM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, airing live on Univision at 8 PM ET.
A review of the album can be found here.
More about the Latin GRAMMY Awards here.
As part of this Advancing Indigenous Performance (AIP) initiative, Julia and three other artists will each receive over the next three years direct financial and travel support, mentoring and coaching, professional development opportunities, and promotional benefits valued at $40,000.
AIP was established in 2018 by the Western Arts Alliance with generous lead support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, and additional funding from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). Awardees are selected by a panel of Indigenous performing arts professionals from across the country.
Learn more here.
Jazz Road, South Arts‘ national initiative supporting jazz artists, has announced its largest investment in the field to date: Jazz Road Creative Residencies. Fifty-two artists are receiving grants of up to $40,000 each, allowing them the opportunity to further explore their art form. Among the grant recipients are six MSM alumni: pianist John Escreet (MM ’08), saxophonist and composer Felipe Salles (DMA ’05), trumpeter Adam O’Farrill (BM ’16), pianist Fabian Almazan (BM ’06, MM ’09), pianist and composer Jason Moran (BM ’97), and vocalist Julia Keefe (MM ’19).
Projects supported through Jazz Road Creative Residencies range from the creation of new works to community-driven collaborative events.
Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, South Arts is a nonprofit regional arts organization empowering artists, organizations, and communities, and increasing access to arts and culture.
Learn more about the grants here.
Learn more about South Arts here.
MSM Jazz Faculty Damien Sneed (second on left in photo) is featured this Saturday, Oct 2, at the March on Washington Film Festival (Sept 30 to Oct 4) in a special performance at the event, “The Importance of Pauli Murray.”
Rev. Dr. Pauli Murray was a 20th-century pioneer in many senses of the word: human rights activist, social justice strategist, legal scholar, poet, first African American woman Episcopalian priest, a founder of the National Organization for Women, and transmasculine member of the LGBTQ community.
The special original performance features actor Regina Victor, composer/pianist Damien Sneed with Amyr Joyner, violin, and Johnny Walker, cello.
More information here.
9 Horses is an improvising chamber ensemble featuring MSM alum, faculty member, and 2018 GRAMMY nominee Sara Caswell (MM ’06) (Esperanza Spalding) on violin, Joe Brent (formerly of Regina Spektor’s band) on acoustic and electric mandolin, and Andrew Ryan (Kaia Kater) on bass.
Their latest recording Omegah will be released on August 7 on Adhyâropa Records, a double album that Sara Caswell describes as reflecting 9 Horses’s natural progression. “This record is the culmination of years of experimenting with band members, musical timbres, colors and styles. In a way, it portrays our group’s entire odyssey.”
Purchase the album on Basecamp here.
Watch a song from the the new album by 9 Horses here.
The respected arts organization Chesapeake Music has announced its Summer Jazz Concert with vocalist and pianist Alison Crockett on Aug. 7 at 8 PM at its new home and recently renovated Ebenezer Theatre at 17 South Washington Street in Easton, Maryland.
Alison will be performing her Echoes of an Era show highlighting music from Chaka Khan, Chick Corea and the American Songbook.
“I consider myself a musician who comes out of the jazz tradition, the Black music tradition where jazz people take established forms and reimagine them in new and different ways,” she tells the Cecil Whig, the oldest newspaper on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.
Read about the event here.
Learn more about Alison here.
The respected Bass Magazine announces the release on August 6 of Ali’s latest CD I Want To Sing My Heart Out In Praise of Life . The compositions on the album are inspired by the work of legendary avant-garde artist Yayoi Kusama.
At MSM, Ali studied with renowned jazz bassist Ron Carter. She will be celebrating the album release at Minton’s in New York City on August 6 at 7 PM and 9 PM.
The recording project is generously funded by a grant from the New York Foundation Arts 2020 Women’s Fund.
Read the Bass Magazine article here.
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