Monterey Next Generation Jazz Festival

Ambrose Akinmusire
Every spring, the Monterey Jazz Festival invites the top student musicians from across the country and around the world to participate in the Next Generation Jazz Festival, March 30th to April 1, 2012.

The three-day event includes performances by middle school through college level ensembles as well as competitions, with awards going to the top groups for High School, Conglomerate, and College Big Band Divisions; for High School and College Vocal Ensembles; for High School Combos; and for our newest component, the Open Combo Division for high school conglomerate and college level ensembles. The event also includes Next Generation Jazz Festival's annual Composition Competition, open to high school composers or younger.

The top three high school big bands, top high school combo, top conglomerate big band, top college-level big band and vocal ensemble, top two high school vocal ensembles, and top Open Division combo will win cash awards and be invited to perform at the 55th Annual Monterey Jazz Festival, September 21㬓, 2012. In total, 10 groups from the Next Generation Jazz Festival will perform at the 2012 Monterey Jazz Festival, with the top high school big band kicking off the Arena/Jimmy Lyons Stage program on Sunday, September 23, 2012. Other selected groups will perform in the Night Club, the Garden Stage, and the Coffee House Gallery on the Grounds.

Auditions will also be held for chair positions in the Monterey Jazz Festival's Next Generation Jazz Orchestra, which embarks on a summer tour and is a featured ensemble on the Festival's Sunday afternoon (September 23, 2012) Arena/Jimmy Lyons Stage program.

Next Generation Jazz Festival finalists are selected through recorded auditions by leading jazz educators, and will include twelve big bands, six combos, and eight vocal ensembles in the High School Division. Six college-level big bands and six college vocal ensembles will also be selected, in addition to six conglomerate bands, six middle school big bands and six Open Division Combos for college and conglomerate high school ensembles.

The Next Generation Jazz Festival will also feature special invited groups. In 2011, over sixty groups from across the United States attended the Next Generation Jazz Festival. In addition, the Big Band Composition Competition is open to high school student composers. Judged by college faculty from leading music schools across the country, the winning composer will receive the Gerald Wilson Award and a cash prize, with the winning composition to be performed by the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra at the 55th Annual Monterey Jazz Festival, September 23, 2012 on the Jimmy Lyons Stage in the Arena.

All Next Generation Jazz Festival events and activities—From Friday night's Kick-Off Concert through Saturday and Sunday's Next Generation Jazz Festival Jazz Competition are open to the public, free of charge. The Festival will also conduct clinics, workshops, jam sessions, and auditions in the heart of historic Monterey, with music to be performed at the Monterey Conference Center, the host Portola Plaza Hotel, Fisherman's Wharf, and other locations downtown.

In the past, Next Generation Jazz Festival adjudicators have included Ambrose Akinmusire, Peck Allmond, Bob Athayde, Jennifer Barnes, David Beatty, Dave Carpenter, Terri Lyne Carrington, Corey Christiansen, Paul Contos, Sal Cracchiolo, Ray Drummond, George Duke, Rosana Eckert, Peter Erskine, Matt Falker, Mary Fettig, Lynne Fiddmont, Billy Harper, Matt Harris, Antonio Hart, Sherman Irby, Sean Jones, Aaron Lington, Dave Loeb, Kerry Marsh, Andy Martin, Ron McCarley, Alan Pasqua, Steve Roach, Lauren Sevian, Kendrick Scott, George Stone, Dr. Lawrence Sutherland, Michele Weir, Ron Westray, and more.

In 2012, the Next Generation Jazz Festival will feature the Monterey Jazz Festival's Artist-In-Residence, trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire, winner of the 2007 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition and the Carmine Caruso International Jazz Trumpet Solo Competition. He recently made his major-label debut on Blue Note Records.

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