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Jason Moran Is Named Kennedy Center’s Jazz Adviser

Published: 2011-11-29
Jason Moran Jason Moran at Celebrate Brooklyn in Prospect Park in June.The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts said on Tuesday that the pianist and composer Jason Moran has been appointed its new artistic adviser for jazz.

Mr. Moran, 36, is the second person to hold that post, which had been vacant since the death last year of Billy Taylor, the venerable pianist and educator who began advising the Kennedy Center in 1994.

The responsibilities of artistic adviser extend to the development of jazz programming at the Kennedy Center, which operates its own jazz club as well as a regular concert series. Among its signature offerings is the Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Festival, the 17th annual edition of which is scheduled to begin May 10.

Mr. Moran, who was named a MacArthur Fellow last year, hails from a younger generation than Taylor, and has a more progressive reputation. He has worked often with arts institutions outside the jazz realm, receiving commissions from the Dia Art Foundation and the Walker Art Center, among others, and collaborating with contemporary performance and visual artists.

He has performed at the Kennedy Center a handful of times, the first in 1998, when he participated in Betty Carter's Jazz Ahead, the Kennedy Center's youth residency program. Mr. Moran's working group, the Bandwagon, has twice headlined the KC Jazz Club, and he has appeared in one of the center's theaters with the Overtone Quartet. He is scheduled to take part in NPR's Jazz Piano Christmas at the Kennedy Center on Dec. 10.


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