NGAM & Newport Jazz Festival Kick Off 2012 with 3-year Sponsorship & Scholarship

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Natixis Global Asset Management and Newport Jazz Festival Kick Off 2012 Performance with Three-Year Sponsorship and Scholarship Program

Focus Spotlights Young Artists; Student Performer to Receive NGAM Scholarship

Natixis Global Asset Management (NGAM) and Newport Festivals Foundation, Inc. today announced a new three-year sponsorship agreement that highlights aspiring young jazz performers. In addition to this year’s line-up of world-class artists, the 2012 Jazz Festival will feature The Rhode Island Music Educators Association (RIMEA) Jazz Band, an all-star, all-state band of high school jazz musicians from Rhode Island who will be the opening performance on Saturday, August 4. This concert season, the agreement includes a $5, 000 NGAM scholarship for a selected student musician from the band.

“Although the social and academic benefits of music education have been well documented, throughout our national educational system the performing arts are continually threatened by budget cuts, ” said John Hailer, president and chief executive officer, Natixis Global Asset Management – The Americas & Asia. “Working with the Newport Jazz Festival, it is our goal to provide additional opportunities for extraordinary young artists to participate in professional venues as they pursue their dreams.”

For the fourth consecutive year, the Newport Jazz Festival will also welcome back young jazz artists from Berklee College of Music. The Berklee Global Jazz Ambassadors, a group handpicked from the college’s Global Jazz Institute, which is under the artistic direction of Grammy-winning pianist Danilo Pérez, will open the festival’s main stage on Sunday, August 5. They will be joined by special guest Adam Cruz, widely celebrated as one of the most innovative drummers in jazz today.

Newport Jazz Festival impresario and Chairman of the Newport Festivals Foundation George Wein said the idea of featuring the RIMEA musicians at the festival originated with a suggestion from Hailer, who expressed the desire to help young performers. “The end result, ” said Wein, “is a new partnership with Natixis Global Asset Management that now reinforces the joint commitment of both our organizations to help talented young performers develop future careers as professional musicians.”

A non-profit organization, RIMEA was founded in 1917, making it the second oldest state music association in the country. As part of its commitment to provide a variety of music opportunities for students and music educators, each year the group selects high school musicians to participate in workshops and perform in concerts throughout the year.

The members of the 2012 Senior All-State Jazz Ensemble are: Rachel Hill (Barrington High School) and Ben Pallant (East Greenwich), alto saxophone; Nathaniel Schaffer (West Warwick) and Chase Ceglie (Rogers in Newport), tenor saxophone; Steven Jacquard (Scituate), baritone saxophone; Paul Spetrini (North Kingstown), Nathan Ward, Dan Andsager, Jacob Greenberg (Barrington) and Walker Harris (Moses Brown), trumpet; Lily Pavao (Scituate), Fred Crudale (South Kingstown), Aaron Schwartz and Willy Gutman (Barrington), trombone; Elizabeth Marcotte (North Smithfield), vocalist; Andrew Wynsen (North Kingstown), piano; Erik Broess (Lincoln), guitar; Jonathan Elyashiv (Providence Country Day School), bass; Jesse Ray Leich (North Kingstown) and Peter Craig (South Kingstown), drums.

Natixis Global Asset Management is also a sponsor of Berklee College of Music’s Summer in the City program, with concerts throughout metro Boston, as well as the Berklee Beantown Jazz Festival. Over the decades, Berklee jazz musicians have had the honor of performing at the Newport Jazz Festival on numerous occasions. This year, the Berklee Global Jazz Ambassadors – Matthew Halpin (Dublin, Ireland), tenor saxophone; Lihi Haruvi (Tel Aviv, Israel), alto saxophone; Alex Hargreaves (Corvallis, Oregon), violin; Christian Li (Horseheads, New York), piano; and Spencer Stewart (Vancouver, Washington), bass – will open the Festival’s main stage on Sunday, August 5. The international composition of the group gives a sense of the Berklee student body, which represents some 85 countries worldwide.

The 2012 Newport Jazz Festival line-up features Pat Metheny Unity Band, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Dianne Reeves, Maria Schneider Orchestra, Jack DeJohnette’s 70th Birthday Celebration, Jason Moran and the Bandwagon, Bill Frisell – John Lennon Songbook, Kurt Elling and many others.

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