Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Brings Peer-to-Peer Jazz Education Program to Pittsburgh Public Schools May 11-16

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Featuring Internationally Acclaimed Artists Antonio Hart & Lisa Henry Weeklong Series of Events Concludes with Concerts Open to the Public at Little E’s Jazz Club May 15-16

Washington, D.C. – The Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz will introduce its “Peer-to-Peer” jazz education program in the Pittsburgh public schools on May 11-16. Combining performance with information, these “informances” will be presented by five exceptionally gifted high school jazz students from Miami’s New World School of the Arts along with internationally acclaimed saxophonist and recording artist Antonio Hart, renowned jazz vocalist Lisa Henry, and distinguished jazz educator Dr. J.B. Dyas. Each school visit will include a concert for all students followed by jazz workshops for each school’s jazz band and choir, with the Miami students playing alongside and sharing ideas with their Pittsburgh counterparts.

“As young people are so influenced by kids their own age, who better to expose them to this great American art form than those of their own generation?” said TS Monk, the Institute’s Chairman of the Board of Trustees and son of legendary jazz pianist and composer Thelonious Monk. “And with Antonio Hart and Lisa Henry – two of the most exciting jazz performers on the scene today – it’s truly an extraordinary opportunity for everyone concerned: students, teachers, musicians, non-musicians – everybody.”

Besides playing jazz at a level that belies their years, the Miami students will talk with their Pittsburgh peers about what jazz is, why it’s important to America, and how a jazz ensemble represents a perfect democracy. They also will discuss important values that jazz represents: teamwork, freedom with responsibility, unity with ethnic diversity, the correlation of hard work and goal accomplishment, and the importance of finding a passion early in life and being persistent.

The five Miami students selected to participate in the Pittsburgh tour include bassist Carlos Alabaci, 17; drummer Daniel Higuera, 16; pianist Tony Madruga, 14; tenor saxophonist Cristhian Mora, 18; and alto saxophonist Rane Roatta, 16. “We’re really excited about the trip,” said Madruga, one of the best jazz pianists for his age in the country. “Learning Antonio’s music has been challenging to say the least, but it’s really helped get us to the next level.”

Immediately following the informances, Antonio Hart and Lisa Henry will conduct jazz workshops for each host school’s jazz band and choir in which the Miami students will play side-by-side with their Pittsburgh counterparts, providing tutelage peer to peer. In so doing, they will teach and learn from one another not unlike what Thelonious Monk did with his fellow musicians during the bebop era 60 years ago. They’ll also learn about each other’s cities and cultures.

“We’re especially looking forward to hanging out and playing jazz with kids from Pittsburgh,” exclaimed Alabaci, who is already performing professionally. “We know that it’s a real important city in the history of jazz.” Indeed, such jazz luminaries as George Benson, Art Blakey, Billy Eckstine, Roy Eldridge, Erroll Garner, Ahmad Jamal, Stanley Turrentine, and Mary Lou Williams hail from the Iron City.

The weeklong tour will conclude with two performances open to the public on May 15 and 16 at Little E’s Jazz Club, 949 Liberty Avenue, where Pittsburgh residents and visitors are invited to enjoy an evening of music with Hart and Henry alongside jazz's future “young lions.” The quintet will perform standards, jazz classics, and contemporary jazz, as well as compositions from Hart and Henry’s latest CD releases. Shows are at 8:30 and 10:30 PM. All proceeds go to support jazz education in Pittsburgh and beyond. For more information call 412-392-2217.

“What a great opportunity it is for our students to be able to engage directly with masters of such an important American contribution to world culture – jazz,” said Mark Roosevelt, Superintendent of Pittsburgh Public Schools and a jazz aficionado himself. “We are so very grateful to the Thelonious Monk Institute for making this possible.”


Antonio Hart, one of the top alto saxophonists on the scene today, has come a long way since elementary school when he chipped his first reed by carrying it around in his sock. Born and raised in Baltimore, Hart was classically trained at the Baltimore School for the Arts, studied jazz at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, and later earned his Master’s degree in Music Composition and Performance at Queens College in New York. While at Berklee, he teamed up with classmate Roy Hargrove, with whom he would later tour the world and make a number of critically acclaimed recordings. In 1991, Hart made his debut recording as leader, For the First Time, on RCA/Novus. He has since gone on to perform around the globe and record over 80 albums with such eminent jazz artists as Nat Adderley, Monty Alexander, Terence Blanchard, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Ray Brown, Cyrus Chestnut, Dizzy Gillespie, Slide Hampton, Jimmy Heath, Dave Holland, Christian McBride, Wallace Roney, McCoy Tyner, and Nancy Wilson. Hart’s 1997 release, Here I Stand, was nominated for a GRAMMY for Best Jazz Instrumental Solo. Besides being an internationally acclaimed performer and prolific composer, Hart is a renowned educator and enjoys working with up-and-coming young jazz artists. He currently serves as Professor of Jazz Saxophone at the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College.

Lisa Henry is a dynamic vocalist with a combination of swingin’ cool and down home class. A Kansas City native, she began by singing gospel music in the Baptist church, and by age 12 was singing the music of Billie Holiday and Miles Davis. Henry was a winner of the 1994 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Vocals Competition and was later named an International Jazz Ambassador to Africa. She toured Chile, Argentina, and Peru with the Institute in 1998, performing for 34 Heads of State at the Summit of the Americas. In 2006 she participated in a U.S. State Department-sponsored tour of India, and in 2007 she performed for an esteemed presidential dinner at the White House celebrating the Institute's 20th Anniversary. Over the past 15 years, Henry has toured the globe, sharing the stage with such artists as Kenny Barron, Kenny Garrett, Herbie Hancock, Roy Hargrove, Antonio Hart, Ingrid Jensen, Kevin Mahogany, TS Monk, Lou Rawls, Wayne Shorter, Clark Terry, and Bobby Watson. Her latest recording, Live from 18th and Vine, has received critical acclaim.

Dr. J.B. Dyas has been a leader in jazz education for the past two decades. Formerly the Executive Director of the Brubeck Institute, Dyas currently serves as Vice President for Education and Curriculum Development at the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz in Los Angeles. He oversees the Institute’s education and outreach programs including Jazz In America: The National Jazz Curriculum (, one of the most significant and wide-reaching jazz education initiatives in the world. Throughout his career, Dyas has performed across the country, taught students at every level, directed large and small ensembles, developed and implemented new jazz curricula, and written for national music publications. He has served on the Smithsonian Institution’s Task Force for Jazz Education in America and presented numerous jazz education events nationwide with such artists as Dave Brubeck and Herbie Hancock. Dyas received his masters degree in Jazz Pedagogy from the University of Miami and PhD in Music Education from Indiana University, and is a recipient of the DownBeat Achievement Award for Jazz Education.


The Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz is a nonprofit education organization established in memory of Thelonious Monk, the legendary jazz pianist and composer. Monk was one of the primary architects of bebop and his impact as both performer and composer has had a profound influence on every genre of music. His more than 70 compositions are classics that continue to inspire artists in all disciplines. Monk believed the best way to learn jazz was from a master of the music. The Institute follows that same philosophy by bringing together the greatest living jazz musicians to teach and inspire young people, offering the most promising young musicians college level training by America's jazz masters through its fellowship program in Jazz Performance at Loyola University in New Orleans, and presenting public school-based jazz education programs around the world. Helping to fill the tremendous void in arts education left by budget cuts in public school funding, the Institute’s school programs are provided free of charge and use jazz as the medium to encourage imaginative thinking, creativity, a positive self-image, and respect for one’s own and others' cultural heritage. Jazz great Herbie Hancock serves as Chairman.


Jazz in America ( is the Institute’s Internet-based jazz curriculum available to all 5th, 8th, and 11th grade public school students in the United States. Designed to be integrated into social studies and American history classes, Jazz in America is the first jazz curriculum to use state-of-the-art Internet technology and be offered free of charge on a national basis. Beginning with what jazz is and how it began, each set of age-appropriate lesson plans examines characteristics of various jazz styles and highlights contributions of important performers and composers. They also explore the social, economic, and political contexts within which jazz evolved, providing vivid and engaging new ways to study American history. Each lesson connects content areas, promoting interdisciplinary instruction and stimulating further communication among teachers, students, parents, and the public. All pertinent content, audio and video examples, student handouts, and assessments are available on the website.


Through the national Peer-to-Peer Jazz Education Program, funded in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Institute provides jazz combos comprised of music students from selected public performing arts high schools across the nation with a week-long peer-to-peer jazz informance tour. The young musicians gain invaluable performance experience playing alongside internationally acclaimed artists while they, in turn, help educate young audiences in public schools throughout the U.S. about America’s indigenous art form.


Culturally located in the heart of downtown Miami, Florida, New World School of the Arts is a tuition-free, fully accredited public high school that offers specialized instruction in dance, music, theatre, and visual arts in addition to a rigorous academic curriculum. Its students, selected by audition or portfolio review, have received national recognition as Presidential Scholars in the Arts, winners in the National Arts Recognition and Talent Search, and participants in the National All-Star High School GRAMMY Jazz Ensemble. Serving 475 students in grades 9-12, NWSA has been named a Blue Ribbon School of Excellence by the Federal Department of Education, Best High School in Florida and one of the five best arts high schools in the nation by Redbook Magazine, a Silver Medal School by US News and World Report, a National School of Excellence by Hispanic Magazine, and a Five-Star School by New World’s principal is Dr. Frederic Conde. Dr. Jeffrey Hodgson serves as Dean of Music, and Jim Gasior directs the NWSA Jazz Studies Program.

Full-length bios and photos available upon request.


Monday May 11
Pittsburgh HS for the Creative and Performing Arts (CAPA)
111 Ninth Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15222 (412-338-6100)
1:00PM – Assembly Program
2:15PM – Jazz Vocal Workshop

Tuesday May 12
Rogers Creative and Performing Arts Middle School
5525 Columbo Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15206 (412-665 -2000)
9:30AM – Assembly Program
10:45AM – Jazz Band Workshop
10:45AM – Jazz Vocal Workshop

Pittsburgh HS for the Creative and Performing Arts (CAPA)
111 Ninth Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15222 (412-338-6100)
1:30PM – Jazz Band Workshop
3:00PM – Peer-to-Peer Jam Session

Wednesday May 13
Allderdice High School
2409 Shady Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15217 (412-422-4800)
1:00PM – Assembly Program
2:15PM – Jazz Band Workshop
2:15PM – Jazz Vocal Workshop

Thursday May 14
Brashear High School
590 Crane Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15216 (412-571-7300)
1:00PM – Assembly Program
2:15PM – Jazz Band Workshop
2:15PM – Jazz Vocal Workshop

Friday May 15
University Prep High School
3117 Centre Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15219 (412-622-5900)
1:00PM – Assembly Program
2:15PM – Jazz Band Workshop
2:15PM – Jazz Vocal Workshop

Little E’s Jazz Club
949 Liberty Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15222 (412-392-2217)
8:30PM – Concert
10:30PM – Concert

Saturday May 16
Little E’s Jazz Club
949 Liberty Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15222 (412-392-2217)
8:30PM – Concert
10:30PM – Concert

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