2010 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Vocals Competition & Gala Concert


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2010 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Vocals Competition and Gala Concert
Featuring All-Star Tribute to Great American Songbook
at Kennedy Center October 4

Aretha Franklin to receive 2010 Maria Fisher Founder's Award

Washington, D.C.—The Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz today announced the 2010 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Vocals Competition and Tribute to the Great American Songbook Gala Concert will take place at the Kennedy Center Eisenhower Theater at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, October 4. The 2010 Competition is made possible through generous support from the Northrop Grumman Corporation. Air transportation is provided by United Airlines, the Official Airline of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz.

A special feature of this year's Competition, the Tribute to the Great American Songbook Gala Concert will bring together the biggest names in jazz, including Terence Blanchard, Terri Lyne Carrington, George Duke, Kevin Eubanks, Herbie Hancock, Jimmy Heath, T.S. Monk, Wayne Shorter, and many others. The concert will shine a spotlight on some of the most beloved songs and songwriters of all time.

President Barack Obama and Mrs. Michelle Obama will serve as the Honorary Chairs of the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Vocals Competition and Tribute to the Great American Songbook Gala Concert.

The Gala Concert will honor the incomparable Aretha Franklin. Ranked #1 by Rolling Stone magazine on its list of “The Greatest Singers of All Time" and one of the most honored GRAMMY winners with 20 awards to date, Franklin will be presented with the 2010 Maria Fisher Founder's Award in honor of her longtime support of jazz, music education, and the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz. The award honors individuals who have made valuable contributions to jazz and jazz education. Past recipients include Herbie Hancock, B.B. King, Bruce Lundvall, Stevie Wonder, George Benson, Wayne Shorter, Clark Terry, Jimmy Heath, George Wein, and Clint Eastwood.

The Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition, often compared in stature to classical music's International Tchaikovsky Competition and the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, is widely regarded as the most prestigious jazz competition in the world. Each year, the competition features a different musical instrument, and major scholarships and prizes are awarded to talented young musicians. Over the past 23 years, the competition has launched the careers of a number of major jazz stars including Joshua Redman, Jane Monheit, Marcus Roberts, Tierney Sutton, and Joey DeFrancesco. These artists and dozens of others from past competitions have forged successful careers as performing and recording artists, as well as music educators, helping to preserve and perpetuate America's legacy of jazz.

The 2010 Competition will feature jazz vocals. Twelve of the world's most outstanding young jazz vocalists have been selected to compete before a panel of jazz greats including Patti Austin, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Kurt Elling, Aretha Franklin, Al Jarreau, and Dianne Reeves. Three finalists will then vie for scholarships and prizes totaling over $100,000 including a $20,000 first place scholarship and guaranteed recording contract with Concord Music Group, a $10,000 second place scholarship, and a $5,000 third place scholarship.

The 12 semifinalists are: Cyrille Aimée, Fontainebleau, France; Barbara Bürkle, Stuttgart, Germany; Lisa Gary, Great Neck, New York; Alexandra Isley, Los Angeles, California; Dana Lauren, Hartford, Connecticut; Tatiana Mayfield, Fort Worth, Texas; Ashton Nickolas Moore, Detroit, Michigan; Cécile McLorin Salvant, Miami, Florida; Richard Saunders, Simsbury, Connecticut; Charenée Wade, Brooklyn, New York; Kalil Wilson, Oakland, California; and Sarah Marie Young, Indianapolis, Indiana.

The Semifinals of the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Vocals Competition will be held at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday, October 3 at the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian. Three finalists will be selected to perform with a group of jazz all-stars at Monday's Kennedy Center concert, followed by the awards announcement.

The October 4th Competition Finals and Gala Concert at the Kennedy Center will also feature the winner of the 2010 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Composers Competition, sponsored by BMI. This year's winner is Vadim Neselovskyi of Ukraine, who will perform his winning composition, “Grust" (Sadness). The Composers Competition carries a prize of $10,000 and is presented to a composer who best demonstrates originality, creativity, and excellence in jazz composition.

Proceeds from the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Vocals Competition and Tribute to the Great American Songbook Gala Concert will help fund public school jazz and blues education programs throughout Washington D.C., Los Angeles, Chicago, New Orleans, and the Mississippi Delta.

The Competition and Gala Concert will be taped as a documentary for BET/Centric television. The documentary will include performance clips and interviews with the contestants and judges.

Event and ticket information

Thelonious Monk International Jazz Vocals Competition Semifinals Sunday, October 3, 2010 at 1:00 p.m. National Museum of the American Indian, 4th St. & Independence Ave. SW, Washington, DC

Tickets are free of charge and will be distributed by the Smithsonian Associates at the National Museum of the American Indian on a first-come, first-served basis beginning at 11:30 a.m.

Thelonious Monk International Jazz Vocals Competition Finals and Tribute to the Great American Songbook Gala Concert Monday, October 4, 2010 at 7:30 p.m. Kennedy Center Eisenhower Theater, 2700 F St. NW, Washington, DC

Tickets are $35-$75 and may be purchased via the Kennedy Center box office in person, by calling 800.444.1324, or online at kennedy-center.org. Information regarding VIP packages, which include admission to the post-event VIP Cast Party, is available from the Institute at 202.364.7272 x107 or gala@monkinstitute.org.

Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz

The Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, a nonprofit jazz education organization, was founded in 1986 in memory of the legendary jazz pianist and composer Thelonious Monk. The Institute fosters the next generation of jazz greats by offering the world's most promising young musicians college level training by internationally recognized jazz masters, educating young people around the world about jazz through innovative public school programs, and presenting a wide range of initiatives that expand and perpetuate America's indigenous musical art form. Visit the Institute at www.monkinstitute.org.

Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition

Since 1987, the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz has presented the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition, which is recognized as the world's most prestigious jazz competition and for discovering the next generation of jazz masters. Each year, major scholarships and prizes including recording contracts are awarded to the talented young musicians participating in the Competition. The scholarships help pay tuition for college-level jazz education studies and provide funds for private, specialized instruction. Past judges have included Dave Brubeck, Quincy Jones, Diana Krall, Christian McBride, Marian McPartland, Pat Metheny, and many others.

Competition Semifinalists

Cyrille Aimée, 26, was born in Fontainebleau, France and began singing at the age of 16. She received her Bachelor of Music degree from the Jazz Conservatory at SUNY Purchase, where she studied with Jimmy Greene, Pete Malinverni, Jon Faddis, and Ray Vega, among others. Aimée won the Montreux Jazz Voice Competition and has toured Europe as lead singer of the French chart-topping band Caravan Palace. She has performed at the Django Reinhardt Festival and the Umbria Jazz Festival. Aimée performs regularly at New York jazz clubs including Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola and Smalls with artists such as Joel Frahm, Spike Wilner, Tom Kennedy, Anat Cohen, and Harvie S.

Barbara Bürkle, 30, was born near Stuttgart, Germany and began her vocal training at age 20 at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Mannheim. She has studied with Sheila Jordan, Roberta Gambarini, and New York Voices, and for nearly 10 years has been a vocal instructor at the “Go Vocal" school in Germany. As a member of the Youth Jazz Orchestra of the Federal Republic of Germany, Bürkle has toured Europe, Asia, and Africa. She is a member of Klangbezirk, which has won the 7th Taiwan International Choral Ensemble Competition and the International Contest for Vocal Ensembles. Bürkle placed first in the Voices Now-Brussels International Young Jazz Singers Competition, and was a semifinalist in the Montreux Jazz Voice Competition.

Lisa Gary, 22, grew up in a musical household in a suburb of New York City, and began playing the trumpet at age 9 under the tutelage of her father. She began studying and performing jazz as a vocalist at age 16 and soon after was honored by the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts in the Vocal Jazz category. In 2008, Gary was selected as a semifinalist in the renowned Montreux Jazz Voice Competition in Montreux, Switzerland. Gary received her bachelor's degree in jazz voice performance from McGill University's Schulich School of Music in Montreal, Canada. Her work has been featured in two segments of Canada's CBC Television documentary series “Dieu et Nous, Un Passé Catholique."

Alexandra Isley, 23, grew up in Los Angeles and was surrounded by music since her early childhood. At age 5, Isley was already performing publicly at school talent shows, and soon started piano lessons. Isley attended the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts, where she studied classical, jazz and gospel, and was selected for the Gibson/Baldwin GRAMMY Jazz Vocal Ensemble. She received her bachelor's degree in jazz studies from UCLA. Isley has performed with Kenny Burrell and Gerald Wilson, and has appeared at Catalina's Bar and Grill, the Jazz Bakery, the Pasadena Jazz Festival, and the Central Avenue Jazz Festival. In 2005, she was named DownBeat magazine's “Best Jazz Vocalist" for the 28th Annual Student Music Awards.

Dana Lauren, 22, was born in Hartford, Connecticut and began her classical training at age 15. She currently studies at the Berklee College of Music, where she plans to complete her degree in vocal performance this fall. In 2008, her band, the Dana Lauren Sextet, was chosen as one of four groups to study with Christian McBride and other jazz greats at the Jazz Aspen Snowmass Academy. Lauren has performed and recorded with a variety of jazz artists, and toured nationally with Arturo Sandoval. She has played at jazz clubs around the country, including the Regattabar and Scullers in Cambridge, and the Blue Note, Iridium, and Birdland in New York.

Tatiana Mayfield, 23, is from Fort Worth, Texas, and began singing jazz at the age of 13. She received her bachelor's degree in jazz studies from the University of North Texas, where she was the recipient of the Outstanding Undergraduate Student in Jazz Studies award. Mayfield also received Outstanding Performance awards in the college Jazz Vocal Soloist category in DownBeat magazine's 2009 and 2010 Student Awards issue, and she won a Silver Award for Jazz Voice from the National Foundation for the Advancement in the Arts. Mayfield has performed on the popular “Showtime at The Apollo" television show, and has appeared at festivals and clubs nationwide.

Ashton Nickolas Moore, 27, was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, and began lessons in violin, piano, percussion, and voice as a child. He received his bachelor's degree and his master's degree in jazz studies from Michigan State University. Moore has shared the stage with jazz greats Jon Hendricks, Rodney Whitaker, Wycliffe Gordon, Cyrus Chestnut, Christian McBride, and Dianne Reeves, and was selected as a featured soloist for Barack Obama's Presidential campaign rally at Michigan State University. He has performed at Dizzy's Coca-Cola Club, Detroit Symphony Hall, the Detroit International Jazz Festival, and the Lansing Blues Festival. Moore lives and works in Tokyo as a singer, vocal instructor, and songwriter.

Cécile McLorin Salvant, 21, is a native of Miami, Florida, and began studying piano at age 5 and singing in a choir at age 8. She graduated from Coral Reef International Baccalaureate Academy, where she received the prestigious National Achievement Scholarship, and currently studies vocal jazz, piano jazz, and lyrical voice at the Music Conservatory of Aix-en-Provence, France. Salvant enjoys growing popularity in France and has performed at the legendary Paris jazz club Le Petit Journal Saint Michel. She has also performed at Switzerland's Ascona Jazz Festival, the Whitley Bay Jazz Festival, and the Montuban Jazz Festival, and was a semifinalist in the Crest Vocal Jazz Competition.

Richard Saunders, 20, was born in Simsbury, Connecticut and started singing at age 2. He attended the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts, where he began studying jazz. Saunders was the first vocalist to sing with the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra at the 2009 Monterey Jazz Festival and North Sea Jazz Festival. He performed at the Bern Jazz Festival in Switzerland as part of Future: America's Young All-Star Jazz Ensemble. Saunders performed at the Kennedy Center as a 2008 White House Presidential Scholar, and with the Gibson/Baldwin GRAMMY Jazz Ensemble. He is a winner of the Silver Award in the Jazz Voice Category from the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts. Saunders studies at the New England Conservatory of Music.

Charenée Wade, 28, grew up in Brooklyn and began singing jazz at age 12. She studied jazz and classical music at the LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and the Harlem School of the Arts. After completing her bachelor's and master's degrees at the Manhattan School of Music, Wade was accepted into Betty Carter's Jazz Ahead Program and was an awardee of the Wynton Kelly Jazz Foundation. In 2004, she was a finalist in the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Vocals Competition. Wade has performed at prestigious venues including the Jazz Gallery, Jazz at Lincoln Center's Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola, and Carnegie Hall. She recently served as a judge at the Jazzmobile Vocal Competition alongside Dr. Billy Taylor and Grady Tate.

Kalil Wilson, 28, is from Oakland, California and started voice lessons at the age of 12. He has performed lead tenor roles and oratorio with the Los Angeles Opera and the Oakland East Bay Symphony. Wilson holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Ethnomusicology and Vocal Performance from UCLA. He has also studied at the Young Musician's Program at the University of California Berkeley. Wilson won the Metropolitan Opera National Council Western Regional Auditions, and the National Association of Negro Musicians Vocal Scholarship. He has performed at a variety of venues including the Metropolitan Opera at Lincoln Center, Disney Hall, the Getty Center, Yoshi's, the Jazz Bakery, and Catalina's Jazz Club.

Sarah Marie Young, 28, is a native of Indianapolis, Indiana. She attended Broad Ripple Magnet High School, where she studied classical voice and piano. Young studied at the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University, and graduated from Columbia College in Chicago with a bachelor's degree in vocal performance. While at Columbia, she performed with Christian McBride, Cedar Walton, the Yellowjackets, Buddy Guy, Bootsy Collins, and Earth, Wind & Fire. Young was the first place winner in the 2000 Gospel Meets Classical Competition in Indiana, and served as the women's section leader in the Columbia College Chicago Vocal Jazz Ensemble. Young recently wrote, directed, produced, and performed in a Sarah Vaughan tribute show, “Sarah Sings Sarah" at the Jazz Showcase.

For more information, contact Sarah Andrew Wilson (202.364.7272 x107, cell 202.680.2420, swilson@monkinstitute.org) or Holly Wallace (504.865.2450, cell 310.990.2467, hwallace@monkinstitute.org).

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