Jazz Legends Hancock And Shorter Named Distinguished Professors At Monk Institute


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Jazz legends Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter named distinguished professors at the expanded Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance at the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music

Los Angeles, CA — The Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz has appointed multiple GRAMMY Award winners and NEA Jazz Masters Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter as distinguished professors at the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance at the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music. This marks the first time these two artists have made such a major commitment to an educational institution, and the current class of students is the first to learn from them on a regular basis.

The Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance is a two-year, graduate level college program that accepts one ensemble of musicians for each class. All of the students, known as Thelonious Monk Fellows, receive full scholarships as well as stipends to cover their monthly living expenses. The students study individually and as a small group, receiving personal mentoring, ensemble coaching, and lectures on the jazz tradition. They are also encouraged to experiment in expanding jazz in new directions through their compositions and performances. The current class is part of a new partnership between the Monk Institute and UCLA and these students will be the first to graduate with a Masters in Jazz Performance from the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music.

“When we established the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music in 2007, one of our goals was to build on the stellar faculty and students in place and strengthen Jazz as an essential, core component of the School's program. The addition of the preeminent Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance program brings a great richness of resources and talents to the mix, giving students even more opportunities to work with the world's great jazz artists," said Herb Alpert, Chair and Founder of the Herb Alpert Foundation and principal donor to the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music.

Hancock and Shorter will teach the Monk Fellows each month throughout the academic year. They will share their musical philosophies and knowledge learned from their years of playing with the architects of jazz including Miles Davis and Art Blakey. Both will focus on composition, improvisation and artistic expression, working with the Monk Fellows individually and as a group. Additionally, they will lead master classes open to all UCLA students. Since the program began in September, Shorter has already taught for eight days and participated in a public performance with the Monk Fellows, and Hancock has taught for three days. On December 6, Hancock and Shorter joined forces to conduct a historic master class at UCLA. This coming April, the Monk Fellows will accompany Hancock and Shorter to Istanbul to participate in a global, televised performance marking International Jazz Day on April 30, 2013.

In addition to these two legendary artists joining the Institute's faculty, the Monk program at UCLA has been expanded to include Billy Childs, a world-class composer who has received the coveted Guggenheim Fellowship. Also instructing the Monk Fellows are internationally renowned improvisation educators Hal Crook, Jerry Bergonzi, and Dick Oatts, all of whom are adding a new dimension to the program by sharing their comprehensive knowledge of jazz, addressing all elements of the students' playing, and helping the students navigate the many styles and musical environments of jazz.

“Wayne and I look forward to working with and guiding the new class of Monk Fellows over the next two years. These exceptionally gifted young artists are destined to become some of the most influential jazz musicians of their generation and we are both looking forward to helping them forge successful careers in jazz performance. The mentoring experience will be profound for us, as well. The gift of inspiration in the classroom that develops from the master-apprentice relationship enhances our personal creativity on the bandstand and in the recording studio," said Herbie Hancock, Chairman of the Institute.

Since the program's inception in 1995, the Monk Fellows have studied with world-renowned jazz artists Terence Blanchard, Ron Carter, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Jack DeJohnette, Barry Harris, Roy Haynes, Jimmy Heath, Dave Holland, Wynton Marsalis, Jason Moran, Danilo Pérez, Dianne Reeves, Horace Silver and Clark Terry, among many others. These jazz legends serve as Artists-in-Residence at the college program one week each month.

“We are truly delighted to welcome Herbie and Wayne to the faculty of the Herb Alpert School of Music," said Christopher Waterman, dean of the UCLA School of the Arts and Architecture. “The arrival of these legends marks an important step in the growth of UCLA's distinguished jazz program, which provides students with the opportunity to study with the renowned guitarist and NEA Jazz Master Kenny Burrell, the award-winning flutist and composer James Newton, and leading Los Angeles-based jazz musicians such as Dr. Bobby Rodriguez, Charley Harrison, Barbara Morrison, Michelle Weir, George Bohanon, Tamir Hendelman and Justo Almario."

The Institute of Jazz Performance students and instructors present a number of major concerts and community outreach programs throughout the United States and overseas. International highlights include performances at the celebration commemorating the 40th anniversary of the coronation of the King of Thailand, the Summit of the Americas in Chile before 34 heads of state, the United Nations “Day of Philosophy" event in Paris sponsored by UNESCO, and the Tokyo Jazz Festival. The students have also participated in tours of China, Egypt, Argentina, Peru, India, and Vietnam with Herbie Hancock.

“The Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz is honored to have Wayne Shorter and Herbie Hancock joining the faculty of our college program at UCLA, where they will share their vast musical experiences and expansive vision for jazz past, present and future," said Tom Carter, Thelonious Monk Institute President.

Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz is a nonprofit education organization established in 1986 in memory of legendary jazz pianist and composer Thelonious Monk, who believed the best way to learn jazz was from a master of the music. Following that same philosophy, the Institute brings together the greatest living jazz musicians to teach and inspire young people, offering the most promising young musicians college level training by internationally renowned jazz masters through its fellowship program in jazz performance and presenting public school-based jazz education programs around the world. All of the Institute's school programs are offered free of charge to help fill the tremendous void in arts education. www.monkinstitute.org.

The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music is devoted to the performance and study of music in all of its global diversity, including world music, popular music, jazz and classical music. The school's curriculum combines musical diversity, interdisciplinary studies, liberal arts values and professional training in a way that takes advantage of the school's position within a great research university. Students develop the practical and critical skills that prepare them for careers not only in professional performance and academia but in music journalism, the entertainment business, and the public and nonprofit sectors. www.schoolofmusic.ucla.edu.

This story appears courtesy of Muse Media.
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