The annual International Jazz Day was celebrated at the United Nations Headquarters in New York with a concert of Dimitrije Vasiljevic
, award-winning jazz pianist and composer from Serbia.
April 30th was first introduced in 2011 by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), on the initiative of one the jazz greats, pianist and composer Herbie Hancock, and has become a global tradition ever since.
Vasiljević enthusiastically accepted the invitation from the United Nations and in the best way possible showcased his original music, as well as the rich musical heritage of Serbia as he skillfully blends the traditional sounds of the Balkans with modern jazz in his compositions. Concert at the United Nations was sponsored by the Permanent Mission of Serbia and the Permanent Mission of Montenegro to the United Nations as well as LeitmotivArts.
Ms. Katarina Lalić-Smajević, Deputy Permanent Representative of Serbia to the UN, on behalf of Ambassador Milan Milanović, in her opening remarks introduced Dimitrije Vasiljević, underlying the importance of celebrating the international jazz day as connecting cultures around the world through this medium.
With the aim of bringing a wider international community together on this special day and spreading awareness of jazz as a form of inter- cultural dialogue, Vasiljević invited a special guest to join him on stage. Sergio Pereira, a long-serving employee of the United Nations from Brazil and a talented guitarist added sounds of Brazil to this special event. The two musicians masterfully joined keys and strings to interweave rhythms of Balkans with those of samba and bossa nova, which the audience rewarded with long applause.
Many officials from various countries were in attendance, including the Consul General of the Republic of Serbia in New York, Ms. Mirjana Živković, as well as the President of the International Civil Service Commission, Mr. Kingston Rhodes from Sierra Leone among others. The concert was rich in the diversity of the repertoire, just like the representatives of the various world cultures present in the audience.
After the concert, Vasiljević said: ”It was a great honor and pleasure to perform today here at the United Nations at a concert marking the International Jazz Day. My fellow jazz musicians colleagues, and myself along with them, always try to use jazz as a kind of universal language which connects cultures and nations across the globe, fostering the spreading of positive energy and better understanding and appreciation of different cultures. At today’s concert, Sergio and I tried to do exactly that, and judging by the reactions of the audience, we managed to do it in the best way possible. I would like to thank the United Nations for the invitation and extended hospitality, to the diplomatic missions of Serbia and other countries that were present at the concert as well as Danijela Milić, a long-serving UN employee, for the idea, support and realization of this event. Also, we cannot forget the Thelonious Monk Jazz Institute and their efforts in coordinating various jazz day events throughout the world and I am grateful for their inclusion of this concert in the series of global events celebrating this great holiday of jazz.”