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Jazz at Lincoln Center and Harlem School of the Arts Announce New Series of Innovative Jazz Education Programs and Performances

Saturday, May 6, Jazz at Lincoln Center presents “Jazz for Young People: Jazz and the Civil Rights Era” concert at Harlem School of the Arts.


Jazz at Lincoln Center Managing and Artistic Director Wynton Marsalis, and Harlem School of the Arts President Eric Pryor, have announced two world-class, tuition free, jazz education programs and performance series at the Harlem School of the Arts in New York City. A grant from the Herb Alpert Foundation to Jazz at Lincoln Center will fund the two innovative programs: Jazz for Young People on Tour and Harlem School of the Arts Beginning Band.

Saturday, May 6, 12-2pm, Jazz at Lincoln Center will present “Jazz for Young People: Jazz and the Civil Rights Era” concert at the Harlem School of the Arts, performed by the Alphonso Horne ensemble. Admission is free, RSVP here.
“I can’t think of better partners than Jazz at Lincoln Center and the Harlem School of the Arts to expand and deepen the artistic horizons of students and the community,” said legendary musician and philanthropist Herb Alpert. In 2012, the Herb Alpert Foundation established a major gift that ensured the future of the Harlem School of the Arts.

“Herb’s deep commitment to the Harlem School of the Arts has transformed the community’s appreciation for the arts. We’re grateful for his gift which enables us to develop more diverse audiences for the music in the Harlem community,” said Wynton Marsalis, Managing and Artistic Director, Jazz at Lincoln Center. “The Herb Alpert Foundation and Jazz at Lincoln Center share a belief that diversity and community create an environment for our young people to flourish and this collaboration allows us to foster artists and advocates for the future. Harlem should be a place where jazz is venerated and respected and this is a good step toward ensuring that the music’s history does not go by the wayside.”

The two programs, begun in the current school year, are designed to introduce young students to basic concepts in jazz, its extensive repertoire, development and context within American history and culture, and the variety of musical genres that comprise the jazz canon. Jazz at Lincoln Center programs at Harlem School of the Arts include:

Jazz for Young People On Tour: “Let Freedom Swing”

Free Saturday afternoon concerts at Harlem School for the Arts featuring professional jazz ensembles in hourlong performances that educate young audiences about jazz’s rich heritage, and potentially foster a lifelong relationship with the music. The program also places jazz in a historical context through an engaging, interactive format. “Let Freedom Swing” offers three distinct but thematically linked programs that are aligned with the New York City Department of Education social-studies standards: Jazz and Democracy, Jazz and the Harlem Renaissance, and Jazz and the Civil Rights Era.

Harlem School of the Arts Beginning Band

A tuition-free program, comprised of 6th and 7th grade students who will participate in classes twice per week as well as master classes with distinguished jazz professionals who will perform throughout the year at Harlem School of the Arts. The innovative curriculum, co-written by Wynton Marsalis, “An American Approach to Band,” teaches from a relevant cultural and aesthetic viewpoint and includes the “American musical imperatives” of blues, improvisation, and ear training.

About Jazz at Lincoln Center Education:
Jazz at Lincoln Center’s education programs drive our organization’s efforts to advance the appreciation, understanding, and performance of jazz. Our programs have been developed under the guiding vision of Managing and Artistic Director Wynton Marsalis, who during his visits to schools throughout our nation observed that the caliber of jazz education was often inferior to that of other fine arts. In response, Jazz at Lincoln Center offers a continuum of jazz education programs that are designed to suit the varied interests and capabilities of children, teens, and adults. Students learn about jazz’s distinctly American heritage and history as well as its greatest musicians and compositions; they explore its connection to other art forms and study how to play jazz. Today, over two-thirds of Jazz at Lincoln Center’s programming is educational—reaching more than 1,000,000 individuals of all ages and experiences in all 50 states through concerts, webcasting, and direct musical instruction and distribution of music scores free of charge.

About The Harlem School of the Arts:

Harlem School of the Arts enriches the lives of young people and their families through world-class training in and exposure to the arts across multiple disciplines in an environment that emphasizes rigorous training, stimulates creativity, builds self-confidence, and adds a dimension of beauty to their lives. HSA achieves its Mission on-site at The Herb Alpert Center by offering high quality, affordable, arts training in dance, music, theatre, and visual art to ethnically and socio-economically diverse young people aged 2-18; by providing financial aid and merit scholarships to those who need it most; and by developing key partnerships with other cultural institutions, colleges/universities, and conservatories to prepare our aspiring pre-professional students at the highest possible level.

About the Herb Alpert Foundation:

The Herb Alpert Foundation’s mission is to create and support the mechanisms and means through which young people can discover, harness and fully develop their unique creative energies and their special talents; To prepare young people to live free from prejudice so that they can be enriched through incorporating diverse people and perspectives into their worldview and life experience; To nurture a capacity for empathy and compassion so that the relationships we develop through our lives are based on mutual respect, tolerance and kindness.

Press Contact, Jazz at Lincoln Center:

Zooey Tidal Jones
Director, Public Relations
Press Contact, Harlem School of the Arts:
Sam Mattingly
SM Communications
(917) 331-9375