2008 Saxophone Competition Winner Jon Irabagon to Star in Upcoming Solo Performance Film

Renowned first-generation Filipino-American saxophonist and composer Jon Irabagon, winner of the Institute’s 2008 International Saxophone Competition, is set to star in an innovative new performance film released by Columbus, Ohio, nonprofit A Tribe for Jazz.

LEGACY: Jon Irabagon, a Solo Tenor Odyssey showcases Irabagon performing his original compositions entirely unaccompanied in a dramatic black box theater environment. Included in the 40-minute concert is career-spanning repertoire featuring two previously unreleased compositions, “Greebles” and “Alliance.” Directed by Julian Melanson and produced by A Tribe for Jazz Executive Director Stephanie Matthews, the film will also shine a spotlight on Columbus institutions including the Columbus Dance Theatre, Garden Manor House, Le Meridien Columbus, Columbus Athletic Club, Lincoln Social and The Guild House.

LEGACY will debut online on Friday, October 15, 2021. Visit A Tribe for Jazz for more information.

At the Institute’s 2008 Saxophone Competition, Irabagon was awarded first-place honors by a distinguished panel of judges including Jane Ira Bloom, Jimmy Heath, Greg Osby, David Sánchez and Institute Trustee Wayne Shorter. Performing alongside GRAMMY and Tony Award-winning vocalist Dee Dee Bridgewater, who currently serves as an Institute Trustee, the Chicago-born saxophonist wowed the audience with his memorable interpretation of the classic jazz standard “Just Friends.”

“The Competition was a chance to meet many of my colleagues and heroes,” says Irabagon. “The world needs more of that. Mr. Shorter in particular was adamant about me finding my own way and direction in this music, and that is the biggest, most important thing I took from that weekend.  I wouldn’t be as confident or undeterred with my own music without having been a part of the Competition.”

2008 International Saxophone Competition winner Jon Irabagon performs alongside Institute Trustees Wayne Shorter and Jimmy Heath at the Institute’s 25th Anniversary Celebration at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, September 12, 2011. Photo by Chip Latshaw.

Since his Competition win, Irabagon has repeatedly topped leading critics’ polls, including the DownBeat Rising Star categories for both alto and tenor saxophone, and was named one of New York City’s 25 Jazz Icons by Time Out New York. His collaborations with an array of artists and groups from across the jazz spectrum, including Dave Douglas, Barry Altschul, Rudy Royston, Mary Halvorson, Matt Mitchell and Mostly Other People Do the Killing — with which he recorded Blue in 2014, a note-for-note recreation of Miles Davis’ vaunted release Kind of Blue — have gained him wide recognition. Irabagon launched his own imprint, Irabbagast Records, in 2012, and has released 12 full-length albums to date.

Today, Irabagon is a leading voice on the saxophone whose musical vision reflects both his improvisational and compositional mastery and a deep commitment to his Filipino heritage. In 2014, he was awarded the Pamana ng Pilipino Presidential Award for Filipino Individuals and Organizations Overseas, recognizing his contribution to the perception of Filipinos worldwide.

About A Tribe for Jazz

Formed by jazz and arts supporter Bruce Halliburton, A Tribe for Jazz is a nonprofit organization with a mission to preserve the legacy and advance the future of jazz through visual storytelling, live and virtual performances, education and community engagement. The nonprofit says LEGACY is “the first of many special, transformative moments to follow from A Tribe for Jazz, as it weaves stories and themes from varied angles, fused with unexpected and dynamic visuals, to present a portrait of jazz as the captivating, multidimensional art form that it is.”

New Video Features Jazz Legend Herbie Hancock, Aims to Educate Kindergarteners Around the World

Through an inspired collaboration with 14-time GRAMMY and Academy Award-winning pianist and composer Herbie Hancock along with an award-winning team of animators from Atomic Kid Studios, the Young Academic Research Group (YAM) at the Touro Graduate School of Education in New York City has released the first in a series of animated videos showcasing innovative methods for educating kindergarteners.

Titled “Treble Leads the Class,” the newly-released video is part of a supplemental curriculum developed by YAM that uses the power of music to help kindergarteners learn about numeracy, problem-solving and computational thinking. YAM is an early phase education and research program led by professors Susan Courey, Timothy Bellavia and Roslyn Haber and funded through a $1.4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education in the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education.

In “Treble Leads the Class,” characters Treble Clef and Four-Four Signature overcome Treble’s nerves and anxiety while leading the class in a lesson on notes, rhythm and the music making process.

Hancock, whose commitment to educating young musicians through his work as Chairman of the Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz led to appointments as an adjunct professor at The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music and UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for Intercultural Dialogue, narrates the entire video. “I’m thrilled to be able to create new ways for children to learn about music,” said Hancock. “I hope this video and the others to come will help instill a sense of fun and musical inspiration for kids around the world.”

Treble Leads the Class” tells the tale of characters Treble Clef and his best friend Four-Four Signature. Treble, like many young children, battles nerves and anxiety when talking with others. When he’s chosen to lead his classmates during a day at school, Treble is challenged with facing those fears. Thankfully, his friend Four-Four is there to keep him calm. Much of the video’s dialogue relies on the language of music to enlighten kids about notes, rhythm and the process of making music.

“I’m thrilled to be able to create new ways for children to learn about music. I hope this video and the others to come will help instill a sense of fun and musical inspiration for kids around the world.”

– Institute Chairman Herbie Hancock

The story for “Treble Leads the Class” was co-written by Courey and Bellavia. “This exciting program integrates mathematics, music, and computational thinking in an engaging way for kindergarteners,” says Courey. “Young children will learn rhythm and music notation, while fun and creative activities will provide structured opportunities for students to connect math skills to music and computational thinking at an early age.”

All characters in the video are voiced by CJ Emmons, a singer/songwriter/producer who also serves as the principal singer on ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars.” The video also features original compositions from Nick Vayenas, a graduate of the Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz Performance master’s program.

When Courey and Bellavia saw the animated version of their story and characters for the first time, Bellavia said, “I feel like I am watching the birth of my children. Amazing!”

Building on the efforts of the talented team of educators, musicians and artists, “Treble Leads the Class” and its characters were brought to life by animators, editors and producers at the award-winning Atomic Kid Studios in Milford, Conn.

“Developing distinct personalities for each note while maintaining the integrity of each symbol was an exciting challenge,” says Stephen Barrante, co-founder of Atomic Kid Studios’ animation and video production studio with Ben Miller. “We made very conscious decisions about how each note looks and acts, and while notes in sheet music are written in black and white, these notes have color and expression. The concept of diversity was important in their representation.”

Barrante has an especially personal connection to jazz and this project: “My father was a college professor and jazz pianist and exposed me at a young age to artists and legends like Herbie Hancock,” says Barrante. “Working with YAM and Mr. Hancock has been an honor and a career highlight for all of us at Atomic Kid.”

In honor of the collaboration with Hancock, “Treble Leads the Class” premiered during this year’s International Jazz Day. Launched in 2011 by UNESCO at Hancock’s urging, International Jazz Day is celebrated worldwide every year on April 30. This year marked the event’s 10th anniversary and featured a virtual All-Star Global Concert. The concert was hosted by Academy Award-winning actor Michael Douglas from the United Nations and featured performances by Hancock and dozens of other artists.

Officially designated by the United Nations and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and recognized on the official calendars of both the UN and UNESCO, International Jazz Day highlights jazz and its diplomatic role of uniting people in all corners of the globe. The Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz is the lead nonprofit organization charged with planning, promoting and producing this annual celebration.

To watch “Treble Leads the Class,” visit atomickidstudios.com.

Remembering Lynda Thomas

The Institute’s Board of Trustees and staff are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of former Institute Trustee and longtime friend of the Institute Lynda Thomas. A steadfast lover and supporter of the arts, Thomas was passionate about increasing access to meaningful arts education and mentorship experiences–especially among the less fortunate and those from marginalized communities. During her time on the Institute’s Board, her vision and guidance proved truly inspiring, and were instrumental in helping the organization navigate a period of unprecedented success and expansion. Our thoughts are with Thomas’ family and loved ones during this difficult time.

An obituary for Thomas can be found below:

Lynda Thomas passed away peacefully at the home she shared with her beloved fiancé, Stuart Subotnick. She is survived by her sister Liz, her brothers Louis, Larry, & Leslie, her daughters Aimée & Angélique, and her son Lee.

Born on March 25, 1950 to Louis & Dorothy Levy, Lynda grew up in New Orleans. She was a Senior Manager/CPA/consultant at Deloitte Haskins and Sells in London. She also traveled extensively with the Pacific Council on International Policy, and the National Democratic Institute. Over the past several years, these visits included North Korea, South Sudan, Myanmar, Cuba, Argentina, Poland, Germany, and the Balkans. Lynda served as an international election monitor in Tunisia for parliamentary elections in 2011, and for their first post-revolution direct presidential election in 2014.

Committed to helping children, Lynda volunteered as a Court-Appointed Special Advocate to promote the best interests of abused and neglected youth. Lynda also had a passion for the arts, and was on the boards of the Bowers Museum, Backhausdance, and the Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz–previously known as the Thelonious Monk Institute–an organization with worldwide educational programs including International Jazz Day.

Lynda had a warm, generous, and kind spirit, and was deeply loved by all those close to her. A memorial service will be held at the Frank Campbell Funeral Chapel on June 12 at 1pm. In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to a charity of your choice that best represents her dedication to arts education and international justice.

Click here to watch a tribute movie in Thomas’ honor.

Institute Teaching Artists Serve as Guest Lecturers for UCLA Global Jazz Studies

With online and distance learning still the norm due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, in early 2021 the Institute began offering a virtual workshop series aimed at students in the Global Jazz Studies department at The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music. The workshops, which will continue through the end of the 2020-21 academic year, feature some of the most innovative voices in jazz discussing key elements of the music. Topics have included composition, improvisation, phrase development and even tips on managing finances as a professional musician.

Each two-hour workshop is fully participatory, with the guest artists inviting students to ask questions, showcase their compositions, and add their own experiences and perspectives to help drive the discussion. Attendance is open to all students in the UCLA Global Jazz Studies degree path, plus faculty and students from other UCLA departments.

Sessions cover a range of theoretical concepts, but the overwhelming focus is on real-world applications that will help prepare students to become professional musicians. Saxophonist Walter Smith III, an Institute of Jazz Performance graduate who currently serves as Chair of the Woodwind Department at the Berklee College of Music, showed students how to develop musically interesting phrases using simple rhythmic exercises. Saxophonist, composer and recent Institute of Jazz Performance graduate Lenard Simpson discussed daily methods for strengthening writing skills in his composition workshop, even taking participants through the process of composing a melody collaboratively, via Zoom.

In his music business and finance seminar titled “Musician Money Matters,” guitarist John Storie of actor/pianist Jeff Goldblum’s renowned Mildred Snitzer Orchestra detailed key strategies for achieving financial health as a working musician, covering topics from choosing the right bank to buying insurance. As part of a master class on hip-hop production, Institute West Coast Director Daniel Seeff, an in-demand session musician and composer in his own right, shared practical lessons that jazz musicians can learn from the hip-hop industry. For “Strategies for Today’s Studio Musician,” trumpeter and Institute of Jazz Performance Class of 2001 graduate Bryan Lipps shared practical rules of etiquette for professional musicians seeking to establish successful studio careers.

Saxophonist Walter Smith III demonstrates an exercise for developing command of rhythm as part of his virtual master class for UCLA Global Jazz Studies.

Titled “How to Hear Deeper,” the most recent session in the series featured renowned vocalist Michael Mayo, widely regarded as one of the most exciting and creative up-and-coming vocalists in music today.

The Global Jazz Studies workshop series continues the Institute’s longstanding commitment to preserving, perpetuating and expanding jazz by training the next generation of jazz musicians. The initiative builds on nearly a decade of partnership with UCLA, where the Institute’s acclaimed, two-year college program is in residence. Known as the Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz Performance at The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music, the college program is currently on hiatus due to the pandemic and expected to return for the 2021-22 academic year.

About the College Program

The Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz Performance at UCLA is a tuition-free, two-year program that accepts one ensemble of musicians for each class. All of the students receive full scholarships, as well as stipends to cover their monthly living expenses. The students study both individually and as a small group, receiving personal mentoring, ensemble coaching, and lectures on the jazz tradition. They are encouraged to experiment in expanding jazz in new directions through their compositions and performances. The program is in residence at the prestigious UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music.

About The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music

The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music is the first – and only – school of music in the University of California system. The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music trains and educates students across Western classical and world music traditions, transcending traditional academic boundaries by balancing performance mastery and composition with cutting-edge scholarship. Rigorous and improvisational, The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music encourages and embraces the exploration of music in all its contemporary and historical diversity. Its 500+ undergraduate and graduate students have a multitude of performance opportunities and access to exceptional faculty, state-of-the-art facilities, world-class archives and instrument collections, and dedicated degree programs and centers of study.

Institute alum Tyralucia joins KJAZZ 88.1 FM as newest morning host

The Institute congratulates vocalist, pianist, composer and actor Tyra “Tyralucia” Dennis on her recent selection as the newest morning host on KJAZZ 88.1, the premier jazz and blues radio station in Los Angeles and the #1 full-time jazz and blues station in the country.

While a student at George Washington Preparatory High School in Los Angeles, Dennis participated in the Institute’s Jazz in the Classroom and BeBop to Hip-Hop music education programs, where she studied with renowned artists including DJ Khalil, Dontae Winslow and Yo-Yo. While in BeBop to Hip-Hop, Dennis performed alongside Institute Chairman Herbie Hancock and other acclaimed jazz musicians as part of a BET television documentary on the program.

Drawing on the fundamentals she learned from Institute programs, Dennis brings a wealth of experience as a musician and performer to her work as a member of the on-air staff at KJAZZ. She has performed with Chaka Khan, Wayne Shorter, George Bohannon, Stevie Wonder, Ali Woodson of the Temptations, Jackson Browne, Ray Charles and Slash from Guns N’ Roses, to name a few. She appeared at the Playboy Jazz Festival and in the feature film Dreamgirls, starring Beyoncé, Jennifer Hudson and Jamie Foxx.

Dennis can be heard on KJAZZ every Monday through Friday from 6-8 am Pacific, joining a lauded roster of hosts and presenters that includes Mitch Glickman, David Benoit, Gordon Goodwin, John Pizzarelli, and Steve Tyrell. Institute West Coast Director Daniel Seeff hosts the weekly KJAZZ program ExcursionsRadio, billed as the world’s only jazz and hip-hop radio show.


Widely regarded as Los Angeles’ top jazz and blues radio station, KJAZZ has been broadcasting jazz since 1981. Programmed and supported by the California State University, Long Beach Research Foundation in partnership with Global Jazz, Inc., the station is committed to the promotion and preservation of the rich cultural heritage of jazz and blues through engaging, inspiring and informative programming that satisfies the most dedicated music aficionados, while attracting newcomers of all ages.

About Jazz in the Classroom

The Institute’s worldwide, highly regarded Jazz in the Classroom programs help elementary, middle, high school and college students develop an understanding of and appreciation for jazz music. The initiative shares the positive aspects of jazz with young people who would not otherwise have opportunities to learn about this great national treasure. Through Jazz in the Classroom, the Institute has reached millions of students, teachers, and families, many of whom are experiencing jazz for the first time.

About BeBop to Hip-Hop

BeBop to Hip-Hop is one of the nation’s most innovative public school music education programs. Begun in 2004 in Los Angeles, it brings together jazz and hip-hop students under the direction of professional jazz musicians and hip-hop artists to create original work that incorporates elements of both genres. Aspiring young artists study the latest recording technologies and software, musical dynamics of both jazz and hip-hop, and the historical influence of jazz on hip-hop. They also learn how to produce a professional-level hip-hop track from the ground up – all while absorbing and building upon the rich traditions of Black American music. Jazz students learn to produce cutting-edge sounds, construct beats, and incorporate the hip-hop groove into jazz, while hip-hop students learn how to create and record in a live environment and gain technical skills in music. 

International Jazz Day 10th Anniversary Celebration to Take Place Worldwide, April 30, 2021

All-Star Global Concert will be hosted by Michael Douglas and feature dozens of world-renowned artists including Herbie Hancock, Marcus Miller, Andra Day, Dee Dee Bridgewater, John McLaughlin, Dianne Reeves and Joe Lovano

Concert followed by two-hour retrospective PBS Special airing nationwide at 9/8c

Toyota to serve as 2021 Lead Partner

Washington, D.C.–The 10th Anniversary of International Jazz Day, the world’s largest annual celebration of jazz, will take place on April 30th, with thousands of worldwide programs culminating in a spectacular All-Star Global Concert from New York, Los Angeles, UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, Cape Town, Moscow, Tokyo, Rio de Janeiro and other cities around the globe. Hosted by multi-Academy Award winner Michael Douglas from United Nations Headquarters in New York, the Global Concert will feature performances from an array of jazz icons representing more than 20 countries. Following this historic program, viewers across the United States can tune in to the International Jazz Day 10th Anniversary Celebration on PBS for an unforgettable look back at the past decade of International Jazz Day celebrations, made possible by Toyota, the 2021 Lead Partner.

Premiering nationally at 9/8c on Friday evening, April 30th (check local PBS listings), the International Jazz Day 10th Anniversary Celebration is a two-hour retrospective that highlights performances by an extraordinary array of music icons over the last 10 years. The special takes a poignant look back at unforgettable moments from Jazz Day concerts at the United Nations, Istanbul, Osaka, Paris, Washington, D.C., Havana, St. Petersburg, New Orleans, and Melbourne. Viewers will enjoy legendary artists such as Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, Tony Bennett, Chaka Khan, Annie Lennox, Sting, Christian McBride, Wynton Marsalis, and Hugh Masekela, along with hosts Morgan Freeman, Will Smith and Helen Mirren, among many others, paying heartfelt tribute to the treasured values and unifying heritage of jazz.

Earlier in the day, at 5 pm EDT/2 pm PDT, the 2021 All-Star Global Concert will thrill audiences with an historic lineup of performances by some of the world’s greatest jazz masters. Herbie Hancock will serve as Artistic Director, and John Beasley will serve as Musical Director. In New York, artists including Melissa Aldana (Chile), Massimo Biolcati (Italy), A Bu (China), Cyrus Chestnut, Amina Figarova (Azerbaijan), Roberta Gambarini (Italy), Kenny Garrett, James Genus, Stefon Harris, Ingrid Jensen (Canada), Joe Lovano, Rudresh Mahanthappa, Antonio Sánchez (Mexico) and Veronica Swift will deliver a rousing series of performances. In Los Angeles, Herbie Hancock will be joined by Alex Acuña (Peru), Justo Almario (Colombia), Dee Dee Bridgewater, Jonathan Butler (South Africa), Mahmoud Chouki (Morocco), Gerald Clayton, Andra Day, Romero Lubambo (Brazil), Marcus Miller, Dianne Reeves, Francisco Torres (Mexico), Justin Tyson and Ben Williams. Leading performances from their home countries will be Igor Butman in Moscow (Russia), Jacob Collier in London (United Kingdom), Mandisi Dyantyis in Cape Town (South Africa), Ivan Lins in Rio De Janeiro (Brazil), John McLaughlin in Monaco, James Morrison in Mt. Gambier (Australia) and Junko Onishi in Tokyo (Japan), among others. Renowned Beninese vocalist Angélique Kidjo will contribute a special performance from UNESCO Headquarters in Paris. The concert will be presented as a live webcast via YouTube, Facebook, jazzday.com, UN Web TV, UNESCO and U.S. State Department outlets.

“Our International Jazz Day community has displayed incredible resilience, creativity, ingenuity and compassion throughout the immense challenges of the past year,” said Herbie Hancock. “While the global pandemic continues to make life difficult for so many around the world, the example of organizers from Nepal to Mexico to Cameroon inspires us to greet this historic 10th Anniversary milestone with joy, courage and hope for the future of jazz.”

The All-Star Global Concert serves as the official culmination of International Jazz Day, capping a program of performances, educational workshops, community service projects, panel discussions, jam sessions, radio and television broadcasts, virtual gatherings and more – all following recommended public health guidelines – taking place in all 50 U.S. states and more than 190 countries on all seven continents. A complete listing of events planned for International Jazz Day 2021 can be found at jazzday.com/events. As part of the lead-up to the concert, the Institute and UNESCO will offer a series of free virtual educational programs, including master classes with renowned jazz musicians such as Antonio Sánchez, Linda Oh and Lionel Loueke; a children’s workshop with vocalist and Institute Trustee Dee Dee Bridgewater; and illuminating panel discussions featuring UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay, Institute Chairman Herbie Hancock, drummer Terri Lyne Carrington, pianist and composer Kris Bowers, hip-hop producer DJ Khalil and others. The 2021 virtual education program will be streamed on jazzday.com.

“UNESCO created International Jazz Day to share the values of a deeply meaningful musical genre,” explained UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay. “Today we need jazz more than ever. We need its values, based on human dignity and the fight against racism and all forms of oppression. It is so much more than music, jazz is the kind of bridge builder we need in the world today.”

Established by the General Conference of UNESCO in 2011 at the initiative of UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Herbie Hancock, and recognized by the United Nations General Assembly, International Jazz Day brings together countries and communities worldwide every April 30th to celebrate jazz and highlight the music’s important role in encouraging dialogue, combating discrimination and promoting human dignity. International Jazz Day has become a global movement reaching more than two billion people annually on all seven continents, including Antarctica, through education and community outreach, performances, radio, television and streaming, along with electronic, print and social media. The Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz is UNESCO’s official partner in the organization and promotion of International Jazz Day.

Air transportation and support for artists and educators is provided by United Airlines, the airline partner of International Jazz Day.

Download the full release

Download information about the PBS Special

Virtual Informance with U.S. Dept. of Education shows the uplifting power of jazz

U.S. Secretary of Education Dr. Miguel Cardona joined Institute Chairman Herbie Hancock to co-host a special virtual peer-to-peer jazz informance for students and educators across the United States and around the world, highlighting the extraordinary history and legacy of jazz as a healing, uplifting art form.

The session, organized in honor of Jazz Appreciation Month 2021 and the 10th Anniversary Celebration of International Jazz Day, included virtual performances by the Institute’s National Peer-to-Peer All-Star Jazz Septet along with an educational presentation by Institute Vice President of Education and Curriculum Development Dr. JB Dyas. Hancock and Secretary Cardona participated in a memorable 15-minute discussion on the importance of jazz as a tool for self-affirmation and self-expression.

“It takes a lot of courage to play jazz,” noted Hancock. “To not know exactly where you’re going to go, and then when that moment comes, to…jump off that cliff–that takes courage to do that. After a while, you kind of get used to that feeling of ‘it’s going to be ok,’ so it develops this spirit of being fearless. Everybody needs that.”

The April informance was offered as a free webinar in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Education and with lead funding from United Airlines and the National Endowment for the Arts. The program attracted attendees from more than 30 countries, including the United States, Brazil, Finland, Indonesia, Japan and South Africa.

The full informance is available to watch below:

College Program Grad Lenard Simpson Leads Composition Workshop for UCLA Global Jazz Studies

Saxophonist and Institute teaching artist Lenard Simpson recently conducted a composition workshop for students in The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music Global Jazz Studies program. Simpson, a Class of 2020 graduate of the Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz Performance at The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music, provided illuminating explanations of the importance of composition for working jazz musicians, as well as practical pointers for developing a unique compositional voice.

Watch a few brief snippets from the session below:

As part of the Institute’s ongoing virtual education program offerings, the Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz Performance at The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music is proud to connect UCLA students with some of the most innovative voices in jazz for an intimate workshop series during the 2020-21 academic year. Guest lecturers have included acclaimed saxophonist Walter Smith III, guitarist John Storie and Institute West Coast Director Daniel Seeff.

About the College Program

The Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz Performance is a tuition-free, two-year program that accepts one ensemble of musicians for each class. All of the students receive full scholarships, as well as stipends to cover their monthly living expenses. The students study both individually and as a small group, receiving personal mentoring, ensemble coaching, and lectures on the jazz tradition. They are encouraged to experiment in expanding jazz in new directions through their compositions and performances. The program is in residence at the prestigious UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music.

International Jazz Day 2021 Registration Now Open

Event registration for the worldwide 10th Anniversary celebration of International Jazz Day opened on January 6, with organizers across the globe invited to add their programming to the official calendar.

Registration at jazzday.com/register is free and open to all who plan to celebrate International Jazz Day on April 30, 2021.

Due to the ongoing impacts of COVID-19, the Institute encourages organizers to follow all relevant public health directives when planning, promoting and executing their events, and to present virtual/socially-distanced programming where necessary.

Each year, a variety of International Jazz Day programming is curated on and around April 30 by a massive global network of organizers and partners in more than 190 countries. The event size and format is completely up to the organizer, with creativity encouraged. Previously registered events run the gamut from performance-based presentations to community service initiatives, and have included:

  • Concerts
  • Jam sessions
  • Charity fundraisers
  • Art and photo exhibitions
  • Book and poetry readings
  • Academic conferences
  • Workshops and master classes
  • Visits to hospitals, detention centers and elder care homes
  • Radio and television broadcasts
  • Social media tributes
  • Album-release parties
  • Public discussions and debates
  • Special learning units for elementary, middle and high school students
  • Assembly programs
  • Jazz scavenger hunts
  • Jazz-inspired painting and drawing classes
  • Multi-day festivals

…and other events.

In 2020, the coronavirus pandemic precipitated the first-ever virtual celebration of International Jazz Day, with a spectacular Virtual Global Concert receiving over 10 million views. Organizers from every corner of the globe submitted hundreds of socially-distanced tributes in honor of Jazz Day’s positive message. To promote student inclusion, the Institute presented a series of virtual education programs on Facebook Live in all six UN languages.

The 2021 celebration will mark International Jazz Day’s 10th Anniversary. While formal plans to celebrate the milestone are still being developed, organizers are encouraged to utilize the official hashtag, #JazzDay10, when promoting their plans for April 30 on the web and social media. Further details, including information on the 2021 All-Star Global Concert, will be announced early in the new year.

International Jazz Day is the world’s largest celebration of jazz as a force for peace, intercultural dialogue and international cooperation. The Institute is the primary nonprofit partner charged with coordinating the global program on behalf of the United Nations and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).