Virtual Programs

The Institute was an early leader in distance learning, curating a groundbreaking series of live educational broadcasts in the 1990s featuring renowned jazz musicians from Herbie Hancock to Joshua Redman to Terri Lyne Carrington. From the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Institute drew on this deep experience to support virtual learning for students, parents and educators throughout the United States. Programs like Jazz in the Classroom and the National Performing Arts High Schools initiative were offered via Zoom to partner schools in Baltimore, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, Newark, New Orleans, San Francisco, Washington, D.C. and beyond.

As with the Institute’s in-person instruction, every online session is tailored to the individual needs of students or ensembles and includes lessons in jazz history and theory, improvisation, transcription, key jazz repertoire and technical skills, as well as “gap” areas in student knowledge that can be adeptly addressed through virtual learning such as reading and playing syncopated rhythms.

Throughout the pandemic, the Institute offered a series of free virtual summer extension programs to learners around the world, including online-only editions of its signature initiatives BeBop to Hip-Hop and Jazz in America. These and other programs like International Jazz Day have reached millions of students worldwide, connecting eager young learners with leading international artists and educators no matter where they live. Apart from giving students of all ages the opportunity to connect virtually with peers, even while observing self-isolation, these special programs continue the Institute’s longstanding mission to promote racial equity by highlighting the vital contributions of African Americans to art, culture and American life.

BeBop to Hip-Hop Virtual Concert

Click here to make a tax-deductible contribution and ensure that the Institute’s free jazz education programs continue to reach students across the United States.

Our History

The Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz builds on one of the most significant legacies in jazz history, continuing an educational vision more than three decades in the making. Since 1986, the Institute has worked to safeguard and perpetuate America’s greatest cultural contribution and empower the next generation, all while making this beautiful, inspiring and truly American music accessible to people around the globe. From high-profile initiatives like International Jazz Day to year-round training and mentorship opportunities for public school students of all backgrounds, the Institute’s programs play a crucial role in maintaining the health and vitality of this revered art form.

Founded in 1986 as the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, from the beginning the Institute’s role in the jazz community was cemented through the much-lauded International Jazz Competition, which brought now-seminal artists like pianist Marcus Roberts, saxophonist Joshua Redman, and vocalists Jane Monheit and Cécile McLorin Salvant firmly into the public view. Even for those who do not capture the coveted first prize, which includes a guaranteed recording contract with Concord Music Group, the Competition has become an indispensable forum for identifying the most exciting rising stars in jazz.

The organization was founded in 1986 as the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz and has provided public school education programs worldwide for over three decades

The Competition may be among the Institute’s most visible initiatives, but education remains at the center of the Institute’s mission. The Institute’s college program is a two-year, tuition-free master’s degree program established in 1995 to allow the world’s brightest young jazz musicians to study directly with visiting jazz legends. In residence at The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music, the Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz Performance represents the gold standard for graduate-level jazz education programs. The program’s students serve as ambassadors for the Institute and for America’s music, teaching and performing across the United States and on international tours.

With the firm belief that music education benefits all students, not just those destined for careers in music, the Institute partners with public schools in more than a dozen U.S. cities to offer its Jazz in the Classroom and National Performing Arts High Schools programs. The mentorship provided through these programs has a tremendously positive impact, with 100% of Institute students graduating from high school and more than 90% continuing on to college. Like all of the Institute’s offerings, these initiatives are provided completely free of charge to the participating students, schools and communities.

Under the leadership of its Chairman, legendary pianist and composer Herbie Hancock, the Institute has made innovation a priority, inaugurating new programs that explore the full potential of jazz as a teaching tool. The latest effort in this ongoing strategy is Math, Science and Music (, an online STEM learning platform that uses music to teach elements of math and science. Launched in 2016 in partnership with the U.S. Department of Education, the curriculum has been hailed by schools, teachers and thought leaders alike and currently houses contributions from Harvard, MIT, the University of California Berkeley, NYU, Johns Hopkins and other institutions of higher learning.

The Institute has made a strong commitment to promoting global unity through music, with its leading role in International Jazz Day, the world’s largest celebration of jazz and its positive message. The Institute, along with Chairman Herbie Hancock, was instrumental in the adoption of International Jazz Day and its unanimous recognition by the United Nations and UNESCO. Today, thanks to a dedicated outreach effort by the Institute’s team, International Jazz Day reaches more than 2.4 billion people worldwide each year on April 30 through thousands of performances, education programs and community service initiatives, all conceived around the principles of peace, intercultural dialogue, international cooperation, respect for human dignity and promoting individual expression.

These and other programs, including Peer-to-Peer jazz education tours in underserved communities across America, network television specials, and live concert webcasts on YouTube and Facebook Live, reflect a deep-seated belief that jazz is vital to our shared cultural and creative heritage.

Math Science and Music

Introducing Treble Clef and his best friend, Four-Four Signature! In collaboration with YAM Research Group at the Touro College Graduate School of Education, the Institute has launched a new animated series to help teach children basic concepts in music and math. Institute Chairman Herbie Hancock narrates a series of whimsical encounters featuring music notes that come alive to attend school together. Click here to watch the first video in the series, “Treble Leads The Class”!

For Herbie Hancock, inspiring young people to learn about math and science through music has been a life-long dream. He sees a profound connection across the disciplines and a way to ignite passion for challenging concepts through music. This was the vision behind Math, Science and Music.

Math, Science and Music Background

In 2016, the Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz began the first phase of Math, Science and Music, an initiative that uses music as a tool to teach math and science to young people in public schools across the United States and around the world. The program addresses the growing need for students to gain skills and acquire knowledge in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) subjects and learn to think creatively. The Institute is collaborating with math, science, music and education experts at leading universities and in the private sector to develop a wealth of free engaging curricula, games, apps and other interactive online components.

On April 26, 2016, the Institute officially launched the initiative with a panel discussion at the U.S. Department of Education. Secretary of Education John King hosted the event with representatives from all of the Institute’s university teams who contributed to the project. The event, which received major press coverage from outlets including The Washington Post, USA Today and the New York Daily News, allowed educators and the public to preview initial elements of the platform that were recently field tested in the Boston and San Francisco public schools, and experience firsthand these new and unique online resources. went live as the panel discussion began.

Targeted STEM Learning

Studies show that the most crucial years to engage students in STEM learning are grades 4-8. If students begin STEM studies in these early years, they are more likely to continue on this path. Based on this premise, the primary target audience for Math, Science and Music is grades 4-8. Also in development are supplemental curricula that prepare students in grades K-3 for future immersion into the program, as well as other STEM studies. Additionally, there will be supplemental materials for high school and college students to provide them with sequential learning. serves as an exciting and engaging repository of free, interactive tools for learning STEM subjects through music, and will prepare students for a world where technological skills are a necessity and an essential part of life.

Dive into this exciting new resource by visiting

International Tours

The Institute’s goal of preserving and promoting jazz includes introducing people around the world to this great American art form.

The Institute’s international programs date back to 1989, when Clark Terry and Paul Jeffrey led an Institute summer program in Dolo, Italy. Since then, the Institute has conducted workshops in South America, Europe, Africa, and Asia. The most successful and far reaching international programs have been the many Institute tours sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, as well as the creation of an alliance with seven Caribbean nations. Since 2016, the Institute’s Jazz Performance program has partnered with the annual Panama Jazz Festival to provide master classes and educational outreach to students in Panama City.

Click here to view sample press coverage of the Institute’s International Tours.

A global track record since 1995

The Institute’s Jazz Ambassadors, an ensemble of previous Competition winners, was organized in 1995 for a six-week tour of seven African nations. Pianist Ted Rosenthal, drummer Harold Summey, Composers Competition winner Patrick Zimmerli, and vocalist winner Lisa Henry were among the artists who presented workshops and concerts for audiences in Eritrea, Ethiopia, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, South Africa, and Swaziland under the leadership of T.S. Monk.

In 1996, a second State Department tour was assembled, this time featuring the members of the first class of the Institute of Jazz Performance along with T.S. Monk, Herbie Hancock, and Wayne Shorter. The group traveled to India and Thailand, performing and teaching to thrilled audiences who were receiving their first hands-on jazz experience. During the course of the tour, the Institute students performed at the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the coronation of the King of Thailand.

The Institute forged an alliance with seven Caribbean nations (St. Lucia, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Cayman Islands, Barbados, Grenada, and Trinidad) in 1997, establishing educational outreach programs that brought jazz masters and educators to the people of the Caribbean. As a central part of the alliance, internationally renowned jazz artists and educators such as Bobby Watson, Ellis Marsalis, and Arturo Sandoval presented master classes, workshops and concerts with artists and educators from the islands.

In 1998, the second class of the Institute of Jazz Performance toured Argentina, Chile, and Peru with Herbie Hancock. Highlights of the tour included a performance at the Summit of the Americas attended by heads of state from 34 countries in North America, South America, and Central America. These students also traveled to Jamaica in 1999 to perform and present educational programs.

2000 – 2010

In 2000, the third class of students attending the Institute of Jazz Performance appeared at the North Sea Jazz Festival in the Netherlands, and traveled to Egypt in 2001, where they performed and led master classes with Herbie Hancock and Vanessa Rubin. For three years beginning in 2002, the United Nations sponsored a tour of Paris, where students from the Institute of Jazz Performance appeared with Dee Dee Bridgewater, Herbie Hancock, T.S. Monk, and Wayne Shorter at the annual “Day of Philosophy” event presented by UNESCO. In 2004, the Institute’s fifth class of college students performed at the Tokyo Jazz Festival with Herbie Hancock.

In 2005, the Institute presented an educational tour in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, commemorating the 10th anniversary of the United States and Vietnam resuming diplomatic relations.

In January 2008 the Institute partnered with the U.S. Department of State to present a jazz education tour of India. Internationally renowned jazz artists Patti Austin, Bob James, Earl Klugh, and Bobby Watson were joined by several accomplished graduates of the Institute’s jazz education programs. Highlights included a concert for 1,000 people in Mumbai, sponsored by VH1 Jazz Masters, and a master class at the Ravi Shankar Institute of Music and Performing Arts in New Delhi.

Also in 2008, the students of the Institute of Jazz Performance (then located at Loyola University New Orleans) performed with Danilo Perez at the Panama Jazz Festival.

In May 2010 the Institute partnered with the U.S. Department of State to present a jazz education tour of China. Herbie Hancock, Dee Dee Bridgewater, and the Institute’s college students performed for thousands of people at the Shanghai 2010 Expo and Beijing’s Forbidden City Concert Hall. Continuing the tradition of offering jazz education programs for citizens of the world, the musicians also led a master class at Beijing’s National Center for the Performing Arts.

2010 to present

The Institute traveled to Russia in May 2012. Herbie Hancock and Dee Dee Bridgewater, accompanied Hancock Institute Alumni Otis Brown (drums), Gerald Clayton (piano), Lisa Henry (vocals), Mike Rodriguez (trumpet), Walter Smith (saxophone) and Ben Williams (bass), performed at the Moscow International House of Music and the Mikhailovsky Theatre in St. Petersburg. The trip also included master classes for young, aspiring music students in both cities, including a master class in the famed Hermitage Theater in St. Petersburg and the Gnesin Academy in Moscow, as well as a reception at Spaso House, the U.S. Ambassador’s Residence.

The Institute continues to bring jazz education to communities around the world. Since 2013, the students of the Institute of Jazz Performance have visited Cuba, France, Israel, Japan, Mexico, Sweden, Turkey, and Panama. Each visit entails performing as an ensemble and with many of today’s top jazz artists, as well as conducting free master classes and workshops for students.

A 2015 visit to Morocco, under the auspices of the U.S. Embassy in Rabat, saw clinics with local students and performances for capacity crowds in historic venues like the 16th-century El Badi Palace in Marrakech. In 2019, the Institute students traveled to Mount Gambier, Australia for the Generations in Jazz youth big band festival, the largest event of its kind, where they conducted master classes for the young attendees and performed alongside a host of internationally renowned artists such as Joey DeFrancesco and Lizz Wright.

In 2022, Institute Chairman Herbie Hancock led a delegation to Amman, Jordan for a weeklong series of master classes, performances and community outreach initiatives targeting local music students as well as Syrian refugees, orphans and children with special needs. Most recently, in 2024, Herbie Hancock and Dianne Reeves, accompanied by the Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz Performance at UCLA Ensemble, visited New Delhi and Mumbai, India as part of the US Department of State’s Global Music Diplomacy Initiative. Their performances and master classes with students were dedicated to celebrating the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with a special concert in New Delhi on January 15, Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

BeBop to Hip-Hop

BeBop to Hip-Hop is one of the most innovative public school music education programs in America. Begun in 2004 in Los Angeles, the program 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.

The aspiring young artists study the latest recording technologies and software, familiarize themselves with the musical dynamics of both jazz and hip-hop, learn about the historical influence of jazz on hip-hop, and discover 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 art and culture. 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. An annual culminating concert highlights the original and spontaneous work that results from this groundbreaking collaboration.

History & Impact

  • Launched in 2004 in the Los Angeles public schools, BeBop to Hip-Hop helps young jazz and hip-hop creators connect with and learn from some of the music industry’s most respected professionals. Aspiring young musicians study improvisation, lyric writing, music theory, arranging, composition, sampling and more, ultimately integrating their new skills into experimental musical pieces that are developed collaboratively with their peers.
  • Past instructors have included leading industry figures such as Herbie Hancock, Imani and Tre of the Pharcyde, Billy Childs, Terri Lyne Carrington, Gerald Clayton, DJ Spark, DJ Khalil, Hi-Tek, Doug E. Fresh, Kool Mo Dee, Chali 2na, MC Supernatural, Mike and Keys, Tariq Beats and more.
  • Original student works have been featured on Black Entertainment Television and KKJZ, the country’s most popular jazz radio station.
  • In 2007, support from the National Endowment for the Arts enabled BeBop to Hip-Hop students to present community outreach concerts throughout Los Angeles, introducing thousands of residents of all ages to hip-hop and jazz.
  • BeBop to Hip-Hop fills a critical need for inclusive, constructive educational experiences centered around the African-American artistic experience.
  • In response to COVID-19, the Institute offered the first-ever virtual version of BeBop to Hip-Hop, giving 100 students from across the country and around the world the opportunity to develop their skills and collaborate on entirely original music. Over the course of the 10-week program, creators joined weekly Zoom seminars with renowned professional producers, DJ’s and musicians, building their industry network and receiving invaluable feedback on their creations. The final tracks were highlighted in a culminating virtual showcase streamed live on YouTube and Facebook, which reached over 2 million viewers.

Click here to make a tax-deductible contribution in support of the Institute’s free BeBop to Hip-Hop programs.

Performing Arts High Schools

Through the National Performing Arts High Schools Jazz Program, the Institute brings respected jazz musicians and educators into a dozen public performing arts high schools in cities across the country to provide intensive jazz training for exceptionally gifted and motivated student musicians. This specialized performance-based program enables students to participate in small combos and receive instruction in theory, composition, improvisation, history, and styles, preparing them to attend leading college, university, and conservatory music programs. The program offers students the opportunity to participate in a highly specialized performance-based jazz curriculum, study with some of the world’s most eminent jazz artists, and perform in jazz combos comprised of their peers.

The Institute Experience

The Institute provides the performing arts high schools with consultation regarding curriculum development and instructional methodology, periodic residencies by Institute staff, high-profile performance opportunities, and visiting guest artists and educators, as well as private lessons for each participant. In addition, the Institute invites combos from selected schools to participate in weeklong Peer-to-Peer Jazz Education Tours in which the students perform with renowned guest artists in public high schools across the nation. The visiting students perform at assembly programs and conduct jazz workshops, playing alongside their like-instrument counterparts and providing hands-on tutelage peer to peer. Of particular importance, they teach their peers about the values jazz represents: teamwork, unity with ethnic diversity, and freedom with responsibility. Each tour culminates with a public concert, providing invaluable performance experience for the participating students.

In April 2023, the Institute returned to the U.S. Department of Education headquarters in Washington, D.C. The session was hosted by U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona and featured students from the National Performing Arts High Schools Jazz Program. Read more, and watch the entire informance, by clicking here.

Click here for sample press coverage of the National Performing Arts High Schools Jazz Program & Peer-to-Peer tours.

Click here to support the National Performing Arts High Schools program

Program Information

The National Performing Arts High Schools Jazz Program is offered at:

Recent program highlights include master classes led by pianists Danilo Perez and Helen Sung, saxophonist Jeff Coffin and trumpeters James Morrison and Rashawn Ross, and a virtual jazz informance featuring students from the program along with Institute Chairman Herbie Hancock and U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. Students have performed at the U.S. Capitol, at a reception for the Congressional Black Caucus, at the U.S. Department of Education, and at the DC Jazz Festival.

Los Angeles highlights include master classes conducted by pianist Kenny Barron, guitarist John Scofield, saxophonist Jimmy Heath, and trombonist Steve Turre. Program participants have performed for tens of thousands of people at the Monterey Jazz Festival, the Hollywood Bowl, and the Staples Center. In New Jersey, an all-star group of students recently had the incredible opportunity to record an album at the studios of legendary engineer Rudy Van Gelder. Overall, the program continues to have a tremendous impact on both the participating students and the community.

Through the National Performing Arts High Schools Jazz Program, the Institute will ensure that the most gifted young jazz musicians from across the United States go on to become the preeminent jazz musicians of the 21st century.

Blues and Jazz

The blues and jazz have much in common. The blues is a clear reflection of our nation’s history and has become a foundation for many types of popular art and entertainment. Jazz as we know it would not exist without the blues. As the blues and jazz continue to evolve, the connection remains unbroken.

With generous support from Bill and Carolyn Powers, the Institute launched a free online curriculum for 5th, 8th, and 11th grade public school students in the United States that traces the history and development of the blues and jazz in America.

Dockery Farms, located in the heart of the Mississippi Delta between Cleveland and Ruleville, is considered by many, including blues legend B.B. King, to be the birthplace of the blues. Guitarist Charley Patton’s father was employed at Dockery Farms, and it was here that the younger Patton began creating the innovative sound that would influence many other musicians and later be referred to as the blues. Other unforgettable bluesmen who worked at or visited Dockery Farms to play the blues included Robert Johnson, Son House, and Howlin’ Wolf. At this same time about 300 miles away in New Orleans, a different music – jazz – was being played.

The curriculum shows how the blues, perhaps more than any other music, is jazz’s greatest influence. From the creation of jazz a century ago to the modern jazz of today, the blues has been a benchmark for jazz musicians.

Program Information

The Blues and Jazz curriculum debuted in 2007 when the Institute presented a two-week Blues and Jazz educational tour for more than 5,000 Mississippi public school students. The tour was headlined by internationally renowned saxophonists Bobby Watson and Antonio Hart and featured blues guitarist Alvin “Youngblood” Hart and jazz vocalist Lisa Henry. Through visits to public schools in Cleveland, Jackson, Natchez, Oxford, Rosedale, and Ruleville, the musicians presented schoolwide assembly programs plus jazz band and vocal jazz clinics for advanced high school student musicians.

Also beginning in 2007, the Institute offered free daily in-school and after-school instrument training sessions for students at Ruleville High School in partnership with Delta State University. The program is helping to cultivate the next generation of musicians and perpetuate the Mississippi Delta’s blues legacy.

In addition to the ongoing school programs, the Institute also visits public schools in the Mississippi Delta region, New Orleans, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Washington, DC, presenting follow-up education tours that serve thousands of students. Tours include a series of engaging assembly programs, jazz band clinics, and vocal master classes that focus on the musical and historical effects of blues and jazz on one another. Each weeklong tour has featured internationally acclaimed musicians, including GRAMMY Award-winning blues artist Chris Thomas King, W.C. Handy Award-winning blues guitarist Joe Louis Walker, and renowned blues guitarist Guitar Slim, Jr. During recent tours, the musicians also presented free public concerts at Delta State University and participated in the unveiling and dedication of a Blues Heritage Trail sign at Dockery Farms, recognizing this historic plantation’s role in the creation and development of the blues.

Jazz in America

The Blues and Jazz curriculum is the latest addition to the Institute’s popular Jazz in America curriculum, available free of charge at The Jazz in America curriculum presents an historical overview, examines characteristics of various jazz styles, highlights contributions of important performers and composers, and explores the social, economic, and political contexts within which jazz evolved. The curriculum for each grade level features eight 50-minute lessons to be taught as a regular part of each school’s social studies or American history courses. In addition to the lesson plans, the curriculum Web site includes a teacher’s manual, student handoutstest bank, and comprehensive Jazz Resource Library.

The Blues and Jazz curriculum writing team was led by Dr. J.B. Dyas, the Institute’s Vice President for Education and Curriculum Development. The team members included Bob Blumenthal, an executive at Marsalis Music and former jazz critic for The Boston Globe; Howard Mandel, an award-winning journalist and author who served as editor of The Billboard Illustrated Encyclopedia of Jazz and Blues; and David Vigilante, Associate Director of the National Center for History in the Schools.

Jazz In The Classroom

The Institute’s worldwide, highly regarded Jazz in the Classroom programs are tailored for elementary, middle, high school and college students to help them develop an understanding of and appreciation for jazz music. The initiative strives to share the positive aspects of jazz with young people who would not otherwise have opportunities to learn about this great national treasure.

Jazz in the Classroom was developed in response to drastic reductions in public funding for music education. The goal is to expand children’s musical knowledge and encourage imaginative thinking, creativity, a positive self image and a respect for their own and others’ cultural heritage. Through these programs, the Institute has reached millions of students, teachers, and families in major cities as well as rural and remote communities, with many of the participants experiencing jazz for the first time.

The Institute presents a number of programs for low-income youth in urban areas as well as programs serving young people in rural and remote communities. Through teaching and mentoring, jazz masters play a major role in the continued evolution of the music, the development of new artists, and the expansion of a broad listening audience to support the music.

Click here to make a tax-deductible contribution in support of the Institute’s free Jazz in the Classroom programs.

Click here to view sample press coverage of Jazz in the Classroom.

History & Impact

Since 1989, the Institute has been presenting Jazz in the Classroom programs for young people throughout the United States and abroad. In recent years, the Institute has presented public school master classes and assembly programs featuring some of the greatest names in jazz, including McCoy Tyner, Branford Marsalis, Danilo Perez, Stanley Jordan, John Patitucci, Bobby Watson, George Duke, Kenny Garrett, and Chick Corea. These programs have been presented in public schools across America, ranging from the LaGuardia High School for Music & Art and Performing Arts in New York City and Woodrow Wilson High School in Washington, DC to Roosevelt High School in Seattle and the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts.

The Jazz in the Classroom series began with the late jazz icon Clark Terry, who took a group of gifted American and European music students to Dolo, Italy, as part of an intensive educational summer program. Other noteworthy programs included drummer Max Roach presenting a jazz studies program to over 11,000 public school students in North Carolina, and a With Strings Attached guitar series. In addition, the Institute has presented a series of assemblies, master classes, and workshops led by jazz masters for young people in Alaska, Arizona, California, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Florida, Idaho, Maine, Massachusetts, Montana, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Texas, Washington, and on the islands of Bermuda, Jamaica, and St. Lucia.

The Institute was one of the first arts organizations to use interactive satellite television for music education as a part of Jazz in the Classroom. These programs have featured Herbie Hancock, Clark Terry, Joshua Redman, Christian McBride, Terri Lyne Carrington, Wah Wah Watson, and Pat Metheny.

The Institute is dedicated to its mission of preserving and promoting jazz–America’s musical heritage. The Institute’s educational programs ensure that jazz will have a bright future for generations to come.

Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz Performance at The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music

About the Institute of Jazz Performance

One of the Institute’s earliest goals was to create a unique college-level jazz program where the masters of jazz could pass on their expertise to the next generation of jazz musicians. In September 1995, the Institute of Jazz Performance was launched and the first class of seven students began their intensive training with some of the world’s greatest musicians.

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 also encouraged to experiment in expanding jazz in new directions through their compositions and performances. The program is currently in residence at the prestigious UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music.

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 and teaching engagements at the White House; at annual International Jazz Day programs in Saint Petersburg, Russia; Havana, Cuba; Melbourne, Sydney and Mt. Gambier, Australia; at the celebration commemorating the 40th anniversary of the coronation of the King of Thailand, the 1998 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 Argentina, China, Egypt, India, Morocco, Peru, Russia, Vietnam and, most recently, Jordan with Institute Chairman Herbie Hancock.

Since the program’s inception, students have studied with Kenny Barron, Jerry Bergonzi, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Ron Carter, Hal Crook, Jack DeJohnette, Nnenna Freelon, Herbie Hancock, Barry Harris, Roy Haynes, Jimmy Heath, Dave Holland, Wynton Marsalis, Dick Oatts, Danilo Pérez, Dianne Reeves, John Scofield, Wayne Shorter, Horace Silver and Clark Terry, among many others. Program participants benefit from the world-class learning environment at UCLA, recently named the number 1 public university in the United States for the fifth straight year by U.S. News & World Report.

In June 2023, internationally acclaimed trumpeter and composer Ambrose Akinmusire, a 2007 graduate of the program, was named Artistic Director of the Institute of Jazz Performance, returning to guide and encourage the next generation of jazz artists.

About The Herb Alpert School of Music

In January 2016, the University of California Board of Regents formally established the Herb Alpert School of Music as UCLA’s 12th professional school and the first music school in the University of California system. Created in 2007 with a $30 million gift from the Herb Alpert Foundation, the school sets a new standard for 21st century music schools by balancing performance and scholarship, and by embracing classical western music, world music and jazz, and popular contemporary music. With more than 580 undergraduate and graduate students, the school offers 15 bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs through three highly rated academic departments, each with internationally acclaimed faculty. The Department of Music competes for students with the nation’s top music schools. It provides intensive individual studio instruction, thorough theoretical training and full participation in large and small ensembles, and offers many degree tracks including the M.M. degree in conjunction with the Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz. The Department of Ethnomusicology is the only one of its kind in the U.S. and the most celebrated program in the world for the study of diverse musical cultures. The Department of Musicology teaches and conducts research on jazz, heavy metal, techno, musical theater, and other forms of popular music as well as European classical music. The National Research Council recently recognized UCLA Musicology as the top ranked academic music doctoral program in the U.S.

Meet the Class of 2025

Six extraordinary young jazz musicians from around the world were selected for the Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz Performance at UCLA, Class of 2025. Each will begin the intensive, full-scholarship program in September 2023 and attain a Master of Music in Jazz Performance degree from The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music – one of the nation’s top music schools – in spring 2025.

Ebs Daramola, drums, was born in the Netherlands and grew up in Nigeria and Perth, Western Australia. He was introduced to a wide variety of music and began studying jazz in high school. Daramola was named Outstanding Performer at the Western Australian Schools Jazz Festival in 2014 and 2017. He attended the James Morrison Academy at the University of South Australia, where he studied with James Morrison, Mat Jodrell, Jeff Clayton and Carl Mackey. Daramola has performed across Australia with James Muller, James Morrison, Angela Davis, William Barton and as the leader of his own groups.

Destiny Diggs, bass, was born in Newark, New Jersey and began studying music at age 10. She participated in the Jazz House Kids program and played in the New Jersey Youth Symphony and the Youth Orchestra of Essex. She was the winner of the National YoungArts Merit Double Bass Award. Diggs was awarded a full scholarship to attend the Manhattan School of Music. She has studied with Ron Carter, Buster Williams and James Genus, among others. Diggs has performed with Winard Harper, Jon Faddis and Willerm Delisfort. In 2023, she was named a Sister in Jazz by the Jazz Education Network.

Alden Hellmuth, alto saxophone, was born and raised in Hartford, Connecticut. She studied saxophone with Kris Allen at the Greater Hartford Academy for the Arts and was awarded a full scholarship to attend the Hartt School’s Jackie McLean Institute, where she studied with Abraham Burton. Hellmuth was selected to participate in Focusyear in Basel, Switzerland, where she performed with artists including Miguel Zenón, Larry Grenadier, Lionel Loueke, and Linda May Han Oh. She was a semifinalist for the New Music USA Next Jazz Legacy program and received the Dorothy Goodwin Scholarship for her work honoring women. Hellmuth has toured with Jeremy Pelt and Louis Hayes, and arranged music for Moses Sumney and Brandee Younger.

Miles Lennox, piano, was born in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He attended the Dillard Center for Arts, where he studied with Stephen Scott. Lennox has participated in the GRAMMY Camp, the Jazz at Lincoln Center Summer Jazz Camp, the Florida All-State Jazz Band and the YoungArts program. He received his bachelor’s degree from the Manhattan School of Music. Lennox has studied with Stefon Harris, Marc Cary, Phil Markowitz and Jimmy Petullo, and has performed with jazz greats including Wynton Marsalis, Sean Jones, Jon Faddis and Bobby Watson.

Sasha Ripley, tenor saxophone, was born and raised in Houston and began studying saxophone at age 13. He attended the Kinder High School for Visual and Performing Arts, where he graduated with a Distinguished Level of Achievement diploma. Ripley attended the Skidmore Jazz Camp and participated in the Herbie Hancock Institute’s Peer-to-Peer tours, performing with Sean Jones and Antonio Hart. He was awarded a full-tuition scholarship to attend the Berklee College of Music, where he participated in the Global Jazz Institute and studied with Danilo Pérez, John Patitucci, Tia Fuller, Kurt Elling and Gary Bartz. Ripley has performed extensively across the country with a variety of artists.

Yakiv Tsvietinskyi, trumpet, was born and raised in Dnipro, Ukraine and began his music studies on piano at age 6. He received his undergraduate degree from the M. Glinka Academy of Music. While in college, he participated in the Making Music Across Borders program. Tsvietinskyi received a Fulbright grant for education, which enabled him to attend Western Michigan University and attain a master’s degree. He also participated in the Betty Carter Jazz Ahead program at the Kennedy Center, where he had the opportunity to study with Jason Moran. A recipient of two DownBeat Student Music Awards, Tsvietinskyi was accepted into the Focusyear program in Basel, Switzerland. He has taught music in Dnipro, Kyiv and Lviv.

International Jazz Day

About International Jazz Day

In November 2011, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) officially designated April 30 as International Jazz Day in order to highlight jazz and its diplomatic role of uniting people in all corners of the globe. International Jazz Day is chaired and led by the UNESCO Director General and legendary jazz pianist and composer Herbie Hancock, who serves as a UNESCO Ambassador for Intercultural Dialogue and Chairman of the Institute. The Institute is the nonprofit charged with planning, promoting and producing this annual celebration.

International Jazz Day brings together communities, schools, artists, historians, academics, and jazz enthusiasts all over the world to celebrate and learn about jazz and its roots, future and impact; raise awareness of the need for intercultural dialogue and mutual understanding; and reinforce international cooperation and communication. Each year on April 30, this international art form is recognized for promoting peace, dialogue among cultures, diversity, and respect for human rights and human dignity; eradicating discrimination; promoting freedom of expression; fostering gender equality; and reinforcing the role of youth in enacting social change.

International Jazz Day is the culmination of Jazz Appreciation Month, which draws public attention to jazz and its extraordinary heritage throughout April. In December 2012, the United Nations General Assembly formally welcomed the decision by the UNESCO General Conference to proclaim April 30 as International Jazz Day. The United Nations and UNESCO now both recognize International Jazz Day on their official calendars.


The 2024 edition of International Jazz Day will be celebrated in more than 190 countries on April 30. UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay and UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Herbie Hancock are pleased to announce that the city of Tangier, Morocco will serve as the Global Host and will anchor the International Jazz Day programs around the world.

The designation of Tangier marks the first time a city on the African continent will host International Jazz Day, the world’s largest and most significant celebration of jazz,” said Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO.

Presented in partnership with the Ministry of Culture of Morocco and the City of Tangier, the four-day celebration (April 27-30) will emphasize the city’s jazz heritage and highlight cultural and artistic ties between people in Morocco, Europe and Africa. A series of education programs will include events for students of all ages, a special presentation showcasing the significance of Morocco’s Gnawa music and its connection with jazz, and conversations about the history of jazz and its impact on Tangier, among others. A culminating All-Star Global Concert at the beautiful, new Palace of Arts and Culture of Tangier – an architectural masterpiece – will be broadcast via YouTube, Facebook,, the United Nations and UNESCO to millions of viewers worldwide.

Music enthusiasts can look forward to legendary figures of jazz, blues and beyond electrifying the city of Tangier – and screens throughout the world. Led by iconic pianist Herbie Hancock and Musical Director John Beasley (USA), the All-Star Global Concert will feature performances by an international roster of artists from all corners of the globe, including master Gnawa musician Abdellah El Gourd (Morocco). Other confirmed artists include: Claudia Acuña (Chile), Ambrose Akinmusire (USA), Lakecia Benjamin (USA), Richard Bona (Cameroon), Dee Dee Bridgewater (USA), Moreira Chonguiça (Mozambique), Shemekia Copeland (USA), Kurt Elling (USA), Antonio Faraò (Italy), Melody Gardot (USA), Jazzmeia Horn (USA), JK Kim (Republic of Korea), Magnus Lindgren (Sweden), Romero Lubambo (Brazil), Marcus Miller (USA), Yasushi Nakamura (Japan), Tarek Yamani (Lebanon), and many more to be announced.


The 12th annual International Jazz Day came to a thrilling close with a spectacular All-Star Global Concert featuring performances from Beijing, Beirut, Johannesburg, New York, Rio de Janeiro, Vienna and beyond. The All-Star Global Concert showcased celebrated jazz artists including Cyrille Aimée (France), Ambrose Akinmusire (USA), Thana Alexa (Croatia), John Beasley (USA), Dee Dee Bridgewater (USA), Musekiwa Chingodza (Zimbabwe), Emmet Cohen (USA), Kurt Elling (USA), Oran Etkin (Israel), Tom Gansch (Austria), Christian McBride (USA), Sérgio Mendes (Brazil), Marcus Miller (USA), Thandi Ntuli (South Africa), Dianne Reeves (USA), Antonio Sánchez (Mexico), Somi (Rwanda) and many others.

To mark International Jazz Day 2023, former U.S. President Bill Clinton and UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Herbie Hancock met for an historic conversation about the impact of jazz on their lives and humanity. The two friends reminisced about how they fell in love with jazz and which musicians have most captivated them over the years. They shared stories of how jazz has opened doors across the globe and how their musical experiences helped deepen their own personal and professional growth. Clinton and Hancock connected on the power that jazz can have in shaping our world for the better.

The International Jazz Day 2023 celebration included thousands of jazz performances, jam sessions, master classes, education and community outreach initiatives, and other special events in 195 countries and all 50 U.S. states. Additionally, UNESCO and the Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz presented educational programs in five languages.


The 2022 Global Concert was hosted at United Nations Headquarters in New York. The Global Concert returned to the UN General Assembly Hall in a nod to the inaugural International Jazz Day Sunset Concert in 2012, symbolizing jazz’s continued important role as a force for dialogue and diplomacy.

With a worldwide webcast on Facebook, YouTube,,,, UN Web TV and U.S. State Department outlets, the 2022 All-Star Global Concert made a powerful statement in support of peace, healing and unity through a diverse series of performances by leading jazz artists from around the globe.

With Herbie Hancock serving as Host and Artistic Director and John Beasley as Musical Director, the program showcased the extraordinary potential of jazz as a medium for peaceful collaboration and constructive dialogue. Participating artists included vocalists Shemekia Copeland, José James, Youn Sun Nah (Republic of Korea), Gregory Porter, Alune Wade (Senegal) and Lizz Wright; pianists Joey Alexander (Indonesia), Helio Alves (Brazil), Laurent de Wilde (France), Hiromi (Japan), Ray Lema (Democratic Republic of Congo), and Tarek Yamani (Lebanon); drummers Terri Lyne Carrington and Brian Blade; bassists James Genus, Marcus Miller and Linda May Han Oh (Australia); saxophonists Ravi Coltrane, David Sanborn and Erena Terakubo (Japan); guitarist Mark Whitfield and trumpeters Randy Brecker and Jeremy Pelt, among others. Also joining the global ensemble were harmonicist Grégoire Maret (Switzerland), harpist Edmar Castañeda (Colombia), percussionist Pedrito Martínez (Cuba) and clarinetist Kinan Azmeh (Syria).

In the lead-up to the 2022 All-Star Global Concert, a series of free education programs featuring renowned artist-educators were streamed via, YouTube and Facebook.

In parallel, a vast array of International Jazz Day events took place in more than 180 countries worldwide.


International Jazz Day 2021 again saw over 190 countries participate in the worldwide celebration, with a spectacular All-Star Global Concert for the first time featuring artists performing from cities across the globe. With segments shot on-location in New York, Los Angeles, London, Monaco, Paris, Moscow, Cape Town, Tokyo and Rio De Janeiro, among other locations, the 2021 concert showcased the universality of jazz in inimitable style. Hosted by Academy Award winner Michael Douglas from UN Headquarters in New York and with artistic direction from Herbie Hancock and musical direction from John Beasley, the concert featured an array of renowned artists representing more than 20 countries.

In the lead-up to the All-Star Global Concert, students of all ages around the world benefitted from a series of free virtual education programs with acclaimed educators, musicians and public figures, including Herbie Hancock, UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay, Kris Bowers, Terri Lyne Carrington, Antonio Sánchez, Linda Oh and many more. As humanity continued to grapple with the challenges of COVID-19, thousands of organizers from dozens of countries around the world created their own creative online and hybrid tributes to International Jazz Day, in a show of global solidarity.

As in previous editions, the 2021 celebration saw partners in more than 190 countries on all seven continents create their own International Jazz Day commemorations, ranging from concerts and charity fundraisers to jam sessions, educational workshops and online meet-ups of all sizes.


Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the 9th annual International Jazz Day worldwide celebration transitioned to a virtual format for 2020 instead of taking place as previously planned in Cape Town, South Africa and other locations around the world on April 30th. The 2020 Virtual Global Concert featured appearances by Herbie Hancock, Morgan Freeman, Forest Whitaker, Marcus Miller, Charlie Puth, Lang Lang, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Dianne Reeves, Cécile McLorin Salvant and many others paying tribute to front-line health workers as well as the many jazz legends who passed prematurely due to complications from COVID-19. To uplift and inspire those sheltering at home in advance of the concert, the Institute curated an all-virtual education and outreach program in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Spanish and Russian and presented it entirely free of charge via Facebook Live.


The 2019 celebration featured a constellation of events across the continent of Australia, with key celebrations in Sydney and Melbourne. Education programs in both cities saw jazz masters like International Jazz Day Co-Chair Herbie Hancock, 2019 Co-Artistic Director James Morrison, Antonio Hart, Eli Degibri and Eric Reed work closely with students of all ages and levels. A special highlight featured Hancock and Morrison as part of a master class on jazz history 101 at the Sydney Opera House, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. DownBeat Magazine called the 2019 edition’s Education & Outreach Program “its most expansive yet.

The April 30 festivities culminated in the eighth annual All-Star Global Concert, featuring an international roster of artists from more than a dozen countries. Iconic jazz pianist Herbie Hancock (USA) and acclaimed trumpeter James Morrison (Australia) fronted the evening’s performances, with John Beasley (USA) serving as musical director. The 2019 All-Stars included Cieavash Arian (Iran), William Barton (Australia), Brian Blade (USA), A Bu (China), Igor Butman (Russian Federation), Theo Croker (USA), Joey DeFrancesco (USA), Eli Degibri (Israel), Kurt Elling (USA), James Genus (USA), Paul Grabowsky (Australia), Antonio Hart (USA), Matthew Jodrell (Australia), Aditya Kalyanpur (India), Ledisi (USA), Jane Monheit (USA), James Muller (Australia), Eijiro Nakagawa (Japan), Mark Nightingale (United Kingdom), Jeff Parker (USA), Chico Pinheiro (Brazil), Tineke Postma (Netherlands), Eric Reed (USA), Antonio Sánchez (Mexico), Somi (USA), Ben Williams (USA), Lizz Wright (USA) and Tarek Yamani (Lebanon).


St. Petersburg, Russian Federation served as the International Jazz Day 2018 Global Host City. Festivities took place from April 28 – 30 in some of the city’s most significant venues, including the Saint Petersburg State Jazz Philharmonic Hall and the Mariinsky Theatre.

Iconic jazz pianist Herbie Hancock (USA) and renowned saxophonist Igor Butman (Russia) served as Artistic Co-Directors of the all-star concert and John Beasley (USA) served as the evening’s musical director. The concert featured performances by an international roster of artists including Oleg Akkuratov (Russia), Till Brönner (Germany), Oleg Butman (Russia), Terri Lyne Carrington (USA), Fatoumata Diawara (Mali), Joey DeFrancesco (USA), Vadim Eilenkrig (Russia), Kurt Elling (USA), Antonio Faraò (Italy), James Genus (USA), Robert Glasper (USA), David Goloschekin (Russia), Hassan Hakmoun (Morocco), Gilad Hekselman (Israel), Horacio Hernandez (Cuba), Taku Hirano (Japan), Anatoly Kroll (Russia), Gaoyang Li (China), Rudresh Mahanthappa (USA), The Manhattan Transfer (USA), Branford Marsalis (USA), James Morrison (Australia), the Moscow Jazz Orchestra (Russia), Makoto Ozone (Japan), Danilo Pérez (Panama), Dianne Reeves (USA), Lee Ritenour (USA), Luciana Souza (Brazil) and Ben Williams (USA), among others.


Havana, Cuba served as the 2017 Global Host City. As part of an extended International Jazz Day celebration, from April 24 through 30 acclaimed musicians and educators from Cuba and around the world participated in free jazz performances, master classes, improvisational workshops, jam sessions and community outreach initiatives. Programs took place at schools, arts venues, community centers, jazz clubs and parks across the city of Havana and throughout Cuba, leading up to the festivities on April 30th. Additionally, jazz history and education programs were provided for tens of thousands of students in over 11,000 schools across Cuba.

The day culminated with an All-Star Global Concert presented at the Gran Teatro de La Habana Alicia Alonso, under the auspices of the Ministry of Culture of Cuba, the Cuban Institute of Music and the Cuban National Commission for UNESCO. The concert was streamed online by UNESCO and featured an extraordinary array of artists from around the world paying tribute to the international art form of jazz. Learn more about the 2017 International Jazz Day celebration.


Washington, D.C. served as the International Jazz Day 2016 Global Host City. President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama hosted the International Jazz Day All-Star Global Concert at the White House. The show aired as a U.S. network television special and was streamed around the world via the United Nations, UNESCO and the U.S. State Department. A host of jazz legends and rising stars performed, including pianists Joey Alexander (Indonesia), John Beasley (Music Director), Kris Bowers, Chick Corea, Robert Glasper, Herbie Hancock, Danilo Pérez (Panama) and Chucho Valdés (Cuba); trumpeters Terence Blanchard, Till Brönner (Germany), Hugh Masekela (South Africa), James Morrison (Australia); vocalists Dee Dee Bridgewater, Jamie Cullum (UK), Kurt Elling, Aretha Franklin, Al Jarreau, Diana Krall (Canada), Dianne Reeves and Sting (UK); saxophonists Eli Degibri (Israel), David Sánchez, Wayne Shorter and Bobby Watson; bassists Christian McBride, Marcus Miller, Esperanza Spalding and Ben Williams; guitarists Buddy Guy, Lionel Loueke (Benin), Pat Metheny and Lee Ritenour; drummers Brian Blade, Terri Lyne Carrington and Kendrick Scott; percussionist Zakir Hussain (India); trombone player Trombone Shorty; and the Rebirth Brass Band. More than 60 jazz performances, education programs and community service initiatives were presented free of charge across Washington, D.C. on the National Mall, at historic Dupont Circle, in the city’s metro stations, and at museums, libraries, social service agencies, hospitals and performing arts centers.

In parallel with the Global Host celebration, an enormous variety of jazz performances and programs took place in more than 190 countries. Nearly 1,000 events were organized, including several multi-day festivals and a range of educational and community outreach activities.


Paris, France served as the 2015 Global Host City. Rich in history and culture, the City of Lights was a fitting choice for this year’s host celebration given its historically vibrant and innovative jazz scene. A daylong series of over 80 performances and education programs, including workshops, master classes, jam sessions and panel discussions, took place across all 20 city districts. The vast majority of events were free and open to the public. An array of French and international artists participated, ensuring that the streets of Paris truly did ring with the sounds and sights of jazz from morning until night on April 30.
In conjunction with UNESCO’s 70th Anniversary celebration, a spectacular All-Star Global Concert took place at UNESCO headquarters on the Place de Fontenoy, with opening remarks by UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova and United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon. The show featured more than 20 extraordinary artists from 14 countries, including pianists John Beasley (Music Director), A Bu (China), Antonio Faraò (Italy) and Herbie Hancock; trumpeters Till Brönner (Germany), Hugh Masekela (South Africa) and Claudio Roditi (Brazil); vocalists Dee Dee Bridgewater, Al Jarreau, Rudy Pérez and Dianne Reeves; saxophonists Igor Butman (Russia), Femi Kuti (Nigeria), Guillaume Perret (France) and Wayne Shorter; bassists James Genus and Marcus Miller; guitarist Lee Ritenour; drummer Terri Lyne Carrington and harmonica player Grégoire Maret (Switzerland).
The Paris celebration was one part of a massive worldwide observance of International Jazz Day, with over 800 events taking place in more than 190 UN and UNESCO member states.


Osaka, Japan served as the 2014 Global Host City. The day’s festivities began with 6 hours of free jazz education programs at the state-of-the-art Osaka School of Music, where musicians, journalists, philanthropists and educators converged to deliver workshops, lectures, master classes, panel discussions and more. Opening with a rousing duet rendition of Louis Armstrong’s “West End Blues” by Japanese jazz artists and philanthropists Yoshio & Keiko Toyama, the daytime activities included such highlights as an interview between Associated Press journalist Charles Gans and renowned vocalist Dee Dee Bridgewater on jazz and human rights; a discussion featuring UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Herbie Hancock and UNESCO Artist for Peace Marcus Miller on “Artists for Peace & Cultural Diplomacy;” and instrumental workshops with acclaimed artists Terumasa Hino and Earl Klugh. This year’s educational program reached over 10,000 people with the help of live streaming technology.

The evening All-Star Global Concert at the famed outdoor Osaka Castle Park featured stunning performances by Toshiko Akiyoshi (Japan), John Beasley (Musical Director), Kris Bowers, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Terri Lyne Carrington, Theo Croker, Sheila E., Pete Escovedo, Roberta Gambarini (Italy), Kenny Garrett, James Genus, Roy Hargrove, Lalah Hathaway, Terumasa Hino (Japan), Earl Klugh, Marcus Miller, T.S. Monk, Gregory Porter, Claudio Roditi (Italy), John Scofield, Wayne Shorter, Esperanza Spalding, Lew Tabackin, Steve Turre, Dionne Warwick and other internationally acclaimed artists. Dignitaries from UNESCO and the Japanese government also attended. In a stirring demonstration of the true breadth of International Jazz Day’s message, the audience was treated to a special video message from astronauts aboard the International Space Station orbiting over 200 miles above the earth’s surface. The concert was streamed live and seen by millions of people worldwide on and via the UNESCO, United Nations, U.S. State Department and Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz websites. Additionally, the concert was taped for broadcast on public television stations around the world.

As in 2013, all 196 member states of UNESCO and the United Nations joined in the celebrations, with organizers and institutions everywhere planning festivals, concerts, parades, jam sessions, jazz flash mobs, art and photo exhibitions, lectures, discussions, education programs and much more on and around April 30. With the participation of Antarctica’s McMurdo and Palmer research stations, the third annual International Jazz Day included events on all 7 continents.


Istanbul, Turkey was named the 2013 Global Host City for International Jazz Day. The city hosted a daylong series of jazz events including workshops and seminars, panels and roundtable discussions, film screenings, student master classes led by prominent musicians and educators, and – of course – live performances.

The crowning event of the celebration was the Global Concert in the Hagia Irene, a 4th-century Byzantine Church. The star-studded evening featured an extraordinary series of performances from Dale Barlow (Australia), John Beasley, Rubén Blades (Panama), Terence Blanchard, Igor Butman (Russia), Terri Lyne Carrington, Anat Cohen (Israel), Vinnie Colaiuta, Imer Demirer (Turkey), George Duke, James Genus, Robert Glasper, Herbie Hancock, Zakir Hussain (India), Al Jarreau, Bilal Karaman (Turkey), Ramsey Lewis, Pedrito Martinez, Hugh Masekela, Branford Marsalis, Keiko Matsui (Japan), John McLaughlin (UK), Marcus Miller, Thelonious Monk, Jr., Milton Nascimiento (Brazil), Eddie Palmieri, Alevtina Polyakova (Russia), Jean-Luc Ponty (France), Dianne Reeves, Lee Ritenour, Hüsnü Şenlendirici (Turkey), Wayne Shorter, Esperanza Spalding, Joss Stone, Joe Louis Walker and Ben Williams.

Attendees also heard remarks from International Jazz Day Co-Chairs Herbie Hancock and Irina Bokova, and guest speaker Martin Luther King III, among others. The evening’s festivities were broadcast live online and on public television stations worldwide, with “Listening Parties” organized in countries from the U.S. to Trinidad and Tobago to Georgia to Bhutan.

In the true spirit of the Day, citizens the world over showed their love for jazz by participating in jam sessions, concerts, flash mobs, lectures, and film screenings; producing video tributes; and taking the conversation digital on FacebookTwitter, and beyond.


UNESCO and United Nations missions, U.S. embassies and government outposts around the world hosted special events for the first annual International Jazz Day on April 30, 2012. Universities, libraries, schools, community centers, performing arts venues and arts organizations of all disciplines around the world marked the day through concerts, education programs, seminars, lectures, book readings, public jam sessions, master classes, photo exhibitions, dance recitals, film and documentary screenings, theater presentations and spoken word performances. More than one billion people around the world were reached through 2012 International Jazz Day programs and media coverage.

In 2012, UNESCO and the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz presented three high-profile programs: a daylong celebration in Paris at UNESCO world headquarters; a sunrise concert in New Orleans’ Congo Square, the birthplace of jazz; and a sunset concert at the United Nations General Assembly Hall in New York City. Among the world-renowned artists that participated were John Beasley, Tony Bennett, George Benson, Terence Blanchard, Richard Bona (Cameroon), Dee Dee Bridgewater, Candido, Teri Lyne Carrington, Ron Carter, Robert Cray, Jack DeJohnette, George Duke, Sheila E., Herbie Hancock, Antonio Hart, Jimmy Heath, Hiromi (Japan), Zakir Hussain (India), Chaka Khan, Angelique Kidjo (Benin), Lang Lang (China), Joe Lovano, Romero Lubambo (Brazil), Shankar Mahadevan (India), Ellis Marsalis, Wynton Marsalis, Hugh Masekela (South Africa), Christian McBride, Marcus Miller, Danilo Pérez (Panama), Wayne Shorter, Esperanza Spalding, Treme Brass Band and Stevie Wonder. Hosts included Robert De Niro, Michael Douglas, Morgan Freeman and Quincy Jones.

The Institute and UNESCO will continue their partnership to encourage schools, universities, libraries, arts organizations, community centers and other entities in UNESCO’s 195 member states to host jazz concerts and educational programs on International Jazz Day. Our goal is to reach people of all ages and backgrounds, in order to include them in this global celebration of freedom, creativity, and – above all – jazz.