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.
While the ongoing COVID-19 public health emergency has placed plans for future international tours on hold, the Institute is committed to continuing its cultural diplomacy efforts once conditions permit.
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.
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. Most recently, the Institute students traveled to Mount Gambier, Australia for the 2019 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.
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.