Washington, D.C. – The Board of Trustees of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz announced today that effective January 1, 2019 the Institute will become the Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz.
The decision was made following a request by representatives of the Monk Estate regarding the continued use of Thelonious Monk’s name.
The Board acted in unison by approaching Mr. Hancock with a proposal to name the Institute in his honor. The Board’s decision reflects Mr. Hancock’s commitment and selfless service to the Institute over the past three decades, his expert guidance as Institute Chairman for the past 15 years, and his immense contributions to and impact on music, education and humanity. The Board strongly believes Mr. Hancock is the perfect choice to ensure continuity, stability, and vision for the Institute’s future.
As a Trustee, Mr. Hancock recused himself from voting or making any recommendations relating to this matter. When the Board made its final decision, Mr. Hancock acceded to the call of the unanimous Board decision.
Mr. Hancock and the Board of Trustees express their appreciation to Thelonious Monk, Jr. and the Monk family for everything they have done for the Institute over the past 30 years, and for helping to launch the Institute’s many education programs.
Mr. Hancock stated, “Having the Institute named in my honor is tremendously humbling and represents a profound moment for my family and me. I’m looking forward to continuing in my role as Institute Chairman and carrying on and expanding the organization’s important worldwide jazz education and humanitarian initiatives.”
Mr. Hancock added, “We have been searching for ways to increase the Institute’s impact musically as well as address humanitarian issues where we can make a difference. We will continue teaching the history and importance of jazz, its traditions and improvisation, along with exploring new directions and horizons for the future. Of utmost importance to the Institute and our programs is to highlight the ethics of jazz, which are humanitarian in nature.”
Mr. Hancock’s lead program as a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador is International Jazz Day, which is produced in conjunction with the Institute, the United Nations and UNESCO. Mr. Hancock observed, “The goals and vision of UNESCO and the United Nations are similar to the values in jazz, and we intend to use our relationship with these institutions as a conduit to interact with organizations, communities, schools, and individuals around the world. Working together, we can illuminate the many challenging issues facing humankind by developing and enacting programs that will make a real difference in the quality of people’s lives and lift their spirits through music.”
The Institute will continue partnering with UCLA to offer its highly selective, graduate-level college program at the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music. This two-year, full scholarship program is the most prestigious master’s level jazz program of its kind and has produced many internationally acclaimed jazz musicians. Mr. Hancock will remain fully involved, serving as an instructor and mentor, working with the students on improvisation and composition, and performing with the students in Los Angeles, across the United States, and internationally.
A special emphasis will be placed on the Institute’s latest groundbreaking initiative “Math, Science and Music,” which uses music as a tool to teach math and science to young people, helping them gain skills and acquire knowledge in STEM subjects while learning to think creatively.
The Institute will continue its mission in all respects. The Board of Trustees will remain in place; the Institute’s ongoing education programs and events will continue; and the staff in Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles, California will continue to carry out their responsibilities. The Board of Trustees looks forward to this exciting new chapter in the Institute’s history.
About the Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz:
The mission of the nonprofit Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz is to offer the world’s most promising young musicians college level training by internationally acclaimed jazz masters and to present public school-based music education programs for young people around the world. The Institute preserves, perpetuates and expands jazz as a global art form, and utilizes jazz as a means to unite people of all ages, backgrounds and nationalities. All of the Institute’s programs are provided free of charge to students, schools and communities worldwide.
Herbie Hancock, a 14-time GRAMMY Award winner and Academy Award winner, is an internationally renowned pianist and composer who has been an integral part of every jazz movement since the 1960s. As a member of the Miles Davis Quintet, Hancock became one of the pioneers of modern jazz improvisation and one of the most influential voices on the piano in the history of jazz. His recordings in the ’70s combined electric jazz with funk and rock, influencing decades of music. His 1983 hit song “Rockit” established Hancock as an innovator in electronic music and inspired a generation of hip-hop artists. In 2007, he won the GRAMMY for Album of the Year, becoming the first jazz musician to receive this honor in 44 years. His most recent collaborations include Terrace Martin, Flying Lotus, Wayne Shorter, Kamasi Washington, Robert Glasper, Jacob Collier and Lionel Loueke. Hancock serves as UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for Intercultural Dialogue and the Institute’s Chairman.
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