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Brubeck Summer Jazz Colony Goes International: 28 High School Musicians From Around World Part Of Expanded Program


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The 2014 summer jazz scene has a decidedly international feel.

High school jazz musicians from the United Kingdom and Australia will join American counterparts in the Sierra Nevada to hone their skills through rigorous musical instruction and perform two public concerts during the 2014 Brubeck Summer Jazz Colony to be held Aug. 3-8 in Incline Village, Nev.

“We’ve been looking to expand the program to our international friends and we’re so happy to be able to do this through a partnership with Sierra Nevada College in Incline Village,” said Simon Rowe, executive director of University of the Pacific’s Brubeck Institute.

The partnership grew out of a conversation between Pacific President Pamela A. Eibeck and Sierra Nevada College President Lynn Gillette, Rowe said. A year of planning followed.

The roster for this year’s event was expanded to 28 musicians, up from the typical 18, who were selected from the 67 applicants in a demanding process. It is the largest group of jazz colonists since the program started in 2002.

“We wanted the program to grow, to go international, but we didn’t want to shrink the opportunity for students from the United States,” Rowe said.

He hopes international partnerships and friendships will be formed among the colonists that result in “high-level art and music.”

The Brubeck Institute Jazz Quintet’s performance last fall with Russian musicians in Washington, D.C., where the combined group reprised works performed by Dave Brubeck ’42 at the 1988 Reagan-Gorbachev Summit, and the expanded Summer Jazz Colony are consistent with Brubeck’s “no boundaries” philosophy on art, Rowe said.

Besides being the first international Brubeck Summer Jazz Colony, this year’s is also the first held away from Pacific’s campus in Stockton. Rowe hopes Summer Jazz Colony fans will travel to the Sierra Nevada for a musical vacation.

The public performances will be 7 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 3, and 4:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 8, each on the Sierra Nevada College campus. LaJJazzo, an all-star youth jazz orchestra based in Brandenburg, Germany, will perform during the Aug. 3 show.

Summer Jazz Colony is a one-week, intensive program in jazz performance for a small number of talented students who get to work closely with Brubeck Institute faculty, guess artists and master jazz educators in rehearsals, classes and private instruction. They also attend seminars on the music of Dave Brubeck and other topics.

Summer Jazz Colony participants often return to Pacific for the Brubeck Institute Fellowship Program, a one- or two-year full-scholarship program in jazz performance. The fellows comprise the Brubeck Institute Jazz Quintet, winner of numerous DownBeat awards for best small collegiate jazz group in the country. They study with faculty, visiting jazz educators, artists, and Bay Area professionals, and perform at schools, jazz clubs and jazz festivals around the country. Brubeck Fellows have gone on to be professional composers, performers, recording artists and educators.

Musicians entering their sophomore, junior or senior hear in high school are eligible to apply online to attend the Summer Jazz Colony. An applicant must also submit two letters of recommendation, a resume including a list of performance experience, and a recorded audition that includes medium-tempo blues, up-tempo rhythm changes, a Latin, rock or funk tune, a ballad, and a tune of the applicant’s choice.

Fee for the one-week camp is $1,500 per student, with a limited number of scholarships available for successful applicants based on financial need. Travel costs are not covered by the fees and the musicians must pay for transportation.

The faculty for this year’s colony include Rowe; Nick Fryer, associate director of the Brubeck Institute; Joe Gilman, artist in residence at the Brubeck Institute; Patrick Langham, director of jazz studies at Pacific’s Conservatory of Music; and Brian Kendrick, director of the jazz program at San Joaquin Delta College and a Pacific instructor. Past Brubeck Fellows Colin Stranahan, Zachary Brown and Malachi Whitson will be on hand, as well as Russell Gloyd, conductor of symphonic and choral works by the Dave Brubeck Quartet.

Rounding out the list of international musicians and educators on hand are: acclaimed trombonist Jiggs Whigham; award-winning jazz bassist and composer Alec Dankworth; West Australian Youth Jazz Orchestra Musical Director Ricki Malet; performer, music educator and member of Grammy-winning bands Steve Wilson; guitarist and educator Steve Cardenas; jazz and studio trumpeter and bandleader Marvin Stamm; and Bob Morgan, former director of the Jazz Studies at the High School for Performing and Visual Arts in Houston.

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