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Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz and UCLA Announce Incoming Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz Performance at UCLA Class of 2023

Christian Wissmuller • News • October 27, 2021

The Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz Performance at UCLA, Class of 2023, includes (from left) Emilio Lasansky (bass), Art Baden (tenor saxophone), Javier Santiago (piano), Matthew Stubbs (clarinet), Darynn Dean (vocals), Devin Daniels (alto saxophone), Julien Knowles (trumpet) and Benjamin Ring (drums). Photo by Don Liebig/ASUCLA Photography for the Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz

Eight extraordinary young jazz musicians have been selected for the Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz Performance at UCLA, Class of 2023 starting this fall. Each will 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, after completing this intensive, two-year program in spring 2023.

The Class of 2023 includes tenor saxophonist Art Baden of Rostov-on-Don, Russia; alto saxophonist Devin Daniels of Inglewood, California; vocalist Darynn Dean of Los Angeles, California; trumpeter Julien Knowles of Fresno, California; bassist Emiliano Lasansky of Iowa City, Iowa; drummer Benjamin Ring of Piedmont, California; pianist Javier Santiago of Minneapolis, Minnesota; and clarinetist Matthew Stubbs of San Jose, California. The musicians were selected through a rigorous application process culminating in an audition judged by legendary jazz pianist Herbie Hancock; renowned musician, producer and philanthropist Herb Alpert; and trumpeter, Blue Note recording artist and Institute of Jazz Performance alumnus Ambrose Akinmusire.

Herbie Hancock noted, “I am very excited about this new class of talented young musicians. They follow in the footsteps of their predecessors who are leaders in the world of creative music. I know they will also make important contributions and I look forward to hearing their ideas and encouraging their creativity during their time in this unique program.”

Launched in 1995, the Institute of Jazz Performance accepts one ensemble of musicians for each class and provides them with unparalleled opportunities to study jazz and its defining element of improvisation with master musicians, composers and educators. All students receive full scholarships, along with stipends to cover their monthly living expenses. This enables them to be fully immersed in their education and development as artists.

I am very excited about this new class of talented young musicians. They follow in the footsteps of their predecessors who are leaders in the world of creative music. I know they will also make important contributions and look forward to hearing their ideas and encouraging their creativity during their time in this unique program.

Institute Chairman Herbie Hancock

Throughout each academic year, world-renowned jazz masters serve as Artists-in-Residence, teaching and performing with the students. Artists-in-Residence have included Kenny Barron, Terence Blanchard, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Terri Lyne Carrington, Ron Carter, Jack DeJohnette, Nnenna Freelon, Kenny Garrett, Barry Harris, Stefon Harris, Roy Haynes, Dave Holland, Wynton Marsalis, Jason Moran, Lewis Nash, Danilo Pérez, Dianne Reeves, John Scofield, and Wayne Shorter among many others. In addition, the students receive composition instruction from GRAMMY Award winner Billy Childs and study improvisation with Jerry Bergonzi and Dick Oatts – two of the world’s top jazz improvisation experts. Students graduate with a master’s degree in Jazz Performance from The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music.

The aspiring musicians 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. A music business and technology component helps prepare the students for their careers as professional musicians.

Under the mentorship of their acclaimed instructors, the college students – collectively known as the Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz Performance Ensemble at UCLA – present high-profile concerts and lead jazz education and community outreach programs in Los Angeles, across the United States and around the world. In recent years, the students performed at International Jazz Day events in St. Petersburg, Russia; Havana, Cuba; and the White House. They also have participated in performance and education tours of Argentina, Chile, China, Egypt, India, Morocco, Peru, Russia, Thailand and Vietnam with Herbie Hancock.

Institute of Jazz Performance alumni – including Ambrose Akinmusire, Lionel Loueke, Gretchen Parlato, Walter Smith III, Dayna Stephens and Helen Sung, along with many others – have gone on to major careers as performing and recording artists, touring the world with legendary jazz musicians and as leaders of their own groups.

Philanthropist and namesake of The Herb Alpert School of Music, Herb Alpert said, “This new group of incredible young musicians will be able to perform together and learn as a group after a challenging period in which the pandemic created so many obstacles for musicians and live music performances. For them to have the opportunity to learn one-on-one and as a group from jazz masters is a beacon of hope in this difficult time.”

Institute President Tom Carter said, “The Institute is pleased to welcome this new group of phenomenal musicians into the program, where they will learn from legendary artists and some of the most creative minds in music. These students will serve as jazz ambassadors throughout the world as they perform and teach, sharing what they learn from jazz masters with future generations of musicians.”

UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music Inaugural Dean Eileen Strempel shared “The Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz Performance at UCLA provides the most promising jazz talents with opportunities to learn from world-renowned jazz artists. Studying on a full academic graduate fellowship in The Herb Alpert School of Music’s rich, creative environment, students focus entirely on developing their artistry. We are delighted to continue our partnership with the Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz and invest in the future of this vital art form.”

Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz Performance at UCLA – Class of 2023

Art Baden, tenor saxophone, was born in Rostov-on-Don, Russia, and began playing piano, his first instrument, at age 4. He received full scholarships to attend the Hanze Prince Claus Conservatoire in Groningen, Netherlands, and a year later, the Berklee College of Music. At Berklee, he studied with Jerry Bergonzi, George Garzone, Ralph Peterson and Frank Tiberi, and received a Bachelor of Music degree. Baden placed third in the Michael Brecker International Saxophone Competition. He is an ambassador for Remy saxophones and has performed at clubs and festivals around the world with artists including Joe Locke, Ralph Peterson, Evgeny Pobozhiy and Alex Sipiagin.

Devin Daniels, alto saxophone, is from Inglewood, CA. He picked up the saxophone at age 11 and participated in the Institute’s Jazz in the Classroom and All-City Big Band music education programs in partnership with the Los Angeles Unified School District. Daniels has also been part of the Southern California Honor Jazz Band, Fernando Pullum Jazz Band, Colburn School of Music Combo and Big Band, Los Angeles Youth Jazz Ensemble and Jazz America. He received awards from YoungArts, Vandoren Young Artists Competition, The Music Center and the Charles Dolo Coker Jazz Scholarship Foundation. Daniels was named Performer of the Year at Hamilton High School and the Berklee Jazz Workshop, and was a finalist for the Dave Brubeck Institute Quintet. He attended the Berklee College of Music as a Presidential Scholar and graduated with a B.M. in Professional Music. Daniels has performed with Billy Childs, Donald Vega, Marvin “Smitty” Smith, Ralph Moore and Miguel Artwood Ferguson.

Darynn Dean, voice, was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA. She graduated from the New England Conservatory of Music with a B.A. in Jazz Vocal Performance and a minor in Cultural Studies. She hails from a musical family: her father, Donald Dean, Jr., and grandfather, Donald Dean, Sr., are renowned drummers and her cousin, Jamael Dean, is a rising star pianist. Dean participated in the 2019 Betty Carter Jazz Ahead Residency and was mentored by Dee Dee Bridgewater and Jason Moran. She has performed with Freddie Cole, Dave Holland, Dave Koz, Hubert Laws and Aaron Parks. Dean placed first in the National YoungArts Foundation, Dolo Coker and NAACP ACT-SO competitions, and was a finalist in The Music Center Spotlight Awards. She performed at the 2021 Detroit Jazz Festival with The Woodshed Network and sang at the Los Angeles Jazz Society’s “Celebrating the World of Quincy Jones” tribute.

Julien Knowles, trumpet, was born in Washington, D.C. and grew up in Fresno, CA. He began playing trumpet at age 10. In 2015, Knowles received the Presidential Scholarship and the Agnes Barringere Music Memorial Endowment to attend the Jazz and Improvisational Music program at the University of Nevada, Reno. He studied with Ralph Alessi, Peter Epstein, Adam Benjamin and Shane Endsley, and received the Nevada Undergraduate Research Award to study composition with John Hollenbeck and present new works for large ensemble. Knowles co-founded the Laughing Planet Jam Session and the Visiting Artist Committee, which presented residencies with top jazz artists. He has played trumpet and composed for the Reno Jazz Orchestra, performing with Kurt Elling, Tierney Sutton and Diane Schuur.

Emiliano Lasansky, bass, was born in Iowa City, IA. He is the recipient of numerous honors, including a DownBeat Student Award, third place in the International Society of Bassists Competition, and two residency fellowships at the Betty Carter Jazz Ahead Workshop at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. He has studied with Jeff Campbell, Bill Dobbins, Dariusz Terefenko and Gary Palmer. Since graduating from the Eastman School of Music with a Bachelor of Arts degree, Lasansky has performed with artists including Dennis Mackrel, Jimmy Greene, Harold Danko and Clay Jenkins. He has served as a teacher at the Rockport Jazz Camp and Birch Creek Music Performance Center.

Benjamin Ring, drums, is from Piedmont, CA. He was accepted into the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra at age 12 and both the SFJAZZ High School All-Stars and the Berkeley Jazzschool Studio Band at age 14. Ring also participated in the Brubeck Institute Summer Jazz Colony and the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra. While earning his Bachelor of Arts in Music at the University of Southern California, he studied with Ndugu Chancler, Peter Erskine, Will Kennedy, Vince Mendoza and Patrice Rushen. Performing across Europe, Japan and the United States, Ring has shared the stage with David Binney, Terri Lyne Carrington, Louis Cole, Ravi Coltrane, Remy LeBoeuf, Donny McCaslin, Bob Mintzer, Patrice Rushen, Ed Simon and members of the San Francisco and Chicago symphonies. He has received scholarships and awards from the Monterey Jazz Festival, YoungArts and SFJAZZ.

Javier Santiago, piano, was born and raised in Minneapolis, MN, and has lived in New York City and the San Francisco Bay Area. He was selected to participate in the Betty Carter Jazz Ahead Workshop at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and in the Mentor Fellowship Program at the Stanford Jazz Workshop. In addition, he won first place honors in the 2015 American Jazz Pianist Competition and received the 2016 McKnight Fellowship for Musicians. Santiago attended the Brubeck Institute at the University of the Pacific and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the School of Jazz and Contemporary Music at The New School, where he studied with Aaron Goldberg, Kevin Hays, Aaron Parks and Edward Simon. He has released two albums on the Ropeadope label.

Matthew Stubbs, clarinet, was born in San Jose, CA, and grew up in nearby Mountain View. He began playing clarinet at age 9. Throughout his teens, he was involved with both the San Jose and San Francisco High School All-Star programs and toured Eastern Europe with the El Camino Senior Symphony. Stubbs graduated magna cum laude with a B.A. in Performance and Jazz Composition from the Berklee College of Music and later received a M.M. in Contemporary Performance from the Berklee Global Jazz Institute. He has studied with Terri Lyne Carrington and George Garzone, among many others, and has performed with Danilo Pérez, Kenny Werner and Rakalam Bob Moses. Stubbs was the last clarinetist to be featured in the late Ralph Peterson’s Fo’tet.

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