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Interlochen Center for the Arts Names Josh Lawrence Director of Jazz Studies

Frank Hammel • News • May 6, 2021

Josh Lawrence

Interlochen Center for the Arts announced today that jazz trumpeter Josh Lawrence has been named Director of Jazz Studies. In this role, Lawrence will lead jazz programs at Interlochen Arts Academy, Interlochen Arts Camp, and Interlochen Online. He will begin his new role on Aug. 9.

More details from Interlochen Center for the Arts (

“An award-winning musician and experienced educator, Josh is the ideal leader to guide Interlochen’s jazz program into the future and help our young musicians transform their passion into purpose,” said Interlochen Center for the Arts President Trey Devey.

“What really excites me is the opportunity to shape the culture of jazz at Interlochen and equip our students with the tools of empathy, creativity, and improvisation in their pursuits as artists and leaders of the future,” said Lawrence.

Lawrence joins Interlochen from The Juilliard School, where he received a Master of Music in jazz trumpet and was a Morse Teaching Artist Fellow. In this role, Lawrence developed and led virtual music curricula for New York City public school students in grades K-12 during the 2020-21 school year. Prior to Juilliard, Lawrence was an educator at the University of the Arts and the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts in Philadelphia. His accomplishments there include founding and directing the New York Standards Ensemble, developing and teaching a freshman music theory course, coaching large ensembles comprised of students in grades 6-12, and creating a music lecture series geared towards preschoolers.

Previously, Lawrence served as a music instructor at the Bronx Charter School for the Arts. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in instrumental performance from the University of the Arts, where he received the School of Music’s Jazz Award and Rick Kerber Memorial Trumpet Award.

A critically-acclaimed performer with an extensive discography, Lawrence has recorded albums with the Grammy-nominated ensemble Captain Black Big Band, Laurin Talese, Erykah Badu, and Boyz II Men. His ensemble, Color Theory, was dubbed “an all-star outfit” by The New York Times and Downbeat called Josh a “preeminent voice among young composers.” Lawrence has released three solo albums with Posi-Tone Records and received awards from Chamber Music America, the American Composers Forum, the Pew Center for Arts and Heritage, and the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts.

Lawrence will take the reins of Interlochen’s jazz programs from Bill Sears, who will retire this spring after an extraordinary 34-year tenure. Interlochen has been a home for jazz for over 50 years, with a robust curriculum featuring master classes with top performers as well as coursework on jazz history, improvisation, and fundamentals, alongside big band and combo performance opportunities. Distinguished alumni include celebrated bass player Matthew Brewer, Grammy-nominated musician and composer Chris Brubeck, award-winning jazz pianist and educator Xavier Davis, legendary jazz drummer Peter Erskine, Grammy-nominated trombonist and composer Marshall Gilkes, and Grammy Award-winning saxophonist, composer, and educator Robert Mintzer, among many others.

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