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NEC Jazz Studies’ 50th Anniversary Celebration Continues In 2020

Jazzed Magazine • News • January 16, 2020

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New England Conservatory (NEC)’s internationally renowned Jazz Studies Department continues its 50th anniversary celebration with a diverse and compelling spring season showcasing the department’s vibrant legacy and its place as one of the top jazz education programs in the world. Jazz50 includes concerts and events in Boston, New York, and Los Angeles featuring many of the school’s distinguished jazz alumni, faculty, students and special guests.

Boston events will include Cosmosis: The Music of Dave Holland featuring Jim McNeely with the NEC Jazz Orchestra; The Invisible Choir, The Music of Ken Schaphorst; The Future: a 50th Premiere featuring a new work by Chris Brubeck and excerpts from Ellington’s Sacred Concert with pianist Helen Sung; and many more.

NYC events, March 19-21, will include an NEC All-Star Group featuring Fred Hersch, Donny McCaslin, Miguel Zenón, Jorge Roeder, and Richie Barshay at the Jazz Standard; Dominique Eade and Fred Hersch at the Jazz Standard; and Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society as well as the NEC Alumni Big Band at the Sheen Center.

The season concludes in Los Angeles on May 30 with an NEC Jazz50 Celebration featuring Luciana Souza, Alan Pasqua, and others.

“I’m very grateful for Gunther Schuller’s farsightedness and efforts in establishing the Jazz department in 1969,” says current Jazz Studies chair Ken Schaphorst. “I’m also grateful to the faculty and students who have established NEC as a leader in the world of jazz education over the past 50 years. It’s been deeply humbling to share the responsibility of shepherding this noble mission for the past 18 years, educating students in the transformational art form of jazz, developing communication between unique individual human voices. I’m excited to have this opportunity with Jazz50 to celebrate the achievements of NEC’s past and present, while looking forward to our future.”

“This anniversary provides us the opportunity to reflect on half a century of leadership in jazz education at New England Conservatory, and to celebrate the importance of jazz in both the history and future of American music,” says NEC president Andrea Kalyn.

Fred Hersch photo by Martin Zeman.

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