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The BMI Jazz Composers Workshop Presents Its 32nd Summer Showcase Concert on June 16

Frank Hammel • News • June 2, 2021
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2018’s Charlie Parker Prize and Manny Albam commission winner, Jihye Lee, conducting her commissioned piece, “Revived Mind,” at the 2019 BMI Jazz Composers Workshop Showcase. Photo: Jennifer Taylor

The BMI Jazz Composers Workshop will present the best big band and jazz orchestra compositions produced over the last two years at its 32nd Summer Showcase Concert, held on June 16 at 8PM ET.

More details from BMI (www.bmi.com):

The BMI/New York Jazz Orchestra, a 17-piece modern repertory ensemble made up of leading New York musicians, will perform remotely on four of the eight compositions showcased during the free virtual event hosted by the ASMAC (American Society for Music & Composers).

Musical Director, Andy Farber will be returning for a fifth year to lead the program alongside Assistant Musical Director and three-time GRAMMY-nominee, Alan Ferber. Farber teaches jazz composition and arranging at The Juilliard School in New York, and has written arrangements for legendary artists including Shirley Horn and Jon Hendricks, as well as symphony orchestras including the Boston Pops Orchestra. Outside of the jazz arena, Farber also composes music for media that includes TV commercials, TV shows, web series, documentaries, and feature films. Making his debut as the new Assistant Musical Director of the Workshop, Ferber is an accomplished trombonist, composer and arranger who has written arrangements for Broadway star, Shoshana Bean, as well as Joni Mitchell and the Atlantic Brass Quintet. Currently, Ferber is an adjunct professor of jazz studies at New York University’s Steinhardt School, but has served as faculty at the John J. Cali School of Music at Montclair University, the Peabody Institute at Johns Hopkins University and the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music.

“The 33rd season of the Jazz Composer Workshop has surely been one of the most interesting to date,” said Farber. “Despite the challenges, including the cancelation of last year’s showcase due to the pandemic, this year’s group of writers were able to create some captivating new pieces while working remotely. Alan and I are excited to watch these works come to life with the help of the BMI/New York Jazz Orchestra.”

Pictured (L-R) at the 31st Annual Jazz Composers Workshop Summer Showcase concert are: BMI’s Senior Director of Jazz and Musical Theater, Pat Cook; Jazz Composers Workshop Musical Director, Andy Farber; 2019 Charlie Parker Prize winner, Dan Pugach, and the Workshop’s Assistant Musical Director, Alan Ferber. Photo: Jennifer Taylor

Since its founding in 1939, BMI has been deeply involved in the Jazz community. Its continuation of the Jazz Composers Workshop–even amid a global pandemic–is a testament to BMI’s dedication to the jazz community and its Workshop members.

“BMI is proud to highlight these jazz composers and showcase compositions which are a direct result of all their hard work, resiliency and creativity,” said Patrick Cook, Senior Director of Jazz & Musical Theatre at BMI. “It’s always a special moment watching these talented musicians and composers not only keeping jazz alive but also molding it into their own personal styles.”

Following the performances, the BMI Foundation will award the 22nd Annual Charlie Parker Jazz Composition Prize to the writer of the best new work composed in this year’s BMI Jazz Composers Workshop. The three judges, composers Anthony Wilson, Christine Jensen and former BMI Jazz Composer Workshop director, Michael Abene, will determine the winner. Past judges have included Alan Broadbent, Wynton Marsalis, Jimmy Heath, Darcy J. Argue, John Fedchock, Ingrid Jensen, Slide Hampton and more.

The winning composer will receive the Manny Albam Commission, named in memory of the Workshop’s co-founder and longtime musical director, to compose a new piece for the 2022 concert. The winner of 2019’s prize, Dan Pugach, will premiere his commissioned work at this year’s show.

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