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Brubeck Institute Welcomes Russian Jazzers

Eight Russian cultural leaders, including graduate music students, working musicians, and music teachers, will come to the University of the Pacific’s Burbeck Institute in Stockton, Calif. as part of a grant given by the Open World Leadership Center’s new Cultural Leaders Program.

The Brubeck Institute, which was chosen as the first host of the Open World Cultural Leaders Program in Jazz, will host the eight Russians from September 10-24. During their stay there, the Brubeck Institute will collaborate with the school’s Conservatory of Music, the Modern Language and Literature Department, and the School of International Studies to create a curriculum consisting of performance, music business, and jazz studies. The cultural leaders, ages 20-32, will stay off-campus with families in order to experience American life from a first-person point of view.

The Russian musicians will receive personal instruction from jazz bassist and Artistic Director of the Brubeck Institute Christian McBride and from visiting NEA Jazz Master saxophonist Jimmy Heath. The musicians and artists will also attend music business meetings, performances, academic classes, and social events and make excursions to San Francisco, Berkeley, Carmel, and the Sierra Foothills.

One of the highlights of the Russian jazz delegates’ stay in the U.S. will be a performance at the prestigious Monterey Jazz Festival, where the group will perform on September 18 with the Brubeck Institute Jazz Sextet and McBride. The musicians will also perform a concert on September 24 at Pacific’s Faye Spanos Concert Hall with Pacific’s Big Band, The Brubeck Institute Jazz Sextet and Jimmy Heath.

“We are thrilled that the Open World Leadership Center looks at jazz as the musical voice of freedom, and honored that the Pacific’s Brubeck Institute was chosen as the first host in this new program,” said Brubeck Institute Executive Director J.B. Dyas. “Sharing our American ideals, learning each other’s cultures, and learning from one another through jazz, with these eight young Russian jazz musicians is a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

The University of the Pacific has hosted Russian groups in the past, through a variety of its programs and schools. A delegation of Russian lawyers visited the university’s McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento in 2003 and the Conservatory hosted a week of rehearsals for the Russian National Symphony Orchestra while they were on tour with the Dave Brubeck Quartet in 2002.

The Institute’s namesake and founder Dave Brubeck has always had a close connection with Russia and its culture. In addition to performing numerous times in Russia, and recording a live album there entitled Dave Brubeck in Moscow, he has performed with Russian musicians in the U.S. He also has an album named Moscow Night and is the subject of the two-hour documentary Brubeck Returns to Moscow.

Open World’s Executive Director Geraldine Otremba said, “Jazz speaks to the young and old alike, to musicians regardless of national origin, keeping its artistry alive across the generations and across the world. Open World is pleased to work in partnership with the Brubeck Institute and the National Endowment for the Arts to bring Russia’s emerging jazz musicians to the United States to strengthen the music tradition. The participation of NEA Jazz Masters such as Dave Brubeck and Jimmy Heath in the Open World Cultural Leaders Program reinforces the collaborative nature of the American arts culture and points to jazz music’s role as a real language of cultural diplomacy.”

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