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Steve Lacy Appointed to New England Conservatory

The New England Conservatory (NEC) in Boston, Mass. announces two new appointments to its staff: Soprano saxophonist Steve Lacy (pictured left) and jazz composer Ken Schaphorst will join the ranks of musicians John Abercrombie, Oscar Stagnaro, Danilo Perez and many others on staff at NEC’s Jazz Studies and Improvisation Department.

Steve Lacy is widely recognized for his early associations with Thelonious Monk, Gil Evans and Cecil Taylor, but perhaps his greatest claim to fame is having inspired John Coltrane to try the soprano saxophone during a 1960 “battle of the bands” between Monk’s and Coltrane’s groups in New York City.

Ken Schaphorst is an active composer, performer and educator and has been director of the jazz studies program at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wis. since 1991. He is also a founding member of the Jazz Composers Alliance. Schaphorst will succeed Allan Chase as Chair of the Department at NEC, as Chase becomes Dean of Faculty.

“The New England Conservatory is the one place I have seen that has all the attributes for teaching and learning music that I could wish for,” Lacy commented. “It is both venerable and high minded, but also tolerant and progressive, with excellent facilities, and the level of both students and instructors is such that I am looking forward to a long and satisfying affiliation there.”

The conservatory is just as excited. “Our students are tremendously fortunate that Steve Lacy will be joining our faculty next year,” Chase said. “He exemplifies what NEC is all about: he’s a truly original, uncompromising artist who is also versatile and endlessly curious, and he’s a talented and dedicated teacher.”

Schaphorst’s appointment is effective August 2001 and Lacy’s is September 2002.

Originally Published