Jazz at Lincoln Center’s 25th Essentially Ellington Competition Is Now Open

To celebrate 25 years of its high-school jazz band contest, JALC is launching new initiatives

Roosevelt High School in Seattle took first place in the Essentially Ellington contest.
Roosevelt High School in Seattle took first place in the 2019 Essentially Ellington contest. (photo: Ayano HIsa/Jazz at Lincoln Center)

The 25th annual Jazz at Lincoln Center Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Competition and Festival is scheduled to take place May 7-9, 2020.

Since 1995, the Essentially Ellington program has provided free educational materials—including big-band charts featuring the music of Duke Ellington and others—to 647,000 students in 6,770 schools and independent bands in 55 countries. The May competition and festival at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York marks the culmination of the annual program, which includes non-competitive regional festivals throughout the United States and Australia, free transcriptions of original Duke Ellington recordings, additional teaching resources, free adjudication, and more.

Submissions to the Essentially Ellington competition are now open for high-school jazz bands across North America. All submissions must be submitted by Friday, January 24, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. EST. 

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To celebrate the competition’s 25th anniversary, JALC is is launching some new initiatives, including upping the number of finalist bands from 15 to 18 and dispensing with the customary division of bands into various regions and categories. JALC is also launching what it describes as an Equity and Inclusion Initiative in order to support underserved and underrepresented jazz programs that show promise. Submissions for programs that wish to be considered for the Equity and Inclusion Initiative are due by Friday, November 15, 2019 at 11:59 p.m. EST. For more information on eligibility and how to apply, please contact 212-258-9943 or [email protected].

Read about the winners of the 2019 Essentially Ellington Competition.

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