Beginning in 2018, Marshall University’s College of Arts and Media and jazz studies program will host both the Ellis Marsalis International Jazz Piano Competition and the Ellis Marsalis Summer Jazz Festival. Announced by Marshall president Jerome Gilbert at this year’s Jazz Education Network Conference in New Orleans, the debut of the annual jazz festival and triennial piano competition will be preceded by the 20th anniversary of Marshall’s Jazz-MU-Tazz summer jazz camp for high school students.
In a press release, Marsalis notes, “I am honored to have this competition named after me because with it we are able to highlight a different part of the musical history that is important to jazz, from the music of Harold Battiste and James Black, to the other musicians who had to play a myriad of forms just to survive daily as musicians in New Orleans. This is not just about me but them as well. It’s important to all musicians, far and wide.”