The Monterey Jazz Festival has announced the 8th Annual Next Generation Jazz Festival, featuring the nation’s most talented middle school, high school, conglomerate school and college jazz musicians and vocalists. The festival will take place in downtown Monterey from March 30-April 1, 2012.
The Next Generation Jazz Festival evolved from the Festival’s California High School Jazz Competition, started in 1971, and held at the Monterey County Fairgrounds for 35 of its 41-year history. The festival is now accepting applications from middle school, high school and college big bands; from high school and college level conglomerate bands; from open combos; and from high school combos and vocal jazz ensembles through January 22. Application forms may be downloaded at the Monterey Jazz Festival’s website. The application process is free of charge, as is participation in the prestigious event.
Finalists are selected through recorded auditions reviewed and ranked by faculty from the Berklee College of Music, and will include 12 big bands, six combos, and eight vocal ensembles in the High School Division. Six college-level big bands and six college vocal ensembles will also be selected, in addition to six conglomerate and six middle school big bands, and six Open Combos. In addition, specially-invited groups will also perform. In 2011, over 54 groups from across the United States and Japan attended the Next Generation Jazz Festival.
The high school, conglomerate school, and college divisions of the Next Generation Festival Jazz Competition are open to superior rated big bands, combos, and vocal ensembles. The top big bands, combo, and vocal ensemble will win cash awards and be invited to perform at the 55th Annual Monterey Jazz Festival, September 21-23, 2012.
Auditions will also be held for chairs in the Monterey Jazz Festival’s Next Generation Jazz Orchestra, which is slated to tour at jazz venues and festivals throughout North America, as well as being featured on the Monterey Jazz Festival’s Sunday afternoon Arena/Lyons Stage.
The event also includes a big band composition competition, open to high school composers. Judged by college faculty from leading music schools across the country, the winning composer will receive the Gerald Wilson Award and a cash prize, with the winning composition to be performed by the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra on the final day of the 55th Annual Monterey Jazz Festival, Sunday, September 23, 2012, on the Jimmy Lyons Stage in the Arena before a crowd of thousands.
All Next Generation Jazz Festival events and activities-from Friday night’s Kick-Off Concert through Saturday and Sunday’s High School Jazz Competition-are open to the public, free of charge. The Festival will also conduct clinics, workshops, jam sessions, and auditions in the heart of Monterey, with music to be performed at the Monterey Conference Center, the host Portola Plaza Hotel, Fisherman’s Wharf, and Cannery Row.
Interested schools and students should visit MontereyJazzFestival.org for instructions on how to apply to the Next Generation Jazz Festival. Applications with an audition tape/CD should be mailed to: Next Generation Jazz Festival, c/o Jazz Education Director, 9699 Blue Larkspur Lane, Suite 204, Monterey, CA, 93940.
Featured during the weekend of music will be the award-winning trumpeter, Ambrose Akinmusire, who has been selected as the Monterey Jazz Festival’s Artist-In-Residence for 2012. Akinmusire will work with young student musicians in performance, clinics and one-on-one sessions at the Next Generation Jazz Festival and the Festival’s Summer Jazz Camp, in addition to performing at the Monterey Jazz Festival and at other concerts and events throughout the year.