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New Music USA and Berklee Launch Next Jazz Legacy Program

The two organizations have partnered to help increase opportunities in jazz for women and non-binary musicians

Terri Lyne Carrington (photo by Tracy Love
Terri Lyne Carrington (photo: Tracy Love)

The New Music USA organization has partnered with the Berklee Institute of Jazz & Gender Justice to create the Next Jazz Legacy program, which will increase opportunities for female and non-binary jazz artists. Applications to the program will be accepted until Nov. 29. 

According to the press release received at JazzTimes, the first class of artists in the program will receive a $10,000 grant, as well as a one-year performance apprenticeship, a two-track mutual mentorship program pairing them with artistic and business professionals, online learning courses from Berklee, and a variety of promotional opportunities. The six artists in the inaugural program will be chosen by a panel of musicians, chaired by Terri Lyne Carrington, founder of the Berklee Institute of Jazz & Gender Justice. 

Funded in part by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the program will invest in 20 emerging artists and bandleaders over the next three years. “Next Jazz Legacy amplifies and addresses the need for all musicians, practitioners, and professionals in jazz to contribute to a more equitable jazz future,” Carrington said in the press release. “The people that have benefitted the most from long established systems of oppression in our field are precisely the ones that need to help with addressing the problem. Otherwise, they are modeling, and at times even teaching, how to replicate those systems.”

Bandleader and educator Sean Jones, a member of the Next Jazz Legacy Advisory Board, said in the press release: “For decades, gross inequities around gender diversity, specifically in the types of roles women and non-binary musicians play in jazz, have caused these individuals to not have the same opportunities and to feel isolated, often discredited and disconnected from the overall community in jazz. Next Jazz Legacy program is here to not only address those concerns, but to get to the heart of these issues by providing solutions.”

Learn more at the New Music USA website