On Wednesday, Dec. 7 at 7 p.m., the Institute of Jazz Studies at Rutgers University – Newark will host, as part of its Jazz Research Roundtable series, the special presentation “George Avakian: A Life in Music,” a retrospective look at one of the most influential figures of the mid-20th century recording industry.
Matt Snyder of the New York Public Library, Avakian’s former personal archivist, will discuss the producer/manager’s career and present exclusive papers, photos, and sound recordings from the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts’ George Avakian and Anahid Ajemian Papers.
Avakian’s career as a producer spanned over six decades, during which time he stood at the forefront of the transition from 78 rpm single recordings to the new technical and artistic possibilities of the 33 1/3 LP album format. Over the course of his career, he oversaw classic recordings and albums by Louis Armstrong, Dave Brubeck, Miles Davis, Errol Garner, Benny Goodman, Keith Jarrett, Charles Lloyd, and Sonny Rollins, among many others. Avakian also produced jazz’s first-ever reissue series for Columbia Records, helping to establish the earliest canon of essential jazz recordings. Avakian was also one of the country’s first higher-education teachers of jazz history.
Snyder has processed special music collections for the NYPL since 2004, the same year he received a master’s degree in library and information science from Queens College. He also holds a master’s in music from the Indiana University School of Music (1993) and a bachelor of arts in music from Rutgers College (1990). A clarinetist and saxophonist, Snyder has performed in and around New York City since the mid-1990s.
“George Avakian: A Life in Music” will be held in the Dana Room on the 4th floor of John Cotton Dana Library, on the Rutgers University – Newark campus. This event is free and open to the public. For directions to the library, visit the library’s website.