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For almost six years, my trio has held a residency at an underground Manhattan club, performing twice monthly for enthusiastic locals and curious travelers alike. When we played on an early-March Wednesday—running through McCoy Tyner ’s “Passion Dance” in memory of the fallen giant; Nine Inch Nails...
Staying abreast of new works is one of my job responsibilities—and joys. In 2018, I had the privilege of hearing the premiere of Huang Ruo ’s opera, An American Soldier , at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, which was an incredibly moving evening of opera based on the true story of the suicide of Danny...
"Do you realize that what we do is what the Constitution is all about? In jazz, each of us has individual voices, but we must listen attentively to one another as we play—and out of this whole, comes what we call jazz." — Max Roach , National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master This quote appears in...
Being under stay-at-home directives in the Washington, DC region (and elsewhere) has led to many of us revisiting the art we have at home. Music, in particular, is a great balm in this time of great unease and anxiety, so I often turn to the thousands of recordings lying about my house. It being,...
I first met Matthew Whitaker on his 16th birthday, when he performed in front of a large audience at the 2017 NEA Jazz Masters Tribute Concert at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. He appeared that evening in honor of Dr. Lonnie Smith, who was being inducted into that class of NEA...
Visit the National Endowment for the Arts YouTube channel to watch the 2019 NEA Jazz Masters Tribute Concert and browse our complete library of Jazz Master videos. 2019 National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master Abdullah Ibrahim. Photo by Marina Umari "This is what jazz music does: it gives you...
Helen Sung’s life in music started with a red toy piano. As Sung recalled in a recent interview with National Endowment for the Arts Director of Music and Opera Ann Meier Baker, “Somehow, this little red plastic piano showed up. It had about 12 keys and they were multi-colored, and I carried it...
Wilner Baptiste met Kevin Sylvester in high school orchestra, a place that initially, neither of them particularly wanted to be. Baptiste had wanted to play saxophone instead of viola, and Sylvester’s mother had thought the violin would help dissuade him from hanging out with the neighborhood’s...
Jerod Impichchaachaaha’ Tate was just eight years old when he announced to his parents that he wanted to be a concert pianist when he grew up. He made good on that declaration, but upped the ante by becoming a composer as well. Today, he fuses the many artistic traditions that saturated his...
"We want to continue to make sure that we've got open eyes about [diversity...

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