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Thelonious Monk International Jazz Vocals Competition and Gala Concert at Kennedy Center | Arts & Culture

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Thelonious Monk International Jazz Vocals Competition and Gala Concert at Kennedy Center
Arts & Culture

This story comes to us from Holly Wallace of the Monk Institute of Jazz:

The 2010 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Vocals Competition and Tribute to the Great American Songbook Gala Concert will take place at the Kennedy Center Eisenhower Theater at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, October 4. 

A special feature of this year’s Competition, the Tribute to the Great American Songbook Gala Concert will bring together the biggest names in jazz, including Terence Blanchard, Terri Lyne Carrington, George Duke, Kevin Eubanks, Herbie Hancock, Jimmy Heath, T.S. Monk, Wayne Shorter, Clark Terry, and many others.  The concert will shine a spotlight on some of the most beloved songs and songwriters of all time.

President Barack Obama and Mrs. Michelle Obama will serve as the Honorary Chairs of the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Vocals Competition and Tribute to the Great American Songbook Gala Concert.

The Gala Concert will honor the incomparable Aretha Franklin.  Ranked #1 by Rolling Stone magazine on its list of “The Greatest Singers of All Time” and one of the most honored GRAMMY winners with 20 awards to date, Franklin will be presented with the 2010 Maria Fisher Founder’s Award in honor of her longtime support of jazz, music education, and the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz. 

The 2010 Competition will feature jazz vocals. A panel of jazz greats including Patti Austin, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Kurt Elling, Al Jarreau, and Dianne Reeves selected three finalists from twelve of the world’s most outstanding young jazz vocalists at the Competition Semifinals, held on Sunday, October 3 at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian.

The International Jazz Vocals Competition finalists are: Cyrille Aimée, Fontainebleau, France; Cécile McLorin Salvant, Miami, Florida; and Charenée Wade, Brooklyn, New York.

Each finalist will perform with a group of jazz all-stars at Monday’s Kennedy Center concert, followed by the awards announcement. They will vie for scholarships and prizes totaling over $100,000 including a $20,000 first place scholarship and guaranteed recording contract with Concord Music Group, a $10,000 second place scholarship, and a $5,000 third place scholarship.

The Competition Finals and Gala Concert will also feature the winner of the 2010 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Composers Competition, sponsored by BMI. This year’s winner is Vadim Neselovskyi of Ukraine, who will perform his winning composition, “Grust” (Sadness). The Composers Competition carries a prize of $10,000 and is presented to a composer who best demonstrates originality, creativity, and excellence in jazz composition.

Proceeds from the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Vocals Competition and Tribute to the Great American Songbook Gala Concert will help fund public school jazz and blues education programs throughout Washington D.C., Los Angeles, Chicago, New Orleans, and the Mississippi Delta. 

The Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition, often compared in stature to classical music’s International Tchaikovsky Competition and the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, is widely regarded as the most prestigious jazz competition in the world. Each year, the competition features a different musical instrument, and major scholarships and prizes are awarded to talented young musicians. Over the past 23 years, the competition has launched the careers of a number of major jazz stars including Joshua Redman, Jane Monheit, Marcus Roberts, Tierney Sutton, and Joey DeFrancesco. These artists and dozens of others from past competitions have forged successful careers as performing and recording artists, as well as music educators, helping to preserve and perpetuate America’s legacy of jazz

The 2010 Competition is made possible through generous support from the Northrop Grumman Corporation.  Air transportation is provided by United Airlines, the Official Airline of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz.

The Competition and Gala Concert will be taped as a documentary for BET/Centric television.  The documentary will include performance clips and interviews with the contestants and judges.

Tickets are $35-$75 and may be purchased via the Kennedy Center box office in person, by calling 800.444.1324, or online at www.kennedy-center.org.  

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