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Semifinalists Selected for 2015 Thelonious Monk Institute International Jazz Vocals Competition
By Sentinel News Service
Published October 29, 2015

The Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz is pleased to announce that 11 semifinalists have been selected to participate in the Thelonious Monk Institute International Jazz Vocals Competition, which will be held November 14-15 in Los Angeles. This year’s Competition will feature the world’s most outstanding young jazz vocalists who will perform before a judging panel including Patti Austin, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Freddy Cole, Al Jarreau and Luciana Souza.

The Thelonious Monk Institute International Jazz Vocals Competition Semifinals will be held on Saturday, November 14 from 12 to 5 p.m. at Schoenberg Hall on the UCLA campus. Each semifinalist will perform for 15 minutes, accompanied by pianist Reginald Thomas, bassist Rodney Whitaker and drummer Carl Allen. Three finalists will be selected to participate in the Competition Finals on Sunday, November 15 at 7 p.m. at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood. They will vie for scholarships and prizes totaling more than $100,000 including a $25,000 first place scholarship and a guaranteed recording contract with Concord Music Group.

The 11 semifinalists are: Liam Burrows, Sydney, Australia; Christie Dashiell, Greenville, North Carolina; Jazzmeia Horn, Dallas, Texas; Sirintip Phasuk, Stockholm, Sweden; Walter Ricci, Naples, Italy; Lena Seikaly, McLean, Virginia; Vuyolwethu Sotashe, Butterworth, South Africa; Veronica Swift, Charlottesville, Virginia; Katie Thiroux, Los Angeles, California; Danielle Wertz, Falls Church, Virginia; and Lucy Yeghiazaryan, New York, New York.

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Immediately following the three finalists’ performances at the Competition Finals, an All-Star Gala Concert on Sunday, November 15 will bring together some of the most renowned artists of our time. Legendary producer, composer, bandleader and humanitarian Quincy Jones, a 27-time GRAMMY Award winner, will receive the Institute’s 2015 Herbie Hancock Humanitarian Award. Herbie Hancock, Seth MacFarlane, Andy Garcia, Jeff Goldblum and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar will host the event. Artists confirmed to date include Patti Austin, George Benson, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Terri Lyne Carrington, Freddy Cole, Dave Grusin, Jimmy Heath, Paul Jackson, Jr., Al Jarreau, Hubert Laws, Gretchen Parlato, Arturo Sandoval, Wayne Shorter, Luciana Souza, Jeff “Tain” Watts, Ben Williams and others. John Beasley will serve as the evening’s musical director.

The Thelonious Monk Institute International Jazz Competition, often compared in stature to classical music’s International Tchaikovsky Competition and Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, is widely regarded as the world’s most prestigious jazz competition. Each year, the Competition features a different musical instrument, and major scholarships and prizes are awarded to talented young musicians. For 28 years, the competition has launched the careers of a number of major jazz artists including saxophonist Joshua Redman; vocalists Cécile McLorin Salvant, Jane Monheit and Gretchen Parlato; pianist Marcus Roberts; bassist Ben Williams; and trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire. These artists and dozens of others from past competitions have forged successful careers as performing and recording artists, as well as music educators to help perpetuate America’s legacy of jazz.

Proceeds from the Thelonious Monk Institute International Jazz Vocals Competition and All-Star Gala Concert will support the Institute’s public school jazz education programs across the U.S. and around the globe. All of the Institute’s education programs are provided free of charge to students, schools and communities worldwide. Air transportation is provided by United Airlines, Official Airline of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz.

 

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