On Tuesday 5th March Big Band and Jazz Ensemble members together with Mr Petty and Ms Smith attended a performance and workshop at QPAC in Brisbane given by the superlative Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra led by nine-time Grammy award winner Wynton Marsalis. Marsalis is an internationally acclaimed musician, composer and bandleader. He is one of the world’s leading trumpeter players, and also composes, teaches, and is artistic director of Jazz at Lincoln Centre in New York City. He is also the first and only artist to win both jazz and classical Grammy Awards in the same year. Today Wynton is the only artist ever to win Grammy Awards in five consecutive years (1983-1987). Honorary degrees have been given to him by over 30 of America’s leading academic institutions including Columbia, Harvard, Howard, Princeton and Yale. In 1997 Wynton Marsalis became the first jazz musician ever to win the Pulitzer Prize for Music for his epic oratorio Blood On The Fields. During the five preceding decades the Pulitzer Prize jury refused to recognize jazz musicians and their improvisational music, reserving this distinction for classical composers.
In 1987 Wynton Marsalis co-founded a jazz program at Lincoln Center. In July 1996, due to its significant success, Jazz at Lincoln Center (JALC) was installed as a new constituent of Lincoln Center, equal in stature with the New York Philharmonic, Metropolitan Opera, and New York City Ballet – a historic moment for jazz as an art form and for Lincoln Center as a cultural institution. The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra is made up of fifteen of the finest soloists, ensemble players and arrangers in jazz today. Their unique take on jazz classics fills halls right across America and Europe.
In this workshop our students were exploring the improvisational genius of Thelonious Monk. Elliena and Stella were also even lucky enough to join Wynton and the Orchestra on stage for some improvisation ‘scat’ singing. To say that it was an absolutely incredible experience for both students and staff is a massive understatement, everyone that attended will forever remember this amazing opportunity.