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New Youth Jazz Festival to Debut in 2014: The Seattle Jazz Experience

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Cornish College of the Arts, in association with Seattle JazzED, today announced that a new youth jazz festival, the Seattle Jazz Experience, debuts March 14 and 15, 2014 at the Cornish Playhouse at Seattle Center.

The Seattle Jazz Experience, a two-day festival for high school and college jazz students from throughout the Pacific Northwest, will feature workshops, clinics, and evening performances by guest artists. Guest artists already confirmed for the inaugural festival include drummer and composer Matt Wilson’s Arts & Crafts quartet, the Seattle-based Cuong Vu Trio, and Grammy Award-winning composer and National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master Bill Holman; additional guest artists will be announced as confirmed.

For more than a decade, Seattle area high schools have consistently bested the competition nationwide to place first, second or third at the annual Essentially Ellington Competition presented by Jazz at Lincoln Center. Meanwhile, options for local high school and college bands to perform in the Pacific Northwest have remained limited.

“Our preliminary discussions with high school and college band directors in the Pacific Northwest confirmed that students and teachers want a Seattle-based jazz festival that offered an educational experience of the highest quality,” said festival director and chair of the Cornish Music Department Kent Devereaux. “We felt the time was right for Seattle to stake its claim as the center of jazz in the Pacific Northwest.”

The Seattle Jazz Experience will attract nearly 500 students from approximately 20 schools located throughout the Pacific Northwest and Northern California. Applications are now being accepted for large ensembles (big bands), small ensembles (combos), and vocal jazz groups with separate divisions for high school and college ensembles.

“Jazz education has long been a vibrant thread in Seattle’s cultural fabric, adding notoriety to this city for decades,” notes Seattle JazzED executive director Laurie de Koch. “The launching of Seattle Jazz Experience is an excellent way to celebrate this heritage and reinforce its future, bringing together young musicians and exposing them to the highest level of jazz education imbued with an edge that’s unique to the Seattle music scene.”

“The Seattle Jazz Experience is a brilliant addition to this city’s vibrant jazz and arts scene,” adds Earshot Jazz Society’s executive director John Gilbreath. “This festival makes perfect sense!”

A complete festival schedule, background information on this year’s guest artists and clinicians, and application details for high school and college jazz band directors interested in participating in the festival can be found on the festival website:

All concerts are open to the public; a limited number of single ticket prices ranging from $15 to $30will be available for purchase on the festival website:

About Cornish College of the Arts
A pioneer in arts education, Cornish College of the Arts sprang from the remarkable vision of Nellie Cornish, a woman determined to cultivate the arts in Seattle when it was scarcely more than a frontier town. Her philosophy of educating the artist through exposure to all the arts was progressive at the time, and continues to be innovative today. The College offers Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees in Art, Dance, Design, Performance Production, and Theater, a Bachelor of Music degree, and an Artist Diploma in Early Music. The College is accredited by the Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges and the National Association of Schools of Art and Design.

About Seattle JazzED
Seattle JazzED provides exceptional jazz education and performance opportunities to Seattle area youth, regardless of their prior music instruction or ability to pay. Seattle JazzED offers six ability-based ensembles for students in grades 4-12, as well as workshops, and a summer outreach program. JazzED educators include Clarence Acox, Robert Knatt and Wayne Horvitz. JazzED serves over 200 students annually from 75 different schools with 40% of students receiving financial aid. Underlying all JazzED programs is the vision that by achieving excellence in musical performance, students acquire valuable character traits that will help them achieve excellence in other areas of life. More information is available at:


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