The Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz will tour Vietnam

The Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz will tour Vietnam November 22-30 under a Cultural and Speakers program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Information Programs and Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, the U.S. Embassy in Hanoi, and the U.S. Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City. The tour will commemorate the 10th anniversary of normalization of U.S.-Vietnam diplomatic relations.

World renowned jazz pianist and composer Herbie Hancock will lead a group of jazz artists, which include legendary saxophonist and composer Wayne Shorter, internationally acclaimed vocalist Nnenna Freelon, and the eight gifted young jazz musicians who attend the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance at the University of Southern California.

The group’s appearances in Ho Chi Minh City will include a “Jazz Thanksgiving” concert at the U.S. Consulate General’s Residence for leaders in the diplomatic, business, and cultural communities; a master class for students at the Ho Chi Minh City Conservatory of Music; and a performance at the Ben Thanh Theatre. In Hanoi, the group will lead a master class for jazz students at the Hanoi Conservatory of Music; perform for diplomats and cultural figures at the U.S. Embassy; lead a jam session at Minh’s Jazz Club; and perform at the Youth Theatre.

“We are once again delighted to work with the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz to present such an exciting outreach program to the Vietnamese people on this important occasion. I am particularly pleased that we have the next generation of jazz talent from the Institute at the University of Southern California touring with today's jazz masters, Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, and Nnenna Freelon, ” said Karen P. Hughes, the Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs in the U. S. Department of State.

According to Institute Chairman Herbie Hancock, “The Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz is devoted to introducing people around the world to the uniquely American art form of jazz. We look forward to sharing this music with the people of Vietnam in the spirit of peace and partnership.”

Rob Cutietta, Dean of the Flora L. Thornton School of Music at the University of Southern California remarked, “This is a great opportunity for our students to represent the University, the Institute and the U.S. jazz community on this educational and performance tour of Vietnam."

The Vietnam tour builds on the Institute’s longstanding partnership with the U.S. Department of State. In the early part of 1995, the Institute and the United States Information Agency sponsored a six week tour that took a group of Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition winners to seven African nations to perform and conduct educational programs. The Institute worked with the United States Information Agency again in March 1996 to present a tour of India and Thailand, and for a third time in 1998, conducting a tour of Chile, Argentina, and Peru. A highlight of the 1998 trip was a performance at the Summit of the Americas for 34 heads of state from North America, South America, and Central America. This partnership continued in 2001 when the U.S. Department of State sponsored a tour of Egypt. In 2002, 2003, and 2004, the United Nations sponsored a tour of Paris, where the Institute’s college students performed with Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Dianne Reeves, Dee Dee Bridgewater, and T.S. Monk at an “International Day of Philosophy” event presented by UNESCO.

The Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz was established in 1986 with a mission to preserve America's legacy of jazz through performance and education. The Institute offers the world's most promising young musicians college level training by America's jazz masters and presents public school-based jazz education programs for young people around the world. Additionally, the Institute provides scholarships, performance opportunities, and worldwide recognition to gifted young musicians through its many jazz education programs.

Begun in 1995, the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance at the University of Southern California is an intensive two-year graduate level college program that enables a select group of the world's most gifted young musicians to study tuition-free with major jazz musicians and educators. Acclaimed trumpeter and composer Terence Blanchard serves as the program’s Artistic Director. Jazz legends who have served as Artists-in-Residence include Herbie Hancock, Clark Terry, Wayne Shorter, Dianne Reeves, Jackie McLean, Dave Holland, Steve Turre, John Scofield, Terri Lyne Carrington, Ron Carter, and Jimmy Heath. This performance-based program is expected to become the model college jazz education program for the world.

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