Charles Mingus High School Competition & Fest Returns to NYC

(Photo: Courtesy Charles Mingus High School Competition and Festival)

The Charles Mingus High School Competition and Festival will return to New York City for its ninth edition Feb. 17– 20, offering student musicians from across the U.S. the opportunity to celebrate the music of the late jazz bassist and composer. The event will be hosted at two locations—the Manhattan School of Music and the Jazz Standard—with performances all weekend by the Mingus Big band and Orchestra.

In total, 12 final ensembles were invited to New York representing jazz programs from California, Oklahoma, New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts. On Feb. 18, those ensembles will explore aspects of Mingus’ music via clinics, workshops, lectures, film clips and a performance by the Mingus Dynasty band at the Manhattan School of Music. (The film screenings and Mingus Dynasty performance are open to the public.) Events will conclude in the afternoon with a jam session by the student finalists.

The competition portion of the festival begins in earnest at 9:30 a.m. on Feb. 19, when the 12 high school finalist ensembles will take to the stage at MSM’s Neidorff-Karpati Hall. The competition is open to the public as well, as is the concluding concert and Awards Ceremony at 5:45 pm.

That evening, outstanding soloists from the competition will be invited to sit in with the Mingus Big Band, which will perform nightly Feb. 17–20 at the Jazz Standard on 116 East 27 Street (between Park and Lexington).

“The festival gives outstanding high school students around the country the opportunity to perform at an advanced level while enriching their school programs,” says James Gandre. “It’s wonderful for students to be challenged by this music and to begin to form networks with other outstanding jazz musicians.”

The event is organized and presented by MSM and by Sue Mingus and Let My Children Hear Music/The Charles Mingus Institute and the MSM Jazz Arts Program.

For a full schedule of events, visit: DB

See below for a full list of Mingus High School Competition finalists:

Boston Latin High School Big Band, Boston, MA. 
Band Director: Paul J. Pitts

Lexington High School Jazz Ensemble, Lexington, MA. 
Band Director: Patrick Donaher 

Medfield High School Jazz Band, Medfield, MA. 
Band Director: Douglas Olsen

Berkeley High School Combo A, Berkeley, Ca. 
Band Director: Sarah Cline 

Newark Academy Combo, Livingston, NJ. 
Band Director: Julius Tolentino

Rio Americano High School Jazz Combo, Sacramento, CA. 
Band Director: Max Keisner

BIG BAND CATEGORY - Specialized Schools and Programs

Jazz at Lincoln Center Youth Studio Ensemble, New York, NY. 
Band Director: Kenny Rampton 

Jazz House Big Band, Jazz House Kids. Montclair, NJ. 
Band Director: Julius Tolentino 

SFJAZZ High School All Stars Big Band, San Francisco, CA. 
Band Director: Paul Contos

COMBO CATEGORY - Specialized Schools and Program
Jazz House Ambassadors, Jazz House Kids, Montclair, NJ. 
Band Director: Mike Lee 

SFJAZZ High School All Stars Combo, San Francisco, CA. 
Band Director: Dann Zinn 

Tulsa Jambassadors, Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame, Tulsa, OK. 
Band Director: Doug Styers

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