Kris Bowers Commissioned for Work at Monterey Jazz Festival


“I’m so incredibly honored to have been commissioned for this piece by the Monterey Jazz Festival,” Bowers said.

(Photo: Courtesy of Kris Bowers)

Pianist, Oscar nominee and composer Kris Bowers has been commissioned by the Monterey Jazz Festival to write and present a piece at this year’s event, celebrating the festival’s 65th anniversary.

Bowers has a long history with the festival: He competed at Monterey’s 2004, 2005 and 2006 Next Generation Jazz Festival with the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts and was selected as the pianist to the 2006 Next Generation Jazz Orchestra. With the NGJO, Bowers performed at Jazz at Lincoln Center, at the Umbria Jazz Festival, and at MJF49 with jazz singer Kurt Elling. More than 800 students have been selected to the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra since its inception in 1971, and more than 20,000 student musicians have competed at the Next Generation Jazz Festival over its 50-year history.

“We reinstated our commissioning program in 1994, with the goal of focusing on new young composers as well as jazz legends,” said Tim Jackson, artistic director of Monterey Jazz Festival. “Kris, as an alumnus of our Next Generation Jazz Orchestra, is a perfect example of the type of artist we like to work with; young, exciting, innovative and with a unique viewpoint.”

“I’m so incredibly honored to have been commissioned for this piece by the Monterey Jazz Festival,” Bowers said. “Having started going to the festival as a kid and participating in the high school jazz competition, I established a relationship with the Monterey Bay pretty early on. Now, as an adult, my wife and I have developed a deep love and relationship with that area, visiting at least once or twice a year to immerse ourselves in nature and be near that part of the Pacific Ocean. It has become a second home for us, and I’m excited to pay homage to that area with this piece.” DB

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