Salve, Newport Festivals Foundation team up to present jazz combo master class on International Jazz Day April 30

Newport Festivals Foundation, Inc., in collaboration with Salve Regina's Department of Music, Theatre and Dance, will present two events with award-winning jazz pianist Danilo Perez and the Berklee Global Jazz Institute on International Jazz Day (IJD), Thursday, April 30.

A concert for Newport public school students from Pell Elementary, Thompson Middle and Rogers High schools is set for 10–11 a.m. and a workshop for Jazz Combos will take place from 1-3 p.m. at the historic Casino Theatre, 9 Freebody St.

While a limited number of student ensembles from across Rhode Island and Massachusetts have been selected to participate in the Master Class sessions, other registered students will participate as audience to gain valuable performance insights from Perez as he assesses, critiques and coaches the workshop combos. Alan Bernstein, supervisor of the arts for Newport Schools, is coordinator of the Master Class and has worked with teachers to prepare the students for their musical encounter.

“This is the second year that Newport Festivals Foundation has partnered with Salve Regina to host International Jazz Day events,” said George Wein, NFF CEO and producer of the Newport Jazz Festival since it began in 1954. “Both of these exchanges between students and musicians will help bring insight into jazz and the Festival while providing young musicians the opportunity to learn from and interact with some of today’s outstanding performers. We are pleased to join with jazz institutions around the world to bring attention to this great music on this special day.”

Last year, Newport Festivals Foundation and the Salve Regina University Department of Music, Theatre and Dance celebrated IJD with workshops and a concert by Jon Batiste and Stay Human.

In November 2011, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) officially designated April 30 as International Jazz Day to highlight jazz and its diplomatic role of uniting people in all corners of the globe.

Led by Irina Bokova, UNESCO Director General, and legendary pianist/composer Herbie Hancock, this year's celebration will be held in Paris, France. International Jazz Day brings together communities, schools, artists, historians, academics, and jazz enthusiasts all over the world to celebrate and learn about jazz and its roots, future and impact; raise awareness of the need for intercultural dialogue and mutual understanding; and reinforce international cooperation and communication.

International Jazz Day is the culmination of Jazz Appreciation Day, which draws public attention to jazz and its extraordinary heritage throughout April. To learn more about the annual world-wide celebration, visit http://jazzday.com/.

Danilo Perez was born in Panama in 1965 and started his musical studies when he was three years old with his father, a bandleader and singer. By age 10, he was studying the European classical piano repertoire at the National Conservatory in Panama. After receiving his bachelor’s degree in electronics in Panama, he studied jazz composition at Berklee College of Music in Boston where, in addition to his busy touring schedule, he is also a member of the faculty. Perez has become a very successful and influential musician and shares his belief in music as a force to unite the world in peace, cooperation and communality. Perez has served as Cultural Ambassador to the Republic of Panama, Goodwill Ambassador to UNICEF and has received numerous awards for his musical achievements, activism and social work efforts.

He also established the Danilo Perez Foundation whose purpose is to provide opportunities for young people to develop their full potential and lead productive lives. The values and attitudes that are essential to the foundation promote education and interpretation in music. Perez’ musical influences are an amalgam of indigenous Panamanian folk music and dances, European art music, African rhythms and American jazz. On his latest album, Panama 500, he uses a mixture of traditional Panamanian instruments along with jazz instruments, including piano, violin, bass, percussion and harmonica, which takes the place of the traditional accordion.

As an educator, Perez is the artistic director of the Berklee Global Jazz Institute. The Institute is a performance program designed to foster creativity and musicianship through various musical disciplines. The BGJI provides a comprehensive contemporary music environment where students are given opportunities to explore their creativity to the highest level possible, advance the power of music as a tool for the betterment of society, and connect musical creative thinking with the natural environment. The BGJI Ensemble will accompany Perez on International Jazz Day.

The Newport Festivals Foundation was founded by George Wein in 2010 to build up and continue the legacies of the famed Newport Jazz Festival (July 31-August 2,2015) and Newport Folk Festival (July 24-26, 2015). Under the auspices of the Foundation, the Newport Jazz Festival presents performers who respect and honor jazz music traditions, and at the same time reflect the changes in today's musical trends.

Through the establishment of partnerships with local high schools and colleges/universities, the Foundation will present programs to educate young people about jazz music as presented at the annual festival. The Foundation also will present a Family Concert at Fort Adams on July 29. For more information, please visit www.newportfestivalsfoundation.org.