MSU Bring in Top Jazz Artists to Jazz Up Michigan

MSU Jazz Professors. Image by MSU College of Music

MSU Bring in Top Jazz Artists to Jazz Up Michigan

By FOX 47 News . CREATED Oct 7, 2013

EAST LANSING, Mich. – The MSU College of Music is launching its new jazz studies artist in residence program this month thanks to a $1 million gift from MSU Federal Credit Union, the largest-ever investment in the college’s curriculum.

October 14-19, saxophonist Antonio Hart, the first jazz artist of three scheduled for residencies this academic year, will take his place in the classroom and on the stage. Hart is an internationally acclaimed performer, prolific composer, and a renowned educator.

Hart will be teaching College of Music students and performing for the public while he is in residence. He will also work with high school and middle school jazz students in Lansing and in two West Michigan schools. Jazz Orchestra I, the college’s premier student jazz ensemble, will tour with Hart around the state.

Trumpeter Jon Faddis and drummer Jeff Hamilton are the other international jazz artists slated to hold residencies at MSU in December and April, respectively.

“It is so exciting and satisfying to get this program started,” said Rodney Whitaker, director of jazz studies. “Living in the center of the Midwest doesn’t allow students easy access to the musicians influencing the world of jazz right now. So this way, with the support of MSU Federal Credit Union, we bring the jazz greats like Antonio Hart to the heart of Michigan. It is a win-win for our students and for our community.”

“MSUFCU’s generous gift will further strengthen one of America’s great jazz programs,” said James Forger, dean of the MSU College of Music, “and will provide unforgettable musical and educational experiences not only for our students, but also for thousands of people across Michigan.”

Founded in 2001, the Jazz Studies Program leads the college’s outreach efforts, teaching and mentoring youth at Community Music School-Detroit. MSU Professors of Jazz, a faculty performance group, has strong ties to Detroit and will work with the musicians to inspire cultural prosperity in urban areas.

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