Miami--- New World School of the Arts (NWSA) Jazz Ensemble placed among the 15 American high school band finalists that will compete in the prestigious Essentially Ellington (EE) High School Jazz Band Competition & Festival in May, 2013. Of the 96 high school jazz bands across the country that entered the competition, three of the 15 finalists, including New World School of the Arts are from South Florida. The participating schools submitted recordings of three songs selected from Jazz at Lincoln Center's Essentially Ellington library.
“2013 will mark New World School of the Arts’ 5th consecutive appearance at the Essentially Ellington Festival and our 10th appearance overall,” explained Dr. Milton Rubén Laufer, Dean of Music at New World School of the Arts. “I learned very quickly after arriving as Dean of Music in July of last year, that being one of the 15 schools selected to participate is not only an honor, but also an expectation handed down from class to class. That expectation propels our students to rise to the occasion and perform their very best. I’m looking forward to cheering them on as they take the stage at Lincoln Center in May.”
To enter the Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Competition & Festival and vie for the coveted 15 finalist slots, the NWSA Jazz Ensemble submitted a recorded performance of Second Line (Duke Ellington) from the New Orleans Suite, Blood Count (Billy Strayhorn), and In A Mellow Tone (Duke Ellington).
Throughout March and April, Jazz at Lincoln Center will send, free of charge, a professional jazz musician to each of the 15 finalist band schools to lead an intensive day-long workshop of rehearsals, lessons, and master classes. The free clinics are part of the rich 18-year history of this unique music education program, which, by the end of this school year, will have reached more than 450,000 students in more than 4,000 high schools across all 50 United States, Canada, and American schools abroad.
New World School of the Arts Jazz Ensemble, along with the other 14 finalist bands will compete in the prestigious 18th Annual Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Competition & Festival at Frederick P. Rose Hall on May 10-12, 2013.
“New World School of the Arts’ music division has a long tradition of excellence in the high school jazz program through a comprehensive curriculum comprised of Jazz theory and smaller Jazz combos,” said Jim Gasior, Associate Professor of Music at New World School of the Arts. “This rigorous format is not generally offered in other schools including the most specialized arts schools in our community.”
In the last thirteen years, New World School of the Arts has participated in Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Competition & Festival ten times, placing first in 2005 and 3rd just last year. Gasior, who has been at the helm of the Jazz program since 2000 asserts, “It’s a simple but effective formula. Take a good educator that understands the music genre and a curriculum that supports the program and the students will grow.”
Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Competition & Festival, however, is not the only noteworthy achievement for the NWSA Jazz Ensemble. Competing against nine other outstanding high school Jazz bands from across the nation, the NWSA Jazz band proudly brought home the coveted first-place title of the 2008 Savannah Music Festival’s (SMF) Swing Central High School Jazz Band Competition. In 2010 the NWSA Jazz Ensemble participated in the Thelonious Monk Institute national Peer-To-Peer Jazz Education Program, joining other students from across the nation. In addition, the jazz musicians had the honor of representing South Florida as they participated in Jazz Studio, a music series initiative held at The White House, also in 2010.
Numerous New World School of the Arts jazz students have been recognized for their musicianship on a national scale. NWSA students have also received Downbeat Student Music Awards, the Ella Fitzgerald Award and have been selected to perform with the NWSA High School Grammy Band in Los Angeles, California.
With a BM in Studio Music and Jazz Performance and an MM in Jazz Pedagogy from the University of Miami, Jim Gasior is a successful jazz and commercial pianist, composer and arranger. He has recorded and/or performed with Ricky Martin, Kelly Clarkson, Alih Jey, Smokey Robinson, Patti Austin, Little Richard, Chayanne, Ed Calle, Arturo Sandoval, Duffy Jackson, Freddie Hubbard, Duffy Jackson and others. He is currently serving as Musical Director for New York readings of the new musical Cuba Libre by Desmond Child and Davitt Sigerson.
New World School of the Arts was created by the Florida Legislature as a center of excellence in the performing and visual arts, is an educational partnership of Miami-Dade County Public Schools, Miami Dade College and the University of Florida.
Information about the Music Division in New World School of the Arts at 305-237-3539.