NWSA Jazz Ensemble to compete in 21st Essentially Ellington Competition & Festival

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Jim Gasior conducts Jazz ensemble in classMiami--- New World School of the Arts (NWSA) Jazz Ensemble returns to compete in theprestigious Essentially Ellington (EE) High School Jazz Band Competition and Festival as it places among the 15 finalist bands to participate in the 21st annual Essentially Ellington HighSchool Jazz Band Competition and Festival May 5 to 7. The participating schools submitted recordings of songs selected from Jazz at Lincoln Center's Essentially Ellington library and will have the coveted opportunity of performing before esteemed judges Lauren Sevian, Jeff Hamilton, Chuck Israels, Chris Crenshaw and Wynton Marsalis.
 
“We are proud of the students in the NWSA Jazz Ensemble and their leader and mentor, Professor Jim Gasior, for working hard and professionally to earn this invitation,” expressed Dr. Daniel Andai, Dean of Music at New World School of the Arts.
 
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 20-year history of this unique music education program, which has reached thousands of high school students across all 50 United States, Canada, and in American schools abroad. On May 7, the Essentially Ellington Competition & Festival will conclude with a concert and awards ceremony featuring the three top-placing bands and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis.
 
New World School of the Arts Jazz Ensemble, along with the other 14 finalist bands will compete in the prestigious Annual Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Competition & Festival at Frederick P. Rose Hall on May 7, 2016.
 
In the last fifteen years, New World School of the Arts has participated in Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Competition & Festival twelve times, placing in the top three on six occasions. “Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Essentially Ellington program is an infusion of inspiration, repertoire, and pedagogy to our program, said Jim Gasior, Associate Professor of Jazz Studies at New World School of the Arts. “We are very excited to compete in New York City!”
 
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, Michael Bolton, Smokey Robinson, Patti Austin, Little Richard, Chayanne, Ed Calle, Arturo Sandoval, Duffy Jackson, Freddie Hubbard, Duffy Jackson and others.
 
Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Competition & Festival, however, is not the only noteworthy achievement for the NWSA Jazz Ensemble. Competing against 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.
 
Most recently, the NWSA Jazz Combo represented Miami and the United States during the Kagoshima Asian Youth Arts Festival, an international music-centered arts festival that highlights youth from various countries and regions throughout Asia. The exchange allowed the students students to perform in Japan during the tenth-year celebration of the festival, while strengthening the cultural relationship between Miami-Kagoshima Sister Cities.
 
Numerous New World School of the Arts jazzstudents have been recognized for their musicianship on a national scale. NWSA students have also received Downbeat Student Music Awards, Young Arts talent search awards, and have been selected to perform with the NWSA High School Grammy Band in Los Angeles, California.
 
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.
 
Photo: Photo of NWSA Jazz ensemble students by Juan E. Cabrera