Math Science & Music

For Herbie Hancock, the UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador and Chairman of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, inspiring young people to learn about math and science through music has been a life-long dream. For him, there is a profound connection across the disciplines and a way to ignite passion for challenging concepts through music. This was the foundation of the project of Math, Science and Music.

In 2016, the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz launched the first phase of Math, Science & Music, a new initiative that uses music as a tool to teach math and science to young people in public and private schools around the world. The program addresses the growing need for students to gain skills and acquire knowledge in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) subjects and learn to think creatively. The Institute is collaborating with math, science, music and education experts at leading universities and in the private sector to develop a wealth of free engaging curricula, games, apps and other interactive online components.

On April 26, 2016, the Institute officially launched Math, Science & Music with a panel discussion at the U.S. Department of Education. Secretary of Education John King hosted the event with representatives from all of the Institute’s university teams contributing to Math, Science & Music. This event allowed educators and the public to preview initial portions of the curricula that were recently field tested in the Boston and San Francisco public schools, and experience firsthand these new and unique online resources. The free Math, Science & Music web site went live as the panel discussion began.

Studies show that the most crucial years to engage students in STEM learning are grades 4-8. If students begin STEM studies in these early years, they are more likely to continue on this path. Based on this premise, the primary target audience for Math, Science & Music is grades 4-8. There also will be supplemental curricula that prepare students in grades K-3 for future immersion into the Math Science & Music program, as well as other STEM studies. Additionally, there will be supplemental materials for high school and college students to provide them with sequential learning. serves as an exciting and engaging repository of free, interactive tools for learning STEM subjects through music, and will prepare students for a world where technological skills are a necessity and an essential part of life.

Dive into this exciting new resource by visiting

International Tours

The Institute’s goal of preserving and promoting jazz includes introducing people around the world to this great American art form.

The Institute traveled to Russia from May 13-24, 2012. Herbie Hancock and Dee Dee Bridgewater, accompanied Monk Institute Alumni Otis Brown (drums), Gerald Clayton (piano), Lisa Henry (vocals), Mike Rodriguez (trumpet), Walter Smith (saxophone) and Ben Williams (bass), performed at the Moscow International House of Music and the Mikhailovsky Theatre in St. Petersburg. The trip also included master classes for young, aspiring music students in both cities, including a master class in the famed Hermitage Theater in St. Petersburg and the Gnesin Academy in Moscow, as well as a reception at Spaso House, the U.S. Ambassador’s Residence.

The Institute’s international programs date back to 1989, when Clark Terry and Paul Jeffrey led an Institute summer program in Dolo, Italy. More recently, the Institute has conducted workshops in South America, Europe, Africa, and Asia. The most successful and far reaching international programs have been the many Institute tours sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, as well as the creation of an alliance with seven Caribbean nations.

The Institute’s Jazz Ambassadors, an ensemble of previous Competition winners, was organized in 1995 for a six-week tour of seven African nations. Pianist Ted Rosenthal, drummer Harold Summey, Composers Competition winner Patrick Zimmerli, and vocalist winner Lisa Henry were among the artists who presented workshops and concerts for audiences in Eritrea, Ethiopia, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, South Africa, and Swaziland under the leadership of T.S. Monk.

In 1996, a second State Department tour was assembled, this time featuring the members of the first class of the Institute of Jazz Performance along with T.S. Monk, Herbie Hancock, and Wayne Shorter. The group traveled to India and Thailand, performing and teaching to thrilled audiences who were receiving their first hands-on jazz experience. During the course of the tour, the Institute students performed at the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the coronation of the King of Thailand.

The Institute forged an alliance with seven Caribbean nations (St. Lucia, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Cayman Islands, Barbados, Grenada, and Trinidad) in 1997, establishing educational outreach programs that bring jazz masters and educators to the people of the Caribbean. Each year, internationally renowned jazz artists and educators such as Bobby Watson, Ellis Marsalis, and Arturo Sandoval present master classes, workshops and concerts with artists and educators from the islands.

In 1998, the second class of the Institute of Jazz Performance toured Argentina, Chile, and Peru with Herbie Hancock. Highlights of the tour included a performance at the Summit of the Americas attended by heads of state from 34 countries in North America, South America, and Central America. These students also traveled to Jamaica in 1999 to perform and present educational programs.

In 2000, the third class of students attending the Institute of Jazz Performance appeared at the North Sea Jazz Festival in the Netherlands, and traveled to Egypt in 2001, where they performed and led master classes with Herbie Hancock and Vanessa Rubin. For three years beginning in 2002, the United Nations sponsored a tour of Paris, where students from the Institute of Jazz Performance appeared with Dee Dee Bridgewater, Herbie Hancock, T.S. Monk, and Wayne Shorter at the annual “Day of Philosophy” event presented by UNESCO. In 2004, the Institute’s fifth class of college students performed at the Tokyo Jazz Festival with Herbie Hancock.

In 2005, the Institute presented an educational tour in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, commemorating the 10th anniversary of the United States and Vietnam resuming diplomatic relations.

In January 2008 the Institute partnered with the U.S. Department of State to present a jazz education tour of India. Internationally renowned jazz artists Patti Austin, Bob James, Earl Klugh, and Bobby Watson were joined by several accomplished graduates of the Institute’s jazz education programs. Highlights included a concert for 1,000 people in Mumbai, sponsored by VH1 Jazz Masters, and a master class at the Ravi Shankar Institute of Music and Performing Arts in New Delhi.

Also in 2008, the students of the Institute of Jazz Performance (then located at Loyola University New Orleans) performed with Danilo Perez at the Panama Jazz Festival.

In May 2010 the Institute partnered with the U.S. Department of State to present a jazz education tour of China. Herbie Hancock, Dee Dee Bridgewater, and the Institute’s college students performed for thousands of people at the Shanghai 2010 Expo and Beijing’s Forbidden City Concert Hall. Continuing the tradition of offering jazz education programs for citizens of the world, the musicians also led a master class at Beijing’s National Center for the Performing Arts.

The Institute continues to bring jazz education to communities around the world. In 2013 and 2014, the students of the Institute of Jazz Performance visited Israel, Japan, Mexico, Sweden and Turkey. Each tour entails performing as an ensemble and with many of today’s top jazz artists, as well as conducting free master classes and workshops for students.

Most recently, in May 2015 the group visited Morocco under the auspices of the U.S. Embassy in Rabat, conducting clinics with local students and performing for capacity crowds in historic venues like the 16th-century El Badi Palace in Marrakech. The students were accompanied by Institute Chairman Herbie Hancock and Institute Advisory Board member Dee Dee Bridgewater.

In the coming years, the Institute plans to continue producing international tours and bringing jazz to all parts of the world.

*** Notice – the image used on this page is available under the CC-BY-SA 3.0 license

BeBop to Hip-Hop

BeBop to Hip-Hop is one of the most innovative public school music education programs in America. Begun in 2004 in Los Angeles, the program brings together jazz and hip-hop students under the direction of professional jazz musicians and hip-hop artists to create a new art form demonstrating the genius of both musical genres. The aspiring young artists study the musical dynamics of both jazz and hip-hop and learn about the historical influence of jazz on hip-hop.

Each year, 50 students at Manual Arts High School and Washington Preparatory High School work together to compose experimental pieces combining the best of both art forms and record many of these works. Jazz and hip-hop instructors introduce the students to the latest recording technologies and software. The jazz students learn to produce more cutting-edge sounds, construct beats, and incorporate the hip-hop groove into jazz, while the hip-hop students learn how to create and record in a live environment and gain technical skills in music. All of the participants study composition, music theory, arranging, improvisation, lyric writing, turntable scratching, and sampling.

An annual culminating concert highlights the original and spontaneous work that results from this groundbreaking collaboration. Black Entertainment Television broadcast the 2005 concert as a one-hour documentary. In 2007, with support from the National Endowment for the Arts, the BeBop to Hip-Hop students presented community outreach concerts throughout Los Angeles, introducing thousands of residents of all ages to hip-hop and jazz.

During the past several years, the students have performed alongside jazz greats and hip-hop innovators including Terence Blanchard, DJ Spark, Doug E. Fresh, Herbie Hancock, Roy Hargrove, Chris Thomas King, Supernatural, Chali 2na, Bobby Watson, and YoYo. In 2010, the students had a recording of one of their original songs played on KKJZ, the country’s most popular jazz station with a weekly listenership of 450,000.

Performing Arts High Schools

Through the Performing Arts High Schools Jazz Program, the Institute brings respected jazz musicians and educators into 12 public performing arts high schools in ten cities across the country to provide intensive jazz training for exceptionally gifted and motivated student musicians. This specialized performance-based program enables students to participate in small combos and receive instruction in theory, composition, improvisation, history, and styles, preparing them to attend leading college, university, and conservatory music programs. The program offers students the opportunity to participate in a highly specialized performance-based jazz curriculum, study with some of the world’s most eminent jazz artists, and perform in jazz combos comprised of their peers.

The Institute provides the performing arts high schools with consultation regarding curriculum development and instructional methodology, periodic residencies by Institute staff, high-profile performance opportunities, and visiting guest artists and educators, as well as private lessons for each participant. In addition, the Institute invites combos from selected schools to participate in weeklong Peer-to-Peer Jazz Education Tours in which the students perform with renowned guest artists in public high schools across the nation. The visiting students perform at assembly programs and conduct jazz workshops, playing alongside their like-instrument counterparts and providing hands-on tutelage peer to peer. Of particular importance, they teach their peers about the values jazz represents: teamwork, unity with ethnic diversity, and freedom with responsibility. Each tour culminates with a public concert, providing invaluable performance experience for the participating students.

The Performing Arts High Schools Jazz Program is offered at:

Recent highlights of the Washington, DC program include master classes led by pianists Danilo Perez and Helen Sung, saxophonist Jeff Coffin and trumpeters James Morrison and Rashawn Ross. Students have performed at the U.S. Capitol, at a reception for the Congressional Black Caucus, at the Department of Education, and at the DC Jazz Festival. Los Angeles highlights include master classes conducted by pianist Kenny Barron, guitarist John Scofield, saxophonist Jimmy Heath, and trombonist Steve Turre. Program participants have performed for tens of thousands of people at the Monterey Jazz Festival, the Hollywood Bowl, and the Staples Center. In New Jersey, an all-star group of students recently had the incredible opportunity to record an album at the studios of legendary engineer Rudy Van Gelder. Overall, the program continues to have a tremendous impact on both the participating students and the community.

Through the Performing Arts High Schools Jazz Program, the Institute will ensure that the most gifted young jazz musicians from across the United States go on to become the preeminent jazz musicians of the 21st century.

Jazz In The Classroom

The Institute’s worldwide, highly regarded Jazz in the Classroom programs are tailored for elementary, middle, high school, and college students to help them develop an understanding of and appreciation for jazz music. The series strives to share the positive aspects of jazz with young people who would not otherwise have opportunities to learn about this great national treasure.

Jazz in the Classroom was developed in response to drastic reductions in public funding for music education. The goal is to expand children’s musical knowledge and encourage imaginative thinking, creativity, a positive self image and a respect for their own and others’ cultural heritage. Through these programs, the Institute has reached millions of students, teachers, and families, many of whom are experiencing jazz for the first time.

The Institute presents a number of programs for inner-city youth as well as programs serving young people in rural and remote communities. Through teaching and mentoring, jazz masters play a major role in the continued evolution of the music, the development of new artists, and the expansion of a broad listening audience to support the music.

Since 1989, the Institute has been presenting Jazz in the Classroom programs for young people throughout the United States and abroad. In recent years, the Institute has presented public school master classes and assembly programs featuring some of the greatest names in jazz, including McCoy Tyner, Branford Marsalis, Danilo Perez, Stanley Jordan, John Patitucci, Bobby Watson, George Duke, Kenny Garrett, and Chick Corea. These programs have been presented in public schools across America, ranging from the LaGuardia High School for Music & Art and Performing Arts in New York City and Woodrow Wilson High School in Washington, DC to Roosevelt High School in Seattle and the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts.

The Jazz in the Classroom series began with Clark Terry, who took a group of gifted American and European music students to Dolo, Italy, as part of an intensive educational summer program. Other noteworthy programs included drummer Max Roach presenting a jazz studies program to over 11,000 public school students in North Carolina, and a With Strings Attached guitar series. In addition, the Institute has presented a series of assemblies, master classes, and workshops led by jazz masters for young people in Alaska, Arizona, California, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Florida, Idaho, Maine, Massachusetts, Montana, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Texas, Washington, and on the islands of Bermuda, Jamaica, and St. Lucia.

The Institute was one of the first arts organizations to use interactive satellite television for music education as a part of its Jazz in the Classroom series. These programs have featured Herbie Hancock, Clark Terry, Joshua Redman, Christian McBride, Terri Lyne Carrington, Wah Wah Watson, and Pat Metheny.

The Institute is dedicated to its mission of preserving and promoting jazz, America’s musical heritage. The Institute’s educational programs ensure that jazz will have a bright future for generations to come.

Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance at the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music


About the Institute of Jazz Performance

One of the Institute’s earliest goals was to create a unique college-level jazz program where the masters of jazz could pass on their expertise to the next generation of jazz musicians. In September 1995, the Institute of Jazz Performance was launched and the first class of seven students began their intensive training with some of the world’s greatest musicians.

The Institute of Jazz Performance is a tuition-free two-year program that accepts one ensemble of musicians for each class. All of the students receive full scholarships, as well as stipends to cover their monthly living expenses. The students study both individually and as a small group, receiving personal mentoring, ensemble coaching, and lectures on the jazz tradition. They are also encouraged to experiment in expanding jazz in new directions through their compositions and performances.

The Institute of Jazz Performance students and instructors present a number of major concerts and community outreach programs throughout the United States and overseas. International highlights include performances at the celebration commemorating the 40th anniversary of the coronation of the King of Thailand, the 1998 Summit of the Americas in Chile before 34 heads of state, the United Nations “Day of Philosophy” event in Paris sponsored by UNESCO, and the Tokyo Jazz Festival. The students also have participated in tours of Argentina, China, Egypt, India, Morocco, Peru, Russia  and Vietnam with Institute Chairman Herbie Hancock.

Since the program’s inception, students have studied with Kenny Barron, Jerry Bergonzi, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Ron Carter, Hal Crook, Jack DeJohnette, Nnenna Freelon, Herbie Hancock, Barry Harris, Roy Haynes, Jimmy Heath, Dave Holland, Wynton Marsalis, Dick Oatts, Danilo Pérez, Dianne Reeves, John Scofield, Wayne Shorter, Horace Silver and Clark Terry, among many others.

Meet the Class of 2018

In September 2016, the Institute of Jazz Performance at the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music welcomed seven talented new students to the two-year program.

Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance at UCLA Class of 2018
Institute of Jazz Performance at UCLA, Class of 2018 (l-r) Anthony Fung, Glenn Tucker, Jon Hatamiya, Simon Moullier, Luca Alemanno, Julio Flavio Maza Galvez, and Alex Hahn


Luca Alemanno, bass, was born in Lecce, Italy. He began playing the electric bass as a teenager and earned a degree in jazz electric bass from Conservatorio Statale di Musica Guiseppe Martucci and a double bass degree from Conservatorio di Musica “Tito Schipa” Lecce. At 21, he won the European electric bass competition EuroBass Day held in Verona, Italy. Alemanno has appeared on more than 20 jazz albums and has performed in jazz clubs and festivals around the world including the London Jazz Festival, Rome Jazz Festival, North Sea Jazz Festival, Blue Note Tokyo and Ronnie Scott’s. He has appeared with artists including Dee Dee Bridgewater, Joe Lovano, Stanley Jordan and Maria Schneider.

Anthony Fung, drums, was born in Richmond Hill, Canada, and has been playing the drums since age 10. Fung is a graduate of the Berklee College of Music, where he received a bachelor’s degree in jazz performance and a master’s degree in contemporary music from Berklee’s Global Jazz Institute. He has studied with a wide variety of artists including Danilo Pérez, John Patitucci, Joe Lovano, Terri Lyne Carrington, Hal Crook and George Garzone. Fung performs with his own quintet and has appeared at the Panama Jazz Festival, Kriol Jazz Festival, Toronto and Montreal Jazz Festivals, Scullers Jazz Club, and Jazz at Lincoln Center.

Julio Flavio Maza Galvez, tenor saxophone, was born in Lima, Peru, and began playing the saxophone at age 12. He was an honors student at Universidad Peruana de Ciencias Aplicadas, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in music. Galvez has studied with Ania Paz, Karlhos Misajel and Edelmira Chavez. He placed in the national Peruvian composition contest “Canteras,” and has participated in the Stanford Jazz Workshop. Galvez has toured throughout Latin America, lending his talents to music groups in multiple genres including popular dance music, ska, reggae and big band. He is a private instructor teaching flute, piano, saxophone and theory.

Alexander Hahn, alto saxophone, was born in Orange, California, and began playing saxophone at age 10. He earned his undergraduate degree in jazz studies from the University of North Texas and his master’s degree in jazz studies from the University of Southern California. In 2014, he released his debut album Alex Hahn Crossing, a fusion of jazz and pop music, and recorded with Michael Bublé. Hahn has received several honors including a DownBeat student music award, the 2015 Perform with Mintzer Award, and an Outstanding Soloist Award from the 2015 Next Generation Monterey Jazz Festival. He has performed at numerous music festivals, recorded several commercials and worked on episodes of the television show “Glee.”

Jon Hatamiya, trombone, grew up in Davis, California, and began playing the trombone at age 10. He studied jazz performance at the Manhattan School of Music and earned his master’s degree in jazz studies at the University of Southern California. Hatamiya was featured in Jet Magazine in 2011 as the only trombonist on Wynton Marsalis’ list of “Who’s Got Next.” A 2015 ASCAP Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composers Award winner, he has toured nationally, appeared at the Davis Music Festival, and performed with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. Jon Hatamiya and Friends, his nine-piece fusion project, has headlined at the Blue Whale and the California Jazz Conservatory.

Simon Moullier, vibraphone, of Paris, France, has studied classical percussion since age 6. By age 12, he was studying jazz drums, and at 17 he began playing the vibraphone. Moullier studied at the Berklee College of Music, where he received his bachelor’s degree in jazz performance from Berklee’s Global Jazz Institute. He has studied privately with Danilo Perez, John Patitucci, Terri Lyne Carrington, Joe Lovano and Dave Liebman, among others. Moullier has performed at jazz clubs and festivals in New York, Boston, Indonesia, Spain, Panama, France and Sweden. A versatile multi-instrumentalist, he plays keyboards, balafon and drums in addition to vibraphone.

Glenn Tucker, piano, was born in Ypsilanti, Michigan, and began playing piano at age 11. He earned his bachelor of fine arts degree in jazz studies and his master’s degree in organ performance from the University of Michigan. Tucker has performed with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and has played on numerous albums including his debut album Determination, which was released in 2015. He has performed as both a leader and sideman in a wide range of jazz styles. Tucker’s stature as a pianist and Hammond organist is steadily rising on the Detroit scene, and he occasionally tours with R&B great Michael Henderson.


International Jazz Day

In November 2011, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) officially designated April 30 as International Jazz Day in order to highlight jazz and its diplomatic role of uniting people in all corners of the globe. International Jazz Day is chaired and led by Irina Bokova, UNESCO Director General, and legendary jazz pianist and composer Herbie Hancock, who serves as a UNESCO Ambassador for Intercultural Dialogue and Chairman of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz. The Institute is the lead nonprofit organization charged with planning, promoting and producing this annual celebration.

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. Each year on April 30, this international art form is recognized for promoting peace, dialogue among cultures, diversity, and respect for human rights and human dignity; eradicating discrimination; promoting freedom of expression; fostering gender equality; and reinforcing the role of youth in enacting social change.

International Jazz Day is the culmination of Jazz Appreciation Month, which draws public attention to jazz and its extraordinary heritage throughout April. In December 2012, the United Nations General Assembly formally welcomed the decision by the UNESCO General Conference to proclaim April 30 as International Jazz Day. The United Nations and UNESCO now both recognize International Jazz Day on their official calendars.

2018 & 2019

In October 2017, UNESCO announced the selection of Saint Petersburg, Russia and Sydney, Australia as Global Host Cities for the 2018 and 2019 editions, respectively, of International Jazz Day. In St. Petersburg, festivities are set to take place in some of the city’s most significant venues, such as the Mariinsky Theatre, with further details to be announced. In Sydney, meanwhile, plans are underway to hold the flagship All Star-Global Concert in the iconic Sydney Opera House, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the streets of the city will come alive with jazz through a daylong programme of “Jazz in Squares,” featuring school bands and jazz combos.


Havana, Cuba served as the 2017 Global Host City. As part of an extended International Jazz Day celebration, from April 24 through 30 acclaimed musicians and educators from Cuba and around the world participated in free jazz performances, master classes, improvisational workshops, jam sessions and community outreach initiatives. Programs took place at schools, arts venues, community centers, jazz clubs and parks across the city of Havana and throughout Cuba, leading up to the festivities on April 30th. Additionally, jazz history and education programs were provided for tens of thousands of students in over 11,000 schools across Cuba.

The day culminated with an All-Star Global Concert presented at the Gran Teatro de La Habana Alicia Alonso, under the auspices of the Ministry of Culture of Cuba, the Cuban Institute of Music and the Cuban National Commission for UNESCO. The concert was streamed online by UNESCO and featured an extraordinary array of artists from around the world paying tribute to the international art form of jazz. Learn more about the 2017 International Jazz Day celebration.


Washington, D.C. served as the International Jazz Day 2016 Global Host City. President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama hosted the International Jazz Day All-Star Global Concert at the White House. The show aired as a U.S. network television special and was streamed around the world via the United Nations, UNESCO and the U.S. State Department. A host of jazz legends and rising stars performed, including pianists Joey Alexander (Indonesia), John Beasley (Music Director), Kris Bowers, Chick Corea, Robert Glasper, Herbie Hancock, Danilo Pérez (Panama) and Chucho Valdés (Cuba); trumpeters Terence Blanchard, Till Brönner (Germany), Hugh Masekela (South Africa), James Morrison (Australia); vocalists Dee Dee Bridgewater, Jamie Cullum (UK), Kurt Elling, Aretha Franklin, Al Jarreau, Diana Krall (Canada), Dianne Reeves and Sting (UK); saxophonists Eli Degibri (Israel), David Sánchez, Wayne Shorter and Bobby Watson; bassists Christian McBride, Marcus Miller, Esperanza Spalding and Ben Williams; guitarists Buddy Guy, Lionel Loueke (Benin), Pat Metheny and Lee Ritenour; drummers Brian Blade, Terri Lyne Carrington and Kendrick Scott; percussionist Zakir Hussain (India); trombone player Trombone Shorty; and the Rebirth Brass Band. More than 60 jazz performances, education programs and community service initiatives were presented free of charge across Washington, D.C. on the National Mall, at historic Dupont Circle, in the city’s metro stations, and at museums, libraries, social service agencies, hospitals and performing arts centers.

In parallel with the Global Host celebration, an enormous variety of jazz performances and programs took place in more than 190 countries. Nearly 1,000 events were organized, including several multi-day festivals and a range of educational and community outreach activities.


Paris, France served as the 2015 Global Host City. Rich in history and culture, the City of Lights was a fitting choice for this year’s host celebration given its historically vibrant and innovative jazz scene. A daylong series of over 80 performances and education programs, including workshops, master classes, jam sessions and panel discussions, took place across all 20 city districts. The vast majority of events were free and open to the public. An array of French and international artists participated, ensuring that the streets of Paris truly did ring with the sounds and sights of jazz from morning until night on April 30.
In conjunction with UNESCO’s 70th Anniversary celebration, a spectacular All-Star Global Concert took place at UNESCO headquarters on the Place de Fontenoy, with opening remarks by UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova and United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon. The show featured more than 20 extraordinary artists from 14 countries, including pianists John Beasley (Music Director), A Bu (China), Antonio Faraò (Italy) and Herbie Hancock; trumpeters Till Brönner (Germany), Hugh Masekela (South Africa) and Claudio Roditi (Brazil); vocalists Dee Dee Bridgewater, Al Jarreau, Rudy Pérez and Dianne Reeves; saxophonists Igor Butman (Russia), Femi Kuti (Nigeria), Guillaume Perret (France) and Wayne Shorter; bassists James Genus and Marcus Miller; guitarist Lee Ritenour; drummer Terri Lyne Carrington and harmonica player Grégoire Maret (Switzerland).
The Paris celebration was one part of a massive worldwide observance of International Jazz Day, with over 800 events taking place in more than 190 UN and UNESCO member states.


Osaka, Japan served as the 2014 Global Host City. The day’s festivities began with 6 hours of free jazz education programs at the state-of-the-art Osaka School of Music, where musicians, journalists, philanthropists and educators converged to deliver workshops, lectures, master classes, panel discussions and more. Opening with a rousing duet rendition of Louis Armstrong’s “West End Blues” by Japanese jazz artists and philanthropists Yoshio & Keiko Toyama, the daytime activities included such highlights as an interview between Associated Press journalist Charles Gans and renowned vocalist Dee Dee Bridgewater on jazz and human rights; a discussion featuring UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Herbie Hancock and UNESCO Artist for Peace Marcus Miller on “Artists for Peace & Cultural Diplomacy;” and instrumental workshops with acclaimed artists Terumasa Hino and Earl Klugh. This year’s educational program reached over 10,000 people with the help of live streaming technology.

The evening All-Star Global Concert at the famed outdoor Osaka Castle Park featured stunning performances by Toshiko Akiyoshi (Japan), John Beasley (Musical Director), Kris Bowers, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Terri Lyne Carrington, Theo Croker, Sheila E., Pete Escovedo, Roberta Gambarini (Italy), Kenny Garrett, James Genus, Roy Hargrove, Lalah Hathaway, Terumasa Hino (Japan), Earl Klugh, Marcus Miller, T.S. Monk, Gregory Porter, Claudio Roditi (Italy), John Scofield, Wayne Shorter, Esperanza Spalding, Lew Tabackin, Steve Turre, Dionne Warwick and other internationally acclaimed artists. Dignitaries from UNESCO and the Japanese government also attended. In a stirring demonstration of the true breadth of International Jazz Day’s message, the audience was treated to a special video message from astronauts aboard the International Space Station orbiting over 200 miles above the earth’s surface. The concert was streamed live and seen by millions of people worldwide on and via the UNESCO, United Nations, U.S. State Department and Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz websites. Additionally, the concert was taped for broadcast on public television stations around the world.

As in 2013, all 196 member states of UNESCO and the United Nations joined in the celebrations, with organizers and institutions everywhere planning festivals, concerts, parades, jam sessions, jazz flash mobs, art and photo exhibitions, lectures, discussions, education programs and much more on and around April 30. With the participation of Antarctica’s McMurdo and Palmer research stations, the third annual International Jazz Day included events on all 7 continents.


Istanbul, Turkey was named the 2013 Global Host City for International Jazz Day. The city hosted a daylong series of jazz events including workshops and seminars, panels and roundtable discussions, film screenings, student master classes led by prominent musicians and educators, and – of course – live performances.

The crowning event of the celebration was the Global Concert in the Hagia Irene, a 4th-century Byzantine Church. The star-studded evening featured an extraordinary series of performances from Dale Barlow (Australia), John Beasley, Rubén Blades (Panama), Terence Blanchard, Igor Butman (Russia), Terri Lyne Carrington, Anat Cohen (Israel), Vinnie Colaiuta, Imer Demirer (Turkey), George Duke, James Genus, Robert Glasper, Herbie Hancock, Zakir Hussain (India), Al Jarreau, Bilal Karaman (Turkey), Ramsey Lewis, Pedrito Martinez, Hugh Masekela, Branford Marsalis, Keiko Matsui (Japan), John McLaughlin (UK), Marcus Miller, Thelonious Monk, Jr., Milton Nascimiento (Brazil), Eddie Palmieri, Alevtina Polyakova (Russia), Jean-Luc Ponty (France), Dianne Reeves, Lee Ritenour, Hüsnü Şenlendirici (Turkey), Wayne Shorter, Esperanza Spalding, Joss Stone, Joe Louis Walker and Ben Williams.

Attendees also heard remarks from International Jazz Day Co-Chairs Herbie Hancock and Irina Bokova, and guest speaker Martin Luther King III, among others. The evening’s festivities were broadcast live online and on public television stations worldwide, with “Listening Parties” organized in countries from the U.S. to Trinidad and Tobago to Georgia to Bhutan.

In the true spirit of the Day, citizens the world over showed their love for jazz by participating in jam sessions, concerts, flash mobs, lectures, and film screenings; producing video tributes; and taking the conversation digital on FacebookTwitter, and beyond.


UNESCO and United Nations missions, U.S. embassies and government outposts around the world hosted special events for the first annual International Jazz Day on April 30, 2012. Universities, libraries, schools, community centers, performing arts venues and arts organizations of all disciplines around the world marked the day through concerts, education programs, seminars, lectures, book readings, public jam sessions, master classes, photo exhibitions, dance recitals, film and documentary screenings, theater presentations and spoken word performances. More than one billion people around the world were reached through 2012 International Jazz Day programs and media coverage.

In 2012, UNESCO and the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz presented three high-profile programs: a daylong celebration in Paris at UNESCO world headquarters; a sunrise concert in New Orleans’ Congo Square, the birthplace of jazz; and a sunset concert at the United Nations General Assembly Hall in New York City. Among the world-renowned artists that participated were John Beasley, Tony Bennett, George Benson, Terence Blanchard, Richard Bona (Cameroon), Dee Dee Bridgewater, Candido, Teri Lyne Carrington, Ron Carter, Robert Cray, Jack DeJohnette, George Duke, Sheila E., Herbie Hancock, Antonio Hart, Jimmy Heath, Hiromi (Japan), Zakir Hussain (India), Chaka Khan, Angelique Kidjo (Benin), Lang Lang (China), Joe Lovano, Romero Lubambo (Brazil), Shankar Mahadevan (India), Ellis Marsalis, Wynton Marsalis, Hugh Masekela (South Africa), Christian McBride, Marcus Miller, Danilo Pérez (Panama), Wayne Shorter, Esperanza Spalding, Treme Brass Band and Stevie Wonder. Hosts included Robert De Niro, Michael Douglas, Morgan Freeman and Quincy Jones.

The Institute and UNESCO will continue their partnership to encourage schools, universities, libraries, arts organizations, community centers and other entities in UNESCO’s 195 member states to host jazz concerts and educational programs on International Jazz Day. Our goal is to reach people of all ages and backgrounds, in order to include them in this global celebration of freedom, creativity, and – above all – jazz.

Peer to Peer Program

In 2017, Institute students from the nation’s leading public performing arts high schools visited schools across America. The All-Star High School Jazz Sextet, made up of talented students from Miami, Florida; Dallas and Houston, Texas; New Orleans, Louisiana; and Los Angeles, California introduced the Peer-to-Peer program to thousands of public school students in St. Augustine and Jacksonville, Florida and Dallas and Plano, Texas. While teaching their peers, the touring student musicians received helpful instruction from jazz greats Delfeayo Marsalis and Bobby Watson, and performed at prestigious jazz venues including The Parlour in Jacksonville and The Scat Lounge in Fort Worth. Lead funding for the 2017 Peer-to-Peer Jazz Education Tours was provided by Toyota, United Airlines and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Through the Institute’s Peer-to-Peer Jazz Education Tours, gifted student musicians from 11 public performing arts high schools served by the Institute present weeklong tours for their peers in other cities. The student musicians are accompanied by distinguished guest artists including vocalist Lisa Henry, saxophonists Antonio Hart and Bobby Watson, guitarist Kevin Eubanks, trumpeters Ingrid Jensen, Ambrose Akinmusire and Terell Stafford, pianists Herbie Hancock and Gerald Clayton, and bassist Christian McBride.

On each day of the Peer-to-Peer tour, the musicians present an informance (informational performance) for the entire student body at a different school. They play various styles of jazz and talk with the student audiences about what jazz is, why it is important to America, and how a jazz ensemble represents a perfect democracy. Throughout each presentation, the student musicians and guest artists provide further insight into important values that jazz represents: teamwork, unity with ethnic diversity, the correlation of hard work and goal accomplishment, and the importance of finding a passion for something early in life and being persistent. The student audiences learn a great deal from their peers as, due to their similar ages, attitude, and look, there is instant rapport and respect.

Following each informance, the guest instrumental artist presents a jazz workshop for the host school’s jazz band in which the visiting student performers play alongside their like-instrument counterparts, providing hands-on tutelage peer-to-peer. At the same time, the guest vocalist presents a vocal jazz workshop for the school’s choir. Each tour also includes public concerts at local jazz clubs or other performance venues, giving the touring student ensembles invaluable experience performing with renowned artists while developing jazz audiences for the future.

Since 2005, Peer-to-Peer Jazz Education Tours have been presented in Anchorage, Austin, Berkeley, Boston, Buffalo, Detroit, Indianapolis, Honolulu, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Memphis, Miami, Minneapolis, Oakland, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Rochester, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, San Francisco and Seattle. Each year, the program has resonated with students and adults alike.