Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition: Established in 1987, this is the world’s most prestigious jazz competition, recognized for discovering the next generation of jazz masters. The competition focuses on a different instrument each year and features an all-star judging panel. Past judges have included Dave Brubeck, Quincy Jones, Diana Krall, Christian McBride, Marian McPartland, Pat Metheny, and many others. This high-profile annual event has launched the careers of Marcus Roberts, Joshua Redman, Chris Potter, Jacky Terrasson, Joey De Francesco, Ambrose Akinmusire, Ben Williams, Jane Monheit, and Tierney Sutton, to name a few. Dozens of semifinalists have forged successful careers as jazz performers and educators. The winner is guaranteed a recording contract with Concord Music Group.
Each year the competition receives an extraordinary amount of publicity and press coverage in a variety of publications from The New York Times and The Washington Post to People magazine. National Public Radio has presented one-hour specials on past competitions that have reached 20 million listeners, and Black Entertainment Television has produced competition documentaries featuring performance clips and interviews with the contestants and judges.