Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Announces Semifinalists for the 2011 International Jazz Piano Competition Made Possible by Cadillac

Judges Include Herbie Hancock, Ellis Marsalis, Jason Moran, Danilo Perez and Renee Rosnes

Semifinalists Will Compete to Perform at the 25th Anniversary Gala and Win Scholarship Prizes and a Recording Contract with Concord Music Group

Aug 24, 2011, 09:00 ET from Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz

WASHINGTON, Aug. 24, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- The Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, the world's premier nonprofit jazz education organization, announces the 12 semifinalists for its illustrious 2011 International Jazz Piano Competition.  The 2011 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Piano Competition Semifinals, sponsored by Cadillac, will take place on Sunday, September 11th from 1 PM5 PM at Baird Auditorium at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History.  Judges for the competition include Herbie Hancock, Ellis Marsalis, Jason Moran, Danilo Perez and Renee Rosnes.

As a part of the Institute's 25th Anniversary Celebration weekend, the International Jazz Piano Competition will showcase the talents of 12 of the world's most gifted, young jazz pianists. They will travel to Washington, DC from around the world on United Airlines, the official airline of the Thelonious Monk Institute, to compete for scholarships, a recording contract with Concord Music Group and the prestige of winning this internationally acclaimed competition.  The three finalists selected will continue on to perform at the 25th Anniversary Celebration and All-Star Gala Concert, co-chaired by Madeleine Albright, Quincy Jones, Debra Lee and Colin Powell and featuring an appearance by Aretha Franklin, the Institute's Maria Fisher Founder's Award recipient, on Monday, September 12th, 7:30 PM at the Kennedy Center Eisenhower Theater. Other featured performers at the All-Star Gala Concert include competition winners from the past 25 years along with Terence Blanchard, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Terri Lyne Carrington, Ron Carter, Jimmy Heath, Joe Lovano, T.S. Monk, John Patitucci, Dianne Reeves, Wayne Shorter and many others.

"The Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition is recognized as the most significant jazz competition in the world, and is responsible for discovering the next generation of great jazz musicians, whose musical contributions will define the progression and future of jazz," said Thomas R. Carter, the Institute's President. "Jazz is America's greatest musical contribution to the world, and by nurturing these young talents, the Institute is upholding its 25 year commitment to furthering jazz performance and education."

The Institute's International Jazz Competition, compared in stature to that of the classical Tchaikovsky and Van Cliburn Competitions, has launched the careers of pianists Eric Lewis (ELEW), Marcus Roberts and Jacky Terrasson, saxophonist Joshua Redman, trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire, bassist Ben Williams, and vocalists Jane Monheit, Gretchen Parlato and Tierney Sutton, among numerous others. Through the competition and the Institute's numerous educational programs, the Institute is committed to identifying and training promising young jazz musicians who will preserve the traditions of jazz while expanding the music in new directions.

The 2011 competition semifinalists are Kris Bowers (Los Angeles, California), Emmet Cohen (Miami, Florida), Steven Feifke (Lexington, Massachusetts), Beka Gochiashvili (Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia), Justin Kauflin (Virginia Beach, Virginia), Pascal Le Boeuf (Santa Cruz, California), Antonio Madruga (Pembroke Pines, Florida), Hod Moshonov (Pardes Hanna, Israel), Can Olgun (born in Marburg, Germany and raised in Berlin, Germany), Harold O'Neal (born in Arusha, Tanzania and raised in Kansas City, Missouri), Joshua White (born in Los Angeles and raised in El Cajon, California) and Glenn Zaleski (Boylston, Massachusetts).

About the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz
The Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, a nonprofit jazz education organization, was founded in 1986 in memory of the legendary jazz pianist and composer Thelonious Sphere Monk. The Institute fosters the next generation of jazz greats by offering the world's most promising young musicians college level training by internationally recognized jazz masters, educating young people around the world about jazz through innovative public school programs, and presenting a wide range of initiatives that expand and perpetuate America's indigenous musical art form.  
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About the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition
Since 1987, the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz has presented the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition, which is recognized as the world's most prestigious jazz competition and for discovering the next generation of jazz masters.  Each year, major scholarships and prizes including recording contracts are awarded to the talented young musicians participating in the Competition. The scholarships help pay tuition for college-level jazz education studies and provide funds for private, specialized instruction.  Past judges have included Dave Brubeck, Al Jarreau, Quincy Jones, Diana Krall, Branford Marsalis, Marian McPartland, Pat Metheny, and many others.

SOURCE Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz