Monk Competition To Focus on Saxophonists Sept. 15–16
Posted 8/27/2013

The Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz has announced the 14 semifinalists for its 2013 International Jazz Competition, to be held Sept. 15–16 in Washington, D.C. This year, the institute’s focus instrument is the saxophone.

The competition requires all entrants to be under the age of 30. Past winners include vocalist Gretchen Parlato, saxophonist Joshua Redman, bassist Ben Williams and trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire.

The 2013 semifinalists are Melissa Aldana from Santiago, Chile; Braxton Cook from Silver Spring, Md.; Sam Dillon from Great Neck, N.Y.; Lukas Gabric from Villach, Austria; Andrew Gould from Long Island, N.Y.; Michael Griffin from Sydney, Australia; Danny Janklow from Los Angeles; Grace Kelly from Wellesley, Mass.; Mike Lebrun from Framingham, Mass.; Godwin Louis from Harlem, N.Y.; Tivon Pennicott from Marietta, Ga.; Clay Pritchard from Grapevine, Texas; Dean Tsur from Timrat, Israel; and Ben Van Gelder from Groninger, The Netherlands.

On Sept. 15, each semifinalist will perform a 15-minute set accompanied by Rodney Whitaker on bass, Reginald Thomas on piano and Carl Allen on drums before a panel of judges at the Smithsonian Institution’s Baird Auditorium at the National Museum of Natural History. Judges will include saxophonists Jane Ira Bloom, Jimmy Heath, Branford Marsalis, Wayne Shorter and Bobby Watson. Tickets for the semifinals are free and will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis at the museum beginning at noon that day.

The competition finals are set to take place the following evening, Sept. 16, at the Kennedy Center. Three finalists will compete for the top award, which includes a $25,000 scholarship and a recording contract with the Concord Music Group. A $15,000 second-place scholarship and $10,000 third-place scholarship will also be awarded.

The competition will be followed by an all-star concert gala, during which the Monk Institute will present a lifetime achievement award to Shorter and pay tribute to the late George Duke. The gala will also feature performances by John Beasley, Brian Blade, Terri Lyne Carrington, Herbie Hancock, Branford Marsalis and Cassandra Wilson. Tickets cost $50–$75 and may be purchased at the Kennedy Center box office or website.

Proceeds from the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Saxophone Competition and all-star gala concert will help fund the Monk Institute’s public school jazz and blues education programs across the country.

For more information, visit the Monk Institute website.


Branford Marsalis will serve as a judge at this year’s Monk Competition. (Photo: Eric Ryan Anderson)


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