May 04, 2017 | CJC News

May 4, 2017; Berkeley, California; The California Jazz Conservatory, the only accredited independent school in America completely devoted to the study and performance of jazz, has announced multiple plans and programs for celebrating its milestone year in 2017, the 20th anniversary of the iconic Berkeley jazz education institution. ­­

Established in 1997 as the Jazzschool, a year-round community music education program, the organization is now an accredited, independent college offering a 4-year Bachelor of Music in Jazz Studies degree (since 2009), as well as continuing to offer its Jazzschool classes, workshops, summer jazz camps and intensives––a 20-year tradition of music education in the Berkeley arts community.

With the advent of its third decade, the Conservatory is taking significant steps in expanding its programs and growing its facilities, plans and partnerships.

The Conservatory announced the new developments and directions while reflecting on its lauded past in a “Platinum Preview Party” event held April 23rd at the Scimens-Moss Home in Oakland (historically known as the Rubino House) with entertainment provided by the Conservatory’s own student musicians, the Michael Echaniz Trio and special guests.

“We’ve accomplished much over 20 years,” commented California Jazz Conservatory President and Dean of Instruction, Susan Muscarella. “We’ve established a firm foundation for our future, and now we’re thrilled to announce some very exciting plans and programs to positively impact the future of jazz.”

The most visible addition to the Conservatory’s future is the 5,550 square foot Fiddler Annex (named in honor of board member, Jerry Fiddler), located directly across the street from the Conservatory’s current Addison Street location. The Fiddler Annex will triple the size and scope of the Conservatory’s facilities and offerings, adding classrooms and performance, practice and office space, in addition to a new version of its popular cafè, with the original Jazzcaffè remaining open in the current Addison Street location.

The Fiddler Annex opening is scheduled to coincide with the Conservatory’s 20th anniversary celebrations, taking place during the third week in September, with a number of celebratory community events currently in the planning stages.

On the academic side, new developments include the establishment of a 2-year Associate of Arts in Jazz Studies degree program from the Conservatory. The Associate of Arts degree in Jazz Studies will be awarded to instrumental and vocal students who satisfactorily complete the Conservatory’s program of study of core music courses, electives and general studies courses.

In addition to the new Associate of Arts degree, a new concentration has been added to the Conservatory’s Bachelor of Music program: The North American Roots Music Concentration, focusing on examining the stylistic development and cultural origins of North American folkloric music (also known as “traditional music”), from nineteenth century work songs and spirituals to the present.

This new opportunity joins two existing concentrations, allowing Jazz Studies majors the option of specializing in one of three areas of particular interest: Brazilian Jazz, Audio Production (presented in conjunction with Berkeley’s famed Fantasy Studios) and the new North American Roots Music focus.

Also introduced at the April 23rd event was the Conservatory’s new performance group, the Blue/Green Ensembles. These new advanced-level opportunities are for instrumentalists and vocalists who demonstrate artistic leadership and academic excellence. They provide an opportunity to strengthen musicianship skills and develop artistic sensibility. Members of the Blue/Green Ensembles serve as jazz ambassadors, while earning their degree in Jazz Studies.

Wrapping up her re-cap of news at the anniversary celebration, Muscarella announced a three-year strategic partnership with another jazz icon, the prestigious Monterey Jazz Festival and its Next Generation Jazz Festival, held annually in downtown Monterey, California, where the Conservatory previewed its new “100% JAZZ” marketing campaign.

The California Jazz Conservatory has announced it will be the host for the Next Generation Jazz Festival’s Opening Night Concert from 2017 through 2019.

In addition to gaining major visibility and multiple networking opportunities at the opening night concert and throughout the weekend, the California Jazz Conservatory awarded $500,000 worth of scholarships presented to students performing at the Next Generation Jazz Festival. Announcements of the scholarships drew cheers of appreciation from students and fans attending the 2017 Next Generation Jazz Festival, held March 31st through April 2nd in downtown Monterey.

“This is a vibrant weekend dedicated to the future of jazz and we are honored and excited to participate with the Monterey Jazz Festival in this long-term partnership in support of jazz education,” commented Muscarella in closing.

The California Jazz Conservatory is located at 2087 Addison Street, Berkeley, California, 94704. Their website is Telephone number is 510/845-5373.

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Susan Muscarella