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Mingus Orchestra at St. Bartholomew’s Church, Feb 18, 2012 7:30pm FREE

Mingus Orchestra at St. Bart’s Press Release PDF


MINGUS ORCHESTRA “Better Get It In Your Soul” Music of Charles Mingus

St. Bartholomew’s Church 325 Park Avenue (at 50th Street)
Saturday, February 18, 2012 – 7:30pm

To celebrate the 90th anniversary year of the birth of Charles Mingus, Grammy award-winning Mingus musicians will return to St. Bartholomew’s Church on Park Avenue to perform a concert in conjunction with the 2012 Mingus High School Competition & Festival – one of the year’s most important events in jazz education. The weekend includes a day of workshops run by seasoned Mingus musicians and music educators as well as a full day on Sunday devoted to the Competition at Manhattan School of Music. The Mingus Orchestra concert at St. Bart’s will feature the premiere of new arrangements by both Gunther Schuller and Boris Kozlov including “Inquisition” and “Purple Heart” and the usual wide range of Mingus compositions from lush and intricate orchestral pieces to swinging blues. Gunther Schuller will conduct his arrangements.

The Mingus Orchestra features Brandon Wright, Wayne Escoffery, Ku-umba Frank Lacy, Philip Harper, Michael Rabinowitz, John Clark, Douglas Yates, David Gilmore, Boris Kozlov, and Donald Edwards. It is produced by Sue Mingus.
 NPR will be broadcasting the 2011 concert from Feb 9 on (Check your local station for dates at times of broadcast. WBGO 88.3 FM AND WBGO.ORG will broadcast Sunday, February 12, at 6pm and Wednesday, February 15, at 6:30pm.)

The St. Bartholomew Concert and the Competition are free to the public but contributions will be welcomed at the concert or online at

“The Orchestra upholds the boisterous Mingus legacy while delving even deeper into his repertory.”   The New York Times

“The lean, sharp ten-piece band features such uncommon instrumentation as a bassoon and a French horn, but this isn’t staid chamber jazz. When the spirit of the late, great one hits them, they steam.”    The New Yorker

“Had American symphony orchestras not discriminated against African-American musicians throughout much of the 20th century, Charles Mingus might have led an entirely different career. Mingus was as much a student of Beethoven and Debussy as of Fats Waller and Duke Ellington, and his classical aspirations found their outlet in dozens of compositions written for a sort of jazz-band-plus that included non-jazz instruments like bassoon, oboe, and French horn. It is to this often-overlooked portion of Charles’ legacy that the Mingus Orchestra is devoted.”  – Andy Schwartz

“I think it is time our children were raised to think they can play bassoon, oboe, French horn, English horn, full percussion, violin, cello. If we so-called jazz musicians who are composers, spontaneous composers, started including these instruments in our music, it would open everything up.”  –  Charles Mingus, Let My Children Hear Music liner notes

This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts

2012 Charles Mingus High School Competition Finalists

PDF: 2012HSpressrelease

January 5, 2012 – New York, NY

Sue Mingus and Let My Children Hear Music/The Charles Mingus Institute and Justin DiCioccio and the Manhattan School of Music announce finalists (see attached) and an exciting lineup for the Charles Mingus High School Competition and Festival weekend.  This year’s nationwide Competition will include events produced with Manhattan School of Music, as well as other events produced by Let My Children Hear Music including a public concert of Mingus music conducted by Gunther Schuller.  The Mingus Big Band will perform all weekend at Jazz Standard, and on Sunday night, Outstanding Soloists from the Competition will have the opportunity to sit in.

Saturday begins with a full day of clinics and workshops at the Manhattan School of Music (122nd Street & Broadway) including master classes for instruments and sections, lectures, films, and clinics that explore aspects of Mingus music, followed by a student Mingus jam. Prominent educators and musicians have listened to tapes and will participate in the clinics and adjudicate the Competition on Sunday, also at MSM, which will feature the top 12 big bands and combos from around the country.

Please note various locations for the other events taking place.  All events are open to the public. More details to be announced at


The finalists (in alphabetical order by school) are:

-Lexington High School Jazz Ensemble, Lexington, MA. Band Director: Ken Gable
-Jazz Ensemble I, Medfield High School, Medfield, MA. Band Director: Douglas Olsen
-The Rivers Big Band, Rivers School,  Weston, MA. Band Director: Philippe Crettien

BIG BAND CATEGORY-Specialized Schools and Programs
-Jazz House Big Band, Jazz House Kids, Montclair, NJ. Band Director: Julius Tolentino
-York College Blue Notes, New York, NY. Band Director: Tom Zlabinger

-Lexington High School Jazz Combo, Lexington, MA. Band Director: Ken Gable
-Newark Academy Combo, Newark Academy, Livingston, NJ. Band Director: Julius Tolentino
-Rio Americano Combo, Rio Americano High School, Sacramento, CA. Band Director: Max Kiesner and Josh Murray

COMBO CATEGORY-Specialized Schools and Program (There was a tie for the 3rd spot so 4 combos will compete.)
-Batterman Ensemble, Wisconsin Conservatory of Music, Milwaukee, WI. Band Director: Mark Davis
-Jazz Ensemble 3, Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts, Hartford, CT.  Band Director: Kris Allen
-Jazz House Small Group, Jazz House Kids, Montclair, NJ. Band Director: Radam Schwartz and Julius Tolentino
-LaGuardia High School Jazz Sextet, LaGuardia High School Jazz Sextet, New York, NY.  Band Director: Kevin Blancq


FRIDAY, FEB 17-SUNDAY, FEB 19  MINGUS BIG BAND at Jazz Standard 116 E. 27th btw Park & Lex Sets at 7:30pm/9:30pm. Fri & Sat third set at 11:30pm. Fri/Sat: $30/$15 students, Sunday $25/$12.50 students.


-FULL DAY OF CLINICS, MASTER CLASSES, AND JAMS at Manhattan School of Music 122nd Street & Broadway Free and open to the public.

-MINGUS ORCHESTRA conducted by Gunther Schuller. Details coming.


-Mingus High School COMPETITION at Manhattan School of Music. 122nd Street & Broadway. MSM Mingus group and Mingus Dynasty performs. Free and open to the public.

-MINGUS BIG BAND at Jazz Standard. Sets 7:30 & 9:30 with Outstanding Soloists from the Competition sitting in. $25/$12.50 students

MONDAY, FEB 20 MINGUS band at Jazz Standard 116 E. 27th btw Park & Lex.
Sets at 7:30/9:30. $25/$12.50 students

“You are guaranteed a great and profound experience when you perform music by this giant of jazz composition.”
—Gunther Schuller, conductor/ Pulitzer Prize-winning composer/educator

“The deep study of this music has affected our lives. It’s changed us as people and players.”
—Jeffery Leonard, Lexington High School band director

Mingus Orchestra at St. Bart’s archive on WBGO

Gunther Schuller conducts the Mingus Orchestra at St. Bartholomew's Church. Photo: Shannon Manning, Let My Children Hear Music, Inc.

In case you missed it, the April 22 WBGO Mingus Orchestra broadcast is archived here:

From the WBGO blog: April 21, 2011. Posted by Becca Pulliam:
Presidents Day was the climax of a big week for the legacy of Charles Mingus and those who love it. First, after many nominations, the Mingus Big Band won the Best Large Ensemble Grammy for the CD of their New Year’s Eve show, originally broadcast on Toast of the Nation! Five days later, students by the band-ful came to New York for the third national  Charles Mingus High School Competition, founded by Sue Mingus, at Manhattan School of Music. (You can see the winners here.) As part of the weekend, on Friday night, I went to Jazz Standard to see the Grammy-winning Mingus Big Band, as bassist Boris Kozlov announced them. The club was full of teenagers and the spirit in the room was joy. The next night, the Mingus Orchestra gave a concert at St. Bart’s Church on Park Avenue & 50th St., an un-amplified concert in which the high cathedral ceiling and smooth, colorful stone walls and floor all became part of the music. You can hear this concert on WBGO and Michael Bourne hosts the special broadcast for Mingus’s birthday, Friday, April 22 at 8pm.

We are happy to announce that NPR “Jazz Set” will broadcast Mingus Orchestra at St. Bart’s Church February 2012. Look for video clips coming soon, too!

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This project has been made possible by the National Endowment for the Arts as part of
American Masterpieces: Three Centuries of Artistic Genius.