JAS Academy Will Expand to Four Weeks in 2021 in Collaboration with Frost School of Music

Mike Lawson • News • December 9, 2020

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Jazz Aspen Snowmass (JAS), in collaboration with the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami, plans to expand their mid-summer JAS Academy program in 2021 to include a new “Combo/Small Ensemble Session.”

This two-week intensive workshop will be followed by an additional two-week JAS Academy “Individual/Big Band Sessions,” led by JAS Academy artistic director and multi-GRAMMY winning bassist Christian McBride. McBride will work in tandem with Frost Dean Shelly Berg and program director Chuck Bergeron, who will work on both sessions. Visiting jazz-masters who perform at the JAS Café summer series also act as visiting adjunct faculty during both sessions. 

“For the 2021 JAS Academy in collaboration with Frost School of Music, the expansion of the program to include small combo format bands is an exciting development for music education as part of JAS’ 30th Anniversary Season,” said JAS president and CEO Jim Horowitz. “This is a great opportunity to identify and encourage emerging groups with a clear vision and sound. We value equally both interpretations of existing repertoire, or original material created by the applicant group previously or specifically for this program. We also value the group’s ability to be versatile in the range of material covered, tempos employed and different moods conveyed. We are pleased to be able to offer both big band and small combo focused programs for the 2021 Season.” 

Horowitz added: “JAS was able to safely present the JAS Academy during the pandemic in 2020 through rigorous adherence to local Health Dep’t guidelines regarding distancing, masking and gathering. Both the daily education sessions and live performances for small audiences went off smoothly and we expect the same in 2021.” 

“Expanding the JAS Academy from two to four weeks is a game-changer. With this form at, the academy is a unique boot camp for the essential technology, marketing, and creative skills that every musician needs to thrive. I truly believe it is a life-changing experience,” said Frost School Dean Shelly Berg. 

The Combo/Small Ensemble Sessions will take place from July 11 to 25 in Snowmass, Colorado. For the Combo/Small Ensemble Session, JAS/Frost are seeking group applicants from existing ensembles with unique repertoire and/or arrangements. Additionally, groups interested in exploring a new or specific artistic vision are encouraged to audition for The Academy. The application deadline is February 1, 2021. 

The Individual/Big Band Sessions will take place from July 25 to Aug 7, 2021 in Aspen, Colorado. For the Individual/Big Band Sessions, JAS/Frost are seeking individual applicants able to perform proficiently in both combo and big band settings. Strong reading skills, experience with improvisation, doubling, and familiarity with multiple styles of jazz music are prerequisites. The application deadline is March 1, 2021. 

Daily program activities will include a blend of coaching from JAS Academy jazz masters and faculty members, along with individual group time for rehearsal and recording. Select Frost School of Music curricula will be introduced, addressing topics essential to developing well-rounded musicians with the tools to succeed in the 21st century music industry. Classes in recording techniques, arranging, production, touring, agent representation, artist management, contracts, website development, and digital rights will be included. 

“As faculty at the Frost School of Music, I’m used to being around highly talented, ambitious young musicians…and the talent at the JAS Academy is off-the-charts! But talent and ambition are not enough. 21st century musicians aspiring to a professional life in music need a strong foundation in business and technology, along with the entrepreneurial spirit to forge their own creative path. This is my role at the JAS Academy,” said Rey Sanchez, associate Dean for Strategic initiatives and Innovation at Frost School. 

The JAS Academy is full-scholarship, with all travel, lodging, tuition and meals provided. Applications are being accepted now at getacceptd.com/jazzaspen.

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