CU-Boulder fundraising leaders fund $2 million jazz studies endowment
Jeannie and Jack Thompson have made an unprecedented commitment to the Jazz Studies program at the University of Colorado Boulder — building $1.6 million in combined gifts to trigger a new $2 million program endowment.
To honor and recognize this transformational gift, the program will be renamed the Thompson Jazz Studies Program, as announced at yesterday’s annual Spring Swing big band concert. It is CU-Boulder’s first named program.
Program Chair John Davis expects the endowment to strengthen the Thompson Jazz Studies Program’s ability to support guest artist residencies, professional recordings of CU jazz ensembles and travel for national competitions — all of which will expand the program’s caliber and reputation. Since being established at CU-Boulder in 1996 with graduate offerings, the Thompson Jazz Studies Program has become a vibrant, versatile and highly regarded program with an undergraduate major, a doctoral degree and more than a dozen awards for student recordings from leading jazz publication Downbeat.
All this for a program that did not exist when Daniel Sher became College of Music dean in 1993. During his 20-year tenure, the college has established the nation’s first Entrepreneurship Center for Music, has enhanced its endowment and degree offerings, and has been cited among the top 25 U.S. music programs. The Thompson Jazz Studies Program endowment is another achievement as he retires this June, and it positions the college well for a new dean; finalists for the position were announced on Feb. 20.
“The Thompsons have always been great supporters of the College of Music,” says Davis, who also is the college’s associate dean of administration. “They’ve created a lot of opportunities for our students, and with their support our program has gone from one of moderate visibility to one that has become a national player.”
“Jazz is a truly unique American art form, and there aren’t very many of those,” says Jack Thompson, who with Jeannie has also led an effort to attract matching gifts for the endowment. “We couldn’t conceive of a place where Glenn Miller came from not having a vibrant and vigorous jazz program.” CU’s jazz lineage includes Glenn Miller, who attended CU-Boulder before becoming a big band pioneer known for such classics as “In the Mood.”
The endowment will generate annual distributions of unrestricted funds (roughly $80,000 a year, when fully in place), which Jazz Studies leadership can use at their discretion.
Jeannie (Zool’64) and Jack (Hist’64, MA’70) are the CU-Boulder chairs for CU’s $1.5 billion Creating Futures campaign, and have donated to more than a dozen CU programs, indicating a powerful mixture of broad interests and institutional loyalties. They first met at the Sink as students in the early 1960s.
In 2005, they endowed the Thompson Awards for Western American Writing at the Center of the American West. In 2008, they gave $2 million toward the Jennie Smoly Caruthers Biotechnology Building, where a vaccine development research neighborhood is named in their honor.
“As Creating Futures campaign chairs for the Boulder campus, our hope is to show that donors have multiple interests. When you look at the breadth of the University of Colorado, there are so many programs worthy of support,” Jeannie Thompson says. “We hope this gift will spur the campaign forward and help donors see the many ways they can make a difference.”
Founded in 1967, the nonprofit CU Foundation partners with the University of Colorado to raise, manage and invest private support for the university’s benefit. More than 200,000 donors to date have contributed to Creating Futures, a $1.5 billion fundraising campaign to enhance University of Colorado education, research, outreach, and health programs benefiting citizens throughout and beyond Colorado. Visit http://www.cufund.org for more information.
Behind the Scenes of Spring Swing with John Davis
Director of Jazz Studies John Davis gives a behind-the-scenes look at preparing for Spring Swing this Sunday, February 24 at 2 p.m. in Macky Auditorium. For more information, and to purchase tickets, click here.
2011 Jazz Scholarship Award from Jazz Interest Group of the Society for Music Theory
Association for Recorded Sound Collections Excellence Award
Downbeat Magazine writes, “Waters’ writing is impeccably clear and avoids needless jargon…This title is part of Oxford University Press’ new series of book-length discussions of classic jazz albums (another is Brian Harker’s Louis Armstrong’s Hot Five and Hot Seven Recordings). In this era of audio downloads, such serious studies that dig into the significance of the records that have shaped our world are always welcome.”
VIDEO: Maria Schneider on careers in music
Renowned jazz composer Maria Schneider visited CU-Boulder last year for a week-long residency. In between rehearsals and clinics, she found time to record these helpful videos for prospective music students. Thanks to MajoringinMusic.com for sharing these insightful clips:
Alumni News – Aakash Mittal wins ASCAP/Chamber Music America Award
The Aakash Mittal Quartet, led by Aakash Mittal (BM 2007, saxophone), received the ASCAP/Chamber Music America award for Adventurous Programming of Contemporary Music for jazz ensemble in January in New York. The group performs its members’ original works and draws heavily on the improvisational vocabulary and compositional aspects of the North Indian classical raga tradition. Mittal’s “Videsh Suite” takes the listener on a journey to India through the use of post-bop, raga music, serialism and electronic samples.
Established jointly by Chamber Music America and ASCAP, the annual awards recognize U.S.-based professional ensembles and presenters for distinctive programming of new music composed in the past 25 years. The recipients were chosen by an independent panel of judges, who evaluated the applicants on the basis their programming of recent works and innovations in attracting audiences to new music performances.
“This year’s award recipients represent some of the most exciting contemporary music programming in the country,” said Chamber Music America’s CEO, Margaret M. Lioi.
“Judging from the number of excellent applications that we received, new music is flourishing in the chamber music community. We are pleased to recognize these outstanding ensembles and presenters for their accomplishments.”
VIDEO: College of Music Tour for Prospective Students
Take an informal video tour of the CU-Boulder College of Music with Assistant Dean for Recruitment and Outreach Frederick Peterbark. This tour focuses on information and resources prospective students need to know about.
Grammy-award visiting composer and bandleader Maria Schneider spent four amazing days with College of Music students and faculty, resulting in performance of her compositions by Jazz Ensemble I Macky Auditorium on Nov. 18th. Maria spoke at a variety of sessions, at the weekly Composition Symposium, the ECM Wednesdays session, and for the general public. At these sessions, and during the band rehearsals, Maria brought a level of musicianship, experience, and communication that made a positive impact on everyone attending, and left our students feeling inspired! This was a fantastic four-day experience sponsored by the Roser Visiting Artist Program, and one that will have a long-lasting effect on the College.
Thanks to Bill Elliott for providing these photos from the residency!
Fall Music Calendar
Can’t wait to get your Fall College of Music calendar in the mail? View or print it here. Print calendars will be mailed by the end of August.
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VIDEO: Erin Paton, founder of the Tuturu Jazz Orchestra
Erin Paton was still in high school in Colorado Springs, Colorado when she started writing big band charts for her school jazz band. Now a music education major in her sophomore year at the University of Colorado Boulder College of Music, Paton has founded the Tuturu Jazz Orchestra with the help of the Entrepreneurship Center for Music at CU.