Registration is open for the International Jazz Harp Foundation’s 2011 Jazz Harp Academy.
The LSU School of Music will host the event Sept. 23-25. The International Jazz Harp Foundation will begin its camp at 9 a.m. each day in the LSU Music & Dramatic Arts Building.
“As the name suggests, people will travel from around the world to attend this conference,” said Kimberly Houser, professional in residence, harp at LSU. “The universe of harpists may be small in number, but expansive in geography. It will be a unique gathering. It is prestigious for LSU to host this event, as it hasn’t been held in the United States in many years.”
With a growing demand from harpists for education in improvisation and jazz, the harp is gaining more and more space in non-traditional settings. Because there are no bachelor’s degree programs specifically for harpists, it is necessary to provide education in another way. To assist in such education, the International Jazz Harp Foundation created the Jazz Harp Academy.
The Jazz Harp Academy is a traveling academy that provides expertise as well as network and organizational management to collaborate with local schools and universities. Its purpose is to inspire harpists to improvise, to teach them the basics, to educate them as to playing in a combo or band and to promote the overall world of jazz harp performance.
“With this formula it is possible to have in-depth jazz harp education anywhere in the world, especially for this project at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge,” said Brenda Dor-Groot, communications representative for the academy. “The Jazz Harp Academy is intended to be an intense educational package for motivated and talented jazz-harp professionals or ?wannabes.’”
The academy focuses on professionalization and talent development, Dor-Groot said. Offerings include group lessons, private lessons, band lessons, rhythm class, theory lessons and performances. Courses include an intensive class for harp students and professionals with some experience in jazz playing, divided into intermediate and advanced levels. The second course is an exploration class for students, professionals and amateurs who are beginners in jazz playing. This course is also divided into two levels, beginner and intermediate.
Teachers at the workshop are established jazz harpists as well as other professionals such as bass players, pianists, guitarists, percussionists and theorists. They include jazz harpists Park Stickney and Carol Robbins, as well as jazz harp teacher assistants Dor-Groot, Houser and Sabine Meijers.
Non-harpist educators who will teach during the academy include traveling jazz saxophonist and theorist Kurt Schwab and LSU School of Music E.&D. White Professor of Jazz Studies William Grimes, a bassist and theorist.
At the end of the workshop, a special jam session and concert will be held in the School of Music Recital Hall. The pre-program of the concert will offer a stage to the course participants to showcase what they have learned. The main program will be a high level performance by Stickney and Robbins, accompanied by local and international jazz musicians.
Registration for the three-day intensive course is $350. Tickets also will be sold for the various lecture and concert performances through both the LSU School of Music and the foundation website.
For more on the Jazz Harp Academy, including registration information, or to learn more about the International Jazz Harp Foundation, call (225) 578-0521.
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