Bob Stewart Tuba Competition Set for Duke Ellington Center for the Arts, 10/20
As a band leader, recording artist, and featured soloist, Mr. Stewart’s playing has been spotlighted on over 80 recordings. He has performed and recorded with such luminaries as Gil Evans, Dizzy Gillespie, McCoy Tyner, Charlie Haden, Sonny Rollins, Charles Mingus, Carla Bley, Wynton Marsalis, Jason Moran, Lester Bowie, MuhAl Richard Abrams, Henry Threadgill, Arthur Blythe, Jimmy Heath, Frank Foster, Chaka Khan, Dap Kings, and Aretha Franklin, to name a few. With decades of experience in public education, Mr. Stewart now also works with Jazz at Lincoln Center as an educational consultant, advisor to the Rhythm Road project, and has helped to create the curriculum for the Middle School Jazz Academy. Another highlight from Mr. Stewart’s distinguished career includes winning the nationally-renowned Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Competition.
Mr. Stewart has also been honored to serve as a panelist for the New York State Council of the Arts, worked as a consultant for JazzMobile, and was a clinician for the Louis Armstrong Summer Jazz Camp in New Orleans. He has appeared in Ken Burns’ “Jazz” series and was the subject of an award-winning, feature-length documentary entitled “Jazz on a Winter’s Day.” While concertizing and touring both in the United States and internationally, Bob Stewart maintains a faculty position at Lehman College and is a professor of Jazz History at The Juilliard School.
The Competition Judges
Larry Kerchner is a composer, lyricist, arranger, and producer with years of experience in the music industry. A graduate of Berklee College of Music, he is a voting member of The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, a two-time GRAMMY Award nominee, and an Individual Artist Fellowship recipient. He is also a member of ASCAP, and has had his work performed at several ASCAP Songwriters’ Showcases. He is on the Board of Directors of The Duke Ellington Center For the Arts, and is a member of The New York Sheet Music Society, where his music was featured in Sandi Durell’s annual Songwriters Series.
Mr. Kerchner’s song, Winter In Manhattan was sung by Michael Feinstein in his Swing In the Holidays engagement at the Loews Regency, where New York Times critic Stephen Holden, praised it as “Larry Kerchner’s soft-focus cityscape” of New York City, and, nightly, struck an appreciative nerve with Michael’s New York audiences. Currently, Mr. Kerchner is preparing for his star-studded show, Hidden Treasures: The Songs of Larry Kerchner, on November 5th at the York Theatre in New York City. Larry has over 300 published compositions and arrangements for symphonic band, concert band, marching band, jazz band, orchestra, and chorus, and has served as composer and arranger for more than 70 Colleges and Universities. He is a member of the Drum Corps International Hall of Fame, the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame, the New Jersey Drum Corps Hall of Fame, and the Massachusetts Drum Corps Hall of Fame.
Marcus Rojas, a native of Brooklyn, is considered one of "the best all around tuba players in the world" (Harvey Pekar, Jazziz). Among the diverse groups in which he has played are the Metropolitan Opera, New York City Ballet, American Symphony, American Ballet Theater, Joffrey Ballet, New York Pops, EOS, Radio City Music Hall, Lester Bowie's Brass Fantasy, Charlie Haden's Liberation Music Orchestra, the Art Ensemble of Chicago, Jazz at Lincoln Center with Wynton Marsalis, ensembles led by Gil Evans, George Russell, Jim Hall, Lionel Hampton, Dave Douglas, Wayne Shorter, David Byrne, and P.D.Q. Bach. He has also appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, the Today Show, Saturday Night Live and The Grammys from New York City. Mr. Rojas has played on over 350 recordings, from CDs of his own groups (Spanish Fly and Les Miserables Brass Band) to Reggae stars Sly and Robbie and the Metropolitan Opera. He has performed and/or recorded with such diverse artists as Michael Jackson, Ray Charles, Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder, Dawn Upshaw, Queen Latifah, Donnie Osmond, Sting, Dr. John, Harry Connick Jr., Aretha Franklin, Bette Midler, They Might be Giants and Arto Linsday, among others. Dedicated to giving back so much of what was given to him, Mr. Rojas performs over 30 children's concerts and workshops yearly. He has given master classes throughout the U.S., Canada and Europe on topics ranging from Imagination; Creating Your Own Musical World, to Why Do We Play? and Breathing; How Much is Enough. He is on the faculty of New York University, Brooklyn College and the Manhattan School of Music Precollege Division. He is a graduate of New York City's famed High School of Music and Art and has a B.M. with distinction from New England Conservatory of Music
The Duke Ellington Center for the Arts was founded by Duke's granddaughter, Mercedes Ellington, to further knowledge about this American icon and treasure as a composer, lyricist, bandleader, performer, artist, and writer. The mission of The Duke Ellington Center for the Arts is to further Duke Ellington's creative legacy and his philosophy of human harmony “beyond category.” The Center mounts performances marrying Ellington's music with other art forms, especially dance; and also sponsors a variety of educational initiatives. As funding for the Arts and Arts Education continues to diminish, the Center’s commitment to these areas strengthens. The Center also strives to keep a historically accurate record of all things Ellington for the benefit of future generations. The Duke Ellington Center for the Arts seeks to inspire all people to become Ambassadors for Peace and Harmony through the magic of the Arts, one note at a time. For more information, go to www.thedukeellingtoncenter.org.
Pictured: Yamaha Artist and Ellington Center Board Member Bob Stewart