Carnegie Hall Names Concert Series The Joyce And George T. Wein Shape Of Jazz Series
Carnegie Hall today announced that in recognition of a gift of $1 million from legendary jazz producer George Wein and honoring his incredible legacy presenting leading jazz artists at the Hall, The Shape of Jazz concert series will be formally named the Joyce and George T. Wein Shape of Jazz series. The series kicks off this Saturday, November 10, at 9:00 p.m. at a sold-out Zankel Hall performance by Cuban-born drummer, composer, bandleader, and 2011 MacArthur "Genius" Fellow Dafnis Prieto featuring his 17-piece orchestra.
A Carnegie Hall Trustee from 1994 to 2005 and current Honorary Trustee, Wein has been a major supporter of jazz programming at Carnegie Hall for nearly a decade. His incredible legacy as a producer of jazz concerts at the Hall dates back to 1972, when he temporarily relocated the Newport Jazz Festival from its Rhode Island home to New York City. Since that time, Wein went on to produce nearly 450 events over the next four decades, featuring world renowned jazz artists including Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie, Sarah Vaughn, Benny Goodman, Lionel Hampton, Count Basie, Roy Haynes, Bill Evans, Sonny Rollins, and so many more.
"George Wein has been a central and defining part of Carnegie Hall's jazz history for close to fifty years, dedicated to bringing top artists, both established names and rising stars, to New York audiences" said Clive Gillinson, Carnegie Hall's Executive and Artistic Director. "We are grateful for George's musical counsel over the years and are deeply appreciative for the dedication and support that he and his late wife, Joyce, have shown to Carnegie Hall and its mission. It is a great privilege for us to name this series in their honor."
"It's a privilege to have produced and promoted concerts at Carnegie Hall, which is arguably the finest concert hall in the world," said George Wein. "Having the names George and Joyce Wein associated with Carnegie Hall is the fulfillment of my life's work."
Following the November 10 performance by Dafnis Prieto, additional performances in the Joyce and George T. Wein Shape of Jazz series in Zankel Hall this season include:
- A performance by the Anat Cohen Tentet, led by prolific clarinetist, composer, and bandleader Anat Cohen-along with musical director, arranger, and composer Oded Lev-Ari on Saturday January 12, at 9:00 p.m. The ensemble presents an intercontinental mix of songs featuring a world premiere by Lev-Ari, co-commissioned by Carnegie Hall, and music from their acclaimed album Happy Song.
- On Saturday, March 16, at 9:00 p.m., trumpeter Nicholas Payton traces the path of African rhythms from their arrival in the Caribbean through their journey to New Orleans and on to Kansas City, St. Louis, Chicago, and New York. This program explores how the music of New Orleans became widely popular and how its greatest practitioner-Louis Armstrong-became one of the first pop stars, illustrating how swing, bebop, R&B, hip-hop, and more share a DNA that connects people around the world. The concert is part of Carnegie Hall's citywide Migrations: The Making of America festival in spring 2019.
About George Wein
George Wein is considered to be as much a legend as his festivals. Through his company, Festival Productions, he has spearheaded hundreds of music events since 1954 when he produced the first Newport Jazz Festival-an event which started the festival era. Five years later, Wein and folk icon Pete Seeger founded the Newport Folk Festival. In 1970, Wein founded the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. He pioneered the idea of sponsor association with music events, beginning with The Schlitz Salute to Jazz and the Kool Jazz Festival. His company went on to produce titled events for JVC, Playboy, Mellon Bank, Verizon, Essence, Ben & Jerry's and others.
Celebrating his 93rd birthday in October 2018, Wein has as much creative fuel as he did when he started the Newport festivals and advanced the concept of live music. In 2010, he founded Newport Festivals Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to support the legacy and expand the impact of the Newport Jazz and Newport Folk Festivals through educational initiatives that celebrate innovation while preserving the deep traditions inherent in jazz and folk music.
As a result of his diverse contributions to jazz and world culture, Wein has been honored by heads of state, educational institutions and leading publications. Wein is an NEA Jazz Master (Jazz Advocate) and received a Grammy Honorary Trustee Award in February 2015. In 2013, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities and New Englander of the Year from the New England Council. In 2012 Wein was given the APAP Award of Merit for Achievement in Performing Arts for an individual "whose genius, energy and excellence has defined or redefined an art form." In addition, honors and awards have been bestowed upon him by Presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, AARP, the Studio Museum in Harlem, the French Legion d'Honneur, Chile's Order of Bernardo O'Higgins and other organizations around the world. Wein is the recipient of honorary degrees from Boston University, Berklee College of Music, Salve Regina University, North Carolina Central, among others. Mr. Wein is a lifetime Honorary Trustee of Carnegie Hall and a member of the Board of Trustees at Jazz @ Lincoln Center.
In addition to his work as a producer and Chairman of Newport Festivals Foundation, George Wein is an accomplished jazz pianist, whose group, Newport All-Stars has toured the United States, Europe and Japan. Over the years, the Newport All-Stars has featured some of the greatest musicians in the history of jazz.
Mr. Wein's autobiography, Myself Among Others: A Life in Music (Da Capo Press), was recognized by the Jazz Journalists Association as 2004's best book about jazz. Mr. Wein also has a long history of involvement with philanthropy and the arts, including the establishment of the Joyce and George Wein Chair of African American Studies at Boston University, the Alexander Family Endowed Scholarship Fund at Simmons College and an annual artist prize given through the Studio Museum in Harlem in honor of his late wife, Joyce Alexander Wein. In 2014, the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation opened the George and Joyce Wein Jazz & Heritage Center, an education and community facility that offers free music classes in the city's Tremé section.