International Jazz Educators Celebrate 25 Years in Lisbon, Portugal
The International Association of Schools of Jazz (IASJ) celebrated it’s 25th anniversary this year in Lisbon, Portugal. The IASJ, founded in 1990 by NEA Jazz Master saxophonist David Liebman, brings together students and teachers of jazz from around the globe annually.
This year, Universidade Lusiada de Lisboa and Escola de Jazz Luiz Villas-Boas co-hosted the banner year with 40 schools from 25 countries in attendance including The Rimon School of Israel, Guildhall School of Music and Drama of London, University of Tasmania, Australia, The New School of New York and the EMU Educacion of La Plata, Argentina, among many others.
During the week long conference, attendees spent each morning in master classes and workshops relating to Portugese culture including demonstrations on Fado music, traditional music and choral singing from Southern Alentejo. During the afternoon, students attend instrumental masterclasses and then hold rehearsals with an international ensemble coordinated by Liebman at the beginning of the week. “I try to make the groups as international as possible with each student from a different part of the world,” said Liebman, who applies the same principal when assigning teachers to the ensembles. “The ensemble is crucial work- it’s the part where all the parts of the world get together and discover new things that are going on across the world,” said Massimo Cavalli, a bass teacher at both Universidade Lusiada and Escola de Jazz Luiz Villas-Boas, “using jazz as the universal language they put their own style into the ensemble.”
During the evening, students participated at jam sessions hosted by the Hot Club, which is Europe’s oldest jazz club. At the end of the week, all six ensembles present original music in concert.
This year, there was an unmistakable celebratory energy due to the important 25th anniversary. Over the years, the IASJ has met in The United States, Europe, Africa and South America and thousands of jazz students and teachers have been touched by the organization. “This was a historical meeting,” announced Executive Director Wouter Turkenburg, who has been with the IASJ since its inception. Wouter also credits Lisbon as offering something “magical” to the meeting. “Lisbon is a crossroads of culture and the arts. The city is vibrant and non-static and really has made this meeting dynamic,” he said.
Next year, the IASJ will return to the United States for its’ 26th year. The host school will be Berklee College of Music in Boston. #