MSUToday
Published: Nov. 20, 2018

Mark Whitfield mentors students through jazz residency program

Contact(s): Michael Sundermann College of Music office: (517) 353-2043 sunderm1@msu.edu

Saturday through Dec. 9, jazz guitarist and collaborator Mark Whitfield will teach, tour and share his professional insights with jazz students from Michigan State University’s College of Music.

Whitfield is the second of four artists this academic year to mentor students through the MSUFCU Jazz Artist in Residence program coordinated by the MSU College of Music. Launched in 2013, the pioneering residency program models the long-standing jazz tradition in which established musicians pass on their knowledge and experiences to aspiring jazz musicians. 

While in residence, Whitfield will work with MSU jazz studies students on campus and then take to the road with MSU Jazz Orchestra I to teach and perform at Michigan schools, arts academies and community venues in Kalamazoo, Lansing, Warren and Northview. 

“Mark Whitfield is a highly modern and sophisticated player who is also deeply funky and soulful,” said Randy Napoleon, MSU assistant professor of jazz guitar. “In addition to being a virtuoso and a first-rate musician, Mark is a true extrovert, and is very generous about sharing his wealth of musical and professional knowledge with others.” 

The weeklong tour includes holiday-themed performances, beginning Saturday with “Noel Night” in Detroit, followed later in the week by a concert with MSU Jazz Orchestras on campus. 

“We like to think that the holidays are coming early this year when Mark Whitfield comes to town,” said Director of Jazz Studies Rodney Whitaker. “Mark is extremely relatable and quick to share what he’s learned from legendary and contemporary artists. He’s also simply one of the best jazz guitarists on the scene.” 

Schedule: MSUFCU Jazz Artist in Residence Mark Whitfield 

  • Saturday: Noel Night, Detroit: Jazz Orchestra I with Mark Whitfield; location to be announced 
  • Dec. 3: Press Day, 5 p.m. gathering and 6 p.m. performance. MSFCU Blue Monday at MSUFCU Headquarters: MSU Professors of Jazz with Mark Whitfield. Special performance for members of the MSU Federal Credit Union. 
  • Dec. 4: Rehearsals and Workshops at MSU 
  • Dec. 5: Hackett Catholic Central High School, Kalamazoo 
  • Dec. 6: Winans Elementary School, Lansing; Warren Mott High School, Warren 
  • Dec. 7: 8 p.m. MSU Fairchild Theatre with MSU Jazz Orchestras 
  • Dec. 8: Location and performance to be announced 
  • Dec. 9: Northview High School with Rockford High School, Grand Rapids 

Mark Whitfield is the second of four artists this academic year to mentor students through the MSUFCU Jazz Artist in Residence program coordinated by the MSU College of Music.

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