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Sept. 28, 2021

Jazz Artist in Residence program enlivens community and school stages

Pianist Renee Rosnes kicks off ninth season in early October

An inspired lineup of jazz artists renowned for both their innovation and reverence for the language of jazz will share their talents with students at MSU and schools state-wide as the MSU Federal Credit Union Jazz Artist in Residence program kicks off its ninth year this October at the Michigan State University College of Music.

Launched in 2013, the pioneering residency program imports high level talent to spend a week mentoring MSU jazz studies students and K-12 students at schools and academies across the state. Coordinated by the MSU College of Music and supported by a $1 million endowment by the MSU Federal Credit Union, the program follows the jazz tradition of established musicians passing on their knowledge to aspiring musicians, while enriching often resource-strapped jazz programs in urban and rural communities. The dynamic 2021-22 lineup of working musicians, educators and composers include artists Renee Rosnes, piano; Lewis Nash, drums; Stefon Harris, vibraphone; and Regina Carter, violin. 

“We’re eager to welcome an exciting, diverse slate of talent to our classrooms and stages after a tough year,” said Director of Jazz Studies Rodney Whitaker. “Jazz is an art form built on teaching and sharing, and we’re devoted to ensuring young musicians thrive by giving them opportunities to learn jazz style and technique from experienced, working artists.”

Pianist Renee Rosnes is the first of the four scheduled jazz artists coming to MSU for weeklong residencies, two per semester this academic year. Rosnes has toured and recorded with such masters as Joe Henderson, Wayne Shorter, Bobby Hutcherson, J.J. Johnson, James Moody and legendary bassist Ron Carter. She was a charter member of the all-star ensemble, the SFJAZZ Collective, for six years. Rosnes has released 17 recordings, and has appeared on many others as a sideman.

Over her 30-year career, she has collaborated with a diverse range of artists, from established masters such as Jack DeJohnette and tabla master Zakir Hussain, to younger giants such as Christian McBride, Chris Potter, Nicholas Payton and Melissa Aldana. Rosnes is a formidable composer, as well as a concert producer and art director at renowned venues.

Rosnes will be in residence Oct. 4–10. During her residency, the highly-regarded jazz pianist and composer will mentor College of Music students and perform for the public. She will also visit high schools and art academies statewide, accompanied by MSU Jazz Orchestra I, the College’s premier student jazz ensemble. Rosnes performs with MSU Jazz Orchestras I, II and III on Friday, Oct. 8,  8 p.m. at Fairchild Theatre in the MSU Auditorium. As required for indoor facilities on the MSU campus, face coverings must be worn.

“Renee is sure to kick-off our ninth season with finesse, enthusiasm, style and a healthy dose of swing,” said Xavier Davis, associate professor of jazz piano. “She’s a fantastic mentor, and her portfolio of experience touring with jazz masters and collaborating with established and rising artists is an ideal match for our program.”

The MSUFCU Jazz Artist in Residence program represents the largest-ever investment in the college’s jazz program and provides one-on-one instruction, collaboration and performance opportunities with some of the world’s best jazz musicians. In a typical year, artists in residence travel with MSU’s jazz ensembles to give up to 20 performances across the state in support of jazz programs at non-profit organizations and at middle and high schools. In total, the residencies of the 31 artists to date included workshops, concerts, events and outreach to more than 38,000 students and adults in communities across Michigan.

For more information and the full schedule of this year's Artist in Residence program, visit the College of Music website.

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