Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz

Competition - 2011 Competition & Gala

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The Thelonious Monk International Jazz Piano Competition and an All-Star Gala Concert took place in Washington, DC on September 11 - 12. These events were co-chaired by Madeleine AlbrightQuincy JonesDebra Lee and Colin Powell and sponsored by Cadillac.

Thelonious Monk International Jazz Piano Competition Semifinals

Twelve semifinalists from around the world competed at Baird Auditorium at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History. Three finalists - Kris Bowers, Emmet Cohen and Joshua White - were announced at the end of the program. Judges include Herbie HancockEllis MarsalisJason MoranDanilo Perez and Renee Rosnes. Audience members included Aretha Franklin, who traveled to Washington to receive the Institute's Maria Fisher Founder's Award.

At the Semifinals, Fred Cannon, BMI's Senior Vice President of Government Relations, recognized Bobby Avey as the $10,000 grand prize winner of the 2011 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Composers Competition, sponsored by BMI. Avey performed his winning piece, "Late November."

Thelonious Monk International Jazz Piano Competition Finals and 25th Anniversary All-Star Gala Concert

The Competition Finals and All-Star Gala Concert at the Kennedy Center's Eisenhower Theater featured each finalist performing with bassist Rodney Whitaker and drummer Carl Allen. Following the judges' deliberations, Don Butler, Cadillac's vice president of marketing, presented Kris Bowers of Los Angeles with the first place scholarship of $25,000. Bowers will also receive a recording contract with Concord Music Group. Joshua White was selected as the second place winner, and Emmet Cohen was named the third place winner.

The All-Star Gala Concert, hosted by Phylicia Rashad and Billy Dee Williams, featured stellar performances by Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition winners from past years who performed a special tribute to the life and music of Thelonious Monk. Leading jazz artists of multiple generations - including Terence BlanchardRon CarterKevin Eubanks,Jimmy HeathJoe LovanoChristian McBrideJohn PatitucciJoshua Redman andWayne Shorter were on hand to perform a wide range of music and styles.

Los Angeles public high school students from the Institute's BeBop to Hip-Hop program performed alongside hip-hop and jazz stars Doug E. FreshDJ Spark and Lisa Henry.

Dee Dee BridgewaterKurt EllingChaka KhanJane Monheit and Dianne Reeves paid a heartfelt tribute to Aretha Franklin, the Institute's Maria Fisher Founder's Award recipient, by performing many of her smash hits. Jennifer Hudson made a surprise appearance, singing Franklin's "Oh Me Oh My" and then Franklin took the stage to perform a breathtaking rendition of "Moody's Mood for Love," honoring the memory of jazz legend James Moody.

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