Jazz Beyond Borders:
From the Golden Gate to the Great Wall
The 2019-2020 Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra season offers an incomparable experience for jazz lovers, music enthusiasts, and fans of the orchestra. Building upon the 2017–2018 Jazz and Democracy season, we are excited to announce the orchestra will embark on a 10-city global initiative that will take the orchestra across the world to share a diverse program of American and international jazz. From San Francisco to Asia, the 19-piece orchestra will engage audiences on the role that jazz plays in their communities, in their personal lives, and in cultural identity around the world. Throughout each concert artistic director Charlie Young will share historical and cultural insights only the National Museum of American History can oﬀer.
This tour will ignite the Smithsonian’s goal of "convening conversations," in which we will use the power of music as a springboard into important discussions around democracy, diversity, identity, and diplomacy. Each of our 10 tour stops includes evening concerts with celebrated guest musicians and daytime educational experiences for learners of all ages. These daytime experiences are part of the orchestra’s ongoing work to exchange ideas with new generations through history-rich musical experiences and exemplify the museum’s mission to prioritize programs for disconnected and underserved communities across the nation.
Please note that the European tour has been cancelled
Past Global Tour Stops
In November 2019, the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra (SJMO) will visit Hong Kong, Beijing, and Tokyo for the Asia leg of the tour. From music festivals to internationally renowned venues, the SJMO will explore jazz on both a local and global scale. In addition to evening concerts, the Orchestra will participate in several workshops and panels, including saxophone and guitar workshops, a conducting and arranging workshop, and a panel on women in jazz. The Orchestra will be joined by NEA Jazz Master Hubert Laws in Hong Kong and Beijing and GRAMMY Award-winning vocalist Kurt Elling in Tokyo.
November 9, 2019 - Hong Kong at West Kowloon, Freespace
No. 18 Museum Drive, West Kowloon, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong
10:30am-12:00 PM Women in Jazz workshop, The Room
1:00-2:45 PM Guitar workshop, The Studio
November 10, 2019 - Hong Kong - West Kowloon, Freespace
No. 18 Museum Drive, West Kowloon, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong
12:00-1:30 PM Brass and Winds workshop, The Studio
2:30-4:00 PM Performance at Great Lawn Art Park
November 11, 2019 - Hong Kong - West Kowloon, Freespace
10:30-11:45 AM Tea House, Xiqu Centre, West Kowloon Cultural District.
4:30-5:30 PM Arranging and conducting workshop, The Studio
November 12, 2019 – Beijing, China
2:00 PM Concert at Forbidden City, Beijing
7:30 PM Concert at Blue Note Beijing
November 13, 2019
7:30 PM Performance at Tokyo International Forum
November 14, 2019
2:30-4:00 PM Performance at Kandajogakuen Junior / Senior High School.
Jazz from Broadway to Hollywood
Museum of Arts and Sciences, Daytona Beach, FL
Saturday, September 28, 2019
Jazz Standard with guest artist Kurt Elling
May 15-16, 2019
New York is the final domestic stop of the tour, with a two-set performance at Jazz Standard. Each show will present a broad collection of music, including an original arrangement of Leonard Bernstein’s “Times Square” from the musical On the Town and contemporary selections from Grammy-winning jazz vocalist Kurt Elling's recent recordings. The orchestra will additionally conduct student workshops and clinics around the city with various partners.
SFJAZZ with guest artist Kurt Elling
Wednesday, February 13, 2019
At SFJazz the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra will present a collection of music ranging from historic Duke Ellington arrangements from the Smithsonian archives to contemporary arrangements from Grammy-winning jazz vocalist Kurt Elling's recent recordings. Woven within this bespoke concert experience is a historical narrative of San Francisco’s influences on the evolution of jazz including the music of Dave Brubeck, Tony Bennett, Ella Fitzgerald, and more.
Masterclass at the Museum of the African Diaspora
During our first of leg of the journey, the orchestra has partnered with the Museum of the African Diaspora, a Smithsonian Affiliate, to oﬀer a unique educational opportunity for students from Roosevelt and Edna Brewer middle schools. The students will participate in an interactive workshop led by the orchestra's musicians on past and present jazz musical techniques and engage in dialogue about the music’s historical context and influence. This once-in-a-lifetime session will teach young musicians at an important age—when studies show they are at great risk for abandoning musical pursuits, and when they are building important civic engagement skills.
Studebaker Theater with guest artist Hubert Laws
Thursday, March 14, 2019
Presented by the Jazz Institute of Chicago in the historic Studebaker Theater, internationally renowned flutist Hubert Laws will perform with the orchestra as guest artist. Laws has been named a National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master, the highest honor our nation bestows on jazz artists. Enjoy music ranging from historic Duke Ellington arrangements from the Smithsonian archives to new compositions and arrangements of classic Hubert Laws compositions.
Educational Workshops at the University of Illinois–Chicago
The orchestra will perform an abbreviated concert at the University of Illinois–Chicago, followed by a Q&A between the musicians and students from the school’s jazz studies program. A rehearsal will follow at the university, to allow students and faculty in the School of Music and beyond to experience a professional open rehearsal. This is an exclusive opportunity to observe a professional big band run-through—especially with guest artist Hubert Laws, who is usually unavailable for this type of behind-the-scenes access.
Zilkha Hall with guest artist Kurt Elling
Monday, March 18, 2019
At the Hobby Center’s Zikha Hall, SJMO presents a collection of music ranging from historic Duke Ellington arrangement from the Smithsonian archives to contemporary arrangements from Grammy award-winning jazz vocalist Kurt Elling’s recent recordings. This bespoke concert experience weaves a historical narrative of Houston’s influences on the evolution of jazz including a special feature of local legend Shelley Carrol and the Texas Tenor tradition.
The orchestra has partnered with Houston First, a local convention and performing arts organization, to present a wide program of activities for area students. At Bonnette Junior High School, students will participate in a master class led by the orchestra’s musicians on past and present jazz techniques. This once-in-a-lifetime session will teach young performers at a time in their lives when studies show they are at great risk for abandoning musical pursuits. The orchestra will run a similar session at the Denney Theatre, hosted by the Kinder High School for the Performing and Visual Arts. Over 150 student musicians, from Kinder High School and other schools in the greater Houston area, will participate. This community initiative is supported by our media partner KTSU 90.9 FM, Texas Southern University’s community radio station.
Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A)
April 4, 2019
The orchestra’s executive producer Ken Kimery will present a lecture for V&A staff on the importance and effects of music in museums. He'll outline how the National Museum of American History utilizes its orchestra-in-residence for live music programs and as a living exhibition to make the legacy of jazz and its role in American history come alive. He'll also discuss the added value of having in-house musicians available to perform and record new arrangements and commissioned works.
Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
April 5, 2019
Join us for a pop-up performance in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, the future site of a Smithsonian outpost. This lunchtime concert for neighborhood students and workers will take place on the seventh anniversary of the park’s opening prior to the 2012 London Olympics.
Milton Court at the Barbican Theatre with guest artist Hubert Laws
April 6, 2019
The programme, under the direction of artistic director Charlie Young, is a wide collection of pieces ranging from original Duke Ellington arrangements from the Smithsonian archives to contemporary music for big band, and some of Ella Fitzgerald’s historic arrangements as well.
Like the orchestra itself, Hubert Laws is a very rare visitor to London. He made his name with a string of great albums for the legendary CTI label and played with Gil Scott-Heron at the time of ‘The Revolution Will Not Be Televised’. He’s come to be regarded as one of the great jazz flautists and was recently celebrated by an NEA Jazz Masters Award.
Stratford Circus Arts Centre with NewYVC
April 7, 2019
At this evening concert, the orchestra will be joined by the New Young Voice Collective youth choir alongside seven additional community choirs, for a total of over 110 voices from across East London.
April 8, 2019
The orchestra will performs at Spotlight, a youth music center, and then give a music production workshop for young people.
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Smithsonian Jazz programs are made possible through generous support from:
LeRoy Neiman Foundation
The Argus Fund
Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation
David C. Frederick and Sophia Lynn
John Hammond Performance Series Endowment Fund