The Thelonious Monk Institute’s unique college-level jazz program allows masters of jazz to pass on their expertise to the next generation of jazz musicians, echoing the way Thelonious Monk had done in his Manhattan apartment throughout the ’50s and ’60s.
In September 1995, the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance launched with its first class of seven students and today, partners with the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music to offer a tuition-free two-year master’s degree program. The program accepts one ensemble of musicians for each class. All students receive full scholarships, as well as stipends to cover their monthly living expenses. The students study both individually and as a small group, receiving personal mentoring, ensemble coaching, and lectures on the jazz tradition. They are also encouraged to experiment in expanding jazz in new directions through their compositions and performances.
The Institute of Jazz Performance students and instructors present a number of major concerts and community outreach programs throughout the United States and overseas. International highlights include performances at the celebration commemorating the 40th anniversary of the coronation of the King of Thailand, the 1998 Summit of the Americas in Chile before 34 heads of state, the United Nations “Day of Philosophy” event in Paris sponsored by UNESCO, and the Tokyo Jazz Festival. The students also have participated in tours of Argentina, China, Egypt, India, Morocco, Peru, Russia and Vietnam with Institute Chairman Herbie Hancock.
Since the program’s inception, students have studied with Kenny Barron, Jerry Bergonzi, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Ron Carter, Hal Crook, Jack DeJohnette, Nnenna Freelon, Herbie Hancock, Barry Harris, Roy Haynes, Jimmy Heath, Dave Holland, Wynton Marsalis, Dick Oatts, Danilo Pérez, Dianne Reeves, John Scofield, Wayne Shorter, Horace Silver and Clark Terry, among many others.