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Grammy Award –Winning Jazz Musician to Serve as the Apollo Theater Jazz Artist in Residence

posted Apr 3, 2015, 7:35 AM by Tulani Bridgewater
Grammy Award –Winning Jazz Musician to Serve as the Apollo Theater Jazz Artist in Residence, Create New Works, Curate Education Programs, and Major Annual Presentations, Cultural Activities in New York and New Orleans 

Partnership Reflects the Apollo Theater’s Growth as a Non- Profit and Major Cultural Institution and Extends Its Commitment to Showcasing and Supporting Emerging Artists

New York, NY, April 3, 2015 - The Apollo Theater announced today its new artistic partnership with renowned jazz musician Irvin Mayfield and the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra, which will include a range of major contemporary annual themed events and programs that will celebrate the origins of jazz, the continued innovations within the genre and build a younger audience for the art form. Under the multi-year partnership Mayfield will serve as Jazz Artist-in-Residence actively overseeing multiple presentations on the Apollo’s Mainstage, Soundstage space and in New Orleans at Irvin Mayfield and the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra’s new home, The Peoples Health New Orleans Jazz Market. The partnership will include newly commissioned works by the Grammy Award–winning musician; a special New Orleans-themed concert in October 2015; an extension of the Apollo Music Café series with presentations in New York and New Orleans; a celebration of the city of New Orleans’ tricentennial in 2018; education and cultural activities; and a book signing.

The new partnership reflects the Apollo’s continuing growth as a major cultural institution, as well as the Theater and Mayfield’s commitment to showcasing and supporting emerging artists.

“The Apollo always seeks initiatives and programs that extend our commitment to supporting emerging and established artists and engaging its legacy to inform contemporary artistic expression,” said Mikki Shepard, Apollo Executive Producer. “We are thrilled to welcome Irvin Mayfield as Jazz Artist in Residence and the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra to the Apollo family through this partnership that will lead to the creation of exciting new works and a deeper engagement with our artists and audiences.  Irvin’s commitment to supporting emerging artists and creating events that attract a younger audience is in sync with the Apollo’s goals and makes him the perfect artistic partner. 

“The Apollo Theater is an American treasure, and Jazz is America’s indigenous art form. To develop such a unique partnership with this iconic institution is a major step for NOJO and our new home, the Peoples Health New Orleans Jazz Market,” said Irvin Mayfield. “I look forward to sharing more of New Orleans with Harlem, and more of Harlem with New Orleans.”

This new partnership revitalizes the relationship between the Theater and the jazz musician, which began in October 2014. Mayfield was on hand to induct Louis Armstrong into the Apollo Walk of Fame, during the New Orleans to Harlem Jazz Weekend. The ceremony kicked off a weekend of multiple sold-out performances, curated by Mayfield and featuring contemporary jazz artists, such as Jonathan Batiste and Stefon Harris.

A native New Orleanian, Mayfield founded the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra (NOJO) in 2002 and today serves as its artistic director. Under his direction the 18-piece orchestra won the 2010 Grammy Award for Best Large Jazz Ensemble for its album Book One and recently completed construction on the first space built specifically for Jazz in the city that created the music – The Peoples Health New Orleans Jazz Market.

About the Apollo Theater

The Apollo is a national treasure that has had significant impact on the development of American culture and its popularity around the world.  Since introducing the first Amateur Night contests in 1934, the Apollo Theater has played a major role in cultivating artists and in the emergence of innovative musical genres including jazz, swing, bebop, R&B, gospel, blues, soul, and hip-hop.  Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Billie Holiday, Sammy Davis, Jr., James Brown, Michael Jackson, Bill Cosby, Gladys Knight, Luther Vandross, D’Angelo, Lauryn Hill, and countless others began their road to stardom on the Apollo’s stage.

The Apollo is a presenting organization that also produces original, groundbreaking programs at its legendary home and makes them available to audiences nationally and globally through touring projects and digital media. Through its civic, educational and public programs, the Apollo also serves as a community gathering place and resource by building knowledge, providing career development opportunities, and addressing issues that affect its community and American society and culture.

The Apollo will continue to present historically relevant presentations, as well as more forward-looking, contemporary work. The Apollo Theater’s new artistic vision - music is the foundation and the Theater’s programs build upon its living legacy to nourish its ongoing development.  Music also drives the works in dance, theater, and performance art events. 

The Apollo’s programming celebrates and re-envisions the Theater’s legacy in creative and contemporary ways and provides an unparalleled resource for the nurturing of emerging artists and curators, promoting intimate and engaging experiences that dynamically connect both artists and audiences.  Also central to the Theater’s mission is: to encourage experimentation and new artistic directions by mid-career and established artists; developing and presenting new and cutting edge multi-disciplinary work and to nurture culturally diverse artists and audiences.

Based on its cultural significance and architecture, the Apollo Theater received state and city landmark designation in 1983 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. For more information, visit www.apollotheater.org .

About Irvin Mayfield

Irvin Mayfield, 37, is a Grammy and Billboard Award-winning artist with 15 albums to his credit. Mayfield is the founding Artistic Director of the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra and a professor at the University of New Orleans, where he also serves as Director of the New Orleans Jazz Institute. In 2009, Mayfield entered into a historic partnership with the Royal Sonesta Hotel and created Irvin Mayfield’s Jazz Playhouse, which brought "Jazz back to Bourbon Street" in the historic French Quarter. Mayfield was nominated to the National Council on the Arts by President George W. Bush and was subsequently appointed to the post by President Barack Obama in 2010. Mayfield also received The Chancellor’s Award from the University of New Orleans (the highest ranking award given to a professor) in 2010 and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Dillard University in 2011. 
A passionate advocate for New Orleans and for the arts, Mayfield is Chairman of the Board for the Soledad O'Brien & Brad Raymond Foundation, as well as the New Orleans African American Museum of Art, Culture and History. He is also Chairman Emeritus of the New Orleans Public Library and serves on the boards of Louisiana State University’s Department of Psychiatry and Health Science, the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation, the New Orleans Police and Justice Foundation, Tulane University’s School of Architecture, Unity of Greater New Orleans, the Urban Libraries Council, and the Youth Rescue Initiative. 

About the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra (NOJO)

NOJO creates Jazz to enhance life, transform place, and elevate spirit through the tenets of truth, love and beauty.  Founded in 2002 by trumpeter, composer, arranger, and bandleader Irvin Mayfield, NOJO is the first and only performing arts institution committed solely to the development of an industry for Jazz in the city that created the music.  For more information, please visit www.thenojo.com.


Press Contacts:

Apollo Theater
Nina Flowers | nina.flowers@apollotheater.org | 212-531-5334

Irvin Mayfield and The New Orleans Jazz Orchestra
Stephanie Mayne | stephanie@thenojo.com | 504.377.7403
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