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September 30, 2002

Jazz pianist Brubeck to receive President's Medal at festival

By Julia Katz

Dave Brubeck, world-renowned jazz composer and musician, will visit Emory for a five-day festival and symposium, Oct. 1–5, exploring his contributions to the arts and humanities. Brubeck also will perform on successive nights (Oct. 4 & 5) at 8 p.m. in Glenn Auditorium.

Organized by the Depart-ment of Music, the Dave Brubeck Festival provides an overview of Brubeck’s career with a special look at his role in the civil rights movement, his musical compositions and style, and his impact on the history of jazz.

The festival will feature a variety of concerts and educational opportunities, including a two-day symposium, concerts by the Dave Brubeck Quartet in Glenn Auditorium, master classes and an exhibit in Schatten Gallery. Brubeck’s breadth of composition, spanning jazz, choral and classical genres, offers students and the Atlanta community a chance to listen to and learn from one of the most prolific composers of modern times.

“The Dave Brubeck Festival and Symposium is a chance for students to interact with and learn from a living legend—a remarkable opportunity to gain knowledge from and collaborate with a musician who’s been active for more than 60 years,” said Stephen Crist, associate professor of music history at Emory and organizer of the events. “Whether to learn or just to listen, Brubeck’s visit promises to be both an entertaining and educational experience.”

Prior to Brubeck’s “grand finale” performance at 8 p.m., Oct. 5, in Glenn Auditorium, President Bill Chace will bestow upon him the President’s Medal to honor not only Brubeck’s extraordinary cultural attainment, but also the impact he has had in standing boldly for civil rights, regardless of the consequences.

Writing to invite Brubeck to receive the medal, Chace noted, “In 1995 this award was commissioned to honor individuals whose work has enhanced the dominion of peace or has enlarged the range of cultural achievement; certainly you have accomplished both.”
The four previous recipients of the President’s Medal are His Holiness Tenzin Gyatso, the XIV Dalai Lama (1995); His Excel-lency Carlos Saul Menem, president of Argentina (1996); His All Holiness Bartholomew, ecumenical patriarch of the Orthodox Christian Church (1997); and U.S. Rep. John Lewis, Georgia Democratic congressman and civil rights activist (2000).

The 81-year-old Brubeck’s career spans six decades. He continues as an active composer, writing jazz and classical music and in some cases crossing boundaries between these genres. He also continues to perform around the world, most recently at Carnegie Hall, Tanglewood and the Monterey Jazz Festival. With new CDs being released every year, his status as a jazz legend is consistently affirmed.

The Brubeck symposium is open to the public and will feature leading jazz scholars not only from Emory but from Spelman College, Harvard and Rutgers universities, as well as the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In addition, Brubeck will work hands-on with students in a jazz improvisation class.

Brubeck’s Oct. 4 performance will feature him and his quartet. The next night, he will culminate his visit in the Oct. 5 joint performance with the quartet and several Emory music ensembles and faculty artists, including University Organist Timothy Albrecht and Emory Jazz Combos Director Gary Motley. Piano, organ, choral and orchestral performers will join in for such favorites as “Boogie One A.M,” “All My Hope,” “In Your Own Sweet Way” and “Take Five.” The program will be conducted by Russell Gloyd.

Tickets for the two performances range from $15–$35, and not all seating zones are available for each performance. For more information or to purchase tickets, call the Emory box office at 404-727-5050. For more information on symposium events, call Crist at 404-727-3785.