Formation of the Dr. Phillips Center Jazz Orchestra and

new, year-long educational initiatives

ORLANDO, Fla. (January 30, 2017) – The Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts is establishing its place within the global jazz community with the announcement of the formation of the Dr. Phillips Center Jazz Orchestra and new, year-long educational initiatives.

“Dr. Phillips Center continues to shape Central Florida’s culture and economy. Our vision of Arts For Every Life means impacting our community through world-class experiences and education. Dr. Phillips Center is dedicated to being a creative gathering place where people love to experience, explore, learn, work and be an authentic part of the arts,” said Kathy Ramsberger, president & CEO of the Dr. Phillips Center.

“The combination of the full spectrum of jazz offerings from early childhood to high school through professional performances with the formation of the Dr. Phillips Center Jazz Orchestra confirms our commitment to jazz for the global arts community,” Ramsberger continued.

A core component to the jazz program is the formation of the Dr. Phillips Center Jazz Orchestra with national open call auditions to be held February 27 and 28, 2017. For more information on the Dr. Phillips Center Jazz Orchestra auditions, visitwww.drphillipscenter.org/jazz-orchestra.

Internationally-renowned bassist and Mack Avenue recording artist Rodney Whitaker is a proven and committed jazz educator, has presented numerous master classes across the nation and is a member of Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. Whitaker is very involved with Dr. Phillips Center in building the jazz program. Since 2013, he has led three-day jazz residencies providing free master classes at local schools and led a summer program with a team of renowned jazz professors for a week-long jazz camp. Whitaker will also serve as artistic director for the Dr. Phillips Center Jazz Orchestra. 

“We are excited to create a professional, anchor orchestra that will influence the performance of jazz now and for generations to come. We have an exceptional caliber of talented jazz artists living and working in Central Florida, many of whom perform nationally. We look forward to seeing the great talent from Central Florida and around the country that will build this orchestra,” said Whitaker.

Based on the deep roots and importance of the history of jazz, the formation of Dr. Phillips Center Jazz Orchestra showcases the arts center’s commitment to create and sustain its own professional jazz orchestra. This is the first collaboration of its kind between Jazz at Lincoln Center and a performing arts center.

Additionally, a unique programming partnership with Jazz at Lincoln Center is evolving on a variety of levels to include Managing and Artistic Director Wynton Marsalis’ gift of charts to inspire the creation of a music library at Dr. Phillips Center.

A united vision to create education programs drives the organizations’ efforts to advance the appreciation, understanding and performance of jazz, including: 

· WeBop, an early-childhood jazz education program developed by Jazz at Lincoln Center (JLAC) for children eight months to five years that invites families to stomp, strut and swing to the rhythms of jazz, and

· Essentially Ellington, a celebration of jazz as an art form to engage high school jazz programs to prepare and present three Duke Ellington pieces provided to them from the Jazz at Lincoln Center Library.

“It is a privilege to work with Kathy Ramsberger and the talented team, donors and supporters of Dr. Phillips Center to build upon our shared passion and vision for music and our belief in the unique relevance of jazz to bring people together and lift them up,” said Wynton Marsalis, managing and artistic director of Jazz at Lincoln Center. ”We are proud to witness this remarkable commitment to music with Dr. Phillip Center in presenting a resident, professional jazz orchestra,” Marsalis continued.

In addition to the Jazz at Lincoln Center programs, a new education program, 6th & Jazz, is an expansion of a partnership with Orange County Public Schools for 2017/2018. 6th & Jazz ensures that every OCPS sixth grade student in Orlando is exposed to jazz music. The program introduces this pivotal age group to the infectious energy of jazz, while providing a context for its cultural impact. The program will serve more than 15,000 students annually. Through live performance and sixth grade curriculum, students are introduced to jazz music as an art form and its evolution as part of the country’s history.

All of these initiatives are made possible through a gift by benefactors Joyce and Judson Green. Their leadership in support of music programs is well-known with the establishment of many arts programs across the nation to create places of learning and appreciation of the arts by providing artistically diverse, stimulating and accessible programs.

“We believe Dr. Phillips Center is the heartbeat of our great city and look forward to the growth of the arts center to provide opportunities to bring international, national and local musical talent together. Our entire community will be able experience jazz in many ways and for many years to come,” noted Judson Green.

“We are honored to combine our love of music and our desire to contribute to the mission of the arts center to further enrich and educate the community about the importance and value of jazz,” Joyce Green continued.

About the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts

The Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization operating the state-of-the-art performing arts center in downtown Orlando, Florida. With its opening in November 2014, the performing arts center launched its vision of Arts for Every Life by being a gathering place for creativity and discovery; a vibrant urban destination where artists, audiences and students come to experience, explore and learn. The two-block community destination features the 2,700-seat Walt Disney Theater, 300-seat Alexis & Jim Pugh Theater, Seneff Arts Plaza, Dr. Phillips Center Florida Hospital School of the Arts, the DeVos Family Room, and other event rental spaces. Future expansion includes Steinmetz Hall, a 1,700-seat acoustical theater, along with rehearsal, classroom, office space and commercial development spaces. The Dr. Phillips Center is a private non-profit collaborating with the City of Orlando, Orange County, the State of Florida and generous donors.

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