LIU Post bands head to Swiss jazz festival

Thomas Gillen

From July 1-16, 2016, students in two LIU Post performing ensembles, the LIU Post Jazz Ensemble and Long Island Sound – Vocal Jazz Ensemble, will be traveling to Switzerland to participate in the annual Montreux Jazz Festival, which is the second largest jazz festival in the world. The Montreux Jazz Festival is entering its 50th year in existence and takes place on the edge of Lake Geneva. “The LIU Jazz Ensemble and Long Island Sound Vocal Jazz performed at the 2007 Montreux Jazz Festival and have been invited by a jury of peer reviewers to perform at the 50th Anniversary Montreux Jazz Festival this coming July,” confirmed Jennifer Miceli, LIU Post professor and chairperson of the Department of Music. 

Miceli said that the purpose of the jazz tour in Switzerland “is to provide experiential learning and performing opportunities for LIU Post music students.” According to montreuxjazzfestival.com, “the festival rapidly earned a reputation for fantastic concerts, unbelievable artistic collaborations, rare moments, improbable anecdotes, audacity, ambitious projects, and impulsive decisions.” Past artists who have performed at the festival include David Bowie, Prince, and Deep Purple.

LIU Post junior music education major Robert Riepe, the bass player in the LIU Post Jazz Ensemble and the Long Island Sound – Vocal Jazz Ensemble, is excited for the opportunity to participate in a world renowned event. He said that the groups have been preparing for the festival since last fall.

Forty LIU Post student musicians will go to Montreux and push their musical careers forward by performing at the renowned event. “Students advance their musical careers by performing at a prestigious festival where intentionally recognized jazz artists will also be performing.  Last year’s Montreux Jazz Festival line-up included such artists as Lady Gaga, Tony Bennett, John Legend, Lenny Kravitz, Mary J. Blige, and Herbie Hancock,” Professor Miceli said. 

Some of the festival venues where groups will perform include the Auditorium Stravski, Montreux Jazz Club, Montreux Jazz Lab, and Montreux Jazz Creations. The Auditorium Stravski is the biggest venue, with a capacity of 2,800 to 4,000 people. Besides paid events at these venues, visitors at the festival will also be able to listen to jazz music in the park and attend aftershows and workshops.

“The 2016 Jazz Tour gives students the opportunity to share a uniquely American art form in a foreign country. Through jazz music, LIU Post music students will serve as ambassadors to the Department of Music; College of Arts, Communications, and Design; Long Island University; New York State, and to the United States. Other benefits include performing in famous venues, listening to jazz greats, experiencing a foreign culture, enjoying the beauty of Switzerland, and making great music with lifelong friends,” Professor Miceli said.

This article was originally published in the Pioneer, the award-winning student newspaper of LIU Post, www.liupostpioneer.com, and is republished here by Blank Slate Media with the permission of the Pioneer.

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Thomas Gillen

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