Berklee Today

Sinicrope Receives LaPorta Award

  From the left: Roger Brown, Alicia Sinicrope, Bob Sinicrope, IAJE executives Bill McFarlin and Chuck Owen, and Sinicrope's former student, jazz artist Aaron Goldberg
  Photo by Rob Hayes

On Wednesday, January 10, President Roger H. Brown presented the first IAJE John LaPorta Jazz Educator of the Year Award at the annual IAJE Conference in New York to Milton Academy Jazz Director Bob Sinicrope '78. The inaugural award was created to recognize outstanding high-school educators with five or more years of classroom experience who represent the highest standards of teaching and whose results in the classroom have brought distinction to their institution and students. The acknowledgement includes a $5,000 honorarium, a package of equipment and music for the recipient's school music program, and an invitation to speak to the Berklee student body at a major assembly.

The award is named in memory of the late jazz education pioneer John LaPorta, who taught at Berklee for 35 years and became one of college's most respected and influential educators. In 1962, LaPorta left an active touring and performing career to teach at Berklee. An uncompromising artist and an inspiring teacher, LaPorta revolutionized jazz education.

"John LaPorta was one of the founding fathers of what is now the IAJE and a cornerstone of the modern Berklee," said Berklee President Roger Brown. "He was a virtuoso musician who played with Parker, Mingus, Tristano, and Stravinsky but got his real kicks guiding young musicians, helping them play together and improve. Bob Sinicrope is a worthy and truly deserving first recipient."

A former student of John LaPorta, Sinicrope established an exemplary jazz program at Milton Academy in 1974. "I was deeply inspired by John's exceptional musicianship and his caring and direct style of teaching," Sinicrope said.

Sinicrope has given clinics at schools on six continents and at four IAJE conferences. His Milton Academy ensembles have played at six IAJE conferences and performed at the White House, European jazz festivals, and at schools and jazz conferences in South Africa.

An in-demand bassist, Sinicrope leads two local bands and has played with Shirley Bassey, Jerry Bergonzi, Billy Eckstine, Jon Faddis, Tiny Grimes, Abdullah Ibrahim, Papa Jo Jones, Mississippi Fred McDowell, and many others.