LaPorta Jazz Educator Award Presented to Donald Cantwell

  IAJE President Chuck Owen, Donald Cantwell, and Berklee Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Lawrence Simpson

On January 9, at the 35th Annual International Association for Jazz Education (IAJE) Conference in Toronto, Donald Cantwell received the second Berklee/IAJE John LaPorta Jazz Educator of the Year Award. Over the course of his long and distinguished education career, the now-retired music director helped build one of the nation's best music programs in the Whitesboro Central School District in New York.

During his 33-year tenure at Whitesboro, Cantwell directed an award-winning music program and taught numerous students who have gone on to careers of distinction as performers and educators. Among them are Mark Kellogg, a trombonist with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra and faculty member at Eastman School of Music; Dr. David Blask, a trumpeter with the Central New York Jazz Orchestra; and Dr. Michael Hewitt, the chair of music education at the University of Maryland School of Music.

Cantwell invited many jazz greats to perform with his students, including such Berklee faculty members as John LaPorta, Herb Pomeroy, Gary Burton, Phil Wilson, and others. For more than 40 years, Cantwell has been an active member of NAJE/IAJE and has been recognized for his accomplishments as a jazz educator at the elementary, secondary, and collegiate levels.

Underwritten in part by Berklee, the John LaPorta Jazz Educator of the Year Award was created to recognize an outstanding international high-school educator with five or more years of classroom experience who represents the highest standards of teaching and whose results in the classroom have brought distinction to an institution and students. The award includes a $5,000 honorarium, a package of equipment and music for the recipient's school music program, and an invitation to speak before the Berklee student body at a major assembly.

The award is named in memory of jazz education pioneer John LaPorta, whose professional life included stints as a saxophonist and clarinetist with Woody Herman, Charles Mingus, and Lennie Tristano as well as a 30-year teaching career at Berklee.