Berklee High School Jazz Festival Returns January 26

Allen Bush
January 16, 2019
Press release

More than 4,000 students and 275 ensembles will gather for the largest festival of its kind in the U.S.

Image by Kelly Davidson

Berklee's 51st annual High School Jazz Festival, the largest high school jazz competition in the U.S., will host more than 275 bands and vocal ensembles featuring 4,000 students from 16 states and Puerto Rico on Saturday, January 26, at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston. Students will compete for $175,000 in scholarships for the Aspire: Five-Week Music Performance Intensive (Five-Week), the world's preeminent summer musical performance program.

The full day of activities includes clinics, jam sessions, concerts, tours of Berklee, and more. Guest clinicians include Jeff Coffin, multi-Grammy Award–winning saxophonist for the Dave Matthews Band; trumpeter Keyon Harrold, whose latest album, The Mugician, is inspired by the shooting of Michael Brown in Harrold's hometown of Ferguson, Missouri; and the Almas Antiguas Quintet, presented by Marco Pignataro, managing director of the Berklee Global Jazz Institute.

Students will be awarded for their musical skills, while others will be honored for outstanding achievements in composition. The winner of the Berklee Jazz Singer Showcase category will perform with the college’s longest-running ensemble and one of the world’s oldest collegiate big bands, the Berklee Concert Jazz Orchestra (BCJO), under the direction of faculty member Greg Hopkins. For the annual Herb Pomeroy Jazz Composition/Arranging Contest, judges will select an arrangement by a student to be performed by the BCJO; that student will receive a full Five-Week scholarship.

"The Berklee High School Jazz Festival is an extraordinary event that showcases some of the best high school music programs from across the United States," said Darla Hanley, festival executive producer and dean of the college's Professional Education Division. "It's a wonderful opportunity for Berklee to support music education and come together to celebrate jazz music and young musicians."

The Berklee High School Jazz Festival is open to the public for free from 9:00 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Hynes Convention Center, located at 900 Boylston Street in Boston. Scholarship and award winners will be announced at 5:30 p.m. followed by a winners’ showcase concert at 7:30 p.m. For the complete schedule, visit

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