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(Published: October 25, 2022)

• Internationally Renowned Jazz Artists Diane Schuur & David Benoit Join 68-Member SJO Orchestra for 20th Anniversary Benefit Concert Following Two-Year Hiatus Due to Covid-19

• Expands Music in the Schools Residency Program to 175 Classrooms Serving Over 50,000 Students and their families

• Continues Free "Family Jazz Hour" & Arts for Life Public Concerts

• Resumes Commissioning Competition for 2023

• "Beyond Symphonic Jazz" KJazz Weekly Radio Show hosted by SJO Music Director Mitch Glickman Enters 5th Year Exploring Where Musical Lines Start to Blur

And the beat goes on! The 68-member Symphonic Jazz Orchestra (SJO), led by music director Mitch Glickman, celebrated its 20th anniversary with a gala concert held Sept. 18th 2022 at the Carpenter Performing Arts Center in Long Beach, CA following a two-year hiatus due to the Covid 19 pandemic. Presented in partnership with KJazz 88.1 FM, the evening was hosted by KJazz radio announcer Rhonda Hamilton and featured special guests GRAMMY® winning vocalist Diane Schuur and GRAMMY nominated pianist and composer David Benoit.

The centerpiece of the SJO annual benefit concerts are world premieres of works commissioned by the organization. Two new works were presented this year - "Hello Wonderland" by Jihye Lee and "Vignette for Orchestra" by Remy LeBoeuf, along with the debut of "gListen!" by Mitch Glickman featuring beatbox flute soloist Azeem Ward. The 68-member SJO comprised of Hollywood's top studio musicians and jazz soloists, were featured in the opening number, "Festival" by SJO's former Co-Music Director the late George Duke.


Music Transforms Communities, Schools and Lives
With a mission to bring much needed music education to underresourced neighborhoods the Music in The Schools program works with 15 elementary schools from Watts to Long Beach reaching 175 classrooms and over 4,000 students per week from kindergarten to 5th grade. The year-long program integrates and enhances students' understanding of math, reading, science, history, and creative writing. Music education funding cuts in public schools have been on the rise since 1997. In some of the neighborhoods SJO serves, the schools they work with haven't had any arts education in decades.

"I have had the joy of seeing the program unfold and know how invaluable this program is to our students. The residency ensures that music education and enjoyment will become an important and vital part of these children's lives now and in the future." ...B. Brown Principal of Farragut Elementary School:

Torchbearers for Symphonic Jazz
Debuting in 2002, Symphonic Jazz Orchestra (SJO) is a unique hybrid ensemble dedicated to blending the worlds of jazz and classical music. The ensemble has performed throughout Southern California at such venues as the Richard & Karen Carpenter Performing Arts Center, Royce Hall (UCLA), Walt Disney Theater (CalArts) and Marsee Auditorium. Soloists joining the Symphonic Jazz Orchestra have included Grammy Award winning performers including George Duke, Dave Grusin, Christian McBride, Raul Midon, Jane Monheit, Lee Ritenour, Chris Brubeck, Luciana Souza, Ernie Watts, The Yellowjackets and Miguel Zenon. The SJO's acclaimed recording "Looking Forward, Looking Back" includes two commissioned works by George Duke and Lee Ritenour, along with George Gershwin's classic "Rhapsody in Blue."

Radio Series "Beyond Symphonic Jazz"
Hosted by SJO Music Director Mitch Glickman, Beyond Symphonic Jazz radio show in its fifth year explores where the worlds of jazz and classical music meet with interviews with some very special composers and performers including Wayne Shorter, Pat Metheny, Don Sebesky, Terence Blanchard, Chick Corea, Carla Bley, and Terri Lyne Carrington. The show also features rare recordings along with new works that continue the great American tradition of symphonic jazz.  The 2-hour show on KJazz 88.1 FM airs every Monday evening from 9 - 11 pm (PST) and can be heard online at jazzandblues.org.

SJO Commissioning Competition
Resuming for 2023 is the annual commissioning competition for individuals who compose symphonic jazz which was suspended for two years due to the pandemic and the cancellation of SJO concerts, Each year SJO presents a commissioning competition for individuals who compose symphonic jazz. The Music Advisory Board determines the winner, who is then commissioned to write a new orchestral score, which is premiered by the Symphonic Jazz Orchestra at its free annual concert and is entered into the organization's catalog of symphonic jazz commissions.

Family Jazz Hour & Arts for Life Free Community Concerts
The next free public concert presented by members of Symphonic Jazz Orchestra (SJO) will be held May 7, 2023. More details to follow.

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