Thursday, February 2, 2012

Opera House Arts Receives Jazz Masters Award

The Stonington Opera House got some good news at the start of its 100th anniversary. At the January 10 celebration of the NEA Jazz Masters program, Rocco Landesman, chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, announced that Opera House Arts at the Stonington Opera House is one of 12 organizations to receive grants totaling $135,000 to bring outstanding jazz musicians, writers, producers, and scholars to communities across the nation.

"There is no substitute for being in the presence of a great artist, and through the NEA Jazz Masters Live grants, the NEA is pleased to provide opportunities for Americans all across this country to have exactly that experience," said NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman. "Twelve exceptional organizations will be our partners this year."

Opera House Arts (OHA) applied to present 2012 Jazz Master Charlie Haden at the center of its 12th Annual Deer Isle Jazz Festival August 2-­‐4, 2012, co-­‐produced with jazz journalist Larry Blumenfeld. Bass player Haden was born in Iowa and his musical roots are in country, American folk, and gospel music, making him an excellent fit for the musical heritage of OHA’s own community as well as a wonderful extension of the Deer Isle Jazz Festival, which has in the past presented jazz masters ranging from Randy Weston to Charles Lloyd. While perhaps best known for his recordings with Ornette Coleman, Keith Jarrett, and Dewey Redman (who inaugurated the Deer Isle Jazz Festival in 2001), Haden has been the leader of his own Liberation Music Orchestra, featuring vocalist and arranger Carla Bley, since the 1970s. His newest recording, “Come Sunday,” with pianist Hank Jones is a collection of 14 pieces of church music and was released in January 2012. The Deer Isle Jazz Festival proposed to feature and honor Haden not only in concert but also in a documentary film, Ramblin’ Boy, which documents his start in country music; in a panel discussion on his musical evolution; and in a tribute set, “For Charlie: Music By and For Charlie Haden,” by Maine’s own Duncan Hardy Sextet.

For more information on the festival, please go to

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