Thelonious Monk Institute to be renamed “Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz”

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Last week the Board of Trustees of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz announced that effective January 1, 2019, the Institute will move forward under the name the Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz.

According to the press release, the decision was made following a request by representatives of the Monk Estate regarding the continued use of Thelonious Monk’s name. The board approached Hancock with a proposal to rename the institute in his honour. In a statement from the trustees, they state “The Board’s decision reflects Mr Hancock’s commitment and selfless service to the Institute over the past three decades, his expert guidance as Institute Chairman for the past 15 years, and his immense contributions to an impact on music, education and humanity. The Board strongly believes Mr Hancock is the perfect choice to ensure continuity, stability, and vision for the Institute’s future.”

The institute is a non-profit organisation with a stated mission to offer the world’s most promising young musicians college level training by internationally acclaimed jazz masters and to present public school-based music education programs for young people around the world. The Institute preserves, perpetuates and expands jazz as a global art form, and utilizes jazz as a means to unite people of all ages, backgrounds and nationalities. All of the Institute’s programs are provided free of charge to students, schools and communities worldwide.

Hancock stated, “Having the Institute named in my honour is tremendously humbling and represents a profound moment for my family and me. I’m looking forward to continuing in my role as Institute Chairman and carrying on and expanding the organization’s important worldwide jazz education and humanitarian initiatives.” He went on to say “We have been searching for ways to increase the Institute’s impact musically as well as address humanitarian issues where we can make a difference. We will continue teaching the history and importance of jazz, its traditions and improvisation, along with exploring new directions and horizons for the future. Of utmost importance to the Institute and our programs is to highlight the ethics of jazz, which are humanitarian in nature.”


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As a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Herbie Hancock’s lead program is International Jazz Day, which is produced in conjunction with the Institute, the United Nations and UNESCO. Mr Hancock observed, “The goals and vision of UNESCO and the United Nations are similar to the values in jazz, and we intend to use our relationship with these institutions as a conduit to interact with organizations, communities, schools, and individuals around the world. Working together, we can illuminate the many challenging issues facing humankind by developing and enacting programs that will make a real difference in the quality of people’s lives and lift their spirits through music.”

The Trustees stated that “the Institute will continue its mission in all respects. The Board of Trustees will remain in place; the Institute’s ongoing education programs and events will continue; and the staff in Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles, California will continue to carry out their responsibilities. The Board of Trustees looks forward to this exciting new chapter in the Institute’s history.’

For more information on the Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz and it’s programming visit their website.

Last modified: November 13, 2018