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Winter Newsletter 2016: The DC JazzPrix by Sara Donnelly

Release Date
Thursday, February 18, 2016

By now you’ve heard the buzz surrounding our January launch of DCJazzPrix, our first national jazz competition, recognizing the finest rising jazz band talent.  There are a number of prominent jazz competitions, often affiliated with music schools or jazz festivals, so we decided to come up with several updated, less prescribed criteria and striking features based on the jazz ensemble – a way to truly set us apart from those other competitions, further engaging the DCJF audience.


DC represents the diverse heart and soul of the nation, thus DCJazzPrix is a national competition, open to bands living anywhere in the U.S.  We determined that we should showcase the semifinalists on our DCJF stage, awarding them the experience of time in DC as a global host city, aglow in the excitement and scale that a major jazz festival stimulates. 


Since so many current jazz competitions focus on the solo artist, we chose to showcase the essence of the jazz band with its collective interaction, creative expression, and democratic drive as truly representative of the jazz ethos.  Also, since so many competitions focus on middle and high school student participants, the DC Jazz Festival already serves that segment brilliantly through our Education Programs.  We chose to focus DCJazzPrix on young professional artists (18-40), many of whom have matriculated and may no longer benefit from the resources and infrastructure an academic setting provides, though school ensembles who meet our eligibility requirements are certainly welcome to apply.


DCJazzPrix seeks high artistic quality and merit, with an emphasis on enhanced career advancement for the jazz band.  Our Board enthusiastically contributed a significant cash award to recognize these qualities (courtesy of Conrad Kenley, Linda and Michael Sonnenreich, and the Abramson Family Foundation).  We also are currently designing professional development services offered to the winning band gratis over a year-long relationship with the DC Jazz Festival.


If you haven’t already read the DCJazzPrix Guidelines, please do so at: and please encourage any worthy jazz bands you know to compete.  Please let us know what you think about this exciting opportunity.  DCJazzPrix Entry Deadline is March 4, 2016!


Sara Donnelly

Manager, DCJazzPrix 

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