Ambrose Akinmusire Education Residency at the New Zealand School of Music

The New Zealand School of Music—Te Kōkī, Victoria University of Wellington and the Wellington Jazz Festival are excited to announce an education partnership.

Ambrose Akinmusire

Jazz students from the New Zealand School of Music will be working with American jazz trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire as part of a special residency while he is in town for the Wellington Jazz Festival in June.

Ambrose Akinmusire’s powerful music is an active response to societal and racial divides, and sits within the centre and at the periphery of jazz, while intersecting the circles of hip-hop and classical music. His genre-defying album Origami Harvest was one of NPR Music's 50 Best Albums of 2018.

The musician will work with and rehearse the New Zealand School of Music Big Band, who will then perform as the opening act for his headline concert at the Michael Fowler Centre on 6 June.

Lily Shaw, a BMus (Hons) student who plays saxophone in the big band, says it will be an honour to be working with him.

“I'm really excited that the big band is getting to play and share the stage with Ambrose Akinmusire during the jazz festival this year. I'm so grateful to the Wellington Jazz Festival for bringing such a wealth of first-rate musicians to New Zealand.”

Ambrose Akinmusire will also take a workshop with small jazz ensembles from the School and will share his experiences as a musician with a group of high school students here for the NZSM Jazz Project and invited guests.

The Wellington Jazz Festival’s Creative Director Marnie Karmelita says that it is exciting to be working with the School to establish an ongoing international artist residency.

“Ambrose will work with both high school and School of Music students across two days around the performance with his quartet here in Wellington. It will also be fantastic to have these students join us for the gig, with some of them opening for the visiting quartet on stage at the Michael Fowler Centre.”

Sally Jane Norman, Director of the New Zealand School of Music, says that the residency will be an incredible learning opportunity for students.

“Ambrose Akinmusire’s virtuosity as a jazz trumpeter is combined with his agility to move across genres, drawing on classical and hip hop, and other artistic forms, to develop a totally original approach to sound and composition. This mix of artistic curiosity and versatility aligns powerfully with energies we seek to promote at NZSM.”