Istanbul Hosts International Jazz Day

  • Published by Vedat

UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova, UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Herbie Hancock, Turkey’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Ahmet Davutoğlu and its Minister of Culture and Tourism Ӧmer Ҫelik recently announced that Istanbul will host the second annual International Jazz Day on 30 April 2013.

3UNESCO Member States adopted International Jazz Day on the initiative of UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Herbie Hancock, in order to encourage and highlight jazz’s unique power for advancing intercultural dialogue and understanding across the world. The celebration is recognized on the official calendars of UNESCO and the United Nations. Hancock and UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova serve as Co-Chairs and the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz is the lead nonprofit partner responsible for planning and promoting International Jazz Day in UNESCO’s 195 Member States.

The second annual International Jazz Day will be celebrated in Istanbul on 30 April in collaboration with the Republic of Turkey and Istanbul Jazz Festival as the host city partner. The International Jazz Day, realised with the contributions of the main sponsors Akbank and Garanti Bank, as well as Jaeger-LeCoultre and Microsoft, is also supported by Vodafone as the webcast sponsor and Arçelik as the technological equipment sponsor.

The programme of the International Jazz Day was presented at a press meeting on Monday, 29 April at Karakol Restaurant, located in the Topkapı Palace’s yard. Director of Sector for External Relations and Public Information, UNESCO Neil Ford, Head of Department for Cultural Diplomacy, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey Cem Kahyaoğlu, President of Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Tom Carter, Garanti Bank Senior Vice President, Corporate Brand Management and Marketing Communications Elif Güvenen and Akbank Senior Vice President Corporate Communication Murat Göllü gave their speeches at the press meeting moderated by the director of Istanbul Jazz Festival Pelin Opcin.

The press meeting continued with the speeches of UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Herbie Hancock; the musical director of the International Jazz Day concert John Beasley as well as the musicians who will take part in the gala concert including Terence Blanchard, Robert Glasper, Al Jarreau, John McLaughlin, Marcus Miller, Thelonious Monk Jr., Lee Ritenour, Wayne Shorter. Musicians shared detailed information on the event with the press members.

As the host city for International Jazz Day 2013, Istanbul will hold an International Jazz Day All-Star Celebration Concert at the historic Hagia Irene, the city’s oldest church dating back to the 4th century. Located in the outer courtyard of Topkapı Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Hagia Irene is an international treasure for music lovers because of its brilliant atmosphere and enchanting acoustics. Dozens of world-renowned musicians from 15 countries around the world will participate, and the concert will be streamed live on and via the UNESCO, United Nations, U.S. State Department and Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz web sites. The concert will be taped for future broadcast on public television stations around the world. Tickets are not available for the evening concert, but the citizens of Istanbul will be able to watch the gala concert on the big screen at Tepebaşı Square and Caddebostan Park with the support of Vodafone and Arçelik.

Confirmed artists include: pianists Herbie Hancock, John Beasley (also the Musical Director), George Duke, Robert Glasper, Ramsey Lewis, Keiko Matsui and Eddie Palmieri; vocalists Rubén Blades, Al Jarreau, Milton Nascimento, Dianne Reeves and Joss Stone; trumpeters Terence Blanchard, İmer Demirer and Hugh Masekela; trombonist Alevtina Polyakova; bassists James Genus, Marcus Miller, Esperanza Spalding and Ben Williams; drummers Terri Lyne Carrington and Vinnie Colaiuta; guitarists Bilal Karaman, John McLaughlin, Lee Ritenour and Joe Louis Walker; saxophonists Dale Barlow, Igor Butman, Branford Marsalis, Wayne Shorter and Liu Yuan; clarinetists Anat Cohen and Hüsnü Şenlendirici; violinist Jean-Luc Ponty; and percussionists Zakir Hussain and Pedrito Martinez.

Martin Luther King III will serve as the concert’s special guest. The oldest son of the late Dr. Martin Luther King and Coretta Scott King, Martin Luther King III is a passionate ambassador of his parents’ legacy of nonviolent social change. At the concert, he will highlight the importance of jazz as a tool for peace and read from his father’s remarks at the 1964 Berlin Jazz Festival.

Leading up to the all-star concert, Istanbul will host a daylong series of concerts, lectures, round tables, workshops and Q&A sessions on Tuesday, 30 April made possible by Akbank and Garanti Bank. The events will kick off with the opening speeches at Galatasaray High School at 9:30 with the participation of UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova, UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Herbie Hancock. All of these events will be free and open to the public and will feature artists and scholars including Marcus Miller, Anat Cohen, Keiko Matsui, Hugh Masekela, Robert Glasper, Esperanza Spalding, Ramsey Lewis, Milton Nascimento, Charlie Gans and Thelonious Monk, Jr.

The full schedule of daytime and fringe events on 30 April 2013 can be found at


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