Istanbul will host second International Jazz Day, UN announces

UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova (left) and Goodwill Ambassador Herbie Hancock. Photo: UNESCO/Francis Barrier

19 February 2013 – The Turkish city of Istanbul will be the global host city of the second International Jazz Day, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the Government of Turkey announced today.

“I am delighted to announce that Istanbul will serve as the host city for the 2013 International Jazz Day celebration on 30 April,” said UNESCO’s Director-General Irina Bokova. “A meeting place of global cultures, Istanbul is an ideal location to highlight the extensive influence of jazz.”

Born in the United States at the beginning of the 20th century, jazz is rooted in African traditions, draws from European musical forms, and has evolved into various styles across the globe.

In partnership with the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, International Jazz Day was adopted by UNESCO Member States on the initiative of UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Herbie Hancock. The Day seeks to raise awareness in the international community of the virtues of jazz as an educational tool and a force for peace, unity, dialogue and enhanced cooperation among people.

This year, the main concert for International Jazz Day will be held in Istanbul, Turkey, while other celebrations and educational programmes will take place around the globe. Libraries, schools, performing arts centres, artists and arts organizations of all disciplines throughout the world will be encouraged to celebrate the day through presentations, concerts and other jazz-focused activities.

“On International Jazz Day, jazz is celebrated, studied, and performed around the world for 24 hours straight,” said Mr. Hancock. “Collaborations abound among jazz icons, scholars, composers, musicians, dancers, writers, and thinkers who embrace the beauty, spirit, and principles of jazz, freely sharing experiences and performances in our big cities and in our small towns, all across our seven continents.”

Celebrations in Istanbul will kick off with a special early morning performance for high school students conducted by Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter and others, UNESCO said in a press release. An evening concert at Istanbul’s famed Hagia Irene will also be held featuring performances by stellar musicians from around the world.

“Last year’s celebration reached more than one billion people through educational programs, performances and media coverage,” said the President of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, Tom Carter. “This is a phenomenal figure that we believe will be surpassed in 2013.”


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