Jazz artist Jimmy Greene of WCSU to receive Governor’s Arts Award
Western music professor among three artists to be honored on June 15
DANBURY, CONN. — Jazz artist and Western Connecticut State University professor Jimmy Greene will receive the Governor's Arts Award at a presentation ceremony and concert at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 15, during the International Festival for Arts and Ideas in New Haven.
Greene, an internationally acclaimed saxophonist, composer and bandleader, will join writer and Yale University professor Elizabeth Alexander and artist and University of Connecticut professor Olu Oguibe as the 2013 recipients of the Governor’s Arts Awards. An assistant professor of music and assistant coordinator of jazz studies at WCSU, Greene also will lead a performance by the Jimmy Greene Quintet featuring Kenny Barron on piano, Lewis Nash on drums and John Patitucci on bass. Soul and rhythm-and-blues singer Aaron Neville, renowned for his unique vocal stylings inspired by his New Orleans musical heritage, will perform a program of classic doo-wop pieces in the headline act of the concert.
The awards program and concert will be held on the Elm Street Stage at the New Haven Green. Admission will be free and the public is invited to attend.
The Governor’s Arts Awards recognize outstanding service to the arts in Connecticut. Founded 35 years ago, the program has honored more than 140 recipients including professionals in the performing and visual arts, educators, businesses and arts organizations. Greene and other 2013 recipients of the award will discuss their work and commitment to artistic development in Connecticut as participants in a panel discussion at 3 p.m. on June 15 at the Yale University Art Gallery, 1111 Chapel St. in New Haven. The forum, presented as part of the festival, will be free and the public is invited.
“I am supremely honored to receive the Governor’s Arts Award for 2013, and grateful to Governor (Dannel) Malloy and the Connecticut Office of the Arts for bestowing this prestigious honor upon me,” Greene said. “Reviewing the list of past recipients is quite humbling, indeed. I am blessed to have learned at the feet of such giants of the arts in Connecticut and to have lived most of my life here. There is a vibrant, inspirational community of musicians and artists here in Connecticut, and I am proud to be a small part of it.”
Greene is a Hartford area native who attended Bloomfield High School, the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts and the Artists Collective. He graduated summa cum laude with a music degree from the Hartt School of the University of Hartford. Since his debut in 1997 on the New York jazz scene, he has gained a reputation as a prolific recording artist, leading sideman, widely traveled concert performer and innovative composer of jazz scores.
Named in 1999 as one of Down Beat magazine’s “25 Young Rising Stars in Jazz,” he has released a series of critically acclaimed albums and received numerous honors including the commission to compose and perform “Anthem of Hope” in honor of jazz legend Ornette Coleman. In April, Greene brought together an array of leading jazz artists to participate in the opening 2013 WCSU Jazz Fest concert, “Friends of Jimmy Greene,” dedicated to the victims of the December 2012 shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Greene and his wife, Nelba Marquez-Greene, lost their 6-year-old daughter Ana Grace in the tragedy.
“In his first year here at Western, and despite the tremendous difficulties he has had to endure, Jimmy Greene has proven to be an invaluable member of our department and an outstanding role model to our students,” remarked Jamie Begian, chair of the WCSU Department of Music and director of the jazz studies program. “I was very happy to hear that Jimmy was chosen as a recipient of this award.”
For more information, contact the Office of University Relations at (203) 837-8486.
Western Connecticut State University offers outstanding faculty in a range of quality academic programs. Our diverse university community provides students an enriching and supportive environment that takes advantage of the unique cultural offerings of Western Connecticut and New York. Our vision: To be an affordable public university with the characteristics of New England’s best small private universities.