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ESYO Presents “Encore Stage,” A Cabaret Where High School Seniors Perform for the Community

Stefon HarrisESYO Alumnus, Acclaimed Jazz Vibraphonist, and Grammy Nominee, Stefon Harris, to Give Presentation

Saturday, June 15, 2019
2:00pm to 5:00pm

GE Theatre, Proctors

Suggested Donation (Class Supporter): $20.19
(Class Sponsor): $201.90
(Class Mentor): $2,019

-Members of ESYO’s Senior Class
-Distinguished ESYO Alum and Acclaimed Jazz Vibraphonist Stefon Harris (’91)

(Schenectady, NY) – Members of the Empire State Youth Orchestra senior class will share their love of music with the community during “Encore Stage” an event designed to highlight ESYO musicians in a chamber music setting. The afternoon, which will include light refreshments, is an open house where music lovers can come for an hour or stay the entire time. It is free to the public with suggested donations that support ESYO’s scholarship program.

In addition to student performances, the afternoon will feature a presentation by Stefon Harris who is an ESYO alumnus (’91) and acclaimed jazz vibraphonist. The Los Angeles Times heralded him as one of the most important artists in jazz. He is a recipient of the prestigious 2018 Doris Duke Artist Award, the Martin E. Segal Award from Lincoln Center and has earned five GRAMMY nominations among many other accolades.  “My primary motivation as an artist and educator is to help people to understand the transformative power of empathy through the arts.  Empathy is one of the primary skills cultivated through arts education and I would like the students to understand that regardless of the career path that they may choose, they’re now better equipped to understand the people and the challenges of the world in which they are charged to nurture,” said Harris.

ESYO Music Director Carlos Ágreda is looking forward to this special afternoon that celebrates high school seniors and their love of music. “We want our seniors to celebrate the closure of their time at ESYO by giving them an opportunity to play some repertoire that they like and to share their passion for music with their friends, their families and the ESYO community,” he said.

As an ESYO alum Harris appreciates the organization and the education it provided him as a musician. “ESYO gave me access to the highest quality of arts education. Through ESYO, I gained exposure to some of the greatest artistic minds in history.  This exposure dramatically increased my ability to observe the world from a myriad of perspectives. Our most fundamental role as artist is to observe and document the world that we see so that as a species we can gain a better understanding of the individual parts which make us whole,” said Harris.



About Stefon Harris: 
Educator, Composer, Vibraphonist, Marimbist

Stefon Harris’ passionate artistry and astonishing virtuosity have propelled him to the forefront of the jazz scene. Heralded as “one of the most important artists in jazz” (Los Angeles Times), he is a recipient of the prestigious 2018 Doris Duke Artist Award, the Martin E. Segal Award from Lincoln Center, has earned five GRAMMY nominations, and has been named Best Mallet player eight times by the Jazz Journalist Association. He was also chosen Best Vibes in the 2018 and 2017 Downbeat Magazine Critic’s Poll, the 2016 Jazz Times Expanded Critics Poll, the 2014 Jazz Times Critics Poll and the 2013 Downbeat Critics Poll. NPR’s All Things Considered praised Mr. Harris’ audacious CD Urbanus, which also earned a GRAMMY nomination for Best Contemporary Jazz Album, as one of “The Year’s Best New Jazz” recordings. As a member of the SFJAZZ Collective, their 2014 CD, Wonder: The Songs of Stevie Wonder, won an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Jazz Album.

Mr. Harris received his Bachelor of Music degree in classical music and Master of Music degree in jazz performance at Manhattan School of Music where he currently serves as Associate Dean and Director of Jazz Arts. He has taught at universities throughout the world in person and virtually via his Distance Learning Studio, has led curriculum development at the Brubeck Institute, and serves as Artistic Director of Jazz Education at New Jersey Performing Arts Center. Mr. Harris was Visiting Professor at Rutgers University and served on the jazz faculty of New York University for the past decade. “The Art of Listening,” part of a series of documentaries focusing on Harris’s community work in arts education in Kalamazoo, won 3 Gold Camera awards and 3 Michigan EMMY nominations. More recently he was the subject of a documentary, The Sound of New York viewable on QwestTV and produced and directed by Italian filmmaker Gloria Rebecchi.

As a thought leader, Mr. Harris leads transformative presentations on corporate leadership development and team empowerment to Fortune 100 companies using jazz as a metaphor. His inspiring 2012 TED talk, “There Are No Mistakes on the Bandstand,” has gained nearly 700,000 views to date. Mr. Harris has served on the Board of Directors for Chamber Music America, WBGO-FM and on the Board of Advisors for Percussive Arts Society.

Mr. Harris’ eleventh album as a leader, Sonic Creed featuring his band Blackout was released September 2018 on Motema Records which earned him the cover of Downbeat Magazine. He has also recorded as part of The Classical Jazz Quartet, with Kenny Barron, Ron Carter and Lewis Nash, and as a member of the SFJAZZ Collective. He has recorded and performed with many of music’s greatest artists, including: Joe Henderson, Wynton Marsalis, Milt Jackson, Lionel Hampton, Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Bobby Hutcherson, Cassandra Wilson, Diana Krall, Dr. Billy Taylor, Max Roach, Cedar Walton, Mulgrew Miller, Benny Golson, Bobby Watson, Chaka Khan, Kurt Elling, Buster Williams, Dianne Reeves, Ry Cooder, Charlie Hunter, Common, and Pablo Zeigler. He co-founded The Melodic Progression Institute (MPI) in 2013 with partner Clif Swiggett to design innovative ways to help musicians learn and grow. The beta version of their first app, Harmony CloudTM, an ear-training tool is now available on iTunes.

For more information about Encore Stage click here.