By Thomas Gillen
Assistant A&E Editor
From July 1-16, students in the LIU Post Jazz Ensemble and Long Island Sound – Vocal Jazz Ensemble will be traveling to Switzerland to participate in the annual Montreux Jazz Festival, which is the second largest jazz festival in the world. The Montreux Jazz Festival is entering its fiftieth year in existence and takes place on the edge of Lake Geneva. “The LIU Jazz Ensemble and Long Island Sound Vocal Jazz performed at the 2007 Montreux Jazz Festival and have been invited by a jury of peer reviewers to perform at the 50th Anniversary Montreux Jazz Festival this coming July,” said Jennifer Miceli, chairperson of the department of music.
Miceli said that the purpose of the jazz tour in Switzerland “is to provide experiential learning and performing opportunities for LIU Post music students.” According to montreuxjazzfestival.com, “the festival rapidly earned a reputation for fantastic concerts, unbelievable artistic collaborations, rare moments, improbable anecdotes, audacity, ambitious projects, and impulsive decisions.” Past artists who have performed at the festival include David Bowie, Prince, and Deep Purple.
Junior music education major Robert Riepe is the bass player in the LIU Post Jazz Ensemble and the Long Island Sound – Vocal Jazz Ensemble and spoke of some of the benefits of playing at the Montreux Jazz Festival. “Since the Montreux Jazz Festival is a world renowned event, I get to travel and play in Europe and neighboring countries.” Riepe also stated that the LIU Jazz Big Band has been preparing for the festival since the fall semester.
The 40 students going to Montreux will be able to push their musical careers forward by playing at this renowned event. “Students advance their musical careers by performing at a prestigious festival where intentionally recognized jazz artists will also be performing. Last year’s Montreux Jazz Festival line-up included such artists as Lady Gaga, Tony Bennett, John Legend, Lenny Kravitz, Mary J. Blige, and Herbie Hancock,” Miceli said.
Some of the festival venues where groups will perform include the Auditorium Stravski, Montreux Jazz Club, Montreux Jazz Lab, and Montreux Jazz Creations. The Auditorium Stravski is the biggest venue, with a capacity of 2,800 to 4,000 people.
Besides paid events at these venues, visitors will also be able to listen to jazz music in the park and attend aftershows and workshops.
“The 2016 Jazz Tour gives students the opportunity to share a uniquely American art form in a foreign country. Through jazz music, LIU Post music students will serve as ambassadors to the Department of Music; College of Arts, Communications, and Design; Long Island University; New York State, and to the United States. Other benefits include performing in famous venues, listening to jazz greats, experiencing a foreign culture, enjoying the beauty of Switzerland, and making great music with life long friends,” Miceli said.