Dorothy Stringer school celebrates Monk's 100th

Brighton school children celebrate centenary of Thelonious Monk


Young musicians celebrate Thelonious Monk’s 100th birthday ahead of Nu Civilisation Orchestra's concert. The gala concert led by award-winning pianist and composer, Peter Edwards, will also include young musicians from Brighton schools as part of ‘The Jazz Ticket’.

Young musicians from Dorothy Stringer School paid homage to jazz great Thelonious Monk on what would have been his 100th birthday ahead of a special concert at Brighton Dome (14 November) celebrating the centenary of his birth.

The renowned pianist rewrote the book on modern jazz and his name is associated with some of the most original and challenging music of the 20th century. Monk’s legacy is being celebrated alongside five other pioneering musical icons who also share his birth year – vocalist Ella Fitzgerald, trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie, percussionist Mongo Santamaria, composer ‘Tadd’ Dameron and drummer Buddy Rich – as part of a nationwide music education project that brings together young musicians from across the UK to work with leading jazz professionals on a set of compositions marking the centenary of the birth of six ‘Giants of Jazz’.

Five Brighton schools - Blatchington Mill, Cardinal Newman, Varndean, Patcham High, Dorothy Stringer and Hove Park school - and one community outreach organisation, AudioActive, have participated in the project, which is organised by national scheme The Jazz Ticket and produced by the Tomorrow's Warriers. It culminates in a special evening at Brighton Dome featuring young musicians from the six schools, performing alongside professional jazz ensemble, the Nu Civilisation Orchestra. The unique event combines archive film portraits, with electrifying live performance from some of the finest jazz musicians of the moment, playing pieces by the Jazz greats as well as a new commission from Turner Sims, ‘A Journey with the Giants of Jazz’ by Peter Edwards.

Peter Chivers, Head of Brighton & Hove Music & Arts said:

'Brighton & Hove Music & Arts (BHMA) became part of Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival on 1 July, and we are delighted to be directly involved with this exciting education project, bringing Jazz to the forefront of our city’s musical minds. BHMA provides high quality and inclusive music and arts education and performance opportunities for all children and young people across the city including music lessons, ensembles, projects, workshops, orchestras, summer schools and dance classes. The Jazz Ticket is an exciting and unique experience for our young musicians in the city. Exploring the work of these jazz greats with leading jazz professionals and performing together will be the start of an inspiring musical journey.' 

Peter Edwards is the musical director for the Nu Civilisation Orchestra and is an alumni of the Tomorrow’s Warriors young artist development programme and has established a growing reputation and following as a pianist, bandleader, composer, arranger and teacher. Peter said “The reason why we’re doing this is to help inspire young people. Many of the people who are in the Nu Civilisation orchestra came through the young artist development programmes so a lot of us were in the situation that the young musicians are in. Hopefully this will show them that there’s actually a pathway into becoming an orchestral member.”

Fish Krish, special projects manager at Tomorrow’s Warriors, says “We aim to inspire young people and give them the opportunity to explore jazz and their own creativity whilst celebrating these six extraordinary Jazz artists who have had such a huge and lasting impact on the genre. We hope The Jazz Ticket will inspire a new generation of musicians and audiences to enjoy and value Jazz.”

The Nu Civilisation Orchestra concert (Tue 14 Nov) is suitable for jazz fans of all ages (recommended 8+). Tickets are £15 each and under 18’s go free. Tickets can be booked here.