Billy Taylor -- named by Vogue as "the most exciting pianist in the jazz world today and its most articulate spokesman" -- will inaugurate Ithaca College's Enduring Masters series with a free appearance on Saturday, September 15. Featuring a performance and a lecture, "An Evening with Billy Taylor," will start at 8:15 p.m. in Ford Hall in the James J. Whalen Center for Music. Taylor will also coach various student ensembles on September 14.
Supported by a two-year, $150,000 grant from the New York State Music Fund, the Enduring Masters series is a collaboration between the Ithaca College Gerontology Institute, the School of Music, Lifelong, and Longview in bringing older musicians to campus to perform and reflect on aging and their art. In addition to exposing area residents to distinguished performers, Enduring Masters will lay the groundwork for a center at the college that will explore creativity and aging. The New York State Music fund was established by the New York Attorney General at Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors.
In addition to Taylor, the Enduring Masters series will include free appearances by pianist Marian McPartland (age 89) and composers Karel Husa (age 86), Joan Tower (age 69), John Corigliano (age 69), and William Bolcom (age 69).
Billy Taylor began performing as a jazz pianist in 1942, when he was 21. He spent the next several years playing with many of the jazz greats of that time, including Art Tatum, Coleman Hawkins, Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie and Miles Davis. As house pianist at Birdland, the legendary jazz club, Taylor also played opposite bands led by Duke Ellington, Count Basie and Stan Kenton. During a performing and recording career that spans six decades, Taylor composed over 350 songs, including works for theater, dance and symphony orchestras.
Though an eminent musician, Taylor is also an influential teacher. Having earned a master's and doctorate in music education from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst at age 54, Taylor has served as the Duke Ellington Fellow at Yale University. In addition, he has hosted and programmed radio broadcasts for WLIB and WNEW in New York. Shortly after his 60th birthday, Taylor became arts correspondent for "CBS Sunday Morning," which featured profiles of some 250 members of the jazz community, including an Emmy Award-winning feature on Quincy Jones.
In addition to the Emmy, Taylor's numerous honors include two Peabody Awards, a Grammy, the National Medal of Arts, a Lifetime Achievement Award from Downbeat magazine, 23 honorary doctoral degrees, and election to the Hall of Fame for the International Association for Jazz Education.
For more information on the event, contact Tom Kline, project coordinator, at (607) 274-7007 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on Billy Taylor and the Enduring Masters series, visit www.ithaca.edu/enduringmasters.