Monterey Jazz Festival to Receive $35,000 Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts

Monterey, Calif.; February 27, 2018; National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Jane Chu has approved more than $25 million in grants as part of the NEA’s first major funding announcement for fiscal year 2018. Included in this announcement is an Art Works grant of $35,000 to the Monterey Jazz Festival in support of the Monterey Jazz Festival’s 2018 commission piece, to be composed and performed by Oscar Hernández and the Spanish Harlem Orchestra. The Art Works category is the NEA’s largest funding category and supports projects that focus on the creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence, public engagement with diverse and excellent art, lifelong learning in the arts, and/or the strengthening of communities through the arts.

“It is energizing to see the impact that the arts are making throughout the United States. These NEA-supported projects, such as this one to Monterey Jazz Festival are good examples of how the arts build stronger and more vibrant communities, improve well-being, prepare our children to succeed, and increase the quality of our lives,” said NEA Chairman Jane Chu. “At the National Endowment for the Arts, we believe that all people should have access to the joy, opportunities and connections the arts bring.”

“The support of the NEA allows the Monterey Jazz Festival the ability to continue our “big picture” artistic programs that include commissioning new works, supporting our Artist-in-Residence program and to provide us the opportunity to present fresh new artists to the Monterey stages,” said Tim Jackson, Artistic Director of the Monterey Jazz Festival.

The annual commission piece at the Monterey Jazz Festival dates to 1958. Over the festival’s 60-year history, many artists wrote music to be debuted at the Festival, including Duke Ellington, Dave Brubeck, John Lewis and the Modern Jazz Quartet; Mary Lou Williams, Gerald Wilson, and many others. In 1994 the Commission Artist Program was revamped by Artistic Director Tim Jackson, and since then, several of the commissioned works have come out on record and have been nominated for or have won GRAMMY Awards. Since 2005, the National Endowment for the Arts has awarded over $500,000 in grants to support the artistic and educational programs of the Monterey Jazz Festival.

Oscar Hernández is a gifted pianist, composer and arranger on the contemporary Latin, Latin Jazz and Salsa music scene, and is the leader of the world-renowned Grammy-winning Spanish Harlem Orchestra. Hernández has performed and recorded with such seminal artists as Ismael Miranda, Ray Barreto, Celia Cruz, Conjunto Libre, Pete “El Conde” Rodriguez, and Grupo Folklorico. Hernández was responsible for charting the musical course of the Rubén Blades with Seis Del Solar. The piece will debut on the Jimmy Lyons Stage on Saturday, September 22, 2018.

For more information on projects included in the NEA grant announcement, visit

About Monterey Jazz Festival
The Monterey Jazz Festival celebrates the legacy of jazz, expands its boundaries, and provides opportunities to experience jazz through the creative production of performances and educational programs.


For more information, bios, interview opportunities, and high-resolution pictures, please contact:
Timothy Orr
Marketing Associate, Monterey Jazz Festival
Direct Line: 831.646.8670 / MJF Phone: 831.373.3366