MJF Education Director Paul Contos Awarded 2017 DownBeat Jazz Education Achievement Award

In Its 60th Year, MJF Celebrates Awards Given to Contos, Tim Jackson and Dr. Rob Klevan in Support of the Arts

Monterey, Calif., June 8, 2017; Monterey Jazz Festival, celebrating 60 years of leadership in the arts and jazz education, announces that Paul Contos, the MJF’s Education Director, has been awarded a 2017 DownBeat Magazine Jazz Education Achievement Award, a national recognition of Mr. Contos’ influence on his students at the Monterey Jazz Festival, UC Santa Cruz and SFJAZZ.

DownBeat Jazz Education Achievement Award winners, chosen by its editors, honors jazz instructors who have made significant contributions toward the development of future jazz artists and positively impacted their school’s jazz programs through their commitment to jazz education.

Contos, who has been involved with the Monterey Jazz Festival’s Educations programs since 1984, has been at the forefront of jazz education for over 30 years. In 2015, the Arts Council for Monterey County honored Contos as a Champion Arts Educator at its annual Gala, dubbed the “the Golden Globes of our region" by the Monterey County Weekly.

“Paul is truly an extraordinary teacher, and mentor,” said Colleen Bailey, Monterey Jazz Festival Executive Director. “Thousands of students from across Monterey County and around the world have had their lives enhanced by Paul’s powerful gift of music education.”

“I’m extremely grateful for the recognition from DownBeat, and also appreciative of the jazz organizations, schools, and festivals I’ve worked for who hold education in such high regard,” said Contos. “I want to continue being a catalyst for inspirational thinking and creative development, and strive to assist young people to achieve moments where they exceed their known limits–which may seem impossible.”

Contos’ DownBeat Award comes after other educational accolades have recently been given to Monterey Jazz Festival staff. At MJF59 in 2016, Berklee College of Music senior vice president for academic affairs and provost Larry Simpson presented Tim Jackson with the college’s George Wein Impresario Award, which recognizes individuals who bring music to life through their dedication to discovering, mentoring, presenting, and promoting creative musicians and their music.

In 2015, Monterey Jazz Festival Artistic Director Tim Jackson received the Santa Cruz County Arts Commission’s Eloise Pickard Smith Award, given to a Santa Cruz County individual who has given an extraordinary and sustained level of commitment of time, leadership, and/or financial support to the arts; a lengthy history and single-mindedness of purpose in promoting and supporting the cultural life of the County; and has played a vital role in initiating the creation of new cultural institutions or organizations which benefit the community.

Dr. Rob Klevan, MJF’s Education Director from 2003-2011 and current MJF Middle School and Honor Vocal Ensemble Director and York School instructor, was also recently given the Jazz Education Network and Berklee College of Music’s 2017 John LaPorta Jazz Educator of the Year Award, given to educators who represent the highest standards of teaching and whose results in the classroom have brought distinction to their institution and their students. Dr. Klevan also received the DownBeat Achievement Award in 2009, and the Monterey Jazz Festival’s Jazz Champion Award in 2015.

In addition, the Monterey Jazz Festival won the 2016 JazzTimes Readers Poll for “Best Jazz Festival,” making it the sixth time MJF has won the award since 2006.

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.


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Timothy Orr
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Monterey Jazz Festival

Monterey Jazz Festival is honored to receive support from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, David and Lucile Packard Foundation, Yamaha, Blue Note at Sea, Hep C Hope®, North Coast Brewing Company, NEA Artworks, Inns of Monterey, Scheid Family Wines, Taylor Farms, Macy's, Monterey Bay Aquarium, Montage Health, Integris Wealth Management, City of Monterey, AT&T, Naturipe Berry Growers, Larabar, JAZZIZ, DownBeat, JazzTimes, KSBW/Estrella TV, KAZU, SmoothJazzGlobal.com, and Remo.