“Concert on the Lawn” Kicks Off 60th Monterey Jazz Festival Weekend

Free Show for Hundreds of Monterey County School Music Students at Monterey County Fairgrounds, Thursday, September 14

Pianist Luca Mendoza Wins Gerald Wilson Award for Second Year in a Row

Matthew Tung of Saratoga, California Named 21st Jimmy Lyons Scholar to Berklee College of Music

Monterey, Calif; September 7, 2017; Monterey Jazz Festival kicks off the weekend’s activities on Thursday, September 14 with another edition of the “Concert on the Lawn” at the Monterey County Fairgrounds, with Monterey Jazz Festival’s Next Generation Jazz Orchestra performing a free 45-minute set for students enrolled in Monterey County schools. The concert will start at 11am on Thursday, September 14 at the Garden Stage Presented by Hep C Hope® at the Monterey County Fair & Event Center.

The pre-Festival “Concert on the Lawn” has been a 27-year tradition at the Monterey Jazz Festival, since 1990, inviting students from Monterey County middle and high schools to the free event, with an estimated 500 students attending annually. The concert is part of an outreach effort by Monterey Jazz Festival to bring jazz music, for free, to the students of Monterey County.

Created as a part of Monterey Jazz Festival's continuing commitment to jazz education, members of the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra were selected through an online application and audition process.

Twenty of the nation’s most talented high school musicians from eight states comprise the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra, including California, Colorado, Florida, Missouri, New York, Texas, Virginia, and Washington State. Read the biographies of the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra members.

Five members of the orchestra are returning, including three-year trombonist Jasim Perales (Berkeley High School, Berkeley, Calif.); and trumpeter Carlos Ramos (Downey High School, Downey, Calif.). Two-time members include trumpeter Geoffrey Gallante (West Potomac High School, Alexandria, Va.); bass trombonist Joshua Hernandez (J.M. Hanks High School, El Paso, Texas); and pianist Luca Mendoza (Crossroads School, Santa Monica, Calif.).

The 2017 orchestra recently completed a nine-day, seven performance tour in June, where they appeared at the Orpheum Film and Performing Arts Center in Tannersville, N.Y.; Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City; the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival, the TD Toronto Jazz Festival, and the Montreal Jazz Festival. The Orchestra, in addition to performing the Concert On the Lawn, will additionally appear at a Rotary event and has an evening performance at MJF’s Jazz Legends Gala at the Inn at Spanish Bay in Pebble Beach, honoring Herbie Hancock on September 14. In addition to other festival appearances all weekend on the Grounds, the Orchestra will perform with MJF60 Artists-in-Residence John ClaytonJeff Hamilton and Gerald Clayton on the Arena’s Jimmy Lyons Stage on Sunday, September 17.

Monterey Jazz Festival invests over $500,000 annually in its Education Program which includes jazz clinics in schools, Summer Jazz Camp, the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra and more.

Luca Mendoza Wins 2017 Gerald Wilson Award

Since 2005 at the Next Generation Jazz Festival, the Big Band Composition Competition has honored high school composers with the Gerald Wilson Award, named in honor of the late legendary composer, arranger and trumpeter who was a friend of Monterey Jazz Festival for many years. Compositions are judged by college-level music faculty, and the winning piece is performed at the Monterey Jazz Festival by the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra.

The 2017 winner, pianist and composer Luca Mendoza is a two-time Next Generation Jazz Orchestra member (2016 and 2017) and is a graduate of the Crossroads School in Santa Monica. His Crossroads School Jazz 'A' Band won the 2017 Next Generation Jazz Festival’s High School Combo Division and will also be appearing on the Grounds. He is the second "Triple Crown" winner in MJF history: A NGJF High School Division Winner, a Gerald Wilson Award winner, and NGJO member, all in the same year.

He has won the 2017 Gerald Wilson Award for the second year in a row, with this year's winning composition, “Chicken Bones” to be performed by the NGJO on Sunday, September 17 on the Jimmy Lyons Stage.

Luca is also the 2016 National YoungArts Foundation Finalist for Jazz Piano, a 2015/2016 YoungArts Merit Winner for Jazz Composition, a LA Music Center Spotlight Grand Prize Finalist, and a Los Angeles Philharmonic Composer Fellow. He has received seven DownBeat Magazine Student Music Awards, the 2016 Herb Alpert ASCAP award, and was a finalist in the 2017 Jazz Education Network Composer Showcase. He has also been accepted into the 2017 NARAS Grammy Band, the 2014 and 2015 Brubeck Institute Summer Jazz Colonies, and the 2015 Vail Jazz Workshop. 

Luca will be majoring in Classical Composition at the University of Southern California in the fall.

Matthew Tung Named 21st Jimmy Lyons Scholar to Berklee College of Music

Trombonist Matthew Tung, from Saratoga, California, has been awarded the 21st Jimmy Lyons Scholarship to Berklee College of Music, where he will begin his studies this September.

The Lyons Scholarship is named in honor of Monterey Jazz Festival's late founder, James L. (Jimmy) Lyons, who started the Festival in 1958. Every year since 1995, a full-tuition scholarship to Berklee is awarded to one outstanding student musician from the West Coast. A renewable award, upon satisfactory academic and musical progress in each successive year allows the Lyons Scholars to attend Berklee through graduation, entirely tuition-free.

Through his high school band director, Michael Boitz, and his private teacher, Dave Gregoric, Matthew started pursuing jazz opportunities through the SFJAZZ Monday Night Band, a community ensemble hosted by the SFJAZZ Center. Other honor bands of which he was a member include the Santa Clara County Band Directors Association County Honor Band, the California Alliance for Jazz All-State Jazz Band, and the SFJAZZ High School All-Stars, where he worked with Paul Contos and Adam Theis. He has performed at the SFJAZZ Center, and competed in the Mingus Jazz Festival and the Monterey’s Next Generation Jazz Festival. As an attendee and intern at the Stanford Jazz Workshop, Matthew has worked with Wayne Wallace, Ambrose Akinmusire, Taylor Eigsti, Anat Cohen, among others.

2017 Next Generation Jazz Orchestra
Paul Contos, Director

Aaron Kranzler
, alto / Aragon High School, San Mateo, Calif.
Willie Bays, alto / Olympia High School, Olympia, Wash.
Abdias Armenteros, tenor / New World School of the Arts, Miami, Fla.
Solomon Alber, tenor / Amador Valley High School, Pleasanton, Calif.
Duncan McElman, baritone / Rio Americano High School, Sacramento, Calif.

Jasim Perales
*** / Berkeley High School, Berkeley, Calif.
Leo Markel / Alexander W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts, West Palm Beach, Fla.
Rashaan Salaam / Dillard High School, Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.
Wyatt Forhan / St. Dominic High School, O'Fallon, Mo.
Joshua Hernandez** (bass) / J.M. Hanks High School, El Paso, Texas

Carlos Ramos
*** / Downey High School, Downey, Calif.
Brandon Star / Smithtown High School East, St. James, N.Y.
Geoffrey Gallante** / West Potomac High School, Alexandria, Va.
Zaq Davis / Saint Ann's School, Brooklyn, N.Y.
Kate Williams / Vanden High School, Fairfield, Calif.

Luca Mendoza** piano / Crossroads School, Santa Monica, Calif.
Jordan Reifkind, guitar / Los Angeles County High School for the Arts, Los Angeles, Calif.
Gabriel Rupe, bass / Denver School of the Arts, Denver, Colo.
Christian McGhee, drums / Westminster Christian Academy, Town and Country, Mo.
Joshua Tazman, vocals / Nueva Upper School, San Mateo, Calif.

** 2-year NGJO member
*** 3-year NGJO member



For more information, high-resolution photographs and interviews, please contact
Timothy Orr
Marketing Associate
Monterey Jazz Festival
Direct Line: 831.646.8670
Monterey Phone: 831.373.3366

Monterey Jazz Festival is honored to receive support from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, David and Lucile Packard Foundation, NEA Artworks, Blue Note at Sea, Hep C Hope®, Yamaha, District 7, North Coast Brewing Company, Inns of Monterey, Taylor Farms, Macy's, Aqua Terra Culinary, Montage Health, Integris Wealth Management, Monterey Bay Aquarium, City of Monterey, ThinOPTICS, Larabar, AT&T, JAZZIZ, DownBeat, JazzTimes, KSBW/Estrella TV, KAZU, SmoothJazz.com Global, Monterey Herald, Remo, Alvarez Technology, and Mission Linen Supply.