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The New school and the israel conservatory
of music announce partnership

New Program Enables Israeli Students at the Center for Jazz Studies to Earn BFA Degrees from The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music

NEW YORK, July 8, 2009—The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music has announced it will partner with the Center for Jazz Studies at the Israel Conservatory of Music (ICM) in Tel-Aviv, Israel, to enable Israeli students to earn a degree in jazz on the college level. In this four-year program, which will launch this fall, students will begin their first two years of study at the Center for Jazz Studies in Israel and complete the final two years at The New School, allowing them to earn a BFA degree in Jazz Performance from the university. The partnership was announced at a special performance at the Israel Conservatory of Music this evening, featuring acclaimed Israeli bassist and New School Jazz alumnus Avishai Cohen, as well as pianist Alon Yavnai with ICM’s Big Band, conducted by Danny Rosenfeld.

Cohen, who teaches at the new center, sees tremendous potential for this new chapter of jazz studies in Israel: "The Center for Jazz Studies is an inspiring environment that I wish I had had when I was a young Jazz student in Israel. This new partnership is an honest effort to give the most to dedicated students who see themselves going all the way with jazz studies."

The partnership is the culmination of a longstanding bond between The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music and the jazz community in Israel. Since New School Jazz’s founding in 1986, a significant number of Israeli students have studied here, some like Cohen and the Grammy award-winning violinist Miri Ben-Ari, achieving success in the United States, and many others returning to Israel where they have contributed to the burgeoning jazz scene. New School Jazz’s founder Arnie Lawrence had deep connections with the early Israeli Jazz scene, encouraging faculty and student exchanges between the two countries as far back as the 1980s. Once Lawrence retired from The New School, he lived in Israel where he helped establish high school programs for jazz education, whose aim was also to bring Israeli and Palestinian students together through peaceful and positive connections. Currently, ten percent of the student population at New School Jazz is from Israel, the largest international contingent at the school.

“I am deeply impressed with the talent of the young jazz artists coming from Israel and especially proud of our alumni there who are in the new vanguard of jazz creation and education," said Martin Mueller, the executive director of The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music. "This new academic collaboration will only deepen the bond between New York City and Israel. I am convinced that this partnership will further encourage and support the development of the next generation of jazz artists in Israel who will make a major contribution to the field.”

The artistic director of the Center for Jazz Studies, Amit Golan, is himself a New School alumnus. “As a graduate of the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music, I had the privilege of being able to really experience what is, for me, perhaps the greatest of all American art forms. The opportunity to share The New School vision with my own students, here in Israel, is the realization of a long time dream I've carried with me since I completed my studies in 1991,” said Golan. “In recent years, it has become clear that a profound and powerful, almost primal, connection exists between Israeli musicians and authentic New York Jazz, which resonates beyond the cultures and inspires a new creativity and a rhythm that touches the soul.”

The Center for Jazz Studies at the Israel Conservatory of Music was founded in 2002 with the mission of cultivating talent and a love of jazz among young musicians, while emphasizing and teaching traditional jazz. As part of this mission, the Center established its partnership with New School Jazz so that its most promising students could continue their studies in Jazz at the university level. As part of the program, faculty from The New School will visit and teach at the Center, whose curriculum will reflect the academic principles of New School Jazz's program. The program is limited to 40 students or 20 each year. Selection of students is highly competitive and will be done in cooperation with New School Jazz faculty. Designed by architects Edna and Rafi Lerman, the center will be housed in a new facility slated to open in 2010.

The goals of this collaboration between The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music and the Israel Conservatory of Music are multifaceted and far reaching.  They include: training musicians and encouraging them to become active in the local and international field of jazz; offering them exposure to performance opportunities while developing their professional artistic career; initiating collaboration with leading musical and academic institutions and developing challenging interactive programs that encourage excellence; establishing a scholarship fund enabling exceptionally talented musicians to fund their studies in Israel and complete them abroad; and nurturing professional ensembles within the framework of the conservatory to represent the center both in Israel and abroad through performances and international conferences.

"This is a significant and important stepping stone for the jazz community in Israel, which has been evolving steadily in recent years, and offers Israeli artists a true gateway into the international jazz community,” said Michal Abramov, the administrative director of the program. For more information, please visit

The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music is the musical manifestation of The New School. A major presence during the formation of the jazz movement in New York City in the early twentieth century, The New School was the first university to offer a course in jazz in 1948. Following this was a half-century of dynamic public programming featuring outstanding jazz artists from Art Tatum and Louis Armstrong to Jon Hendricks and Pat Metheny. The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music, which offers the university's first BFA degree in Jazz Studies, was founded in 1986 by David Levy and jazz saxophonist and iconoclast Arnie Lawrence, and remains at the forefront of music education by combining the teaching model of the community-based, mentor-student style of jazz’s early years with the academic rigor and curricular depth of a modern conservatory. In its 20-year history, the program has produced some of the brightest stars in jazz as of late, including Miri Ben-Ari, Peter Bernstein, Walter Blanding Jr., Avishai Cohen, Robert Glasper, Larry Goldings, Roy Hargrove, Susie Ibarra, Ali M. Jackson, Virginia Mayhew, Brad Mehldau, EJ Strickland and more. For more information, visit