The Jazz Gallery Fellowship 2020
Now in its fourth year, The Jazz Gallery Fellowship grants mid-career artists a respite from their demanding schedules in order to step back and pursue intriguing, personally significant directions in their work. Fellows receive a $10,000 residency stipend and commissioning fee, plus a one-week composition sabbatical in a tranquil, well-appointed upstate NY residence. They also enjoy unrestricted access to The Jazz Gallery during off-hours for 10-month period, which they can use as they see fit for rehearsing and workshopping. The program concludes with premiere performances over four sets at the Gallery.
The Fellowship encourages artists to reflect and develop transformative new music while reinvigorating their creative practice. The Gallery recognized the need for this type of program in the course of nurturing young artists over the past 20 years. In keeping in touch with these artists as they progressed through their careers, it became apparent that, despite working more and gaining visibility, mid-career artists encounter new challenges, including both professional obligations and stage of life responsibilities such as parenting. Critical attention and institutional funding in jazz tends toward either young rising stars and established legends of the music, sometimes overlooking mid-career artists. Despite this, those artists occupy a sweet spot between youth and experience in their creative trajectory, and the emotional depth and introspective power of their music unites listeners in a special way deserving of greater support.
Past Fellows have had ongoing relationships with the Gallery since their early years in New York, including bassist Eric Revis, drummer Johnathan Blake, guitarist Lage Lund, saxophonist Jaleel Shaw, and, most recently, vocalist Gretchen Parlato. Parlato premiered her set-length collection of new music, “The Stars or Space Between,” in December 2019 over two sold-out nights; as described in a recent interview, the Fellowship allowed her to challenge herself to write songs that she could call her own, having primarily worked in collaborative songwriting settings over her career.
These premiere performances showed the artistic merits of the project while also confirming the impact the Fellowship had on the artist and the audience. While the Gallery has long saw the value in commissioning young artists, who gain experience and insight through the demands of the process itself, the Fellowship offers a different kind of value for artists like Parlato who already have years of experience and wisdom. These artists seize upon the opportunity to focus their creative energy to compose a deeply considered and polished standalone work that will leave a lasting impression and join the contemporary jazz canon.
The Jazz Gallery looks forward to supporting its sixth Fellow, drummer Kendrick Scott, and in doing so will continue to serve an undermet need in the jazz community. Through the continuation of this program, the Gallery showcases the ongoing development of these mid-career artists and hopes to inspire similar programs from the broader arts community as well.
Start and End Dates
06/01/2020 — 06/30/2021
New York, New York