Thursday, June 26, 2008

Montreux Jazz Festival Announces Alexandria Jackkson as Atlanta Representative for Competition


Since 1967, the world’s greatest jazz singers have graced the stages of the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland. The opportunity to perform at this premiere jazz event and network with some of the best jazz artists requires hard work and a commitment to the genre that so few are afforded. This prompted Claude Nobs, the Montreux Jazz Festival founder and director, to create an international voice competition for emerging professional jazz vocalists. Competition organizers receive entries from over fifty different countries. In the spring, around fifteen vocalists are selected to take part in the semi-finals and finals at the Montreux Jazz Festival held in Switzerland. On July 6 - 10, artists representing over fifty countries will perform in front of a jury of professionals and a discerning international audience. The representative for the City of Atlanta for the Montreux Jazz Voice Competition 2008 will be Alexandra Jackson.

Although Alexandra Jackson was born in Atlanta into a family of politicians (daughter of former Mayor of Atlanta Maynard Jackson) and civil rights activists, she prefers to do her advocating for social justice-and love-through her music. The 24 year old began appreciating music while just a toddler. At 4, she began what would become ten years of classical training and two years of jazz piano. Throughout high school, she was an outstanding performer in music and drama. After singing with the school’s jazz band, she decided to major in jazz instead of drama. Four years later, she graduated from the prestigious Studio Music and Jazz Vocal program at the University of Miami with a Bachelor of Music degree with a minor in Music Business. After graduation, Jackson performed in the Florida Grand Opera’s production of AIDA. She also sang back up for Gloria Estefan in the opening gala for the Carnival Center for the Performing Arts in Miami. Alexandra was a featured performer for the 2007 Montreux Jazz Festival in Atlanta produced by the City of Atlanta Office of Cultural Affairs.

"This is an honor for me… and my family. I am all too aware of the huge responsibility this is as I will be representing Atlanta, my birthplace,” says Alexandra Jackson. “I’ve followed the Montreux Jazz Festival since high school and have always wanted to go as an observer. But to go as a performer is beyond my greatest dream. I’m not thinking of this as a competition, but a phenomenal opportunity to enjoy the other artists and soak up as much as I can.”

The first prize winner of the Montreux Jazz Festival Voice Competition receives CHF 5,000.- Swiss francs ($4,755.00) and a week’s recording time at Balik Farm Studio located in the breathtaking scenery of Switzerland’s Toggenburg region, and an invitation to perform at the annual meeting of the International Association of Jazz Educators (IAJE) in January of the following year and in summer, plays as the opening act for one of the world-class artists performing at the Montreux Jazz Festival. Musicians, record company representatives and producers seeking new talent will be seated among the general public.

“We are excited and pleased that Alexandra will represent us at Montreux this year. She is a tremendous talent and an appropriate ambassador for the artistic community of Atlanta. She will represent us well.”- Camille Russell Love, Director of the Office of Cultural Affairs

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