The NEC Jazz Orchestra celebrates the music of Ken Schaphorst in concert broadcast on May 6


The NEC Jazz Orchestra celebrates the music of President of Jazz Studies Ken Schaphorst at his final concert of the season.

The program includes the compositions of Schaphorst “Charlie parker‘s Tuxedo “,” Omega Man “,” Sleepwalkers “,” Blues Almighty “and” Mbira “, as well as his arrangements of” Goodbye Pork Pie Hat “by Mingus,” Stolen Moments “by Oliver Nelson,” If You ” by Tadd Dameron Could see me now “, and Chick Korea‘s “Crystal silence”.

Recorded in April at the iconic NEC Jordan Room, the concert will air on Thursday, May 6 at 7:30 p.m. EST. To watch the performances, log on to

Ken Schaphorst is an internationally renowned composer, performer and educator. As chairman of the NEC Jazz Studies Department, he teaches courses in jazz composition, arrangement, theory and analysis as well as conducting the NEC Jazz Orchestra. Prior to moving to Boston in 2001, he served for ten years as Director of Jazz Studies at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin. Schaphorst is also a founding member of the Jazz Composers Alliance, a Boston-based nonprofit that has been promoting new music in the jazz idiom since 1985. Schaphorst studied at Swarthmore College, NEC and the University of Boston, where he received the doctorate in musical arts. in 1990. Among his composition teachers are Thomas Oboe Lee, Gerald Levinson, William Thomas McKinley and Bernard Rands. Schaphorst received Composition Fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1988 and 1991, the Wisconsin Arts Board in 1997, Meet the Composer Grants in 1987 and 1997, and was a finalist in Music Composition in the Massachusetts Fellowship Program in 1986. He won the Achievement Award for Jazz Education from DownBeat magazine in 2007. Schaphorst released seven recordings as a leader: Ken Schaphorst Big Band: Making Lunch (1989), Ken Schaphorst Big Band: After Blue (1991) ), Ken Schaphorst Ensemble: When the Moon Jumps (1994), Ken Schaphorst: Over the Rainbow (1997), Ken Schaphorst Big Band: Purple (1999), Ken Schaphorst: Indigenous Technology (2002) and Ken Schaphorst Big Band: How to Say Goodbye (2015).NEC’s Jazz Studies Department is the brainchild of Gunther schuller, who quickly incorporated jazz into the curriculum when he became president of the Conservatory in 1967. He soon hired saxophonist Carl Atkins as the department’s first head, along with other greats including NEA Jazz Master Georges russel, pianist Jaki Byard and Ran Blake. The foundation of her teaching and her success begins with the mentoring relationship developed in the courses between the students and the distinguished artists on the faculty. In addition to its two jazz orchestras, small teacher-led ensembles reflect NEC’s inclusive approach to music creation, with ensembles focusing on free jazz, ancient jazz, gospel music, Brazilian music and songwriting, as well as more traditional approaches to jazz performance. Students are encouraged to find their own musical voices while connecting and collaborating with a vibrant community of creative musicians, and ultimately transforming the world through the power of music. The program has spawned many Grammy-winning composers and performers and features an alumni roster that reads like a who’s who of jazz, while the faculty has included six MacArthur “genius” scholarship recipients (three currently teach) and four NEA Jazz Masters.

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Henry R. Wright