The 2018 Standard Bank Jazz Festival, in Grahamstown, enters its 31st year of developing groundbreaking young jazz musicians alongside its yearly world-class programme of performances. This winter, over 300 young people will gather in Jazztown in keeping with the festival’s three-decade-long legacy of successful training and development. As the oldest jazz festival on the African continent, SBJF has pursued an unparalleled focus on training future jazz stars alongside producing a world-class programme of performances by an international list of jazz icons.

Presented as part of the Standard Bank National Youth Jazz Festival (SBNYJF) the training and development programme takes place between 27 June and 02 July 2018 at the Standard Bank Jazz Festival, during the National Arts Festival.

SBNYJF has over the years seen some of the best musicians in the world not only perform, but teach young South African musicians from around the country. In this unique setting, young musicians have over the years been getting unprecedented access to their musical heroes who live and work among them for the duration of the six-day training and performance programme. Award winning pianist and rising film score composer, Kyle Shepherd who received the Standard Bank Young Artist Award (SBYA) in 2014 is one the programme’s most notable products.

Saxophonist Sisonke Xonti, bassist Shane Cooper, Dominic Peters of the band Goldfish, Cape Town born and Norway based Shannon Mowday, KZN born saxophonist Linda Sikhakhane who is now based in New York where he is pursuing his studies at NYU are also products of the Standard Bank National Youth Jazz Festival. Among the great musicians who’ve taught at the SBNYJF are Benin-born US based visionary guitarist and composer, Lionel Lauke, the pioneering trombonist, Steve Toure and composer and big band leader, Maria Schneider.

The incredible Australian hornsman and conductor, James Morrison, has also been to the festival to train South African future greats. “An important part of what makes SBNYJF successful is precisely our youth focus. The festival is built around the music and learning. Students and young musicians come looking forward to being at the festival because it gives them access to learn from their favourite musicians.

They also get to build lifelong career relationships with their peers from around the country. The testament of the festival’s success is in the quality of the students who’ve been through it over the years. Their success is inspirational to younger musicians and credit to the work done at the festival,” says Alan Webster, Director of the Standard Bank Jazz Festival.

“The importance of the work we do through the SBNYJF during the annual National Arts Festival finds meaning through its positive impact on the future. It is when the many young people who go through its training and development programme and grow into amazing artists and celebrated musicians that we realize the value of our contribution. As sponsors, we are encouraged by the knowledge that we are investing in making dreams of many young musicians possible. This is one way in which we help societies move forward,” says Jenny Pfeiffer, Head: Brand, Sponsorships and Events at Standard Bank.

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