The Future Sounds Great
RICHMOND YOUTH JAZZ GUILD LLC was created and founded in 2008 by jazz composer, pianist, educator and social entrepreneur, Ashby Anderson, as a way to bring jazz and acoustic instrument playing back into the lives of area youth. The company operates in a 7,000 square foot converted warehouse in historic Shockoe Bottom. Offering a progression of year round music instruction from outreach to college and audition preparation. The Richmond Youth Jazz Guild has proudly served over 400 Richmond area students, ages 8-18. To date, Richmond Youth Jazz Guild students have earned over $1.6 MILLION in college and national performing arts scholarships.
Composer, pianist, music educator and social entrepreneur Ashby Anderson is the Artistic Director of the Jazz Arts Consortium in Richmond, Virginia. As a native of Richmond, Ashby enriches his community through his gift of music. Through concerts and music education workshops at his studio in Shockoe bottom, Ashby has changed Richmond’s musical landscape into a prospering center for music education, community concerts and preservation of Jazz culture, tradition and knowledge.
In 2015, Ashby completed an hour long composition, UNDERTONES: Aural Memorial for the African Burial Grounds. This monumental work is written for a 20 piece jazz orchestra, African percussion ensemble and Griot. Ashby's collective of musicians is called, AFRIKAN ARKESTRA. It includes professional jazz musicians, youth apprentices from the RICHMOND YOUTH JAZZ GUILD, traditional African drummers and modern Griot, Sekou Shebaka. The intergenerational ensemble harnesses the collective wisdom of Richmond musicians ranging in age from 76 to 13.
UNDERTONES directly pays homage to the past, while acknowledging the present and preparing for the future. NEWMUSIC USA commissioned Ashby in 2012 to create this dramatic musical work and it debuted April 3, 2015, culminating the Sesquicentennial of the Civil War and Emancipation Day commemoration activities in Richmond, VA.
In 2007, he was awarded a fellowship in music composition by Virginia Commission of the Arts to pursue theoretical studies in music and mathematics. Through those studies he completed and published two music theory electronic publications entitled, the Uni-Chord Method of Tonal Navigation and The Diminished Augmented System of Harmony and Scales. As active concert producer he produced the first jazz concert at Richmond Center Stage for New Orleans trombonist Trombone Shorty in 2010. Recently, he has produces several successful concert series - the Live @ the Warehouse concert series in 2012-2013 and Jazz Revolutions in 2011-2012.
In 2005, Anderson was commissioned by the national arts organization Meet the Composer to compose "The Historic Richmond Jazz Suite". This four movement masterwork reflects Anderson’s musical interpretation classic historic people places and events in the history of Richmond VA, The movement within the suite are entitled Soul of Second Street – a nod to the heyday of Richmond’s famed street; Devil’s Half-Acre – a tone parallel of the former slave jail in Shockoe Bottom; Locomotive 231 – about the train that remains in the collapsed Church Hill Tunnel; and Steppin’ – an ode to Richmonder Bill “Bojangles Robinson.” The work was completed and first performed in 2006.
As a an entrepreneur, Ashby is founder and CEO of the 7,000 sq. ft. studio/warehouse called Muse Creative Workspace. In 2006, Ashby saw something in an old produce warehouse in the heart of Richmond's oldest neighborhood, Shockoe Bottom-with a tremendous amount of "sweat equity", Muse Creative Workspace was born. The studio is modeled after the 1960s jazz lofts of New York City equip with a baby grand piano, drum set, acoustic bass, Fender Rhodes, and other instruments for various projects for his community. Muse Creative Workspace provides rehearsal space for large ensembles, a music education program for local Richmond youth aptly titled the Richmond Youth Jazz Guild, a classroom for the creative and office/loft space for Ashby's ever expanding imagination.
The Richmond Youth Jazz Guild was founded by Ashby Anderson in 2008 as a way to bring acoustic music and jazz back into the lives of youth in the Richmond metropolitan area. In February 2008, Ashby opened his studio, Muse Creative Workspace, to provide music lessons for a longtime friend's son. Within a few months Ashby saw the future of music instruction and the opportunity to “pass the torch of jazz” to the next generation.
To date, the Richmond Youth Jazz Guild has successfully implemented music lessons for all instruments, produced many student concerts, hosted four consecutive years of summer jazz camp, guided young musicians seeking college admissions for music, produced a music composition workshop for aspiring young composers and joined a national network of community music programs through the renown Berklee College of Music, known as Berklee City Music Network. Through this partnership, Ashby and the Richmond Youth Jazz Guild have sent three students to the prestigious Berklee Summer Five Week Program and one student was awarded a full tuition scholarship to study at Berklee College of Music in 2011.
In 2001, Ashby founded the Jazz Composers Alliance, Inc. The organization became a 501 (c) (3) tax exempt organization in 2004. As of June 2013, the arts organization will be known as Jazz Arts Consortium. Dedicated to advancing the jazz arts in Richmond, Virginia through education and performance. The Jazz Arts Consortium has inspired a younger generation of jazz musicians to create, explore and present their original music to the public. More than 100 concerts of new and original works have been presented in Richmond with more to come.
RICHMOND FREE PRESS SPOTLIGHT ON ASHBY ANDERSON
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