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YK Pao School Youth Jazz Education Workshop to Inspire a Next Generation of Musicians

November, 2015
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ykps-jazz-news-1On 24 and 25 October, a group of YK Pao School students and parents were treated to a private concert and ‘Youth Jazz Education Workshop’ by world-acclaimed musicians from New York’s Lincoln Center. Under the coordination of YK Pao School Co-Founder and Deputy Chairman of the Board Philip Sohmen, Patek Philippe, the last family-owned Genevan watch manufacturer, invited a top jazz ensemble from the Lincoln Center to perform at the Waitanyuan Union Church. The line-up included the Ulysses Owens Jr Band, led by two-time Grammy Award-winning musician Ulysses Owens Jr and vocalist Alicia Olatuja, known for her stunning performance at the 2013 US presidential inauguration. They were joined by saxophonist Tim Green, pianist Takeshi Ohbayashi and bassist Alexander Claffy.

Performances were preceded by a delightful reception and viewing by hosts Patek Philippe. Parents and students were given a spectacular tour of the Maison Patek Philippe Shanghai, formerly the residence of the British Consul General on the Bund, where they were able to witness the exquisite craftsmanship of Patek Philippe watches.

Rosy Gao, Patek Philippe China’s Country Manager, explained the shared philosophies between music and Patek Philippe: “Patek Philippe’s genuine interest and concern with the music industry is not surprising as the company has a long history of supporting musicians. We are proud and honored to support the education of the young musicians at YK Pao School.” Over the years, Patek Philippe has sponsored concerts in Zurich and supported musically gifted young people all over Europe, and his year, the company has sponsored the Shanghai International Youth Orchestra (SHIYO), established by Pao School Co-Founder Philip Sohmen. Patek Philippe is also organizing a ‘Heritage’ concert series in Shanghai, one of which will be taking place on 4 December at the Shanghai Concert Hall, featuring performances by musicians from both SHIYO and YK Pao School.

These sessions were highly interactive and students had the opportunity to learn about the jazz trio, the instruments, the different sections and roles within the ensemble as well as the development of vocal techniques. Masterclasses were given in singing techniques such as breathing and scatting (a jazz technique that involves singing nonsensical words). YK Pao School Primary Division’s Head of Music Dominic Murtagh explained the purpose and significance of the sessions: “This event introduced our school’s young talent to the world of jazz with an aim to help them explore this diverse genre. Our students tend to be drawn to the classical music and so these sessions really were an inspiring way to be exposed to a new type of music.”

The audience was treated to music from some of the great legends of jazz including Louis Armstrong, Thelonious Monk, Ella Fitzgerald, Bessie Smith and Charlie Parker. During the performances, students were also invited to join in the scatting. There was a question-and-answer session at the end of each segment in which musicians gave very honest and inspiring personal accounts of how they came in contact with jazz and their road to success.

Executive Principal at Pao School’s Primary Division Michael Spencer is confident the experience has left a lasting impression on students: “To hear live music is always inspiring, but to hear the personal stories of the musicians gave our students a great opportunity to learn how dedicated and single-minded you have to be to reach such levels of excellence. Not only was the music outstanding, but also their performances were characterized by a deep humility and an authentic generosity of spirit. It was a truly special and memorable experience for us all.”


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