The Nash Legacy Ensembles: Auditions

The Nash Legacy Ensembles:

Michael Kocour and Eric Rasmussen, directors

Four years ago, The Nash launched The Nash Legacy Ensemble program, intended for exceptional high school music students in the Phoenix metropolitan area to pursue the art of small jazz ensemble improvisation, composition, and arranging. During the 2019-2020 season, we will once again be offering the Nash Legacy Ensembles, and will be holding auditions for two small jazz groups, The Nash Legacy Ensemble Red and Blue.

The Director of The Nash Legacy Ensemble Red is Michael Kocour, and The Director of the Nash Legacy Ensemble Blue is Eric Rasmussen.

Students in this program will explore essential styles and also a wide variety of strategies for composition/arranging both as individuals and through the collaborative process. A significant amount of their time will be devoted to investigating the infinite art of musical interaction in an improvisational setting. In addition, The Nash Legacy Ensembles will perform regularly throughout the year and produce a CD that includes original work by its members. This will be a fully funded program. There is no tuition required of the students that are invited to participate

Recommendations of students from area teachers and musicians are welcomed and encouraged. An open audition for both ensembles will be held on Tuesday, July 30th at 4:00 pm and Saturday, August 3rd at 11:00 am at The Nash (110 E. Roosevelt St. Phoenix, AZ). Those auditioning should be prepared to play and improvise on a blues in F (concert) and “rhythm changes” in the key of Bb (concert) with other auditioning students. 

Rehearsals for The Nash Legacy Ensemble Red will occur at The Nash on Mondays from 4:30-6:30pm, while rehearsals for The Nash Future Ensemble Blue will occur at The Nash on Tuesdays from 5-7pm.

Those who are interested in participating in this program (or educators that wish to refer students) should contact Ben Hedquist at ben.hedquist@thenash.org Those selected to participate in this program will be informed by mid-August. Rehearsals for The Nash Legacy Ensembles will start in early September.

Auditioning students who are not placed in a Nash Legacy Ensemble will have the opportunity to participate in a range of other Nash Education ensembles, including the The Nash/PCM Youth Jazz Ensemble, The Nash/PCM Jazz Workshop, and The Nash Futures Workshop.

Michael Kocour is Professor and Director of Jazz Studies at Arizona State University. A pianist and organist, he has performed extensively with jazz luminaries such as Benny Golson and James Moody. Kocour’s most recent release, Spiffy, reached the top 20 on the Jazz Week chart.

Eric Rasmussen is Director of Instrumental Music at Scottsdale Community College. Rasmussen, an alto saxophonist, is a Steeplechase and Fresh Sounds recording artist who has also recorded with such artists as Paul Bley, Danilo Perez, and Billy Hart. 

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