The Jazz Department
Program Director: Yossi Regev
The teachers in the Jazz Program aspire to train new generations of professional jazz musicians who will have at their fingertips specialized knowledge and a variety of techniques in a diversity of jazz styles, including popular contemporary music. Many of the Jazz Program’s alumni hold careers in this field in Israel and abroad. Due to the Jazz Programs’s especially high level, its curriculum has been recognized by the Ministry of Education as a unique program; and based on the skills of the program’s students and alumni, the Program has now also won international recognition.
During their studies, the students acquire knowledge and skills in the fields of musical thinking, creativity, composition, music arrangement, improvisation, instrumental performance in ensembles or as solo musicians. Students gain experience in a wide range of ensembles, which appear in Israel or overseas and include a vocal ensemble, salsa, percussion ensemble, and a full jazz big band. The ensembles play various styles, such as Dixieland, swing, bebop, Latin, free jazz, fusion, rock and more. In addition, the students compose music for various ensembles in assorted jazz styles, television, film and theatrical scores as well as original music. All the Jazz Program’s teachers and ensemble leaders are prominent musicians who are active and very much successful in their fields in Israel.
The Jazz Program’s curriculum is based on that of the Boston Conservatory at Berklee. The Program is a member of the Jen-Jazz Education Network, and following an annual audition, is invited to represent Israel at an international conference attended by 300 of the world’s leading ensembles. At the same time, the program endeavors, through a student exchange program, to maintain its ties with Givatayim’s twin city – the county of Esslingen in Germany. The Jazz Program’s students are invited to perform all over the world, and represent Israel’s educational system at professional musical events.
The Program has a full big band, conducted by Mr. Eli Benacot. The band is the representative performing body of the Jazz Program. According to the big bands tradition, it includes four trumpets, four trombones, five saxophones, five percussionists and singers, and performs a wide repertoire of works by the best music arrangers in Israel and abroad. The band performs in Israel and overseas, takes part in master classes, and records the musical arrangements by the Program’s alumni. Over the years, the band has been invited on study trips to leading jazz universities in the world, such as the New School in New York and Berklee in Boston. The band has performed before various communities and in music schools in the USA and Canada, including joint projects with the LaGuardia High School and an appearance at the Lincoln Center in New York.