Tuesday, June 3, 2014

UNO Professor of Professional Practice Irvin Mayfield Jr. Receives The Gordon Parks Foundation Award

Irvin MayfieldIrvin Mayfield

Grammy Award-winning trumpeter Irvin Mayfield, Jr. joined designer Vera Wang, artist Lorna Simpson and filmmaker Ed Zwick tonight in receiving the Gordon Parks Foundation Award in New York City. Mayfield is both a professor of professional practice in the University of New Orleans Music Department and an alumnus of the University.

The Gordon Parks Foundation permanently preserves the works of American photographer, musician, writer and film director Gordon Parks and makes them available to the public through exhibitions, books, and electronic media, and supports artistic and educational activities that advance what Gordon described as "the common search for a better life and a better world." Tonight at Cipiriani in New York City, the foundation will host its annual "Celebrating the Arts" Awards Dinner and Auction, under the leadership of Co-Chairs Donna Karan, Alicia Keys, Kasseem "Swizz Beatz" Dean, and Karl Lagerfeld. Mayfield will be introduced by award-winning journalist Soledad O'Brien, who is a board member of the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra affiliated with the University of New Orleans.

The foundation will also present the first Patron of the Arts Award to Chicago business executive Mellody Hobson and her husband "Star Wars" creator George Lucas. Other confirmed guests include Chelsea Clinton, Chrissy Teigen, Janelle Monae, Martha Stewart, Al Roker and Russell Simmons.

Mayfield and Parks first met when Mayfield was 22 years old, and Parks was in his nineties, according to a statement released by the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra. Soon after they collaborated to create and record an album titled the Half Past Autumn Suite and released by Basin Street Records in 2003. Mayfield also contributed an essay titled "A Voice for the Voiceless" to the foundation's recent exhibition book Gordon Parks: The Making of An Argument, published last year by Steidl.

Mayfield, 36, is a Grammy and Billboard Award-winning artist with more than 15 albums to his credit. He is the founding artistic director of the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra and currently serves as Artistic Director of Jazz at the Minnesota Orchestra. He is a professor of professional practice at the University of New Orleans, where he also serves as director of the New Orleans Jazz Institute.

In 2009, Mayfield entered into a historic partnership with the Royal Sonesta Hotel and created Irvin Mayfield's Jazz Playhouse, designed to bring "Jazz Back to Bourbon Street" in the historic French Quarter. Mayfield was nominated to the National Council on the Arts by President George W. Bush and was subsequently appointed to the post by President Barack Obama in 2010.

Mayfield received the Chancellor's Award from the University of New Orleans, the highest ranking award given to a professor, in 2010 and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Dillard University in 2011. A passionate advocate for New Orleans and for the arts, he is chairman of the board for the Soledad O'Brien & Brad Raymond Foundation, as well as the New Orleans African American Museum of Art, Culture and History. He is also chairman emeritus of the New Orleans Public Library and serves on the boards of Citizens United for Economic Equity, Louisiana State University's Department of Psychiatry and Health Science, the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation, the New Orleans Police and Justice Foundation, Tulane University's School of Architecture, Unity of Greater New Orleans, the Urban Libraries Council, and the Youth Rescue Initiative.

The New Orleans Jazz Orchestra is a performing-arts organization with the chief aim of strengthening the business of Jazz through performances, tours, recordings, education and media platforms. Founded in 2002 by Mayfield, a trumpeter, composer, arranger and bandleader, NOJO's stated mission is "to inspire freedom and culture in the individual and the global community by creating authentic, engaging Jazz experiences, while celebrating the origins and transforming the future of Jazz."

NOJO's first building project, The New Orleans Jazz Market, will open in Spring 2015 as a performing arts venue and Jazz community center in Central City New Orleans. The Jazz Market will feature music education experiences for all ages, a New Orleans Jazz Archive, tributes to current and past Jazz Masters, and performances by Mayfield, NOJO and other renowned musicians.


Read More

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The Courage to Create: Irvin Mayfield Jr. Hosts Biannual Lecture
UNO's Irvin Mayfield Jr. Taps into Cultural Community for "New Orleans as Discourse"
Jazz Up Your Thursday Evening: UNO Hosts World-Renowned Trumpeters Irvin Mayfield, Jr. and Kermit Ruffins