2020 JazzFest Goes Virtual

September 8 – 11, 2020


The 9th annual JazzFest White Plains remains true to its roots, presenting a roster of artists whose musical styles and influences are heavily represented in the diverse cultural heritage of White Plains and Westchester. Participating artists include Westchester and NYC jazz greats, as well as emerging musicians and rising stars carrying jazz in new directions.

Due to COVID-19, and for the safety and security of our community, ArtsWestchester, the City of White Plains, and the White Plains BID will present this season’s festival virtually, as a series of evening ZOOM programs, between September 8-11, 2020. Part conversation, part performance, these intimate online gatherings are not-to-be-missed!

Be sure to subscribe to our weekly e-newsletter here: artsw.org/subscribe to receive updates on our 2020 JazzFest programs.

A partnership between ArtsWestchester, the City of White Plains and the White Plains BID, JazzFest has become a signature White Plains event presenting free and affordable jazz experiences to jazz enthusiasts from Westchester and beyond

Enjoy Four Days of Virtual Jazz Happenings!

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

6pm | Presenting Jazz in the time of COVID-19

A discussion with leading jazz musicians and presenters of jazz in Westchester County. Conversation will focus on the establishment of these institutions/festivals and the challenges that current presenters/venues are facing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

8pm | Jazz in Westchester
Presented by the White Plains Public Library and ArtsWestchester

Join us tonight for music and conversation featuring jazz artist with deep roots and ties to our communities. The evening will include short 5-minute performances by each of the artists and a moderated discussion about the history and development of jazz in Westchester.
Moderated by Tom van Buren, New York Folklore Board President

Featured Artists:
Kenny Lee, trumpet
Rocky Middleton, bass
Art Bennett, sax
*list in formation

Wednesday, September 9

12noon | Isabella Mendes & Flavio Lira Duo
presented by Downtown Music at Grace

Isabella Mendes is a singer-songwriter, pianist, composer and educator whose work is rooted in Brazilian jazz and bossa nova.  Born in São Paulo, Brazil where she began her training as a classical pianist at age six, Mendes also composed her own music and participated in various competitions, concerts and master classes until the age of fifteen when she moved to the United States and began jazz and vocal studies while attending the Educational Center for the Arts in New Haven, CT. She continues to write and compose music – her album “Blame Destiny” was released in 2017 – and has developed her own unique sound informed by not only her classical training but also her jazz, bossa nova, Brazilian, and pop influences. She performs regularly throughout CT with the Bossa Nova Project – a group of rotating musicians founded and led by Mendes – and as a member of Sambeleza, a trio that performs Brazilian Jazz.

6pm | Jazz Education in Westchester
presented by White Plains Public Library and ArtsWestchester

This panel discussion will feature some of Westchester’s top jazz instructors discussing their personal histories in education, the County’s institutions for jazz learning and jazz education in the time of COVID-19.

8pm | Jazz & Intergenerational Exchange
presented by ArtsWestchester, City of White Plains and White Plains BID

A moderated discussion between master jazz artists and their mentees on the subject of intergenerational exchange, jazz education, teaching and learning. The evening will include short live performances by each master-mentee. Moderated by Pete Malinverni, Head of Jazz Studies at the Conservatory of Music at Purchase College, SUNY.

Featured Artists:
Alexis Cole and Lucy Wijnands
Bobby Sanabria and Gabrielle Garo
Ulysses Owens Jr. and Aaron Jennings

Thursday, September 10

8pm | Jazz at the Intersections
presented by ArtsWestchester, City of White Plains & White Plains BID

Features artists at the forefront of jazz, who through composition and improvisation engage musical traditions outside of jazz. Program will feature LIVE demonstrations/performances by each of the artists and a moderated discussion about jazz fusion.

Featured Artists:
Amir ElSaffar | Arabic music and jazz
Jomion & the Uklos | West African/Carribean music and jazz
Pablo Mayor | Columbian music and jazz

Friday, September 11

8pm | Jazz’s Rising Stars
presented by ArtsWestchester, City of White Plains & White Plains BID

Featuring some of the U.S.’s top young jazz musicians of 2020. Program will include 5-minute LIVE performances by each artist and a moderated conversation/discussion about coming up as a young jazz musician today. Moderated by Keanna Faircloth, WBGO radio, The Jazz Source

Featured Artists:
Connie Han, piano
Matthew Whitaker, piano
Veronica Swift, voice
Alicia Olatuja, voice

Thank You to the 2020 JazzFest Sponsors:

Presenting Sponsor