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Cheltenham Jazz Festival awarded funding to commission ground-breaking jazz artworks for Festivals across England

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Cheltenham Jazz Festival has been awarded £60,350 from Jerwood Arts for an artist development programme to run over three years. Jerwood Jazz Encounters will help artists develop new ways of presenting jazz in unusual spaces and the digital realm.

Eight jazz artists will be commissioned to produce ground-breaking new works for presentation at festivals to include Cheltenham Jazz Festival, Oxford Contemporary Music and Sage Gateshead. The award will include R&D funding, in-depth mentoring, a creative ‘hackathon’ hosted by Birmingham City University and specialist digital support from The Space.

Dave Gaydon, Head of Programming at Cheltenham Jazz Festival said: “Festivals are ideal spaces to take risks and try out ideas. For the last five years, Cheltenham Jazz Festival has been pushing the boundaries of presenting jazz in non-traditional spaces. By giving artists the chance to experiment, we can present jazz in new ways and draw in new audiences. 20 artists and producers at our ‘Hackathon‘ in 2018 created some great new collaborations. It showed us there is a large pool of artists calling out for opportunities like this. The funding we have received from Jerwood Arts means we can equip artists with the skills and contacts they need to develop bold new work.”

Lilli Geissendorfer, Director, Jerwood Arts said: “Jerwood Arts is delighted to be supporting the Jazz Encounters Fellowship. This was the strongest jazz-focused application in a very strong field: it looked to the future of jazz beyond the smoky club, to more project-based, site-specific work, responding to the needs of festivals and artists developing innovative new work and ways of working for these audiences. We can’t wait to see what these music creators get up to in May!”