UHD Hosts Cultural Jazz Exchange as Part of Citizenship Month
The Texan-French Alliance for the Arts (TFAA) and the University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) collaborated this weekend to host a cultural jazz exchange, a special initiative of Citizenship Month Houston and TFAA's citywide "Open the Door" public art project.
The event highlighted Houston's international arts community and featured two renowned French musicians and composers - trumpet player Aymeric Avice and drummer Benjamin Sanz - along with nearly 40 Houston-area professional musicians from UHD's Civic Jazz Orchestra and top middle- and high-school musicians from the Young Sounds of Houston.
Avice was awarded the first prize of the Jazz and Improvised Music Department at France's most prestigious music conservatory and is a founding member of several internationally celebrated bands. Sanz is an acclaimed performer of jazz and African musical forms with expertise in black music and improvisation.
This event was sponsored by the Texan French Art Alliance, the French Consulate and UHD and is part of the City of Houston's Citizenship Month, for which UHD is a proud primary sponsor.
Prominent musicians and community leaders in attendance included Sylvie Christophe, cultural attache with the French Consulate of Houston; Karine Parker-Lemoyne, executive director of TFAA; Robert Wilson, conductor and winner of the Kemah Boardwalk Jazz Achievement Award; Noël Bezette-Flores, Ph.D., co-chair of Citizenship Month Houston and executive director of the UHD Center for Public Service & Family Strengths; and UHD President Bill Flores, Ph.D.
President Flores opened the event by describing the contributions of French-trained Creole musicians in the early development of jazz in New Orleans and the continuing influence of U.S. and French musicians on the development of jazz.