Baltimore – November 11, 2021 – Pianist, organist, vocalist, composer, and master improvisationalist Amina Claudine Myers received the 2021 Living Legacy Jazz Award Presented by PECO on Saturday, November 6, 2021 during a virtual presentation hosted at The National Museum of Jazz in Harlem.
The virtual event, which premiered on Vimeo, is now available online on the Mid Atlantic Arts YouTube channel. The presentation includes an interview with Amina, an extraordinary performance, the Award presentation, and testimonials from fellow artists, family, and friends.
A program of Mid Atlantic Arts, the Living Legacy Jazz Award honors living jazz master artists residing in the mid-Atlantic region who have kept the spirit and tradition of this evolving art form alive, maintaining the vitality of jazz for future generations through advocacy, mentorship, and the transmission of artistic skill and cultural knowledge.
Born in Blackwell, Arkansas, Amina Claudine Myers‘ early musical career began with piano lessens and quickly progressed to starting her own gospel group and leading church choirs. Ms. Myers studied European concert music at Philander Smith College in Little Rock, where she graduated with a degree in Music Education. The next stop on her musical journey was Chicago. In addition to teaching music for six year in Chicago’s public school system, Ms. Myers joined the AACM in 1966, honing her craft as a composer and performing alongside such visionary artists as Muhal Richard Abrams, Ajaramu (Jerold Donovan), Henry Threadgill, and Kalaparusha (Maurice McIntyre). In the 1970’s, she hit the road with Sonny Stitt and The Gene Ammons Quartet. Ms. Myers began touring Europe with the Lester Bowie Quintet and The New York Organ Ensemble in 1978 which evolved into performances in Europe, Africa, Japan, Canada, and the U.S. as a soloist, and with trio, quartet, sextet and voice choir. She began concerts for the pipe organ In the late eighties and is well-known for her workshops, master classes, seminars, and residencies in universities and schools in the U.S. as well as Europe. Two of her larger works include: Interiors, a composition for chamber orchestra conducted by Petr Kotik and performed by S.E.M. Orchestra, produced by the AACM and performed at the NYC Society of Ethical Culture; and the Improvisational Suite for Chorus, Pipe Organ and Chorus, a piece for 16 operatic voices, pipe organ, and two percussionists. Ms. Myers has received numerous awards and accolades, including being inducted into the Arkansas Black Hall Of Fame in 2001 and The Arkansas Jazz Hall Of Fame in 2010. She was commissioned by the Jazz Institute of Chicago to compose a composition in honor of the late pianist/composer Mary Lou William’s 100th birthday and has eleven CDs under her name with two self produced. She continues to perform and lives in NYC where she teaches privately.
Mid Atlantic Arts would like to extend many thanks to PECO for returning as our title sponsor and for providing funding to support artist access and the 2021 Living Legacy Jazz Award virtual event. Thanks also to our Host Committee members: Romona Riscoe Benson, Andrea L. Custis, Dr. Guy Generals, Bill Golderer, E. Scott Johnson, Leonade D. Jones, Charisse R. Lillie, Dorothy P. McSweeny, Elizabeth A. Murphy, Bernard W. Smalley, Sr., John and Pat Strickland, and Gerald Veasley.
Partners for this event include Jazz Philadelphia, The National Museum of Jazz in Harlem, Maestro Filmworks, and Amina’s family and friends. We look forward to returning to our event home at the Kimmel Cultural Campus in 2022 for an in-person celebration.
Previous Living Legacy Jazz Award winners include Charles Tolliver, Toshiko Akiyoshi, Odean Pope, Ron Carter, Gary Bartz, Joanne Brackeen, Nathan Davis, Muhal Richard Abrams, Phil Woods, Roy Haynes, Dr. Frank Foster, Kenny Barron, Benny Golson, Oliver Lake, Rufus Reid, Randy Weston, Keter Betts, Jimmy Heath, Joe Kennedy, Jr., Shirley Scott, Reggie Workman, Dr. Donald Byrd, Larry Ridley, Barry Harris, Robert “Boysie” Lowery, and Clark Terry. A Millennium Award was conferred on Dr. Billy Taylor in 2000.
Image: Amina Claudine Myers. Credit: Courtesy of Ms. Myers.
PECO, founded in 1881, is Pennsylvania’s largest electric and natural gas utility. Headquartered in Philadelphia, PECO delivers energy to more than 1.6 million electric customers and more than 532,000 natural gas customers in southeastern Pennsylvania. The company’s 2,900 employees are dedicated to the safe and reliable delivery of electricity and natural gas as well as enhanced energy management conservation, environmental stewardship and community assistance. PECO is a subsidiary of Exelon Corporation (Nasdaq: EXC), the nation’s only Fortune 100 utility and leading competitive energy provider. For more information visit PECO.com, and connect with the company on Facebook and Twitter.
About Mid Atlantic Arts
Mid Atlantic Arts nurtures and funds the creation and presentation of diverse artistic expression and connects people to meaningful arts experiences within our region and beyond. Created in 1979, Mid Atlantic Arts is a private non-profit organization that is closely allied with the region’s state arts councils and the National Endowment for the Arts. It combines funding from state and federal resources with private support from corporations, foundations, and individuals to address needs in the arts from a regional, national, and international perspective. To learn more about Mid Atlantic Arts, its programs and services, visit our website at www.midatlanticarts.org.
Director, External Affairs
Mid Atlantic Arts