The George Wein Impresario Award

Carlo Pagnotta


By Matt Micucci

The year 2015 marked a special milestone – the 30th year of collaboration between the Berklee College of Music and the Umbria Jazz Festival (Perugia, Italy) on the Berklee at Umbria Jazz Clinics. The clinics are part of the Berklee on the Road programs, in which the college offers the opportunity to experience Berklee-style classes, typically over a three to five day period via lectures, labs, master classes, ensembles, workshops, jam sessions, special events, panel discussions and a live performance.

On July 9, on the eve of this year’s Umbria Jazz Festival (10-19 July), festival founder Carlo Pagnotta received a surprise that had been kept secret for months – Berklee’s George Wein Impresario Award. The award, which was named after the founder of the Newport Jazz Festival, recognizes individuals who bring music to life through their dedication to discovering, mentoring, presenting and promoting creative musicians and their music.

Pagnotta accepted the award from Berklee President Roger H. Brown, who expressed his delight at being associated with the Umbria Jazz Festival, which he called “one of the best jazz festivals in Europe and the world.”

During the night, in addition to the Wein Award for Pagnotta, Brown also presented honorary doctor of music degrees to Paolo Fresu, the immensely creative and talented Italian jazz trumpet and flugehorn player, composer, cross-discipline arranger and music educator – and to the world renowned American jazz musician Charles Lloyd.

Upon receiving the doctorate, Lloyd recalled “When I was a little boy in Memphis, Duke Ellington stayed at our house, and my mother told him that I wanted to be a musician. And the response was, ‘No, don’t let that boy do that. Let him be a doctor, a lawyer, or an Indian chief.’ So I played music all my life, and now they make me a doctor. It’s a great honor.”

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