The International Jazz Day was instituted by UNESCO in November, 2011 following a decision made at the 36th Session of the UNESCO General Conference. The celebration takes place on April 30 every year in dozens of countries and cities all over the world.By the decision of the international jury endorsed by UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova, Saint Petersburgwas chosen as the capital of jazz in 2018, which confirms Russia and Saint Petersburg's exclusive contribution to the development of this musical genre. One of the first jazz concerts in the USSR took place at the Saint Petersburg Court Chapel, the first Soviet jazz club was opened in the city in the late 1950s, and the only Jazz Philharmonic Hall in the country opened its doors in 1989.
The International Jazz Day has toured such cities as Washington, Istanbul, Paris, Osaka and Havana, where the «All-Star Global Concert» gathered laureates of many Grammy awards, renowned musicians Quincy Jones, Chucho Valdés, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Dianne Reeves, Marcus Miller, Kurt Elling, Wayne Shorter, Till Brönner, Esperanza Spalding, Lee Ritenour and many other famous jazzmen from America, Europe and Asia. The cast of performers in Saint Petersburg in April will be equally star-studded, headed by a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador, American pianist and winner of 14 Grammy awards Herbie Hancock, and People's Artist of Russia, saxophonist and Director of the Moscow Jazz Orchestra Igor Butman.
The organizers of the International Jazz Day in Russia are UNESCO, Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz (USA), the Government of Saint Petersburg and Igor Butman Music Art Support and Development Foundation.
From April 28 to 30 an extensive programme devoted to jazz has been prepared for inhabitants and guests of Saint Petersburg: free open-air concerts at city venues, lectures and master classes, roundtable discussions on topical issues of jazz art in Russia and worldwide.The events will be held at central city venues: the official opening is to take place in the Hermitage General Staff building, while the educational events and roundtables will be held in the Jazz Philharmonic Hall and small halls of Mariinsky II.The climax of the celebration will be the «All-Star Global Concert», a gala concert of jazz stars to be staged on April 30 in Mariinsky II.
Apart from concerts and educational activities, the programme features topical cinema screenings in St.Petersburg movie theaters and various expositions: a retrospective of Soviet, Russian and foreign movies on musical culture. On April 30, the Mariinsky II will exhibit paintings and photographs telling the history of jazz in the country.
Entrance to all the events of the International Jazz Day is free of charge upon preliminary registration at thejazzdayrussia.com website(from April 3 to 25).