Saint Petersburg and Sydney chosen to host International Jazz Day

The celebrations are held on 30 April each year

Saint Petersburg in North-East Russia and Sydney, Australia have been selected by UNESCO to host the annual International Jazz Day celebrations in 2018 and 2019 respectively.

The IJD initiative was started in 2011 with United Nations Goodwill Ambassador Herbie Hancock leading the annual flagship global concert, which takes place on 30 April. Previous host cities have been New Orleans (2011), New York City and Paris (2012), Istanbul (2013), Osaka (2014), Paris (2015), The White House in Washington DC (2016) and Havana (2017).

Organisers say Saint Petersburg and Sydney were chosen for their unique contributions to the development of jazz. The jazz scene in Russia was born in 1927 in Saint Petersburg with the appearance of the “First Concert Jazz Band” in the concert hall of the State Capella, followed by the creation of the first jazz collective in 1929. Saint Petersburg is the only city in Russia to have a Jazz Philharmonic Hall, founded in 1989.

In Australia, jazz is a flourishing art form, which in recent years has seen an increasing number of players and growing audiences. Australia is host to the world’s largest youth jazz festival, “Generations in Jazz,” which is held in the city of Mount Gambier. Sydney plans to hold the flagship All Star-Global Concert in the iconic Sydney Opera House, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and organisers say the streets of the city will come alive with jazz through a daylong programme of “Jazz in Squares,” featuring school bands and jazz combos.

In addition to the main events in Saint Petersburg and Sydney, UNESCO will continue to encourage the participation of schools, universities and non-governmental organizations, as well as public radio and public television around the world. Various performing arts venues, community centres, artists, arts organizations, libraries and educational institutes will also organize activities around jazz.

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