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Master Classes

The Master Class program features internationally acclaimed artists who facilitate multi-day, immersive classes with selected music, art, and dance high school students. This once-in-a-lifetime opportunity guides students through the fundamentals of dance, music, and theatre with professional artists. Master Classes are conducted during the formal school calendar year at selected performing arts venues and high schools. 

Past Master Classes include Debbie Allen, Al Jarreau, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Branford Marsalis, Terence Blanchard, and Chris Botti.

Debbie Allen

Our 2017 Master Class program featured internationally acclaimed artist Debbie Allen. Allen facilitated four 90-minute, immersive Master Classes with a total of 100 high school dance students from both String Theory Charter School and the Philadelphia High School for the Creative & Performing Arts (CAPA) on May 9th and 10th. 

During the classes, the high school students had the opportunity to work directly with Allen as they learned choreography and technique while receiving valuable feedback. Allen's insights gave students an exclusive look into the world of professional dance to better prepare them for future careers in the performing arts.

Ladysmith Black Mambazo

On July 19, 2016 , the Mann presented a Master Class with four-time Grammy® Award-winning performers Ladysmith Black Mambazo. Over the course of six weeks, students from The Philadelphia Clef Club, The Philadelphia Girls and Boys Choir, and students from Artístas y Músico

s Latino Americanos (AMLA) studied and learned South African musical traditions in preparation for this unique Master Class. 50 students performed songs composed by South African great Hugh Masekela and performed their prepared South African folk songs. Ladysmith Black Mambazo then provided constructive and meaningful feedback to the students before sharing song and dance demonstrations of isichatamiya—their style of singing—and discussed its rich Zulu heritage. The Master Class concluded with a full-scale group dance and sing-a-long led by Ladysmith Black Mambazo, which had everyone in the house on their feet in a rousing rendition of “Siyahamea,” a traditional South African hymn.

Al Jarreau

The 2015 Master Class program welcomed 72 students from three regional schools to experience an intimate, hands-on workshop with seven-time Grammy® Award-winning jazz artist Al Jarreau. Students from the Girard Academic Music Program, Philadelphia Performing Arts: A String Theory Charter School, and The Creative Arts Morgan Village Academy were selected by their administrators as top-vocalists to participate in a workshop designed around artistic excellence, mentorship, and inspiration. For six weeks preceding the Master Class, three teaching artists met twice a week to work with the selected students and their coaches in preparation for the three-day residency. Students learned two selections from Al Jarreau's repertoire and prepared a selection of their own choosing. Students were accompanied by a jazz ensemble that included Justin Faulkner, a former Master Class participant and member of the Branford Marsalis Quartet.

Terence Blanchard

On April 15-17, 2013, the Mann presented a very special Master Class project with Grammy Award-winning musician and composer Terence Blanchard. Joining him in the project were two teaching artists, Marc Johnson and Lovett Hines, as well as 36 high school music students from the Girard Academic Music Program and Philadelphia High School for the Creative and Performing Arts. Additional students in the audience included young musicians from West Philadelphia High School as well as The Creative Arts Morgan Village Academy in Camden, NJ. The first two days of the residency included Master Classes held at the Philadelphia Clef Club of Jazz. Students in attendance had the opportunity to listen to Blanchard's motivating words as well as receive hands-on tutoring from Blanchard himself. The second day concluded with a dinner celebrating Jazz Appreciation Month in honor of Mr. Blanchard at Chris' Jazz Cafe. Ultimately, the three-day residency culminated with student performances and critiques on stage at the Girard Academic Music Program. Video footage was recorded of all three days and is currently being edited into a short documentary highlighting this spectacular Master Class. Special thanks to Ms. Saly Glassman for her incredible support on this special project.

Chris Botti

On July 18, 2012, the Mann welcomed world-renowned trumpeter Chris Botti to a Master Class at the Philadelphia Clef Club of Jazz and Performing Arts. Approximately 50 students of all ages from both the Clef Club’s summer camp and Creative Arts High School in Camden, NJ performed three compositions for Botti. After each performance, Botti gave detailed feedback on each song in hopes of educating and inspiring the students. Following those performances, Botti opened the floor for any questions the students had for him. Concluding the Meet-the-Artist session, Botti joined some of the very talented students on stage with his trumpet in hand for a group performance. Each student, along with Botti, demonstrated their talents by performing their own solos with various levels of improvisation with their mastered instrument. By the end of this enlightening Meet the Artist session, it was undeniable the impact Botti’s encouraging words had on the students and all that attended that day.

Contact Us

For more information on our Master Classes, please contact Maggie Bond, Manager of Education and Community Engagement Operations, at education@manncenter.org
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