Celebrating 60 Years of the Reno Jazz Festival

Posted by Jackie Latragna on Monday, May 2nd, 2022 at 5:47pm

The Reno Jazz Festival took the stage by storm with a triumphant return to the stage this April. 

First formed in 1962, the festival has welcomed thousands of budding young musicians to the University of Nevada, Reno. Three full days of jazz performance, workshops, concerts, and coaching keep entertainers and the entertained alike well occupied during the festival’s duration.

This year’s event was smaller than its usual 8,000 person plus attendance list. The festival was packed with content and artistry, offering more than 15 workshops on a range of jazz related artists. Students are taught by some of the country’s leading jazz artists and educators. 

“60 years is no small achievement and much gratitude and credit are due to all those that have been a part of RJF over the decades: students, parents, directors, adjudicators, headliners, volunteers and the many past and present members of the RJF Team,” says Festival Director and saxophone professor, Peter Epstein.

“We’ve learned a huge amount in the last 60 years and especially in the last two years, as we have had a little more time to think and reflect about what the Reno Jazz Festival represents and what we hope to achieve during the next 60 years.”

The festival activities were live-streamed for the first time to help the event be accessible to schools and musicians across the country. 

The opening act on Thursday, April 28 was jazz vocalist Michael Mayo performing alongside the University faculty ensemble, The Collective, inside Nightingale Concert Hall. May is a rising jazz composer and vocal phenom gifted with perfect pitch. The Collective is one of the most creative jazz ensembles in the northwestern US featuring pianist Adam Benjamin, bassist Hans Halt, drummer Andrew Heglund, saxophonist Peter Epstein, and trumpeter Josh Reed. 

On Friday, April 29, groundbreaking saxophonist Miguel Zenon took the stage in the Recital Hall alongside his quartet comprised of drummer Henry Cole, bassist Hans Glawischnigm and pianist Luis Perdomo.

The arts and entertainment scene in Reno-Tahoe offers a variety of choices for all interests and ages! Along with the jazz festival, concert goers can enjoy the many genres of the Harvey’s Lake Tahoe summer concert series. This year, there will be many big names such as Nora Jones, Kenney Chesney, Dave Matthews Band, Keith Urban, and more! 


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