JOINT EFFORT—Susan Parks, director of Kaufman Center and Maggie Johnson, Founder/Director JAZZSPACE.
Two rising jazz artists, Jason Rafalak, bass and Michael Borowski, guitar; presented a full-length jazz concert at the Hill House’s Kaufmann Center recently as part of the venue’s Month of Jazz Series.
Borowski and Rafalak presented the full range of their musical dexterity, including originals, Brazilian choro, R&B, and “straight-ahead” jazz.
The two professional musicians were selected through a competitive application process to represent JAZZSPACE, a new program that supports the professional and personal development of jazz artists in Pittsburgh.
The program awards each selected musician up to $400 to spend towards their creative work.
Jazz vocalist Maggie Johnson founded JAZZSPACE in 2009.
Convinced there was an unmet need for practical support of Pittsburgh’s jazz muscians she began building the program while working fulltime as a nonprofit arts manager.
The long-range plan will expand the program to include a combined residential and performance space where resident musicians subsidize their housing costs by donating time and talent to community performances and workshops.
In addition, residents will have priority access to state-of-the-art rehearsal/performance space, recording/sound equipment, and mentors in the jazz community.
The presentation was part of the Hill House Kaufmann Center’s Month of Jazz Live from the Hill Series.
The venue was selected as the location for the concert because of its beautiful Hillman Auditorium, its location within one of the most historically significant Pittsburgh jazz neighborhoods, and the leadership’s strong interest in supporting jazz.
“Like JAZZSPACE, it’s a celebration of old and new, past and present,” said Johnson.
The newly renovated Elsie H. Hillman Auditorium is a state-of-the-art performance space.
This historic auditorium was built in 1928 and completely renovated in 2010.
The Center concluded its month of jazz by presenting Sean Jones and the Pittsburgh Jazz Orchestra.
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