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Next Steps

I'm interested in networking with people involved in developing secure educational resources in CIS countries, perhaps through targeted university and embassy libraries.

I'm also interested in networking with artist/educators who teach and perform/exhibit in other CIS countries, in order to develop shared resources and/or initiate interdisciplinary collaborative projects.

I intend to make periodic contributions of study and listening materials to the YSC Jazz collection and I encourage others to do the same. I've already sent one shipment of music books and am preparing a shipment of about 100 cds. Materials may be sent directly to US Consulate/PAO, 18 Baghramyan Place, 375019 Yerevan, Armenia and marked clearly with the words "ATT: Yerevan State Conservatory Jazz Department." Any Jazz publications translated into Russian would also be useful in Armenia. This being said, be aware that duplication for teaching purposes (the so-called "fair use" doctrine) is a way of life and expect that any materials sent will be freely copied and disseminated.

I also intend to make periodic visits to Armenia to teach and perform Jazz and I encourage others to do the same. Clinics by touring international artists are received with great interest in Armenia and are enthusiastically appreciated.

Parties interested in discussing any of the above activities may contact me at info@armenjazz.com.

Armenian Jazz is a box waiting to be opened, though a Pandora's box it is.

On the one hand, students are eager to obtain Jazz recordings and publications from which to learn about and absorb the Jazz language. However, this doesn't translate into a tappable market. The weak buying power of Armenia's local currency encourages piracy, making publishing in any field all but a forbidding venture. Economic difficulties here and throughout the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) makes purchasing Western-priced materials impossible for most people.

Moreover, while students clamor for the services of qualified Jazz artist/mentors with whom to study and play, there is little to attract foreign artists to Armenia to teach or perform. Institutional arts funding is woefully underdeveloped in Armenia, except through diasporan organizations and foreign governments with targeted interests, none of whom - so far, at least - have adopted Jazz as its concern. The average college professor's salary is worth about $25. USD per month. Club engagements pay under $10. USD per night and only one Jazz festival is staged and then only at irregular intervals. The huge exodus of Armenians to the West in recent years has left an artistic and academic vacuum of immense proportions. YSC, my host institution and the apex of the country's music education system, is both economically and structurally deteriorated. In such conditions, students, faculty and artists suffer acutely.

And so now my work continues...looking for new funding to continue the Jazz in Armenia Project...developing new directions in my own teaching, performing and composing.

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