LSM Newswire

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Oliver Jones to mentor Dione Taylor as part of the 2009 Governor General's Performing Arts Awards Mentorship


Oliver Jones to mentor Dione Taylor as part of the

2009 Governor Generals Performing Arts Awards Mentorship Program

Ottawa (Canada) The National Arts Centre (NAC) is delighted to announce that distinguished jazz legend Oliver Jones has chosen to mentor Dione Taylor, an extraordinarily talented young singer, through the Governor Generals Performing Arts Awards Mentorship Program.

The program allows Governor Generals Performing Arts Awards recipients, who have received their countrys highest honour in the arts, the chance to give back to the next generation of artists. Mr. Jones received the Governor Generals Performing Arts Award for Lifetime Artistic Achievement in Popular Music in 2005.

This years recipients of the Governor Generals Performing Arts Awards will be announced at a press conference at the Young Centre in Toronto on March 2nd.

The Mentorship Program, a partnership between the Governor Generals Performing Arts Awards Foundation and the NAC, is designed to benefit emerging to mid-career artists. While numerous mentorships exist to support emerging artists, talented professionals in early to mid-career often find themselves in need of an infusion of creative guidance and could benefit from a national showcase opportunity. The Mentorship Program serves as a creative catalyst and as an investment in future Canadian artistic achievement.

Im so happy to be able to work with Dione and offer what guidance I can to such a sparkling young talent, said Mr. Jones. I feel honoured to have the chance to work with her and to perhaps play some small part in the growth of her career.

Ms. Taylor expressed her appreciation for being chosen as part of the Mentorship Program: It is an honour to be recognized in this way and for this opportunity to work with Mr. Oliver Jones. Mr. Jones has contributed so much to the music industry and is part of such a wonderful tradition that I so deeply respect.

In addition to receiving coaching and career advice from Mr. Jones, Ms. Taylor will also perform at the Governor Generals Performing Arts Awards Gala on May 9, 2009, and receive an honorarium.

The National Arts Centre is proud we can help provide these kinds of opportunities that allow Canadian artists to benefit from the gifts and experience of some of Canadas artistic icons, said Peter Herrndorf, President and CEO of the National Arts Centre.

The Governor Generals Performing Arts Awards are a celebration of excellence that introduces Canadians to new artists, raises awareness of achievements in varied disciplines, and invites Canadians to applaud the performing artists whose passion moves, entertains and inspires. Bell has been the Founding Sponsor of the Awards since 1992.


BIOGRAPHIES

Oliver Jones

Jazz pianist Oliver Jones is one of Canada's most beloved and admired musicians and most distinguished cultural ambassadors. Over the past six decades he has achieved legendary status in the international jazz community, toured tirelessly in Canada and around the world, and devoted much of his time to encouraging young Canadian musicians as they begin their careers. In addition to his performances in concert, in clubs, at prestigious international festivals, and with major orchestras across Canada, he has released 22 recordings.

He was born in Montral, Quebec, in 1934, and studied piano with Daisy Peterson, his friend Oscar's sister. He made his stage debut at age five and started playing in clubs when he was nine. Though his father urged him to go into accounting, the young Oliver always knew he wanted to be a musician.

After a musically eclectic early life in Montral, Mr. Jones worked as a pop-music director in Puerto Rico but came home in 1980 determined to stick to jazz. He got a job at Biddles, a legendary downtown club, and his career took off.

Mr. Jones' outstanding musical talent is matched by his immense modesty and generosity toward his audiences and fellow musicians, particularly young artists.

Oliver Jones "retired" in 1999 but still makes numerous appearances yearly, including numerous charity benefits and jazz festivals across Canada.

Awards and honours include the Order of Canada, the Order of Quebec, several Flix and Juno Awards, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Award for Excellence in Music, and four honorary doctorates.

Dione Taylor

Dione Taylor burst onto the music scene in 2004 with her dynamic performance style and soulful voice that is steeped in the traditions of gospel, blues and jazz. Her debut recording Open Your Eyes quickly earned her Juno, Canadian Urban Music and National Jazz Award nominations and the disc was named one of the Top Recordings of 2004 by Canadas premiere jazz radio station, Jazz.FM91.

A pastors daughter from Saskatchewan, music has always been an integral part of Ms. Taylors life. Born and raised in a family she describes as really connected to the gift of song, she began playing the organ at age four, and at the tender age of 10, became musical director and organist at The Shiloh Assembly Church (Apostolic) in Regina. Taylor received two Voice Scholarships upon high school graduation. She decided upon the University of Regina, where she majored in Voice (Classical and Opera). A career turning point came when Ms. Taylor enrolled at the world-renowned jazz program at the Humber College of Applied Arts and Technology. Dione excelled academically and received the colleges Thomas Kehoe Memorial Award for Outstanding Vocal Performance, graduating with honors from the program in 2003. While completing those studies, she entered an international competition for jazz students. She was selected as of one of six jazz musicians from around the world for the Jazz and the New Generation program. Led by Dr. Billy Taylor, it was sponsored by The Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., and its winners performed at a prestigious concert on the Millennium Stage.

An assured and charming performer, Ms. Taylor has already sung for presidents and royalty. In June 2004, a mere two weeks after releasing her debut CD, she was invited to participate in a concert celebrating Black Music Month in the United States at the White House for the President and First Lady. Less than a year later she performed alongside other stars for Queen Elizabeth II, the Duke of Edinburgh and Joni Mitchell at the Saskatchewan Centennial Gala of the Arts. Other notable appearances include the 2005 Nightlife Jazz Tour, the Womens Blues Revue at Torontos famed Massey Hall and the 2005 Festival International de Jazz de Montreal, where she performed with soul divas Patti LaBelle and Ann Peebles, as well as the legendary Neville Brothers. In November 2006 Ms. Taylor had the honor of performing The Weight for Robbie Robertson of The Band at the Governor Generals Performing Arts Awards Gala in tribute and recognition of his Lifetime Artistic Achievement Award.

With her second album, I Love Being Here With You (Marquis/EMI Music Canada), Taylor emerged as a fully formed and exciting young artist. While unmistakably a jazz album, I Love Being Here With You reflects her love and background in gospel, rhythm & blues and soul. Her rich and smoky voice has a truly soulful quality, one attractively complemented by her keenly trained musical ear. Her eclecticism is apparent as Ms. Taylor cites soul queen Aretha Franklin, jazz chanteuse Sarah Vaughan, opera diva Leontyne Price and smooth-voiced jazzman Johnny Hartman as inspirations and influences. I Love Being Here With You was produced by Doug Riley (Ray Charles, David Clayton-Thomas, The Brecker Brothers) and Sandy Mamane, and features Jake Langley, Guido Basso, Pat LaBarbera, Terry Clarke and international piano virtuoso Benny Green.

In November 2008, I Love Being Here With You was released in Japan, and in December 2008 Ms. Taylor will be performing a sold out Christmas concert at the Bunkamura Orchard Hall in Tokyo. Most recently Ms. Taylor was nominated for a Gemini Award in 2008 for her rendition of Oscar Petersons Hymn to Freedom, which she performed alongside Oliver Jones at the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame Gala.

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