MENU

The Jazz Improvisation Workshop In ITALY is an upscale international jazz camp, held in a beautiful farm-house and vyneyard in the heart of Tuscany. Private rooms, gourmet meals, working vyneyard and a wonderful swimming pool are just few of the amenities available to the partecipants.
In this wonderful setting the New York Jazz Workshop presents two separate weeks of rigorous jazz studies in a relaxed and friendly environment. Partecipants come from all over the world, we had students from Japan, Taiwan, New Zealand, the Usa and many countries in Europe.

In 2023 for the first time we are going to have two sessions, the first session from June 11th to the 17th is led by internationally acclaimed instrumentalists and it is centered on instrumental playing. The second session from June 18th to the 25 is led by an amazing singer and a pianist and it is centered on the human voice, how to interact with other musicians and (for the attending musicians) how to play with a vocalist.

If you chose to partecipate in both sessions there is a 20% discount on the cost of the course. The cost for the accomodation remains the same each week.

This programs are perfect for instrumentalists and vocalists with different backgrounds who want to learn and become better musicians and improvisers. Trip highlights include daily music sessions, private lessons, evening jam sessions, excursions and a final concert. Jazz Improvisation workshops and classes will be hosted in the “Agriturismo La Pineta” a working Farm/Vineyard located in the heart of Tuscany, owned by the family of New York Jazz Workshop co-founder Marco Chelo.

Among the activities we have planned visits to ancient medieval towns, biological wines tastings, a trip to a Roman Spa baths or the beach, atour of the cellars with optional pasta making class. The food served will please both omnivors, vegetarians and anyone with a special diet. Just let us know in advance and “La Pineta” chef will accomodate your needs. We will accept a maximum of 15 students, so we encourage you not to wait too long with your reservation.

There are special activities planned for the guests of the musicians too, so bring your friends and your family because there will be plenty to do while the musicians are in session. Trips including excursions to places like Vinci, Montecatini, Lucca, Pistoia, Cerreto Guidi, Collodi, Viareggio and Florence will be available for purchase for the guests and students that are attending the Improvisation Workshop in Italy. 

The Program

The Jazz Improvisation Workshop In ITALY are two 7-day/6-night programs conducted in a supportive and focused atmosphere. The programs are conducive to intensive study and mutual encouragement, through individual and group instruction, jam sessions and a faculty/student concert. 

The Jazz Improvisation Workshop In ITALY will be under the guidance of several stellar musicians and educators from NYC and The Nederlands including Marc Mommaas (Tenor Sax/Composition: Co-founder NYJW and HJW, educator at The New School) and Kenny Wessel (Guitar/Composition: educator at NYJW, Long Island University and CCNY, US Jazz Ambassador and long time member of Ornette Coleman’s ground breaking ensemble),

Michelle Walker, will lead the second week centered on the study of the human voice. As one of the most revered rising singers on the jazz & blues scene, she is an extraordinary performer that is wowing audiences around the world with a “…. breathtaking voice that leaves listeners hanging on the edge of their seats with every note….” Jazz.RU.

 Jeroen Vierdag (Dutch bassist of international fame, educator at the Conservatory of Amsterdam), To create an ideal learning experience for all participants, two levels of ensembles  will be offered. Our personalized learning approach focuses on strengthening the participants learning process. Strengths are solidified and weaknesses are addressed in a positive and constructive fashion.

After these 6 or 13 days the participant will walk away with a wealth of music knowledge, a tailored goal to aim for, and additional experience in how to communicate on the bandstand. Plus, it will be a lot of FUN! The program is for instrumentalist adults only  and a performance sample needs to be submitted with your registration.

Tuition: 

The price of student tuition for the 6-day program is $1500 USDThis rate includes a light lunch. (Breakfast and dinner are included in the lodging rates.)

The Price of Tuition Includes: 

Daily Jazz Workshops, Jam Sessions, Final Concert, Lunch 

Accommodation: 

Accommodation rates range from $525 to $1260  for the entire stay. The accommodation rates include Breakfast and Dinner ( Lunch is included in the price of the tuition) for details about accommodation please see the bottom of the page.


Registration: 

To sign up for this the Jazz in Italy workshop, fill out this brief registration form Once we confirm the availability for your instrument/type of accommodation a down-payment of $500 will be required to hold your reservation.

The Schedule

La Pineta Garden

Day 1

Sunday (If you are coming from the USA you will need to leave on June 10th) – Arrival at San Miniato Train Station (transfers from airports in Pisa or Florence can be arranged at an extra cost of approximately 100 euro each way) – Transfer to “Agriturismo La Pineta” – Free time, unpack you luggage, relax by the pool – Dinner al fresco in the garden with local specialties and wines (please let us know of any dietary restrictions in advance)

Day 2

Sunday (If you are coming from the USA you will need to leave on June 10th) – Arrival at San Miniato Monday
08:00am – 09:00am:
Morning swim ( optional)
09:00am – 10:00am: Breakfast
10:00am – 10:30am: Rhythm at the pool.
10:30am – 01:00pm: Ensemble playing
01:00pm – 03:00pm: Lunch
03:00pm – 05:00pm: Ensemble playing
05:00pm – 05:30pm: Masterclass
05:30pm: Free time for relax by the pool, walking excursions or nap
07:30pm: Dinner
09:30pm: Optional evening hang / Jam Session Station (transfers from airports in Pisa or Florence can be arranged at an extra cost of approximately 100 euro each way) – Transfer to “Agriturismo La Pineta” – Free time, unpack you luggage, relax by the pool – Dinner al fresco in the garden with local specialties and wines (please let us know of any dietary restrictions in advance)

Session on the porch

The pool with a view!

Day 3

Tuesday
08:00am – 09:00am:
Morning swim (optional)
09:00am – 10:00am:
Breakfast
10:00am – 10:30am:
Rhythm at the pool.
10:30am – 01:00pm:
Ensemble playing
01:00pm – 03:00pm
Lunch
03:00pm:
Free afternoon for practice time, student combos or optional excursions
07:30pm:
Dinner
09:30pm:
Optional evening hang / Jam Session

Day 4

Wednesday
08:00am – 09:00am:
Morning swim (optional)
09:00am – 10:00am:
Breakfast
10:00am – 10:30am:
Rhythm at the pool
10:30am – 01:00pm:
Ensemble playing
01:00pm – 03:00pm:
Lunch
03:00pm:
Free afternoon for practice time, student combos or optional excursions
07:30pm:
Dinner

Lunch Break

NYJW Summer Vocal Intensive

Day 5

Thursday
08:00am – 09:00am:
Morning swim (optional)
09:00am – 10:00am:
Breakfast
10:00am – 10:30am:
Rhythm at the pool
10:30am – 01:00pm:
Ensemble playing
01:00pm – 03:00pm:
Lunch
03:00pm – 05:00pm
Ensemble playing
05:00pm – 05:30pm:
Masterclass
05:30pm:
Free time for relax by the pool, practice, optional excursions or nap
09:00pm:
Dinner for all in Torre and Evening hang

Day 6

Friday
08:00am – 09:00am:
Morning swim (optional)
09:00am – 10:00am:
Breakfast
10:00am – 10:30am:
Rhythm at the pool
10:30am – 01:00pm:
Ensemble playing and rehearsals for concert
01:00pm – 03:00pm:
Lunch
03:00pm – 05:00pm:
Preparing for the concert in Fucecchio
05:00pm – 05:30pm:
Masterclass
07:00pm:
Dinner
09:00pm:
Final Concert

Saturday – Departure to San Miniato Train Station (transfers to airports in Pisa or Florence can be arranged at an extra cost of approximately 100 euro each way)

Topics and Prerequisites

Jazz Improvisation Workshop in Italy – Topics: – melody, harmony , rhythm., Ear-training, formal versus informal – Composition as a tool to find your voice  – Ornette Coleman’s Muse – Alterations and Superimposition – Rhythm in an harmonic context and Rhythmic expansion – Practicing routine, how to organize your materials

Participants Max and Rhythm Section: – We will accept a maximum of 15 participants. Which divided in two groups will guarantee an intimate and personal experience and will allow the teachers to balance out the materials according to the needs of each student – There will be a rhythm section at all times, either consisting of the participants or professionals

About the Faculty

MARC MOMMAAS

Marc made his debut as a leader in his 1999 recording Global Motion Trio with Nikolaj Hess (piano) and John Hebert (bass). In 2001 the acclaimed drummer Tony Moreno joined the group which became Global Motion. In 2003 after an extensive tour in Europe including a 5 day hit at the Pompoen in Amsterdam, the band returned to NYC and recorded Global Motion, released by Sunnyside Records. This release earned critical acclaim in Downbeat, Jazztimes, Jazzimprov, All About Jazz and numerous online news outlet. This record was followed by another well received Sunnyside release titled Balance (2006), a long anticipated duo recording with pianist and longtime friend Nikolaj Hess.

In 2010 he jumped into a new project born out of his extensive collaboration with drummer Tony Moreno. It became “Landmarc” the guitar project, a band with three guitars, sax, drums and no bass. The touring band included two guitarists, Vic Juris and Nate Radley. In 2013 Marc finished his solo Saxophone project “Irreversible Momentum” which started in 2009, this will be released in the fall of 2013 and in the fall Marc will record as co-leader a Ballads record with Nikolaj Hess. Marc has toured the world with many formations including the Amina Figarova sextet, and with other formations lead by Tony Moreno, Tim Horner, Armen Donelian and many more. He played all the main stages, from the New Port Jazz Festival to Carnegy Hall.

Besides his impressive career as a saxophonist and improviser Marc also made his mark as an educator.(pun intended) He co-founded the New York Jazz Workshop with Marco Chelo and the Hudson Jazz Works with Armen Donelian, has done masterclasses at conservatories across the globe, and he is an in demand saxophone and composition teacher in NYC. Marc is currently working on a text book on “a rhythmic approach of improvisation and composition for linear instruments” as well as a jazz theory book.

Kenny Wessel

Kenny Wessel, a versatile, sensitive and soulful guitarist and composer, has performed in 27 countries. He toured with revolutionary jazz artist Ornette Coleman for over 12 years as a member of Prime Time, Ornette’s groundbreaking ensemble. Kenny can be heard on Coleman’s CD, Tone Dialing. Performing Ornette’s “Skies of America,” Wessel has appeared with Kurt Masur and the New York Philharmonic and London’s Philharmonia Orchestra.

A vital and personal voice on the jazz guitar, he has also worked with Donald Fagen (featured guitar soloist on Fagen’s Morph the Cat), David Liebman, John Abercrombie, Karl Berger, Debbie Harry, Gloria Lynne, Adam Rudolph and others from the jazz, pop and world music spectrum. Ken has a strong interest in world music, particularly with North Indian music, and he has performed with Debashish Bhattacharya, Karaikudi Mani, V.M. Bhatt, Samir Chatterjee, Steve Gorn and others.

Wessel co-leads a trio with jazz tabla master Badal Roy. Their CD, Daybreak was included in JAZZIZ magazine’s Top 10 Critic’s Picks. Ken and Badal toured India and the U.S. with their composition, “Testimony,” which was commissioned by the Battery Dance Company. Wessel’s most recent CD, Weights & Measures received 4 stars in Downbeat magazine and has made critics’ best of 2012 lists. As a U.S. Jazz Ambassador, Ken has toured South Asia and South America, visiting India, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Bengladesh and Venezuela in 2002-03. A dedicated jazz educator, Wessel currently teaches at LIU, CCNY, and Western Connecticut State University, in addition to leading 2 ensembles at the New York Jazz Workshop. He also gives clinics and workshops around the world and has taught at universities and festivals, including: Oslo Music Academy, ICSMS Festival (Istanbul, Turkey), Mahaidol University (Bangkok), Yale University, Manhattan School of Music, and many others.

JEROEN VIERDAG

Jeroen Vierdag graduated cum laude at the Conservatory of Amsterdam in the year 2000. He plays bass guitar and double bass. Jeroen is comfortable playing lot of different styles, including pop, jazz, Brazilian and Latin. Jeroen is a bass teacher in the Jazz and Latin department at the Rotterdam Conservatory. He is a member of The Ploctones (with Anton Goudsmit) and plays with Francien van Tuinen, Ed Verhoeff, Amina Figarova, Bart Wirtz, Ferial and Nueva Manteca. Jeroen Vierdeg versatility and flexibility makes him an in demand bass player, we are lucky to have secured his participation to the New York Jazz Workshop summer intensive in Italy.

Michelle Walker

Michelle Walker

Michelle Walker is a New York City based jazz vocalist, arranger and educator with an international resume of concert and festival performances, including 7 tours in Russia, a 10-day tour in Israel with one of the performances at The Tel Aviv Musuem of Art being broadcast live on national radio as well as concerts in London and Amsterdam.

Other performance highlights include The Lincoln Center-Women in Jazz Festival, The Silver Spring Jazz Festival and live jazz performances throughout the US. Michelle studied privately and attended masterclass with a number of teachers including Betty Carter, Mark Murphy, Rhiannon and more.

Michelle is often compared to Cassandra Wilson, Nina Simone and Betty Carter in style and tone. She has opened in concert for Wynton Marsalis, Rene Marie, George Benson and Mark Murphy. Her arrangements of straight-ahead standards and contemporary pop tunes blend genres effortlessly. Critics have noted that she has a singular voice with a high level of originality that is solidifying her own distinctive sound. Dave Nathan at AllAboutJazz.com says, “Walker demonstrates an extraordinary degree of musicality.” According to Mike Joyce of the Washington Post, the hypnotic, sexy, deep tone of Michelle’s voice has a “soul-comforting allure”. Michelle has been on the New York Jazz Workshop faculty since 2018. Michelle is on the board of directors of the New York Music Institute an organization dedicated to expanding access to music education.

Accommodations

There are some incredible options for accommodations during the workshop. Please note that lodging is not included in the price of tuition. The closest option for which we have blocked rooms and should be booked with us are: “Agriturismo La Pineta,” and Casa di Furio, La Pineta is a working Farm/Vineyard where the workshops take place, La Pineta offers single, double, and triple occupancy room, 10 acres of green, a salt water swimming pool nested between the vineyards and an ancient olive grove. La Casa di Furio are beautiful apartments nestled in green with also a great swimming pool. La casa di furio is walking distance from La Pineta. For the guest that book the accommodation with us we offer transportation on a schedule between la Pinteta and la Casa di Furio.

The listed prices are per person and include a daily breakfast (a selection of yogurt, bread, cheese, fruit, coffee), lunch (for example sandwiches, salad, frittata + fruit), and dinner (two courses plus a side dish, dessert, and wine). Please inform us of any allergies, we also offer vegan and gluten free options when requested in advance. *Wine is included during dinner only and other drinks such as beer and sparkling water can be purchased. Given the small numbers of room available we encourage the participants to book double or triple rooms even if they are traveling alone. The rooms are large and the time spent in the rooms is limited—there is also a considerably lower cost. This will allow more people to participate in the program. However, if you don’t want to share a room with someone you don’t know, you can opt for a single or bring a friend.

Rooms @ Agriturismo La Pineta (per person including all meals)SingleDoubleTriple
Venturino*$1260 $830$620
Rooms with Bathroom*$990$725$525
    
Small Apartment by the Pool*$1260$830
   
Apartments @ La Casa Di Furio (per person including all meals)
 2 bedrooms$1260$830$620
    

*All prices are per person, and include breakfast and dinner as well as transportation from the apartment to the location where the workshop will be held. Lunch is included in the price of the tuition. – If you book with us your stay at La Pineta or neighboring Casa di Furio we will pick you up from the San Miniato Station on arrival and take you back upon departure. – Transfer to and from the airports of Pisa and Florence can be arranged for approximately 100 euros each way. – If you find lodging on your on within 10km from la Pineta, we can pick you up in the mornings to attend the workshop, and drop you off at the end of the classes. – All excursions are optional and listed here Some other nearby options for lodging are: Ostello Ponte dé Medici (hostel) – Airbnb in FucecchioHotels in Fucecchio

Covid-19 precautions

All NYJW teachers, hosts, students and other participants to the jazz Workshop on Italy are required to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19. Weather permitting most of our activities will be outside reducing possibility of contracting the virus. Currently a covid-19 test is not required for travel. We will update this website with any available additional information.