Essentially Ellington

A free program for high school jazz bands, Essentially Ellington aims to elevate musicianship, broaden perspectives and inspire performance.

News & Updates


Jazz at Lincoln Center is proud to announce the 26th annual Essentially Ellington Festival will take place virtually on June 4th and 5th, 2021! Stay tuned for a full schedule of events, including a finalist student Q & A with Wynton, the much anticipated Cheer Tunnel, band performances and interviews, an awards ceremony and more! The following bands were selected as finalists for the Virtual Essentially Ellington Festival:

Newton South High School

Newton, MA

directed by Lisa Linde

Agoura High School

Agoura Hills, CA

directed by Chad Bloom

Roosevelt High School

Seattle, WA

directed by Scott Brown

Tucson Jazz Institute

Tucson, AZ

directed by Johnathan Black

Alexander W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts

West Palm Beach, FL

directed by Christopher de León

William H. Hall High School

West Hartford, CT

directed by James Antonucci

Olathe Northwest High School

Olathe, KS

directed by Robert Davis

Champaign Central High School

Champaign, IL

directed by John Currey

Byron Center High School

Byron Center, MI

directed by Marc Townley

Memphis Central High School

Memphis, TN

directed by Ollie Liddell

Carroll Senior High School

Southlake, TX

directed by David Lown

Plano West Senior High School

Plano, TX

directed by Preston Pierce

Foxboro High School

Foxboro, MA

directed by Aaron Bush

Noblesville High School

Noblesville, IN

directed by Bethany Robinson

Dillard Center for the Arts

Fort Lauderdale, FL

directed by Christopher Dorsey

And the winner of the Essentially Ellington Dr. J. Douglas White Student Composition and Arranging Contest is:

Daiki Nakajima from Prospect High School in Saratoga, CA for his original composition “Fracture”