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Gene Aitken Biography

Gene Aitken

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Living in: United States

Grammy-nominated Gene Aitken is considered one of the most exciting and energetic jazz clinicians today, and is recognized as a visionary in both jazz education and computer technology.

In June 2007, he was awarded DownBeat magazine's Jazz Educator of the Year and inducted into the DownBeat magazine's Hall of Fame. In addition, he was the 32nd member inducted into the 1995 International Association of Jazz Educator's Hall of Fame along with Ella Fitzgerald and Doc Severinson, joining luminaries such as Count Basie, Duke Ellington, and others.

Dr. Aitken is only one of four individuals in the world who have received induction into both organizations' Hall of Fame. In 1985, the University of Northern Colorado Vocal Jazz Ensemble, under his direction, was awarded a prestigious Grammy Nomination by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. It is the only time NARAS has ever awarded this honor to an institution of higher education in the vocal jazz area. Dr. Aitken currently spends most of his time teaching jazz and music education in Asia and the Middle East, and has recently retired as Director of the Conservatory of Music at the National University of Singapore. His activities as a conductor, performer, composer, adventurer, clinician, adjudicator, and producer of educational events have led him to all corners of the globe. His recent travels to Lebanon, Afghanistan, and Iraq from June through August 2009 brought him to some of the most dangerous places in the world in which to teach music.

This summer, Dr. Aitken will travel again to the Middle East conducting and teaching for the Houston-based non-profit organization, American Voices and the YES Academy (Youth Excellence on Stage). Concerts and 10-day master classes will be held in the countries of Thailand, Myanmar, Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq.

This past year, 2009, Dr. Aitken was appointed to the music faculties of the Shangai Conservatory of music, the Nanchang Conservatory of Music (Nanchang, China), and the Xhinghai Conservatory of Music (Guangzhou, China). Each year he will present concerts and/or master classes at these institutions.

In June 2007, Dr. Aitken was appointed the first Cultural Envoy to Nepal for the US Department of State. While there he worked with the Kathmandu Jazz Conservatory Jazz Ensemble, the Nepal Police Academy Band, and the Nepal Army Band. Dr. Aitken resides in Bangkok, Thailand.

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