Press Release

August Wilson African American Cultural Center Presents Pittsburgh International Jazz Festival Live Online

Event Date: 
20 June 2020
Pittsburgh, PA
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Sean Jones, Dianne Reeves, Jeff Watts, Brett Williams & More to Perform in One-Night-Only Livestream Concert

The August Wilson African American Cultural Center (AWAACC), one of the largest non-profit cultural organizations in the country dedicated exclusively to the African American experience, announced today the first-ever Pittsburgh International Jazz Festival Live Online, a free special event that will stream live on Saturday, June 20 at 12 p.m. ET on the Center’s website and Facebook page. The virtual event, curated by the AWAACC in collaboration with award-winning musician Sean Jones, will feature legendary jazz musicians from around the world, including Jones, Lakecia Benjamin, Dianne Reeves, Laurin Talese, Jeff Watts, Brett Williams, The Bad Plus, and more. To mark what would have been the 10th anniversary of the Pittsburgh International Jazz Festival (PIJF) in June, the event will also include a live performance by local Pittsburgh artists, special tributes, and a look back at archival interviews and footage from the Festival’s first 10 years.

A signature program of the Center, the Pittsburgh International Jazz Festival (PIJF), is curated by AWAACC President and CEO Janis Burley Wilson, who created it in 2011. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, AWAACC has made the decision to postpone the June 2020 festival until June 2021 to ensure the health and well-being of its staff, audiences, and artists. 

“The Pittsburgh International Jazz Festival has become a hallmark of our city and a beacon for some of the world’s greatest musicians over the past 10 years. I’m immensely grateful to our sponsors, Sean Jones, and the rest of the incredible artists for joining forces to create a digital celebration and bring jazz directly to audiences around the world,” said Janis Burley Wilson. “One of music’s biggest strengths is its power to heal and bring people together, and it is more vital than ever to connect with one another while collectively protecting ourselves and our community. Although this is not how we envisioned celebrating the Festival’s 10th anniversary, it’s an opportunity to expand our annual audience of 70,000 visitors to downtown Pittsburgh, and I hope that it brings comfort and reminds us all that there are brighter days ahead.”

In recognition of the PIJF 10th anniversary, AWAACC has launched $10 for the next 10 Years of PIJF, a campaign to commemorate the past 10 years of the PIJF and to support the next 10 years of the festival.  Contributions will be accepted online during the virtual festival and after, leading up to the 2021 in-person festival. To learn more about this special campaign commemorating the past 10 years of the festival and celebrating the next 10 years of PIJF visit https://aacc-awc.org/support/

In addition to Pittsburgh International Jazz Festival Live Online, the Center has launched several additional free digital initiatives for audiences of all ages. These include virtual tours of its two most recent visual arts exhibitions: Vanishing Black Bars & Lounges: Photographs by L. Kasimu Harris and I came by Boat so Meet me at the Beach: Ayana M. Evans and Tsedaye Makonnen; and a monthly conversation series, Lit Fridays, featuring artists, actors, writers, and scholars streamed on the Center’s Facebook page. For more information please visit https://aacc-awc.org/.

Pittsburgh International Jazz Festival Live Online Sponsors

Citizens Bank, Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield, UPMC, UPMC Health Plan, UPMC Center for Engagement and Inclusion, Advanced Auto, JazzCorner, DownBeat Magazine, and VISITPittsburgh. 

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