Thomas G. Everett, director of bands at Harvard University and jazz adviser to the Office for the Arts at Harvard (OfA), has been named the recipient of the 2008 Luise Vosgerchian Teaching Award. The award, which offers an honorarium of $10,000 to a nationally recognized educator, is administered by the OfA.
The Max Goldberg Foundation established the award in order to perpetuate the values and teaching skills represented by the late Luise Vosgerchian, a longtime member of the faculty of the Department of Music at Harvard. The guidelines require that the recipient embody the following qualities: selfless commitment; artistic conscience; a constant renewal of approach to subject matter; ability to motivate in a positive and creative way; a sincere interest in the development of the whole person; and the ability to present musical knowledge in a way that is applicable to other disciplines.
“Tom Everett has made extraordinary contributions as an educator, artistic leader, and advocate here at Harvard and also regionally and nationally,” said Jack Megan, director of the OfA. “He is ceaselessly supportive and available to undergraduates, guiding them in the development of their intellect, expressiveness, and character.”
Everett was hired by Harvard in 1971 to direct the University’s traditional band. His creativity and scholarship soon led him to bring the field of jazz to Harvard, establishing jazz programs and teaching the first jazz course for academic credit through the Harvard Extension School, and the first at Harvard’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences, beginning in 1978.
Everett created two undergraduate jazz bands at the University under the co-auspices of the OfA. Additionally, he has brought many eminent jazz artists to campus, including Benny Carter, Hank Jones, Illinois Jacquet, Carla Bley, Bill Evans, Max Roach, and Randy Weston, among others. These annual residencies honor master composers and performers and connect them to students and the broader public through clinics, rehearsals, public conversations, and concerts.
Everett’s focus on American musical literature and practice at Harvard has also greatly informed his association with the Harvard Wind Ensemble, which he took over as director in 1971 (it is now led by Mark Olson, assistant director of bands). Premiering works by contemporary composers, the Wind Ensemble is another example of Everett’s passion for integrating important genres and repertoires in Harvard students’ musical education.
A charter member of the International Association of Jazz Educators, Everett is a founder of the International Trombone Association, as well as past president of the New England College Band Association. As founder and director of Boston’s Share a Composer Program, he organized Boston-area residencies for American composers Leslie Bassett, Karel Husa, Ulysses Kay, Vincent Persichetti, Robert Starer, Vivian Fine, and Lucas Foss. In addition to Harvard, he has taught at the New England Conservatory, Brown University, the International Trombone Workshop, Indiana University Summer School, and the Franz Liszt Academy (in Budapest).