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The Vermont Jazz Center Celebrates Solo Piano with the Mesmerizing 8th Annual Solo Jazz Piano Festival

The Vermont Jazz Center celebrates the vital impact that the piano has played in jazz history by hosting its 8th annual Solo Jazz Piano Festival on April 19 and 20, 2024.
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The Vermont Jazz Center celebrates the vital impact of the piano in jazz history by hosting its 8th annual Solo Jazz Piano Festival on April 19 and 20, 2024. The artists headlining this year’s festival are Hey Rim Jeon, Aaron Parks, Alfredo Rodriguez, and Jacky Terrasson; emerging artists are Yujin Han and Mathew Mueller. 

8th Annual Solo Jazz Piano Festival

On April 19 and 20 evenings, starting at 7:30 PM, two headlining pianists will present back-to-back solo sets. April 19 will include performances by Hey Rim Jeon and Aaron Parks, and on April 20, we will hear Alfredo Rodriguez and Jacky Terrasson. Saturday, April 20, is a complete educational and concert programming day. The day begins at 10:00 AM with a sequence of workshops led by all four headlining musicians. These presentations are designed to be accessible to all music lovers, not just pianists. 

Saturday will also include short sets from the two emerging artists and a round-table discussion with all six artists, moderated by Vermont Jazz Center Director Eugene Uman. The 8th Annual Solo Jazz Piano Festival, now in its eighth year, is one of the cornerstones of the Vermont Jazz Center’s programming. The festival has presented some of the world’s top pianists and most important musical innovators of this generation, including NEA Jazz Masters Toshiko Akiyoshi and Joanne Brackeen, acknowledged luminaries Stanley Cowell, Benny Green, Sullivan Fortner, Kenny Werner, and many others. 

The 8th Annual Solo Jazz Piano Festival continues to be a unique opportunity for audiences to communicate directly with the artists as they share their spiritual and historical sources of inspiration and offer tips on their learning, teaching, and practice routines. The Vermont Jazz Center is honored to continue this important tradition in Brattleboro. The structure of this solo piano festival is unique and geared towards community building and garnering knowledge using the piano as a catalyst. 

Each of this year’s headliners is highly regarded by jazz lovers worldwide. They are all virtuosic in their abilities and have released numerous celebrated recordings as leaders and side people. But what sets this group of four apart is how each artist conveys an entirely distinct approach to the instrument, demonstrating an instantly recognizable stylistic, rhythmic, and harmonic palette. This diversity, combined with the artists’ rich depth of knowledge and ability to connect with the audiences, will ensure a fascinating show. Listeners are encouraged to check out each performer to enjoy the full spectrum of their approaches. 

A brief introduction to the artists’ musical styles

Hey Rim Jeon’s style is characterized by rhythmical precision, graceful melodic lines, and adroit technical facility. Ms. Jeon also embraces long-form improvisation. She teaches courses in piano technique and Keith Jarrett’s solo improvisations at Berklee College of Music; her ability in both skill sets shines through in her solo performances. 

Aaron Parks’ creations reflect his beauty search. Whether original compositions or swinging standards, his approach is all about heart. He conveys emotion without being saccharine by using expressive phrasing and captivating arrangements that encourage spaciousness. He is also a master of time-keeping (he speaks of developing one’s own “inner drummer” by feeling rhythm in his body and playing games with a metronome) and of creating reharmonized renditions of tunes from the Great American Songbook on the fly. 

Alfredo Rodriguez brings a vast knowledge of the Latin American piano tradition, replete with the virtuosic ability necessary to convey that style. His Cuban roots saturate his sound, which is also strongly influenced by classical music. Rodriguez began studying classical music seriously at seven years old and realized at twelve that playing the piano would be his lifelong endeavor. He feels that the “message of music is about expressing unity and about being together, knowing where we are coming from, and trying to help each other.” 

Jacky Terrasson is yet another virtuosic player. A significant presence in the vibrant New York jazz scene during the early 1990s, he chose to reside in his native France, where his star continues to rise. Terrasson plays in the tradition, and he loves to swing hard with lots of dynamic emphasis, emulating players like Ahmad Jamal. He also has a knack for folding unexpected pop tunes (like those of Michael Jackson) into a jazz set. 

The Vermont Jazz Center’s 8th Annual Solo Jazz Piano Festival is a tribute to Mike McKenzie, who, for the last 27 years, has provided artists performing at the Vermont Jazz Center with the finest pianos possible, including the beautiful Steinway D Concert Grand upon which this festival was founded. Vermont Jazz Center is incredibly grateful to two Vermont Jazz Center Summer Jazz Workshop community members and Katy Oz for their generous sponsorship. Vermont Jazz Center also thanks the Thompson Trust, the Windham Foundation, the Vermont Arts Council, the Vermont Humanities Council, and the New England Foundation of the Arts for their steadfast support. The Vermont Jazz Center also appreciates the excellent pro-bono work by piano technician William Ballard and the exquisite care offered by piano technician Crystal Fielding. 

In-person tickets for the 8th Annual Solo Jazz Piano Festival are offered on a sliding fee scale from $85- to $130 for the entire event; single-concert options are also available. Visit the Vermont Jazz Center website at to make a purchase. Contact Eugene for educational group discounts Reservations can be made by calling the Vermont Jazz Center ticket line at 802- 254-9088, ext. 1. Handicapped access for the in-person event is available by emailing 

The online streaming of this concert will be offered free of charge, but donations are welcomed and just a click away. Please give generously and support live music. Access to the online event can be found at Note: there will be no FaceBook access to these concerts. 

8th Annual Solo Jazz Piano Festival Schedule

Friday, April 19, 2024 

Headliner Concert

  • 7:30 PM – Hey Rim Jeon performance (50-minute set)
  • 8:30 PM – Aaron Parks performance (50-minute set) 

Saturday, April 20, 2024 


  • 10:00 AM – Hey Rim Jeon – Embodying your Inner-ensemble in Solo Piano Jazz
  • 11:00 AM – Aaron Parks – Awakening the Music Within
  • 12:00 PM – Alfredo Rodriguez – TBD
  • 1:00 PM – Jacky Terrasson – Questions and Answers 
  • 2:00 PM – Lunchbreak 

Emerging Artist Presentations

  • 3:30 PM –Matthew Mueller
  • 4:00 PM – Yujin Han Panel Discussion
  • 4:45 PM – Panel discussion with all pianists (juried questions) Headliner Concert
  • 7:30 PM – Alfredo Rodriguez performance (50-minute set)
  • 8:30 PM – Jacky Terrasson performance (50-minute set) 
  • The Performers 

8th Annual Solo Jazz Piano Festival Headliners

Hey Rim Jeon 

Born in Seoul, Korea, Hey Rim Jeon began piano lessons at three. She is now a full professor at Berklee, where she is the recipient of an Exemplary Mentorship Award and the coauthor of a piano performance study guide. Jeon has also served as a guest clinician at the New England Conservatory and the Seoul Jazz Academy. Described as a “brilliant pianist” by legendary saxophonist Benny Golson, Hey Rim Jeon’s most recent recording, “Groovitude,” remained among the Top 20 National Jazz Radio Chart albums for several consecutive weeks. Jeon has released five albums as a bandleader or soloist and collaborated with Benny Golson, Terri Lyne Carrington, Dave Liebman, James Genus, Richie Barshay, John Lockwood, and many others. Notable performances have included appearances at Birdland, the Iridium, Jazz at Lincoln Center, the Beantown Jazz Festival, the Smithsonian Museum, and the International Association for Jazz Education conference. Jeon has performed throughout Korea and Japan. Media appearances include WNBC Live’s Weekend Today in New York and BBC’s The World. Ms. Jeon actively participates in the Massachusetts Conference for Women and the Korean Cultural Society of Boston. 

Hey Rim Jeon Workshop

Embodying your Inner-ensemble in Solo Piano Jazz 

When playing solo piano in the context of jazz improvisation, it may seem that you are alone. Yet the beauty of the piano is that you can embody an inner ensemble while performing. In this presentation, Hey Rim Jeon will discuss the importance of the left-hand bass line, coordination of melody and chords, and keeping the groove. Ms. Jeon will demonstrate some of Keith Jarrett’s improvisational and arrangement-building techniques to complement her discussion. 

Hey Rim Jeon is an exceptional talent. Her technical prowess and intriguing harmonic sensibility set her apart from many of her peers… she plays with absolute presence, yet still provides enough space for the music to breath…a very exciting, emerging artist!

Terri Lyne Carrington, multi-Grammy Award-winning drummer, composer

Aaron Parks 

Aaron Parks came to the public’s attention during his tenure with trumpeter Terence Blanchard. Born in Seattle, Washington, he began playing piano at a young age and, by the time he was fourteen, had enrolled in an early entrance degree program at the University of Washington. At sixteen, he transferred to the Manhattan School of Music, where he studied with Kenny Barron and received several competitive accolades, including being named the 2001 Cole Porter Fellow of the American Pianists Association. He took 3rd place in the Thelonious Monk competition in 2006. Parks joined Terrence Blanchard’s ensemble at eighteen and recorded four albums, including the 2007 Grammy-winning disk A Tale of God’s Will (A Requiem for Katrina). He has released numerous albums as a leader for Blue Note, ECM, and Ropeadope Records and has recorded with Kurt Rosenwinkel, Dayna Stephens, Christian Scott, Kendrick Scott, Gretchen Parlato, Ambrose Akinmusire, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Joshua Redman, Billy Hart, Ben Wendel, Eric Harland, and many others. He currently lives with his family in Portugal. 

Aaron Parks Workshop

Awakening the Music Within 

A discussion about the relationship between body/heart/mind and rhythm/melody/harmony, waking up the whole organism and moving toward a more fully embodied presence in music-making. 

When I think of the word ‘genius,’ I think of a connection to nature, that nature can express itself undisturbed through human activity. I feel that in Aaron’s playing. He illuminates natural shapes and figures. His intuitive understanding is so strong and powerful that it’s always informing his technique, which is homegrown. He has a high-level intellect, which serves to embrace and give headroom to his daydreams. 

Kurt Rosenwinkel, renowned guitarist

Alfredo Rodriguez

Pianist Alfredo Rodriguez comes from a musical family. As a very young man, he played in his father’s band and studied classical piano at three leading conservatories in Havana. In 2006, he was selected as one of twelve pianists worldwide to perform at the Montreux Jazz Festival, where music producer/arranger/composer Quincy Jones took notice and offered him work. 2009, while on tour with his father in Mexico, Rodriguez requested political asylum at the US border crossing in Nuevo Laredo. He was granted asylum thanks in significant part to the support of his mentor, Quincy Jones. Rodriguez has gone on to perform at esteemed jazz clubs and festivals worldwide, sharing the stage with jazz artists Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Patti Austin, McCoy Tyner, Esperanza Spalding, Richard Bona, and Lionel Loueke. One of Rodriguez’s best-known compositions is a collaboration with Quincy Jones, the anthem “Better City, Better Life,” which was selected as the official theme song of the Shanghai World Expo 2010. In 2015, Rodriguez received his first Grammy nomination for best instrumental arrangement for “Guantanamera.” He has recorded four albums as a leader and one as co-leader with Pedrito Martinez. In a feature in Downbeat, Rodriguez discussed his belief that the accumulation of one’s life experiences and the evolution of spirit comes across in the sounds that are created when improvising musicians commit to a performance: “When we go onstage, we’re playing our lives, [expressing] the way we grew up, the way we think. We transmit all the positive and negative things that happen in our life into musical sounds.” 

Alfredo Rodriguez Quote – He is assiduous, building complex rhythmic trellis-work at breakneck speeds with a facility that’s tough to fathom. But he projects an illusion of absolute composure — that’s part of his appeal.

Giovanni Russonello, New York Times

Jacky Terrasson 

Jacky Terrasson was the 1993 winner of the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Piano Competition. He is a two-time Grammy nominee and was acclaimed by The New York Times Magazine as “one of 30 artists under the age of 30 most likely to make an impact on American culture in the next 30 years.” Terrasson released eight CDs for Blue Note records, including a 2007 solo piano recording. A celebrated artist in both the U.S. and France, his French awards include Best Jazz Artist of the Year (Prix Django Reihnardt), Best Jazz Album of the Year (Victoire de Jazz), and two Django d’Or awards, for Best Jazz Album and Best Artist. Born in Berlin in 1966 and raised in Paris, Terrasson’s distinctive piano style reflects influences that include Keith Jarrett, Miles Davis, Billie Holiday, and Bud Powell. As a teen, he moved to Boston to study at the Berklee College of Music and later toured with Art Taylor and Betty Carter. He has recorded with Dee Dee Bridgewater, Michael Brecker, Dianne Reeves, Ray Brown, Cindy Blackman, Wallace Roney, Bob Belden, Leon Parker, Javon Jackson, Eddie Harris, Little Jimmy Scott, and Ry Cooder. Terrasson regularly tours Europe, Asia, and the United States and appears at significant festivals, including Montreal, San Francisco, Montreux, North Sea, and Marciac.

Jacky Terrasson Workshop

Questions & Answers: A friendly, informal conversation, a time to share ideas.

One of the most talented pianists of his generation.

Thomas Conrad, Jazz Times


Yujin Han 

South Korean-born pianist, composer, and arranger Yujin Han is a Presidential Scholar who has been studying with Danilo Perez and Kris Davis at Berklee College of Music in both the Global Jazz Institute and Jazz and Gender Justice Institute programs. Through her studies at Berklee, Ms. Han has developed her own compositional voice and explored creative harmonic approaches to playing. She performs in the Boston area. 

Mathew Mueller 

Mathew is a senior at Amherst College. He grew up in the New Haven, Connecticut region, playing piano and singing in his Russian church choir. At Amherst, he studied jazz piano, music theory, and composition. He will present his senior music thesis, “The Lowly Inchworm is My Hero,” on April 5th. The piece is built using voice messages and spoken-word recordings as compositional tools. Mueller co-leads and plays in Interstellar Mediums, a sextet comprised of alto sax, trumpet, bass, drums, piano, and vocals. 

Eight Years of Piano Magic – Vermont Jazz Center’s Solo Jazz Piano Festival Performers

  • 2017 Stanley Cowell, Luis Perdomo,Yoko Miwa, Miro Sprague, Amina Figarova, Alki Steriopolis, Eugene Uman, Franz Robert 
  • 2018 Helen Sung, Kirk Lightsey, Christian Sands, Harold Danko, David Berkman, Joe Davidian, Franz Robert 
  • 2019 George Cables, Kenny Werner, Julius Rodriguez, Joanne Brackeen, Rebecca Cline, Cameron Campbell, Tom Cleary, Franz Robert 
  • 2020 Orrin Evans, Manuel Valera, Toshiko Akiyoshi, Shamie Royston, Maya Keren, Matt Twaddle, Franz Robert 
  • 2021 Craig Taborn, Kris Davis, Harvey Diamond, Elio Villafranca, Camila Cortina, Hidemi Akaiwa 
  • 2022 Xavier Davis, Sullivan Fortner, Benny Green, Arcoiris Sandoval, Roella Oloro, Andrew Wilcox 
  • 2023 Orrin Evans, Myra Melford, Dan Tepfer, Michael Weiss, Shiyu Fang, Remi Savard 
  • 2024 Hey Rim Jeon, Aaron Parks, Alfredo Rodriguez, Jacky Terrasson, Yujin Han, Mathew Mueller


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