Davey Yarborough

"Improvisational Innovator"

Davey Yarborough

Native Washingtonian Davey Yarborough's commitment to music began in the third grade with the coveted silver clarinet of his best friend. "I went home and told my dad I wanted a silver clarinet," says Yarborough. "I knew right then I wanted to be a musician." Largely self-taught until college, he developed his ear, teaching himself through experimenting with different instruments and listening to his parents diverse record collection.

A performer, bandleader, composer and arranger, and educator, Yarborough's award-winning career includes work with such jazz greats as Sir Roland Hanna, Keter Betts, Billy Eckstine, Buck Hill, Shirley Horn, Lena Horne and Joe Williams, and Wynton Marsalis. Playing at clubs and concert halls, Yarborough has also performed at major jazz festivals including the East Coast Jazz Festival and the Blues/Jazz festival of San Remo, Italy. The creator and director of the jazz orchestra "The New Washingtonians" and director of the jazz program at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts Washington, DC, Yarborough is a tireless champion for aspiring young performers. A recipient of the 1998 Mayor's Arts Award in Washington, D.C., for Excellence in Dedication to the Arts-he and his wife, Esther Williams, recently launched the Washington Jazz Arts Institute, a mentoring program for children who know at an early age they want to be artists. "This is my dream. We give them free lessons and career guidance. I had no early formal training, my parents weren't part of the music world. I understand the importance of this access."

Yarborough has traveled extensively throughout the world with his Jazz Orchestra, and looks forward to exploring the culture of Finland. "Usually, when I'm abroad cultural engagement comes through the kids when they're performing and getting them to interact with their peers. I'd like to see how Finnish youth are brought into the arts, and look at the educational process for ideas on how to enhance what we're doing here, and creating exposure for our work here."

The Duke Ellington School of Arts


Jari Perkiömäki

Dean, Head of Jazz studies in Sibelius Academy

The mission of the Sibelius Academy's Jazz Department is to provide the highest level of jazz education in Finland at undergraduate, graduate and doctoral levels.

Mr Yarborough's programme will consist of visiting the department, observing the collective teaching and meeting the faculty teachers. Mr Yarborough will be invited to different concert and jam sessions with the teachers and students of the jazz and music education programmes. In addition, the programme will include familiarisation with the two other jazz degree programmes in Helsinki: one at the Helsinki Pop and Jazz Conservatory and the Jazz and Pop programme at the Metropolia University of Applied Sciences.

The stay will be hosted by Mr Jari Perkiömäki, D.Mus., Dean, Head of Jazz Studies at the Sibelius Academy.

Jari Perkiömä