It’s a nonprofit cultural institution, chartered on September 9, 1977, as private association, re-chartered on November 20, 1991 as an association with mixed private and public participants, and finally on November 18, 2005 transformed into the “Siena Jazz – Accademia nazionale del Jazz” foundation. Siena Jazz since its inception operated toward the diffusion, teaching and appreciation of jazz music and its numerous contemporary high quality derivations. The transformation into a Foundation did not change its historical goals, its original artistic line in evolution with the times, and its founders, that are the same of the original Association: the City of Siena, the Province of Siena, and the Sienese Jazz Association. The Siena Jazz Foundation has been acknowledged as Formative Agency, formally credited by the Tuscany Region (Regional Decree n. 1281 of 20/03/06) and received the certification from the Quality System according to the UNI EN ISO 9001:2000 norm for its activity as “Planning and providing musical formation services, high professional qualification and international masters”.
Siena jazz has been acknowledged for many years now as an highly qualified educational institution, reference point country-wide for specialization, qualification and master courses for young musicians coming out of the music schools or beginning their careers in jazz and its contemporary derivations. Siena jazz is among the first members of I.A.S.J. – Internazional Association of Jazz Schools, headquartered in Holland (The Hague) and promotes young Italian jazz musicians through participation to the International Meetings of this Association which includes the most important jazz schools in the world.
Its operation are carried out in the Fortezza Medicea building, where Siena jazz in its more than 1.000 sq.mt. available established 20 classrooms with state-of-the art teaching and playing equipment, a sound archive, library and workshop that form the “Arrigo Polillo” National Center for Jazz Studies, the research branch of the Foundation. During the International summer courses, the traditional “Sienese Jazz Music Workshops”, there are further 700 sq. mt. temporarily available, kindly given by the City of Siena, so that the number of classrooms available for the courses rises to 27. The main activities of the Foundation develop, according to the charter, in three definite fields: EDUCATION, RESEARCH, PRODUCTION.
In the educational field, Siena jazz since the beginning of its activities devoted itself mostly to Musical Masters and High Qualification, establishing in 1978 the “Sienese Jazz Music Workshops”, intensive courses acknowledged by the Heritage and Cultural Activity Ministry as “Musical Masters National Courses”. Among other activities Siena jazz opened in 1989 the “Music Education Courses”, aimed to qualify young musicians in jazz, blues, funky, fusion, latin jazz and derived contemporary music styles. Besides the Foundation organizes since 2003 the “Permanent Workshop for High Qualification Music Research”, open to a carefully selected group of young professionals who want to specialize and enhance their creative and artistic abilities after finishing their studies.
In the research field, Siena jazz on May, 21 1988 founded its research branch, the National Center for Jazz Studies “Arrigo Polillo” with its Library and Sound Archive. The Center is virtually the only specialized facility for jazz documentation and research in Italy; its serves as a reference point countrywide for students, musicians and scholars for their work. The facility is computer-based and the online catalogues are continuously updated. The Center holds the most important specialized collection in the country; the number of data included in the catalogues and the continous growth of the collections, which include more than 25.000 sound and video carriers, more than 2.000 books and thousands of magazine issues including the only complete collection of the Musica Jazz magazine put the Center on the par with the best Jazz Archives worldwide. The latest years saw important development with internal restructuration of the spaces, and with a general update of available equipment for digitization of audio and images.
In the production field, the more than 7.000 musicians who completed their education at Siena jazz over the years established hundreds of music groups that during their stay of some weeks in Siena during every edition of the High Musical Qualification Courses developed and presented many prouctions that formed the basis for their artistic and professional life. Besides, there are further series of concerts, single or grouped in Festivals, that take place during different periods of the year. The Foundation established its own label, the “Siena jazz records” in order to be able to produce its own Compact Discs and it’s starting its own publishing house with the birth of “Siena jazz editions” in order to publish the “Siena jazz Notebooks” and a new “historical” series.