ISJAC’s first ever entirely online festival Un[chart]ed Territory was held on March 18-20, 2021. While not a replacement for the Symposium (postponed to 2022), Un[chart]ed Territory offered professional panels, performances, and online poster sessions as well as our Hall of Fame induction ceremony and a showcase for our competition winners. It was a smashing success with over 500 registrants from over 30 countries participating.

“While the move to an online festival meant we couldn’t enjoy the warm social aspects of our in-person Symposium events, it also meant that we could include many composers and arrangers who simply aren’t able to join us in person for whatever reason,” explained ISJAC president Chuck Owen. “Creating an all new entirely online event, that would be offered free to everyone, required the Exec Committee to move quickly to adopt new platforms. Dave Stamps and Kelsey Shiba, particularly, contributed to the heavy lift that was required to pivot to an entirely online offering.”

Things kicked off Thursday evening with a special tribute to the 2021 ISJAC Hall of Fame inductees: Gil Evans, Herbie Hancock, Bill Holman, Charles Mingus, and Billy Strayhorn, Cassio Vianna, who serves as ISJAC Hall of Fame Curator, put together a beautiful video highlighting the careers and contributions of all five new inductees. Thursday night also included a panel discussion, moderated by Ryan Truesdell, focused on Women Jazz Composers with panelists Ayn Inserto, Christine Jensen, and Ellen Rowe discussing issues they’ve encountered and overcome to become successful.

Friday night’s offering included three panels around the general theme of collaboration. The first panel was moderated by John Clayton and featured John Beasley and Maria Mendes; the second panel was moderated by JC Sanford and included Theo Bleckmann, John Hollenbeck, and Kate McGarry. The evening ended with a panel moderated by Terri Lyne Carrington where Darcy James Argue and Cécil McLorin Salvant talked about their recent collaboration.

Saturday included an informational session on “Online Music Performance Tools for the (Post) Pandemic” with panelists Jason Camelio and Ray Seol. Our Expo area online featured over 50 booths with virtual poster sessions. The afternoon sessions included a Celebration of Bill Holman, sponsored in part by the ASCAP foundation, with panelists Rich DeRosa, John LaBarbera, and Kim Richmond. Our Expo area also offered a showcase of COVID Relief Grant Winners’ work as well as our other Award Winners.

Finally, Saturday evening offered a wonderful performance featuring Bob Mintzer with the WDR Big Band as they performed the winning compositions from the 2020 and 2021 Owen Prize, by composers Eri Chichibu and Robert Buonaspina, as well as the 2021 Prize for Emerging Black Composers winners Joseph Borsellino and Courtney Wright.

Many of these sessions were recorded and will eventually make their way to an archive available through the ISJAC website. The Hall of Fame video is available currently on YouTube on the ISJAC Channel.

Awards Video Intro- Saturday 3.20
WDR Big Band Awards Performance

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Introduction with Chuck Owen, ISJAC President
Hall of Fame Inductees Video by Cassio Vianna
Women’s Panel Part 1: featuring Christine Jensen, Ayo Inserto, Ellen Rowe
Moderated by Ryan Truesdell
Women’s Panel Part 2: featuring Christine Jensen, Ayo Inserto, Ellen Rowe
Moderated by Ryan Truesdell

Friday, March 19, 2021 Uncharted Collaborations

Maria Mendes & John Beasley
Moderated by John Clayton
John Hollenbeck, Kate McGarry, & Theo Bleckmann
Moderated by JC Sanford
Cécile McLorin Salvant & Darcy James Argue
Moderated by Terri Lyne Carrington

Saturday, March 20, 2021

Online Music Performance Tools for the Post Pandemic, with Ray Seol, Jason Camelio & Jim Odgren
Panel Discussion: Celebrating Bill Holman with Rich DeRosa, Kim Richmond, and John LaBarbera, Moderated by Ryan Truesdell
Awards Introduction
Awards Performance with the WDR Big Band
Intro with Rufus Reid
Performance: Bob Mintzer with the WDR Big Band
Bob Mintzer, Moderated by Rufus Reid