Like Totally 80’s!!!

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NEA Art Works Grant 2018 – Preserving the Legacy of Dan Morgenstern

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I am representing Texas State University as Project Director for a

National Endowment for the Arts – Art Works Grant 2018:
Preserving the Legacy of Dan Morgenstern.

Morgenstern was raised in Vienna and Copenhagen and arrived in the United States in 1947 when he was 17. He was personal friends with dozens of bebop jazz artists, like Charlie Parker, Lester Young, all the stars, and made all the clubs and shows on 52nd street. His stories are fascinating glimpses into life in NYC in the 1940’s and 50’s, and the jazz scene. Dan has 8 Grammys and is a NEA Jazz Master. Here are few of his memories:

The grant proposal requests funds to pay for travel and production costs of short videos and audio recordings of NEA Jazz Master Dan Morgenstern to be distributed to radio stations, shared with educators, and made available for public use at no charge.

Project Timeline:

August 2018: NEA Jazz Master Dan Morgenstern will travel to San Marcos, Texas to record interviews with and additional narrations by his lifelong friend and associate, jazz broadcaster Phil Schaap. Video and audio clips will be recorded at Media Production facilities at Texas State University by Production Coordinator, Video Producer, and Editorial Supervisor Dean Brennan.

September to December 2018: Project Director Hehmsoth will work with the production team to produce the recordings, develop the programs, and create a website dedicated to Dan Morgenstern’s research and recollections of the Kansas City Jazz school, its Big Bands and performers. Audio and video recordings will be archived at the university library’s Wittliff Collections.

February 2019: Hehmsoth will do a soft-launch of the in-progress website by introducing it along with the recordings, lesson plans, and performance program outlines to thousands of visiting audience members at the annual Hill Country Jazz Festival to share the free resources with high school students, educators, and the general public who attend. Witliff archives as well as recorded live performances and other recordings made available on the website will preserve this unique heritage of stellar performances while safeguarding and codifying Morgenstern’s large body of research regarding Kansas City Jazz.

May 2019: Once all recordings are fully produced and the website is complete, Hehmsoth will send press releases about the website to the National Association for Music Education, local, regional, and national radio stations, and news outlets introducing the website and recordings available for free download and public distribution.

An enormous group of people are involved in this project. Many, many thanks to:

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MacDowell Time

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Time, a marvelous bounty of Time,
dilated Time as natural as breath,
expansive and palpable.

It’s been 5 years since I left MacDowell and not a day has passed that I haven’t found an occasion to turn inward and find a bit of the MacDowell Time inside me, radiant, replenishing.

This is the deepest and furthest reaching benefit.
Not only what I did there, but what having been there has allowed me to do here….

To grow, expand,  and develop, with confidence.

Oct. 2, 2016

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My 2nd Fulbright Senior Specialist visit to Chile!!

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HANKThey really have me working this time! 🙂
3 week long seminars 3 hours a day on:

  • Jazz Theory and Improvisation
  • Jazz Composition and Arranging
  • Jazz Piano Techniques

Individual MasterClasses on:

  • Innovative, Creative, and Successful Techniques for the Practice of Music
  • Contemporary Creativity- Where Does It Come From?
  • Harness Your Potential for Professional Success

and a week of Concerts:


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2016 Jazz Masters

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As a National Endowment for the Arts Fellow, I am so happy that Gary Burton was honored this year! I remember going to see him at Baylor University right after his first album came out in 1972! You can download the pdf below!

2016 Jazz Masters Final

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MacDowell Residency Feedback

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… from May 30, 2011 – a reissue of discovery as an artist

MacDowell Residency Feedback Form

these are the verbatim notes I wrote on my last day at MacDowell…..

“word” notes from a composer

I can’t express enough the joy and satisfaction, and how rewarding it has been, to perform for my colleagues at the Savidge Library on 2 occasions. 1st, a Solo Jazz Piano Improvisation Concert, and this last week, I hosted a Monday Night Jazz Jam after dinner. The response was overwhelming, and went long and deep into the night. The nationally acclaimed poet and MacDowell Fellow Dennis Nurske from NYC sat in and played sax and flute, I took requests, and played 2 hours nonstop for my friends. It was an intimate gathering, and I am so glad to have shared that evening. It was the chance to work among and with an assemblage of world-class artists, to get past the differences, and find the common goals, and camaraderie. The human foibles and weakness of spirit seem to vanish.
It’s never been the accolades, or the critics. It is always the pleasure and recognition from your peers that gives you the little voice inside you that says “I know this.” I have had confidence at a local and even regional stage, but the positive and enthusiastic response from peers here at MacDowell is at a national, even international level, and thus has so much more impact and significance to me.
The isolation here, the time to reflect, the freedom to pursue all avenues of thought, forces you to reassess what’s important in the rest of your life. I have a wealth of experience, and I’m just now getting my wings.
In the last 30 days I found out more about myself as an artist than I could have otherwise in five years. I see that my years of performance experience and improvisation enable me, and allow work at a higher level, with intuition. The struggle to discover “new” and “fresh” is beset with setbacks, difficulties, a new learning curve, and lack of complete understanding on a high level. Yet these struggles enhance and stimulate one’s library of skills. The exposure to these logic constructs, these “alternate universes,” often augments and induces a wild and novel approach to my internal dialogue and craft.
I am finding that my rationale comprises only a small part of my artistic totality. I have hidden reserves and resources. My trick now is to accept these resources as truth, and these possibilities exist and must be reached.

“morphisms” from the past 4 weeks:
“Some days God just gives it to you.”
“Other days He’s no where to be found.”

The other significant discovery is that I can juggle multiple projects, and make more use of valuable creative time and resources. If I reach a dry spell, where nothing seems to work, I can shift focus to another project, an arrangement, a transcription, and return later with a freshness and new perspective. I found this so valuable this month.

Perhaps I cannot finish while I am here, but the seminal ideas and concepts would have never surfaced had I not had the supreme luxury of time and space at MacDowell. It’s the ultimate birthplace for stimulus and crystallization.

Hank Hehmsoth – Jazz Performing Artist/Composer
Posted 30th May 2011

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David Liebman and Teaching Jazz

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There is a furor about jazz education and the recent popularity of the movie “Whiplash”. Here is Dave Liebman’s thoughtful response:Liebman

I have always contended that the top priority for a teacher is to concentrate on “learning how to learn.” By that I mean that when a student receives information, (s)he has also been guided towards how to leave the classroom and reinforce, or in our case “practice” that information, with the eventual leading being total absorption and hopefully with time, personalization. My mantra in this regard is: “If you know how to learn, you are set for the rest of your life,” no matter what area of work one pursues. If a teacher does not offer that information, then the education has been incomplete. Especially when teaching an art form where information is not for the most part easily learned overnight as compared to law, history, engineering, computers, etc., this aspect of teaching the how to reinforce new material and make it useful is even more crucial.

When I started teaching in the ‘70s (thanks to Jamey Aebersold inviting me to do a workshop), the mantra concerning jazz education was that “it can’t be taught.” Our musical elders by and large did not readily share info (with exceptions……(Dizzy Gillespie for example), out of reluctance, non-verbal skills or just keeping things secret (another discussion). On the other hand they did have nightly “learning” sessions working as much as they did. But when I saw the great Freddie Hubbard do a class at a small college in my hometown in Pennsylvania I knew that jazz education had arrived.

Can an art form be taught? Can creativity be taught? Does one “have it or not?” My contention is that the tools can be taught along with as described above, the means of reinforcing the information. Furthermore and especially in teaching an art form, there is the joy of of sharing curiosity. What makes this music or any art form sound or look like it does? No matter whether it is painting, theater, dance, etc., the curiosity factor has to be there in good education.

My first comment when at fifteen years old I saw Coltrane live at Birdland was: “How can that be the same instrument that I have home under my bed in Brooklyn? How can he do THAT ON THAT INSTRUMENT? How does it all work and what can one do to get that information.” This is where the inspirational aspect of pedagogy is essential. When done correctly, we as teachers should be following something like this:





The next stage is “mentoring”…..yet another aspect of the pedagogical process.

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Full Circle – 100 Years of the Paramount

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I was interviewed for an upcoming book about the Paramount Theatre’s 100 year anniversary. My father (yes! my father!) was born in 1889, and was musical director at the Paramount a century ago, 40 years before I was born.


Carl Hehmsoth

I have been a performer, arranger, and frequent guest at the Paramount since my college days. I saw Miles Davis there!
I was interviewed by Terri Schexnayder, who will author the 100 year anniversary history of the Paramount. We chatted about the following:
My dad was musical director, orchestra conductor, and principal violinist for silent movies and vaudeville at the Paramount (then called the Majestic) during its first years in existence. He contributed to the entertainment and  culture of early Austin.
As his son, and performing artist/composer at the Paramount I have been arranger for the 2000 production of Jesus Christ Superstar, the broadway shows Nunsense 1 & 2 with Joe Ann Worley, and “Together Again”  Sid Caesar and Imogene Coca. Just last year, I was principal pianist for Philip Glass’ “Icarus At The Edge Of Time” 33 piece orchestra w film. Notably, I performed in live orchestra performances of original scores to famous silent movies, with Gilian Anderson (not X-Files!) Wings, Birth Of A Nation, Nosferatu, and Robin Hood. These historic and great early movies were shown at the same time my father was conductor, and in the same Paramount Theatre I am performing nearly 100 years later!

Paramount Theatre holds amazing memories for me, and I am honored to be part of their rich history in Austin culture. I contributed the following to the book:

Every time I come to the Paramount, to attend an event, or working as a music professional, I feel a connection with the past, with my dad a hundred years ago, with Austin in its early days, and with all the great artistic endeavors and creativity that have been presented here. There is a spiritual delight and pleasure here. I feel it every time. It’s in every seat in the house!
I see my father here, 100 years ago, rehearsing the orchestra, walking backstage and downstairs to the green room, or under the bright lights onstage during showtime. He is conducting, performing, laughing, and living here, bringing music to life, 35 years before I was even born.
I hope when I perform at the Paramount, I connect today’s audiences with different times in Austin’s culture, in the way that only music does, bringing the old to new generations of ears…. FULL CIRCLE.


Hank Hehmsoth

Hank Hehmsoth

I especially want to thank my friend, John Bernardoni, the Co-Founder that conceived the restoration and rejBernadoniuvenation of the Paramount Theatre in Austin, Texas – a Texas Landmark and listed on the National Registry of Historic Places, and who served as director from 1975 to 1985. I played at his wedding! John loves jazz, and came out often to hear me at Sullivan’s.
Read about his early struggles to save the Paramount:
Dave Brubeck and Sons – Inaugural Show – February 1975 – Paramount Theatre – Austin
I went to this show!

This is a letter to my father, thanking him for his contributions to the culture and entertainment in Austin, from Majestic Theatre (now the Paramount) Executive Director Faulkner.


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Rockefeller Bellagio Project – Composer & Organizer

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My Project at the Rockefeller Bellagio Center will spread international goodwill and creativity worldwide, emphasizing the global and cross-cultural impact of the arts, especially music. The Project will harness, enlist, and elevate global creativity as a bond across nations and cultures. As an avid proponent for global communication through the arts, my Project is twofold.bellagioview

First, as a Senior Fulbright Specialist, and speaker at international forums presenting American Studies in Music, I will seek and obtain endorsements via Fulbright alumni and colleagues. As Director of my nonprofit H Project Performing Arts Association, I will obtain funding and connections through its website. I will organize this influential group of artists to impact and solve language barriers across nations and cultures, influence critical global problems, and promote the harmony of nations through musical performance. The team members will be developed from my network of Academic Artists from all over the world who meet in Athens at the ATINER Annual International Conference on Visual and Performing Arts. This is a great opportunity to meet and share with artists on a global level at the very birthplace of freedom and democracy. As a featured performer and educator/recruiter at the JEN Jazz Educators Network International Convention,  I will acquire artistic support from international jazz educators to benefit the Project.

Second, the Project will produce concert performances internationally to share the music cultures of people across the globe. Nothing more nourishes the roots of all world cultures than art. The Project goal of joining forces in arts communication worldwide is enthusiastically endorsed by George Abufhele B., Rector, Instituto Profesional Projazz, Santiago, Chile. Affiliates include Antonio Campaña, executive director Fulbright Chile, and Larry Corwin, Public Affairs Officer, United States Embassy in Chile‘s Chargé D´Affairs. A partnership between my Texas State University School of Music and Instituto Profesional Projazz to create institutional linkages and faculty led programs and performances will share the music cultures of South and North America. As the MacDowell Colony Norton Stevens Fellow in Composition, I will actively pursue MacDowell fellows to contribute new music to the Project. Personally, I have been composing music to create a new, signature American sound, from a synthesis of contemporary art music, jazz, and world music. A global approach and unique blend of influences gives my music a brand, its own distinctive place in the international scene. I wish to focus my music on programming directly related to my Bellagio Project. My recent compositions are based on Native American and South American folk music. My orchestral piece Puerta de la Luna – “Door to the Moon” will be in the final phase of work and completion while at the Bellagio Center. Plans are for a performance in 2016 or 2017.

I want to especially thank three individuals who have made the Project possible:

Cheryl Young, Executive Director
The Macdowell Artist Colony

Dr. George Abufhele B., Rector
Instituto Profesional Projazz

Dr. Major Leonel Peña, Commander & Director
U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command Band


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ASCAP PLUS award 11-14-2014

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a pleasant surprise. I don’t even remember applying… 🙂
awarded to writer members whose catalogs have prestige value.


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