International Jazz Day 2020 online performances by artists from around the world and multilingual interactive educational sessions

Paris: Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s annual International Jazz Day global celebration and the event’s flagship Global Concert, initially scheduled to take place in Cape Town, South Africa, will take place on line. This will also be the case with the many other events planned around the world for 30 April.

Herbie Hancock, UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for Intercultural Dialogue, will host the Global Concert, which will feature artists from across the globe on 30 April starting at 19:00 UTC. It will be streamed live on

Artists scheduled to perform at the concert include John McLaughlin, Jane Monheit, Alune Wade, John Beasley, Ben Williams, Lizz Wright, John Scofield, Igor Butman, Evgeny Pobozhiy, Youn Sun Nah, A Bu, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Dianne Reeves and Joey DeFrancesco, among others.

“Music gives joy, it responds to situations that affect the entire world,” said UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay. “Jazz is the music of freedom, human rights and liberation. As we face the Covid-19 pandemic on this ninth International Jazz Day, we turn to jazz more than ever before to get closer to one another.”

Also on 30 April and leading up to the Global Concert, there will be a free series of educational masterclasses, children’s activities and discussions via web conference featuring renowned educators and jazz artists, streamed live via

Schedule of Free Masterclasses, Children’s Activities and Panel Discussions:

Language Format Artist UTC
Chinese Masterclass A Bu 10:00
Spanish Masterclass Danilo Pérez 15:00
Russian Masterclass Igor Butman 15:30
French Children’s activity Dee Dee Bridgewater 16:00
English Children’s activity Oran Etkin 16:30
Arabic Masterclass Tarek Yamani 13:00
English Panel Nate Chinen, Sibongile Khumalo,
Marcus Miller
English Masterclass Lwanda Gogwana 18:00

The programme will include a panel discussion hosted by Nate Chinen, Director of Editorial Content for New York-based jazz radio station WBGO and chief jazz contributor to National Public Radio Music (USA). The panel will focus on how International Jazz Day, and art in general, can respond to the social isolation precipitated by the current public health crisis. The panel will feature several artists, including UNESCO Artist for Peace, GRAMMY Award-winning bassist and composer Marcus Miller and legendary South African vocalist Sibongile Khumalo. A live virtual audience will be able to submit questions throughout the session.

International Jazz Day would not be possible without the thousands of independent organizers around the world who faithfully work to share the message of this unique music with their communities on 30 April every year.

UNESCO and the Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz are inviting organizers, artists and fans around the world to create video messages, audio recordings and other expressions of support to show solidarity with everyone affected by the pandemic. Submissions will be featured as part of the daylong virtual celebrations (see for submission criteria).

Jazz musicians around the world are sharing their music online to help ease the challenges of confinement and celebrate Jazz Day, yet many of these same artists are negatively impacted by the closures of performance spaces and concert cancellations due to the pandemic, leaving them unable to work. UNESCO is working to support them and give them a voice through the UNESCO ResiliArt movement.

UNESCO Creative Cities are also undertaking special initiatives to celebrate International Jazz Day and more information will be made available here:

Established by the General Conference of UNESCO in 2011 and recognized by the United Nations General Assembly, International Jazz Day brings together countries and communities worldwide every 30 April to celebrate jazz and highlight its role in encouraging dialogue, combating discrimination and promoting human dignity. International Jazz Day has become a global movement, reaching billions of people annually.