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Executive Director's letter - 1/9/24

This weekend, Baltimore lost a music giant. Our dear friend Carl Grubbs died leaving behind an amazing legacy and countless contributions to the music and broader communities of our region. A jazz saxophonist with a distinguished career as a performer, composer, music educator and recording artist, Carl toured with his ensemble in major cities worldwide. Early in his career, he received extensive training from one of the music world’s greatest legends in jazz, John Coltrane.

Carl has received numerous awards in recognition of his work. He has twice been the recipient of the MSAC Traditions award as a jazz master, working with apprentices to pass on the traditions of improvised jazz music. His organization, Contemporary Arts Inc., run by his indomitable wife, Barbara, received a 2009 MSAC Traditions Project grant that culminated in his collaboration with Lafayette Gilchrist in a CD of the music of Marylanders who made significant contributions to the art form of jazz. In 2009, Mr. Grubbs received a Baker Artist Award from the Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance and William G. Baker, Jr. Memorial Fund. In 2014, he was awarded a Rubys Project Grant. This Grant enabled him to revise and expand his original work, The Inner Harbor Suite Revisited: A Tribute to Baltimore for Jazz/String Ensemble.

The work of Contemporary Arts continues. Since 1997, they have provided music and dance training and jazz appreciation for youth ages 4 – 17 with the opportunities for youth campers to interact with and learn from professional artists. Activities include Field trips that enhance the summer learning experience of camp participants.

Our hearts go out to Barbara and the entire Contemporary Arts family. Details about the celebration of Carl’s life to follow.

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