Association of American Voices
American Voices is one of America's great cultural engagement and diplomacy institutions. The vast majority of our work is seen outside of the United States in nations emerging from conflict or isolation, including Iraq, Afghanistan, Sudan and Lebanon. We have been presenting summer youth performing arts academies, workshops and concerts in over 110 countries around the world for over 16 years. The organization was founded by Executive Director John Ferguson and incorporated as a not-for-profit in The Netherlands in 1993. The original mission of American Voices was to provide quality American cultural programming to the newly open societies of Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. Since then, American Voice’s geographic range has grown to encompass 18 time zones from Peru to the Philippines. Our artists have performed concerts, workshops and master classes as well as interactive performance projects to over 200,000 audience members in 110 countries on five continents and have reached tens of millions more through live television and radio broadcasts across the globe.
With an emphasis on reaching countries in the former Soviet Union, the Middle East, Central Asia and Africa, the organization has been responsible for many firsts in presenting American music globally. Some of these include bringing the first ever Broadway programs to Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Vietnam, Moldova and Kosovo, the first international jazz festivals ever to Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan, the first performances by American Hip Hop artists to Vietnam, the first youth jazz education projects to Iraq, Lebanon and Taiwan, and the first American performers ever to cities such as Erbil and Suleimaniya, Iraq, Aktau, Karaganda and Semey in Kazakhstan, Jalalabad, Kyrgyzstan and Dushanbe, Tajikistan.
The artists of American Voices have performed with major symphony orchestras in countries around the world including Russia (Nizhny Novgorod and Yekaterinburg), Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Lebanon, Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Albania, Hungary, Latvia, Ukraine, Germany, Malta, El Salvador, Bolivia and Argentina. They have also performed at major world venues such as the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Theatre de la Ville in Paris, National Museum in Tokyo, National Concert Hall in Taipei, The Kapelle in St. Petersburg, and Kunst und Ausstellungshalle in Bonn. They have provided artistic advice and concert programs to festivals in Europe, Asia and the Middle East. They have taught master classes and presented special projects and seminars at prestigious conservatories and universities around the world including the Moscow Conservatory, the Hochschule fuer Music in Leipzig, and the Music Academy of Kiev.
In addition to performances and educational programs, American Voices is also proud to have made over 100 donations of American music scores to conservatories, municipal and national libraries around the world. These music score donations have been supported since 2008 by Alfred Publishers. In addition, American Voices has facilitated donations of musical instruments in Iraq and Lebanon worth over $50,000.
American Voices has issued four CDs: , and Jazz Mugham Bridges Azerbaijan (2006), American Voices Around the World (2004), Jazz Bridges Burma (2003), and Caspian Jazz and Blues Festival Highlights (2002). American Voices' first DVD, Jazz Bridges Afghanistan, was issued in November of 2006.
Film projects include 'Camp Unity' by Ryan White, a full length documentary on the 2008 YES Academy program in Iraq, scheduled for release in late 2009.
American Voices artists have recorded with major labels such as Deutsche Grammophone (Kurt Ollmann with Leonard Bernstein), Harmonia Mundi (Teresa Seidl with Sir Yehudi Menuhin) and EPM (John Ferguson). American Voices has presented headline artists such as Toots Thielemans, Maynard Ferguson and Jack de Johnette at festivals in Azerbaijan and Taiwan.
Based in Houston, Texas since September 2004, American Voices' projects are funded by a diversity of sources ranging from corporate sponsorship in the countries where they are active to international and American foundations. American Voices is also supported by American Embassies and Consulates worldwide.