Juneau Jazz & Classics’ new artistic director won’t take over until next year, but he’s already been named.
Grammy Award-winning cellist Zuill Bailey will succeed current artistic director William Ransom in July 2o2o after Juneau Jazz & Classics’ annual May festival, according to JJ&C, which announced the decision at Bailey’s Juneau performance Saturday.
“I love this stuff, I love running through life without the blinders on,” Bailey told the Capital City Weekly in a phone interview. “Can you tell I’m excited?”
The excitement was shared by JJ&C leaders.
“Juneau Jazz & Classics is looking for new ways to bring music into the community and inspire the next generation of musicians. Zuill embodies all that music is about, and he shares his talents generously,” Executive Director Sandy Fortier said in a release.
Bailey said a big part of his personal excitement is the connection Juneau Jazz & Classics has to Paul and Linda Rosenthal. Violinist Linda Rosenthal is the founder of JJ&C and violinist Paul Rosenthal is the founder of Sitka Summer Music Festival. Bailey serves as artistic director of the SSMF.
“I am so am overwhelmed and humbled by this because of the Rosenthals,” Bailey said. “The reason why I’m in Alaska is because of the Rosenthals. The reason why the arts are as rich as they are in Alaska and have flourished to such a level is because of the Rosenthals.”
Bailey said he anticipates he will remain a touring musician and artistic director of the Sitka festival when he assumes his new role. He said he expects JJ&C and SSMF will complement each other.
“There’s not really going to be that much change if any change,” Bailey said. “The only difference is we get to work even closer together as two wonderful organizations under the same roof as the Rosenthal legacy to expand in ways and to continue to make even broader impact on the state. I think the sky’s the limit.”
Bailey said since there is still about a year to go until he takes over as artistic director, he will work closely with Ransom to form goals and a more concrete vision for what Bailey hopes to accomplish as artistic director.
“I have basically 12 months to ask all the questions I can dream up and watch what they do and continue to do to make this organization grow successfully,” Bailey said.