News and Events
Jazz Great Dave Brubeck Returned to Pepperdine for Tenth Performance
Pepperdine University Center for the Arts presented the Dave Brubeck Quartet on Sept. 25 in Smothers Theatre on the Malibu campus. The sold out show marked Brubeck's tenth performance at the University.
Brubeck—the legendary jazz pianist perhaps best remembered for his classic Take Five—is joined by bassist Michael Moore, saxophonist/flutist Bobby Militello, and drummer Randy Jones.
Despite being over 80 years of age, Brubeck’s sheer love of performing helps him maintain a concert schedule that would daunt an artist half his age, and his daring improvisations still incite admiration from critics and audiences everywhere.
In 1999 the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) presented its Jazz Masters Award to Brubeck for his ongoing contribution to jazz, and he received the National Medal of the Arts from the NEA at a White House ceremony in 1994. His musical contributions over the past half-century as both pianist and composer have been honored by a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.
The youngest of three musical brothers, Brubeck was born in Concord, CA, on December 6, 1920. Brubeck entered the College of the Pacific at Stockton, CA, as a pre-med student with the idea of becoming a veterinarian on his father's ranch. Working his way through school as a jazz pianist in local clubs, he decided to forsake the cattle business and changed his college major to music. In 1942 he entered the Army and served under Patton in the European Theater.
Upon his discharge in 1946, Brubeck studied composition with French classical composer Darius Milhaud, who was teaching at Mills College in Oakland, CA. The composer encouraged him to pursue a career in both jazz and composition. Brubeck and other Milhaud students began to compose and perform in an octet, which recorded and received critical attention as an innovative force in jazz. Among the musicians in that early octet were percussionist Cal Tjader and alto saxophonist Paul Desmond, who later became members of the Dave Brubeck Trio and Quartet, and clarinetist Bill Smith.
World tours, including several for the U.S. State Department, have made Brubeck one of America’s foremost goodwill ambassadors. He entertained world leaders at the Reagan-Gorbachev Summit in Moscow in 1988, and has performed before eight U.S. presidents, as well as princes, kings, heads of state, and Pope John Paul II.
Over his lengthy career, Brubeck has received many honors, including a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame; the establishment of The Brubeck Institute at the University of the Pacific; induction into the Down Beat Hall of Fame, Jazz Institute Hall of Fame at Rutgers University, and International Jazz Hall of Fame; numerous awards from trade magazines; the American Eagle Award from the National Music Council; the Gerard Manley Hopkins Award from Fairfield University; the Connecticut Arts Award; the Helwig Distinguished Artist Award; honorary doctorates from six American universities and one from the University of Duisburg in Germany; and a citation by the French government for his contribution to the arts.
For more information, please visit the Center for the Arts Web site.