Late in 1995, musician and educator Larry Luttinger proposed a not-for-profit regional jazz orchestra to serve the Central New York community. His background includes Syracuse Symphony, Syracuse University, Onondaga Community College, Hamilton College, Metropolitan School for the Arts, Summerfame High School for the Performing Arts. CNY JAZZ Page
The Central New York Jazz Orchestra (CNYJO), a seventeen-piece big band and the performance arm of the CNYJAF, was created in 1996 in cooperative with the Cultural Resources Council of CNY. Initial funding from the CNY Community Foundation launched the inaugural season to critical acclaim.The most exciting and recent development for the CNYJAF is the purchase and renovation of a downtown property named Jazz Central, that is now the organization’s home.
Since the beginning, CNYJAF continued to grow rapidly, and is now the primary source of jazz programming for the Central New York region. It now serves a total public audience of 80,000 each year, trains over 4,000 students annually and presents students in performance to an annual audience of over 40,000.
Located in downtown Syracuse, Jazz Central is, according to Richard J. Schwartz, Chairman of the New York State Council on the Arts, “only the second of its kind in the United States.” It has quickly become a busy venue for all types of activities.