Monterey Jazz Festival Announces Members of the 2023 Next Generation Jazz Orchestra and Women in Jazz Combo

NGJO Performs with MJF66 Artist-in-Residence Lakecia Benjamin

at 66th Annual Monterey Jazz Festival, September 24, 2023

MONTEREY, Calif. – June 6, 2023; Monterey Jazz Festival is proud to announce the 2023 members of its Next Generation Jazz Orchestra (NGJO) and Next Generation Women in Jazz Combo, the Festival’s internationally-renowned high school all-star big band and all-women small group, featuring some of the most talented high school jazz musicians in the country.

Founded in 1971, the NGJO is showcasing its 53rd incarnation at MJF66, with a performance on the Main Stage with Artist-in-Residence Lakecia Benjamin on Sunday, September 24. Directed by Grammy-nominated pianist and composer Gerald Clayton, the orchestra is adjudicated by professional jazz artists and educators, with Mr. Clayton selecting a repertoire of challenging contemporary and historic arrangements for the band to perform. Seven members of the 2023 NGJO are returning for their second time in the orchestra, and one member, tenor saxophonist Nick Caldwell of San Diego, California, is returning for his fourth year.

Musicians in the 2023 NGJO and Women Jazz Combo include students from California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Texas, and Washington State. Both groups will also perform at the festival’s Jazz Legends Gala at Tehama Golf Club in Carmel on September 21, honoring MJF’s Artistic Director Tim Jackson, who is programming his final festival this year. While at MJF66, both groups will also participate in educational workshops and masterclasses.

“The 2023 editions of the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra and Women in Jazz Combo promise to be on par with the most talented groups we have presented at the Monterey Jazz Festival over decades and made all the better for the extraordinary mentorship with band directors Gerald Clayton and Katie Thiroux and Artist-in-Residence Lakecia Benjamin,” said MJF Executive Director Colleen Bailey.

Founded in 2019 to feature top high school women jazz players from throughout the United States, the 2023 Women in Jazz Combo is directed by bassist Katie Thiroux and features student musicians from California, Nebraska, New York, and Texas.

For more information on the 66th Monterey Jazz Festival, including artist lineup, schedules, and ticket packages, visit

2023 Next Generation Jazz Orchestra
Gerald Clayton, Director

Cosmo Lieberman,** alto saxophone 1 / Manhattan Beach, CA
Miriam Gorof-Behel, alto saxophone 2 / Winnetka, IL
Nick Caldwell,**** tenor saxophone 1 / San Diego, CA
Chloe Madrak, tenor saxophone 2 / West Hartford, CT
Austin Falvey, baritone saxophone / Raleigh, NC

Nelson Keakopa, lead / Jacksonville, FL
Alex Hong,** lead / Walnut Creek, CA
Giovanni Martinez,** trumpet 2 / Jacksonville, FL
Lucas Rivero, trumpet 3 / Miami, FL
Joe Friedman, trumpet 4 / Seattle, WA

Luciano Soriano,** trombone 1 / Thousand Oaks, CA
Miles Cole,** trombone 2 / Webster Groves, MO
Luke Ramee,** trombone 3 / Raleigh, NC
Priyanka Magavi, trombone 4 / West Hartford, CT
Zach Andrews,** bass / Webster Groves, MO

Benjamin Collins-Siegel, piano / Livingston, NJ
Jacqueline Lee, violin / Montclair, NJ
Mason Bryant, guitar / Hilliard, OH
Ethan Fairclough, bass / Carlsbad, CA
Benjamin Schwartz, drums / Livingston, NJ
Ava Preston, vocal / Solon, OH

** Two-time NGJO member
**** Four-time NGJO member

2023 Next Generation Women in Jazz Combo
Katie Thiroux, Director

Paloma Cobbs Silva, clarinet / Sacramento, CA
Grace Rock, trombone / Omaha, NB
Lucy Khadder, violin / Oakland, CA
Salome Ospina, piano / Sacramento, CA
Amelia Desalos, bass / Houston, TX
Dempsey Miller, drums / New York, NY


For more information, high-resolution pictures and interview opportunities please contact:
Lauren Tobin, Director of Media and Strategic Relations, Monterey Jazz Festival
Direct Line: 831.233.3711
[email protected]