Fendi Spotlights Juilliard Jazz in Global Project

Thursday, Jan 14, 2021
Joshua Simka
Juilliard Journal
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Six musicians, dressed in Fendi clothing, playing as part of a jazz combo with two film crew members in the photo to communicate a behind-the-scenes perspective
Some of the filming for the Juilliard episode of the Fendi video took place at Jazz at Lincoln Center

A first-time collaboration between Juilliard and Fendi, the luxury Italian fashion house, has produced the latest installment of the streaming music video series Fendi Renaissance—Anima Mundi. The nine-minute video, which was made live on January 12 on Juilliard’s social media accounts and at juilliard.edu, features six Juilliard Jazz musicians decked out in Fendi attire performing master’s jazz guitarist and composer Aaron Matson’s Rollerblading in Harlem, which was commissioned by Fendi for this project. The sextet features saxophonist Colin Waters, trumpeter Summer Camargo, drummer TJ Reddick, bassist Jayla Chee, pianist Tyler Henderson, and trombonist Jasim Perales.

Wynton Marsalis (’81, trumpet), director of Juilliard Jazz, called the combination of Juilliard, New York, and jazz a fitting addition to Fendi’s series. “Jazz symbolizes individual freedom, collective creativity, and personal resilience. New York is the quintessential modern metropolis, a cauldron of cutting-edge connectivity. And Juilliard brings youthful virtue, vigor, and virtuosity to the timeless challenges of humanity,” said Marsalis, who is also managing and artistic director of Jazz at Lincoln Center.

Fendi’s Anima Mundi project was conceived last year to promote hope and elevate artists during the darkest days of the pandemic. The first installment of the series was filmed at Fendi’s headquarters in Rome, originating a global theme; the series has also featured performances in Shanghai, Tokyo, and Seoul. For the fifth episode, Fendi chose New York—and New Yorkers fabled for their toughness and dynamism—to underline the series’ overarching themes of resilience, renewal, and renaissance. The timing of the video and iconic location mark the “beginning of a New Year that also brings with it cause for hope for our global community,” Fendi's artistic director for accessories and menswear Silvia Venturini Fendi said.

Fendi x Juilliard: Behind the Scenes - Modal Window

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Juilliard and Fendi worked with the director Nick Morgan Lieberman and the creative studio Scheme Engine to come up with the video’s concept. While a member of Fendi’s team helped with styling, the students and their creative sensibilities guided the process, after which the students were sent pieces to try on before choosing what they wore for filming.

Composer Aaron Matson pointed to the intersection between jazz and fashion in a comment for Teen Vogue: “Jazz is an art form that highlights individuality and celebrates having a personalized style. The way you phrase a melody or the colors you choose for a jacket, the way the drummer swings on the ride cymbal or the stitching in your favorite pair of pants are all ways to express style. Jazz musicians have a history of being sharp dressers, perhaps most notably, Miles Davis [’45, trumpet]. I think the connection between jazz and fashion makes a lot of sense, being that we’re constantly trying to express our personalities sonically, of course we’re interested in expressing ourselves in the way we dress too,” he said.

Filming took place over two days in early December at Juilliard, outdoors around the Lincoln Center campus, and in the Appel Room at Jazz at Lincoln Center. Throughout the entire process, the safety of all involved in production—and especially the students—was of utmost concern. The production team developed a plan around the personal protective equipment and safety protocols for each filming location, depending on whether the spot was indoors or outdoors and whether the musicians were playing or not. Each individual was masked, and the saxophone, trumpet, and trombone were fit with bell covers. Everyone received a COVID test before participating.

In the spirit of support for creativity at every level, Fendi is making a generous donation to the Juilliard College Scholarship Fund that will benefit students in all divisions. “Beyond our admiration for the dedication of the students to have reached the level of achievement having been accepted to the esteemed Juilliard School in their respective disciplines, our shared obsession with craft and the importance that arts play in giving back to society is the reason we at Fendi chose to make this donation,” said Serge Brunschwig, the company’s chairman and CEO.

“We are grateful to Fendi for commissioning a new work and for supporting our student performing ensemble in a project that so optimistically addresses this very moment. We are proud to participate,” Marsalis said.

Joshua Simka (BM ’14, voice) is the assistant editor of the Journal

>Click here to watch “Fendi x Juilliard,” the latest episode of Fendi Renaissance—Anima Mundi featuring Juilliard Jazz

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