Who We Are

The National Jazz Museum in Harlem, a Smithsonian Affiliate, is a thriving center for jazz that stimulates hearts and minds, and reaches out to diverse audiences to enjoy this quintessential American music. The Museum was founded in 1997 by Leonard Garment, Counsel to two U.S. Presidents, and an accomplished jazz saxophonist, Abraham D. Sofaer, a former U.S. District Judge who gave the initial gift in honor of his brother-in-law Richard J. Scheuer, Jr., and matching funds from the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone.

Our mission is to preserve, promote and present jazz by inspiring knowledge, appreciation and the celebration of jazz locally, nationally and internationally.

The Museum is committed to keeping jazz present and exciting in the lives of a broad range of audiences: young and old, novice and scholar, artist and patron, enthusiast and curious listener. Each year, the Museum produces and presents more than 80 free programs in New York City, engaging hundreds of professional jazz artists and reaching nearly 20,000 people from around the world. The Museum is a hub for live performances, exhibitions and educational programs. It is also home to our widely acclaimed Savory Collection, which includes more than 100 hours of live recordings of jazz legends made from New York City radio broadcasts aired between 1935 and 1941.

In 2013, an exciting new era began for the Museum. We created and implemented a new strategic plan that made education central to our mission. The Museum now offers year-round educational programs for students of all ages. We also developed a new membership program with exclusive content and benefits to reach out to the worldwide jazz community.

In 2015, after 15 years at our East Harlem location, we moved to 58 West 129th Street in Central Harlem. Our new space is designed to give our visitors an immersive jazz experience, in the heart of what has become Harlem’s new cultural and entertainment district.

Our ultimate, long-term goal is to secure a permanent home in Harlem with space large enough to showcase Harlem’s vast contributions to jazz, American music and world history.

Leadership

Jonathan Batiste,  Co-Artistic Director

Jonathan Batiste is a dynamic pianist, composer and bandleader who has been active in the Museum’s programming and growth since 2009. With his wide spectrum of musical interests and involvement, Batiste is expanding the Museum’s horizons and its relevance to contemporary audiences. A Juilliard graduate, he is a member of the legendary Batiste family of musicians from New Orleans. Batiste is also the bandleader for “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” on CBS.

Christian McBride, Co-Artistic Director

World-renowned bassist and bandleader Christian McBride is a multiple GRAMMY Award-winning artist. Heralded as a teen prodigy at 17, he has collaborated with jazz greats including Ray Brown, Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, Roy Haynes, Milt Jackson, J.J. Johnson, Sonny Rollins, McCoy Tyner and Bobby Watson. McBride is an international ambassador for the Museum and helps guide our program development. He hosts the award-winning NPR radio program “Jazz Night in America.”

Loren Schoenberg, Founding Director and Senior Scholar
Loren Schoenberg is a renowned jazz saxophonist, conductor, author and scholar. He has recorded six albums, won two GRAMMY Awards for his liner notes on Louis Armstrong and Woody Herman, published The NPR Curious Listener’s Guide to Jazz, and written numerous articles for The New York Times and other major publications. A master music educator, Schoenberg has played a pivotal role in the development of The National Jazz Museum in Harlem and its programs.

Board of Directors

Timothy L. Porter, Chairman

Mr. Porter was formerly senior counsel and later chief client relationship counsel at Proskauer Rose, a global law firm. Before joining Proskauer, Mr. Porter worked at AT&T, where he was vice president – Law and chief counsel for Labor, Employment and Environmental Matters. He served as a director of the AT&T Investment Management Company, the company’s pension and retirement benefits asset investment arm, and is currently a director of the Life Insurance Company of Boston and New York, a subsidiary of Boston Mutual Life Insurance Company. Mr. Porter is a trustee of Newark Public Radio (WBGO) and the National Jazz Museum in Harlem. He is a former board director of the YMCA of Greater New York and a former trustee of Holy Cross College, his alma mater.

Jonathan Scheuer, Vice Chairman

Daryl Libow, Secretary

Daryl Libow is managing partner of the Sullivan & Cromwell’s Washington office and co-head of the Firm’s Antitrust Practice.  Mr. Libow recently spearheaded BP’s efforts in reaching the historic $18.7 billion settlement with federal, state and local governments resolving the Clean Water Act penalty, natural resource damage and economic damage claims relating to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.  In connection with agency enforcement actions, grand jury proceedings, and congressional investigations and hearings, Mr. Libow has represented an extensive roster of clients, including Goldman Sachs, Microsoft, Barclays, Royal Bank of Canada, National Australia Bank, Riggs Bank and, most recently, British Airways, Technicolor and Bank of Tokyo—Mitsubishi in U.S. Department of Justice investigations. Mr. Libow is also a board member of The Ellington Fund and Human Rights First.

Mark A. Willis, Treasurer

Mark Willis is the Senior Policy Fellow at the NYU Furman Center.  Before joining the NYU Furman Center, Mark was a Visiting Scholar at the Ford Foundation. He spent 19 years at JPMorgan Chase overseeing its community development program, serving as Executive Vice President and Founding President of the Chase Community Development Corporation. Mark has also held positions with the City of New York in economic development, tax policy, and housing, where he was the Deputy Commissioner for Development at the Department of Housing Preservation and Development. He also worked as an urban economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Mark has a B.A. in economics from Yale University, a J.D. from Harvard Law School, and a Ph.D. in urban economics and industrial organization from Yale University.

  • Ken Burns
  • Neal Dittersdorf
  • Gregory Floyd
  • Alan S. Kaplinsky
  • Wynton Marsalis
  • Kenneth McIntyre
  • Robert Nelson, Jr.
  • Dr. Lisa Stainano-Coico
  • Abraham D. Sofaer
  • Richard S. Taffet
  • Samuel Turvey
  • Lloyd Williams
  • Leonard Garment (In Memoriam)
  • Dr. Billy Taylor (In Memoriam)

Staff

Jasna Radonjic, Managing Director
(212) 348-8300 Ext. 106
jradonjic(at)jmih.org

Ryan Maloney, Director of Education and Programming
(212) 348-8300 Ext. 100
rmaloney(at)jmih.org

Camille Thornhill, Membership Coordinator
(212) 348-8300 Ext. 103
cthornhill(at)jmih.org

Bree Evans, Research and Operations Associate
(212) 348-8300 Ext. 102
bevans(at)jmih.org

Jeanelle Augustin, Programming and Visitor Services Assistant
(212) 348-8300
jaugustin(at)jmih.org