Maui Arts & Entertainment

Award-winning performer to conduct jazz workshops for high school students on Maui

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Jazz entertainer Katie Thiroux will be performing
Award-winning jazz performer Katie Thiroux will be conducting jazz workshops for high school students on Maui and entertaining at a Maui Music Series event on April 30 that includes Grammy-award winning saxophonist Rock Hendricks.

Award-winning performer Katie Thiroux said she was 15 when she went to a workshop taught by professional jazz musicians — an experience that helped to inspire her to pursue music as a career.

Thiroux, who sings and plays the bass and composes songs, is hoping to create a similar experience for high school students on Maui by her and other professionals offering free jazz workshops.

“It’s such a fun feeling,” said Thiroux. “It builds confidence.”

As part of the celebration of International Jazz Month on the Valley Isle, the nonprofit Jazz Maui is hosting the Maui Music Series, including free jazz workshops for students and jazz performances.

The Maui Music Series is supported by the Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority’s community enrichment program and the Maui Visitors and Convention Bureau.

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The performances are ticketed events but the student workshops are free and have grown from about 50 to hundreds of participants, organizers said.

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“We’re happy that student participation is continuing to grow,” said Bryant Neal, a Jazz Maui official.

Neal, who has organized jazz education workshops for the past 20 years on Maui, said after several days of student workshops, Thiroux’s trio will be performing at a Maui Music Series event on April 30.

In addition at the same venue, Grammy Award-winning saxophonist Rock Hendricks will be performing with keyboardist George Tavey and guitarist/vocalist Mitch Kepa.

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Thiroux, 32, whose latest album “Off Beat” received “Best Album of the Year“ by Downbeat magazine, will be performing with pianist Justin Kauflin and drummer Matt Witek.

Record producer Quincy Jones once said of Thiroux, “This girl is it.”

Besides the United States, she’s performed at jazz festivals internationally, including Mexico, Germany, Finland, Switzerland and Singapore. 

She lives in Los Angeles but has a grandmother who resides on Maui.

Thiroux’s musical style is reminiscent of the legendary bassist Ray Brown with his deep rhythmic grooves.

Thiroux recalled attending a workshop conducted by Grammy-award winning bassist John Clayton who studied under Brown.

“John is definitely amazing,” she said. “The workshop just stuck with me for years.”

Thiroux’s steady rise in the music scene has been amazing, receiving the “Shelly Manne New Talent” award from the Los Angeles Jazz Society and the Phil Ramone Presidential Scholarship to the Berkley College of Music.

Her first album was named among the “Top 5 Debut Records of the Year” by NPR polls.

For more information about tickets, go to jazzmaui.org or call Bryant Neal, 808-283-3576.


For a weekly listing of Maui music and other events, go to Maui Entertainment, Arts, Community, April 14-20 and click here.

Gary Kubota
Gary Kubota, an associate writer with MauiNow.com, has worked as a staff news writer with the Honolulu Star-Advertiser and The Maui News. He lives on Maui. He’s also been an editor/business manager with the Lahaina News. He’s received national and regional journalism awards — a National Press Club Citation of Merit and Walter Cronkite Best In The West, among them.
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