JazzFest History

Thom Horning

Awarded: 2017
Born: Cleveland, Ohio

"I always believed that the
Tri-C JazzFest can change people's lives."

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When Thom Horning came to Cuyahoga Community College as an instructor in 1975, there were no jazz courses in the curriculum.

Convinced of the importance of jazz in American culture, Thom believed that Tri-C was an institution that could have a significant impact in raising the level of awareness and appreciation for jazz in Northeast Ohio. The College administration supported his idea of creating jazz courses, and in 1979 they began to discuss the possibility of a jazz festival.

Under Thom's direction, the first Tri-C JazzFest took place May 16, 1980. It soon became known as America's Premier Educational Jazz Festival.