Association honors Tri-C JazzFest Director
Terri Pontremoli recognized for her musical impact in Northeast
CLEVELAND, April 9, 2020: Terri Pontremoli stands among
the nation’s “Jazz Heroes” for her tireless devotion to the
musical genre and impactful work with Tri-C JazzFest at Cuyahoga
Community College (Tri-C®).
The Jazz Journalists Association selected Pontremoli as one of
27 honorees for its 2020 Jazz Heroes class. The organization
defines those recognized as “activists, advocates, altruists,
aiders and abettors of jazz.” Each was nominated from within
led Tri-C JazzFest as it transitioned from a spring series of
performances into a year-round celebration culminating with the
end-of-June festival now regarded as a destination event. More
than 25,000 music lovers attended last year’s 40th
In a profile posted to the Jazz Journalists Association website,
Pontremoli was described as a stabilizing force on the local
Her reputation, though, extends beyond Northeast Ohio.
"Terri Pontremoli has long been one of the country's leading
jazz festival producers — a woman of impeccable personal
integrity, who understands that high artistic standards,
creative programming, robust education programs and community
partnerships all play key roles in creating sustainable
festivals," said Mark Stryker, an award-winning arts
reporter from Detroit.
Pontremoli first worked with Tri-C JazzFest from 1990 to 2004.
She then served as executive and artistic director of Detroit
Jazz Fest before returning to Cleveland and Tri-C’s Creative
Arts Center of Excellence in 2012.
Tri-C JazzFest is rooted in a mission to educate and nurture the
future of jazz. Events throughout the year connect students of
all ages with performers who bring the art form to life. Many of
the programs are free to expand community access to the
Pontremoli has raised more than $6 million for jazz in Northeast
Ohio over the years, winning prestigious national grants for
programming and events.
With formal training and an early career as a classical
violinist, Pontremoli grew up with an abiding love for the Great
American Songbook and the music of Miles Davis, John Coltrane
and Duke Ellington.
She quickly found herself seduced by the spontaneity and freedom
of jazz. She has dedicated her career to a fierce advocacy for
the musical genre to ensure its place in America’s cultural
A public presentation of Pontremoli’s Jazz Hero award will take
place at a later date given current restrictions on group
gatherings due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
The Jazz Journalists Association in a nonprofit professional
organization of writers, photographers, videographers,
broadcasters and new media activists who cover jazz. This year’s
Jazz Hero honorees come from 23 cities.