In this week’s I Am HISD, which features district students, graduates, employees, and other team members, HISD alumnus and renowned pianist, composer, and bandleader Jason Moran talks about giving back to the HISD schools he attended and receiving a McArthur “genius” grant. He attended McGregor Elementary School, Gregory Lincoln Education Center, and High School for the Performing and Visual Arts. During a recent visit to Houston to engage with students at all three schools, he took time out from his busy schedule to talk to HISD. For more background information see these links: African-American alumni give back and HISD alumni bringing Black History month to life.
You are in year two of a three-year homecoming residency sponsored by Da Camera with the three schools you attended at HISD. What inspired you to give back to students in those schools?
Many of the thought patterns that I continue to use as a mature artist were learned at those schools. Macgregor Elementary is the place where an instrument was first placed in my hands [a violin], and that prompted my parents to buy a piano for all of us boys to practice on. That piano is still in my living room In New York City, and it’s probably the one I play the most. Though they seem fleeting, these ideas that are planted early on in children’s minds are very important. Continue reading