Joyce Award Winners

John Clayton with Detroit International Jazz Fest



John Clayton has gained prominence in both the jazz and classical fields. After studying bass under the esteemed Ray Brown, Clayton performed with Count Basie and his orchestra, and as principal bass with the Amsterdam Philharmonic Orchestra. He has been commissioned by, among others, the Northwest Chamber Orchestra, American Jazz Philharmonic, Iceland Symphony, Metropole Orchestra (Holland), Tri-C Jazz Fest Cleveland, Monterey Jazz Festival, Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, and the Carnegie Hall Big Band. As a conductor, he has led the Israel Philharmonic, Munich Radio, Northwest Chamber and Iceland orchestras, and numerous professional big bands. Clayton has been nominated for seven Grammy awards, winning a Grammy in 2008 for his work on Queen Latifah’s recording Travelin’ Light, and was bestowed a platinum record for his arrangement of The Star Spangled Banner for Whitney Houston.

He co-leads both the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra and the Clayton Brothers Quintet and is a bass professor at the University of Southern California, Jazz Studies Department. Clayton also serves as artistic director for the Lionel Hampton International Jazz Festival, for which he received a National Medal of the Arts in 2008, and the Centrum Jazz Workshop in Port Townsend, Washington, and the Vail Jazz Camp.

The Joyce Award supported Clayton in writing a new full-scale concerto grosso for big band and jazz combo as well as a teaching residency in Detroit. Clayton conducted music workshops for Detroit youth through the Detroit Symphony’s Civic Jazz Orchestra and other high school and college musicians in the area, and work closely with the Detroit-based bandleader Scott Gwinnell, a young pianist, trombonist, composer, and arranger, and his 16-piece modern-jazz big band; Gwinnell’s band will premiere the commissioned piece at the Jazz Festival with the Clayton Brothers Quintet as the group soloists, on the closing night of the 2009 Detroit Jazz Fest, Labor Day Weekend.

Related Content

Grantee Spotlight

They Got NEXT — Chicago Sinfonietta Celebrates 35 Years

During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Chicago Sinfonietta, like so many organizations, was forced to reimagine itself, pivoting programming and performances to a fully virtual space.

Chicago Sinfonietta


Joyce Awards Information Session

Culture director Mia Khimm and grants manager Lynne Wiora discuss the Joyce Awards program and the application process. LOIs are due on September 12, 2022. New applicants should create accounts by September 7, 2022.


2022 Joyce Awards Announcement

Five innovative new projects by pioneering artists of color spanning the visual, performing, and multidisciplinary arts that engage diverse communities in Chicago, Detroit, Indianapolis, and Minneapolis-St. Paul will receive this year’s annual awards.


The “Full-Circle” Moment of Nick Cave and Forothermore

Recent work by Internationally acclaimed, Chicago-based artist and Joyce Awards winner Nick Cave.

Grantee Spotlight

Congo Square Play Promotes Healing, Catharsis in Chicago

Congo Square Theatre is an ensemble dedicated to producing transformative work rooted in the African Diaspora. For 20 years it has committed to telling stories by and for Black people.

Congo Square Theatre Company


Groundbreaking Lyric Opera Show Led by Two Joyce Award Winners

Profile on Joyce Award Winners Terence Blanchard & Camille A. Brown involvement in new Lyric Opera show

Grantee Spotlight

Building collective power through research

Black Researchers Collective was founded in 2019 with a mission to train and equip communities with the research tools necessary to be more civically engaged and policy informed.

Black Researchers Collective

Grantee Spotlight

The nation’s first Black arts museum

South Side Community Art Center is the nation’s first Black arts museum that develops and showcases some of the nation’s most influential Black artists.

South Side Community Art Center