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The DOWNEY HIGH SCHOOL JAZZ ENSEMBLE has been competing in California and Nevada for the last seven years, winning many awards. Most recently, they won the Western States Jazz Festival in the advanced division earlier this year. They have worked with many clinicians, such as Maria Schneider, Bart Samolis, Peter Erskine, Billy Childs, Bruce Babad, and Matt Johnson. The Jazz Ensemble is directed by Corneliu “Cory” Olariu, and had the privilege to perform at the opening night of the Hollywood Bowl 2006 summer season.
Born in Romania, Corneliu “Cory” Olariu studied piano and trumpet at the Ion Vidu School of Music. He came to the U.S. in 1989, and graduated from CSU Long Beach in August 2001 with an MM in Instrumental Conducting. In the fall of 2001 Olariu began his tenure at Downey High School, teaching all bands and choirs. He has brought the program to higher standards, winning many awards and honors. He has performed at Carnegie Hall with the Jazz Choir (April 2003 and 2007) and at the Hollywood Bowl’s opening night in June 2006 with the Jazz Ensemble. He has received Fidelity Investments’ “Inspire The Future” award and was honored by Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabe in 2006.