The Ellington Fellowship at 50
In 2022, we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Ellington Fellowship, which has brought world-class jazz musicians to Yale and New Haven since 1972. The Ellington Fellowship is a brainchild of Willie Ruff, the legendary horn player, bass player, teacher, author, and impresario. A Yale alumnus (B.M. ’53, M.M. ’54), Ruff joined the faculty of the Yale School of Music in 1971. He saw that the university needed to recognize the importance of the African-American jazz tradition, and he had the imagination, connections, charisma, and fund-raising prowess to make it happen on a grand scale.