Chicago Paris Singers' Exchange

The first JAZZ TOUR & SINGERS' WORKSHOP was held in PARIS from June 3 to June 10, 2014, hosted by Keri Chryst, director of Jazz Vocal Academy International in Paris at the Cité Internationale des Arts.

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Three master teachers, Maja Savić of Croatia, Keri Chryst, and Claudia Hommel, led a week-long exploration of vocal technique, jazz literacy in song, interpretation of lyrics, and performance skills with singers from Chicago and Paris and Normandy. Learn about our three International Teachers here.

Chicago-Paris Exchange of Singers: a historical first

What do Chicago and Paris have in common? Great art, tall buildings, lots of ex-pats, tourists, traffic jams AND a deep pool of talent among their cabaret, theatre and jazz singers.

While there is a long history of individual collaborations, ours appears to be the first collective exchange between singers. It took two Americans (one living as an ex-pat in Paris and one Paris-born living in Chicago) to make the connection. Claudia Hommel was escorting a group of her Chicago fans to France in May 2013, when she heard Keri Chryst singing at the Hotel du Louvre Jazz Lounge. Introductions and comparisons were made, and plans for an exchange evolved quickly.

The Sister City project calls for an annual exchange of performances and master classes for singers of all nationalities, anchored by these two great hubs of music.

With a Master's in Jazz Pedagogy from Northwestern University, Keri Chryst made her way to Paris thirteen years ago. Early on, she pioneered the Jazz Vocal Program at the American School of Modern Music in Paris, developed a complete ear training curriculum from scratch, and authored a series of auxiliary workshops and courses for the Jazz Vocal Academy International she founded and directs.

From an early childhood living abroad to her recent experience leading blues and jazz programs in several African countries, Keri is fearless when it comes to international exchanges.

Meanwhile, Paris-born Claudia Hommel's move from New York City in 1990 brought to Chicago an innovative collaborator who co-founded the Chicago Cabaret Professionals 15 years ago and launched her "SongShop" workshops in song interpretation shortly thereafter.

To help formally launch the first Chicago-Paris Singers' Exchange in 2014, she won the enthusiastic support from key players associated with the Paris Committee of Chicago Sister Cities International and the Groupe Professionnel Francophone.

Keri brought her cohort Maja Savić of Croatia early on into the process of developing what has become a trilateral exchange. Maja is both a wonderful jazz singer and jazz pedagogue with extensive experience in Portugal and other countries in Europe. Since 2014, she has made Paris her second artistic home as she continues to promote the development of jazz in her hometown of Zagreb. We plan to bring her to Chicago in October 2015 where, by chance, a supportive Croatian community also exists.

  • Let us know of your interest in joining us in Paris, Chicago, Zagreb! Register for the next Paris workshop at