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Chicago native Lenora Helm Hammonds (p/k/a Lenora Zenzalai Helm) is former U.S. Jazz Ambassador and recipient of the 2018 Who’s Who Lifetime Achievement Award.  Jazz composer career highlights: MacDowell Composer Fellow; Chamber Music America’s Doris Duke New Jazz Works Composer award; Composing the full musical score for the children's play, Indigo Blue: A Reimagining of the Pied Piper for Walltown Children's Theater, Durham, NC and composer of several Black History Month promo campaigns on the ESPN network. Lenora has also penned several lyrics (with the composers’ permission) to the compositions of Andrew Hill, Wayne Shorter and Branford Marsalis. A Fulbright Senior Music Specialist, her six CD releases garnered accolades as “...the voice of her generation,” by Jazziz Magazine. Consistently tours with her band performing her compositions in many of the largest jazz festivals and venues worldwide and she appears on recordings with the biggest names in Jazz. Education: B.M. in Film Scoring/Voice-Berklee College of Music; M.M. in Jazz Performance/Voice-East Carolina University. ABD for Doctor of Musical Arts, Music Education degree, Boston University (2019).  Assistant Professor in the Department of Music at North Carolina Central University in Durham, NC and co-directs their award winning NCCU Vocal Jazz Ensemble.



After Life, directed by Lana Garland (Insibah Films); starring Marva Hicks, Ezra Knight, Tamara Tunie,

Chamber Music America New Jazz Works Composer Award
GRAMMY Music Educator of the Year Quarterfinalist
MacDowell Composer Fellow
U.S. Jazz Ambassador to Southeastern Africa
2018 Who’s Who Lifetime Achievement Award
Fulbright Senior Music Specialist

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