SANTA FE — The New Mexico School for the Arts has let go a music teacher who admitted to making fake awards for his students that the school had publicized as genuine prizes from the New York City Jazz Festival.
NMSA spokesperson Sean Johnson confirmed that jazz studies teacher Orlando Madrid, who started working at the school last year, had been terminated with cause last week.
Attempts to reach Madrid on Monday were unsuccessful.
In early May, the school issued a news release that the NMSA jazz combo had won a “First Place” award and three “Outstanding Soloist” honors at the New York City Jazz Festival in April. NMSA posted pictures of a first place plaque on social media. The Journal published a story on the awards soon afterward.
The Journal North, while preparing what was to be a follow-up feature story on the jazz combo, discovered that the New York festival is not competitive and it does not issue “best of” awards.
Madrid confirmed in an email to the Journal that he had created the awards on his own based on critiques from professional musicians at the festival. A festival spokesperson last week described the festival as an educational event. A panel of jazz experts does provide feedback to young musicians who participate, but no awards are issued.