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Jazz Studies Program, students earn top honors in DownBeat Student Music Awards

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

LAWRENCE – The KU Jazz Studies Program and students were awarded top honors in the 38th Annual DownBeat Student Music Awards. Under the leadership of Dan Gailey, director of Jazz Studies, KU Jazz groups and individual students have received a total of 22 DownBeat Student Music Awards since 1992.

The KU Jazz Ensemble I, directed by Dan Gailey, received the Graduate College Winner award for Large Jazz Ensemble.

The ensemble consists of the following students: Jamie Anderson, Overland Park; Clint Ashlock, Overland Park; Taylor Babb, Garden City; Aaron Barrett, Abilene; David Berrios, Lakewood, New Jersey; Ethan Bartley, Kansas City, Missouri; Brock Chart, Salina; Russell Clark, Basehor; Robbie Harvey, Maplewood, New Jersey; Erik Mahon, Elkwood, Minnesota; Peter Marten, Overland Park; Spencer Merryfield, Overland Park; Albert Miller, Columbus, Indiana; Grant Morgan, Overland Park; Mike O’Donnell, Salina; Zak Pischnotte, Omaha, Nebraska; Michael Raehpour, Andover; Jennifer Shinska, New Baltimore, Michigan, and Carl Spaeth, Harrah, Oklahoma.

David von Kampen, DMA student in music composition, received a Graduate College Winner award in the Original Composition – Large Ensemble category for the composition “Crooked Number.” He also received an Outstanding Performance award in Jazz Arrangement (Graduate College division) for “California Dreamin’.” With these awards, von Kampen has won six DownBeat Student Music Awards in the past four years.

“The KU Jazz Ensemble I and their director, Dan Gailey, are so very deserving of this outstanding recognition,” said Robert Walzel, dean of the KU School of Music. “They have consistently demonstrated excellence through their performances and individual accomplishments. Jazz at the University of Kansas represents the very best of our School of Music and what jazz education should be in higher education.”

One of the world's leading jazz and contemporary music publications, DownBeat presents its Student Music Awards annually. Students and educators nominate themselves in an open call for recorded performances and applications. More than 1,000 entries were submitted across all categories this year. Award winners were notified in late spring, and the list of winners is published in the June edition of the magazine.

The DownBeat Student Music Awards are considered the most prestigious awards in jazz education. Founded in 1976, hundreds of musicians, music educators and music industry professionals received their first international recognition as DownBeat Student Music Award winners. At least six winners have gone on to appear on the cover of DownBeat as professional artists. Scores have been featured in the magazine and have won either Critics or Readers Poll honors. Even before young musicians have become professionals, the awards have helped them garner more than $10 million in scholarship opportunities.

Jazz Ensemble I will close out the 2015 School of Music performance lineup at 7:30 p.m. May 7 at the Lawrence Arts Center. The concert features music by DownBeat winner David von Kampen and guest soloist Addison Frei, piano.

For more information, contact the KU School of Music at 785-864-3436 or visit www.music.ku.edu.

School of Music Calendar
Music students present hundreds of public concerts every year
Students perform in KU choirs, concert bands, pep bands, ensembles, symphony orchestra, and jazz combos
The school owns one of the greatest jazz record collections in the world
KU Wind Ensemble performed the world premiere of the symphony "In the Shadow of No Towers" at Carnegie Hall
One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
44 nationally ranked graduate programs.
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Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.