Jazz Studies students win 16 DownBeat music awards

Tuesday, April 30, 2013 - 16:16

DENTON (UNT), Texas – University of North Texas students and ensembles from the College of Music’s Jazz Studies program were recognized 16 times with DownBeat Student Music Awards this year — more than any other institution. The prestigious awards will be announced in the June issue of the national jazz magazine.   

“For our students to be recognized 16 times in this year's DownBeat Student Music Awards, after earning 15 recognitions last year, is really something special,” said John Murphy, chair of the Division of Jazz Studies. “The awards are among the most significant awards that students in our field can receive. Two aspects of this year's results are especially noteworthy. First, the large number of vocal performances, compositions and arrangements recognized – 10 out of the 16 – which is a credit to the work of our vocal students and their mentors, Jennifer Barnes and Rosana Eckert. Second, the prominence of Latin Jazz in the music that was recognized, including the music of our Latin Jazz Lab, directed by José Aponte. This demonstrates the strength and diversity of our program.” 

More information on the winners, including clips of their music can be found online at http://jazz.unt.edu/downbeat.

UNT awards are listed below.

Nine Winners:

Jazz Soloist: Undergraduate College winners (two)

  • Drew Zaremba, alto saxophone; faculty mentor: Brad Leali
  • Brian Ward, bass; faculty mentor: Lynn Seaton

Jazz Soloist: Graduate College winner

  • Sergio Pamies, piano; faculty mentor: Stefan Karlsson

Blues/Pop/Rock Soloist: Graduate College winner

  • Aaron Hedenstrom, saxophone; faculty mentor: Brad Leali

Blues/Pop/Rock Group: Graduate College winners

  • The Refrigerators; group leader: Brian Ward; faculty mentor: Lynn Seaton

Latin Group: Undergraduate College winner

  • The UNT Latin Jazz Lab; faculty mentor: José Aponte

Original Composition – Lead Sheet: Graduate College winner

  • Emily Merrill for “Ondine’s Dance”; faculty mentor: Rosana Eckert

Original Composition – Orchestrated Work: Undergraduate College winner

  • Drew Zaremba for “Race to the Finish”; faculty mentor: Richard DeRosa

Jazz Arrangement: Graduate College winner

  • Mónica Gastelumendi for “Barco Ciego”; faculty mentor: Jennifer Barnes

Seven Outstanding Performances:

Vocal Jazz Group: Graduate College, Outstanding Performance

  • Laura Otero and Payawarú; faculty mentor: Stefan Karlsson

Large Vocal Jazz Ensemble: Graduate College, Outstanding Performance

  • UNT Jazz Singers; director: Jennifer Barnes

Blues/Pop/Rock Group: Graduate College, Outstanding Performance

  • The Sarah Kervin Group; faculty mentor: Rosana Eckert

Latin Group: Graduate College, Outstanding Performance

  • Laura Otero Colombian Project; faculty mentor: Rosana Eckert

Original Composition – Lead Sheet: Graduate College, Outstanding Performance

  • Laura Otero for “Nuestra Canción”; faculty mentor: Rosana Eckert

Vocal Jazz Soloist: Graduate College, Outstanding Performance

  • Mónica Gastelumendi; faculty mentor: Rosana Eckert

Jazz Arrangement: Graduate College, Outstanding Performance

  • Sarah Kervin for “Glitter In The Air”; faculty mentor: Rosana Eckert


About the DownBeat Student Music Awards

The DownBeat Student Music Awards, founded in 1976, are considered the most prestigious awards in jazz education. 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 becoming professionals, students have used this recognition to garner more than $10 million in scholarship opportunities.  

About the UNT College of Music

The UNT College of Music is one of the largest and most respected comprehensive music schools in the country. About 1,500 music students attend UNT each year, participating in more than 50 widely varied ensembles and pursuing specialized studies in performance, composition, music education or music scholarship. UNT faculty members and students have made appearances on the world’s finest stages and have produced numerous recordings, many receiving Grammy awards and nominations. Distinguished UNT alumni can be found around the globe, in top music ensembles, opera companies, universities and schools.

UNT News Service Phone Number: (940) 565-2108


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