Three UNT students receive national jazz awards

Tuesday, February 12, 2013 - 20:42

DENTON (UNT), Texas – Three College of Music students at the University of North Texas have been named 2013 Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composer Award recipients for compositions they recorded last year.

Aaron Hedenstrom, a master’s student in jazz studies, and jazz studies senior Drew Zaremba and junior Addison Frei were among 29 students from across the nation who were honored by the American Society for Composers and Publishers (ASCAP) award. Established by the ASCAP Foundation in 2002 to encourage gifted jazz composers under the age of 30, the award is named after trumpeter Herb Alpert and carries a cash prize for each recipient.

“This is great news for the College of Music and these students,” said Richard DeRosa, professor of jazz composition and arranging at UNT. “There are many opportunities for jazz students here, and these three have shown the world their talent by receiving these awards.”

Hedenstrom’s piece, “The Sparrow Was Gone In An Instant,” and Zaremba’s “Race to the Finish” were recorded for the UNT One O’Clock Lab Band’s CD at Crystal Clear Recording studios in Dallas in May 2012. Frei’s quartet piece, “The Grind,” was from a session recorded at the Panhandle House in Denton in November 2012. The quartet included Frei on piano and fellow College of Music students Adam Hutcheson on alto saxophone, Perrin Grace on bass and Matt Young on drums.

This was the first time each of the students had submitted works to the ASCAP competition.

“For me, the award is an affirmation to keep going, to not stop and give up just because it’s hard sometimes,” Hedenstrom said. “It’s a good reminder that it’s worth doing this music and there’s a way to make it part of your living.”

The students said UNT Jazz Studies faculty members helped encourage them, especially DeRosa, One O’Clock Lab Band director Steve Wiest and jazz piano professor Stefan Karlsson.

Zaremba said Wiest was particularly helpful when the student wrote the piece while on tour with the One O’Clock Lab Band.

“I wrote it on the bus when we were on tour. Steve helped inspire certain elements of the piece,” said Zaremba, who was under a time crunch to get the piece finished in time for recording. “The title ‘Race to the Finish’ is derived from the fact that it needed to be written very quickly. I was surprised that it won, but I’m happy that it did. I’m very humbled and honored to receive the award.”

Although the prize monies vary and amounts have not yet been confirmed, all three plan to use the money wisely – paying off loans, saving it and using it for future work.

“I’m hoping to record another album of my own and a lot of the money will go toward that,” said Frei. “I feel fortunate to have received the award. It encourages me to know there are so many like-minded people around the country and the world who are trying to make their own original, creative music every day. That is a big inspiration to keep at it individually with my own music.”

Winners of the Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composer awards are chosen through a national juried competition and range in age from 10 to 30. Hedenstrom, Zaremba and Frei won for the category of composers ranging in age from 19 to 30.

The winning compositions can be heard on the website of each student. To hear “The Sparrow Was Gone In An Instant,” visit Hedenstrom’s website at To hear “The Grind,” visit Frei’s website at To hear “Race to the Finish,” visit Zaremba’s website at


About the ASCAP Foundation

Founded in 1975, The ASCAP Foundation is a charitable organization dedicated to supporting American music creators and encouraging their development through music education and talent development programs. Included in these are songwriting workshops, grants, scholarships, awards, recognition and community outreach programs, and public service projects for senior composers and lyricists. The ASCAP Foundation is supported by contributions from ASCAP members and from music lovers throughout the United States.

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 40 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.

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