Finalists for American Pianists Association’s 2011 Cole Porter Fellowship
Five pianists to perform in competition events over five month period
Their names may not be familiar to the average jazz fan: Emmet Cohen, 20, from Miami, Zach Lapidus, 23, from Indianapolis, and Aaron Diehl, 24, Jeremy Siskind, 23, and Glenn Zaleski, 22, all from New York City. But these five performers have the skills, the style and the determination to vie for one of the most prestigious jazz piano awards in the country — and all of them have yet to hit the age of 25. They’re the finalists for the 2011 Cole Porter Fellowship, an award given by the American Pianists Association every four years to the top young jazz pianist in the country. The award includes a two-year fellowship worth $75,000, a $50,000 cash prize and additional career assistance, publicity, professional fees and other opportunities worldwide.
The five pianists, who were chosen in the preliminary round of the competition during May 7-9, will perform over a period of five months, beginning with the kickoff of the REI Real Estate Services Jazz Premiere Series in September. For this series, each finalist will be invited to perform for a week with a trio at Indianapolis’ Jazz Kitchen, participate in a residency with a local high school and play in other musical community events. Then they will reconvene in Indianapolis for Jazz Discovery Week (Finals) April 10-17, competing in the Semi-Final Round in the Jazz Kitchen on April 15. The Finals Round will be held the next evening at the Indiana Repertory Theater, and will feature specially commissioned arrangements of jazz standards for piano and orchestra.
To narrow down the talent pool to this elite set, a jury of five nationally recognized jazz professionals listened to CDs submitted by 40 pianists nominated earlier in the year for the award. Each CD, which included at least one original solo piece, one trio piece and one jazz standard, was heard in an anonymous fashion by the judges.
The last stages of the competition will coincide with the APA’s Concerto Curriculum, a community outreach program in which the finalists perform in high schools, retirement homes and community centers for free.
You can listen here to the tracks of each finalist's submitted compositions.