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Young Pianists to Compete for Fellowship

In May, six of the country’s best young jazz pianists will visit Indianapolis for the sixth Triennial American Jazz Piano Competition. The competitors, who range in age from 21 to 30, will compete May 7 and 8 at various venues in the city for the title of Cole Porter Fellow, which includes a $15,000 cash prize and career assistance provided by the American Pianists Association.

A preliminary jury of jazz piano experts selected the six finalists, who will perform in solo and trio formats in two separate sets during the semi-final round on May 7 at the Jazz Kitchen before a ticketed audience and jury. The finals will be held on Saturday evening, at the Madame Walker Theatre May 8, with pianist Kenny Barron as one of the judges, and with each finalist performing solo and with Indianapolis’ Buselli Wallarab Jazz Orchestra in specially-commissioned arrangements. At the conclusion of the evening, the jury will select the new Cole Porter Fellow.

The winner will receive $15,000, career assistance, publicity and professional engagements for two years. Part of the assistance will include featured appearances at Indy Jazz Fest in 2004 and 2005, representation on a commercial jazz sampler CD produced by WTPI-FM, and a touring program. The other non-winning finalists also will receive cash awards.

The 2004 American Jazz Piano Competition finalists are:

Adam Birnbaum – a 25-year-old New York City resident

Dan Cray – a 27-year-old Evanston, Ill., resident

Steve Einerson – a 30-year-old Milwaukee resident

Brian Friedland – a 21-year-old Los Angeles resident

Marco Paguia – a 26-year-old New York City resident

Hal Weary – a 27-year-old Wayne, N.J., resident

Tickets for each competition session are available through the American Pianists Association office. Ticket prices are $30 per session for the semi-finals on May 7 and $20 for the finals on May 8. Ticket packages also are available for all three sessions for $65. Call (317) 940-9945 to request a ticket brochure.

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Originally Published