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American Pianists Association Names Jurors for Cole Porter Fellowship Finals

They include Stanley Cowell, Renee Rosnes, Helen Sung, Chris Mees, and Will Wakefield

Stanley Cowell
Stanley Cowell performs at the 2016 Detroit Jazz Festival (photo: Marek Lazarski)

The American Pianists Association has announced the jury for the final round of its contest to name its new Cole Porter Fellow, the prestigious award given every four years to an American jazz pianist at the end of a 13-month competition process called the American Pianists Awards. The jurors are Stanley Cowell, pianist and professor emeritus of jazz piano at Rutgers-Mason Gross School of the Arts; pianist Renee Rosnes; Chris Mees, president of B-Natural, an artist management company specializing in jazz; pianist and composer Helen Sung; and Will Wakefield, senior director of A&R at Mack Avenue Records.

This year’s finalists include Kenny Banks Jr., Emmet Cohen, Keelan Dimick, Dave Meder, and Bill Test.

The winner of the 2019 American Pianists Awards will receive a $50,000 cash prize, two years of career assistance and management, a performance tour booked by B-Natural, a recording contract with Mack Avenue, an artist residency for two years at the University of Indianapolis, and a featured performance at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York.

On Apr. 5, 2019, the five finalists will return to Indianapolis for the Club Finals at the Jazz Kitchen. The Gala Finals will take place at Hilbert Circle Theatre on Apr. 6, 2019. Dee Dee Bridgewater will host the Gala Finals and each finalist will perform with the Buselli-Wallarab Jazz Orchestra and vocalist Kurt Elling. The performance will be streamed live at and on the American Pianists Association’s Facebook page.

“There are many prestigious piano competitions throughout the world, but ours is unique,” APA president, CEO, and artistic director Joel Harrison said in a press release. “Because we have a multi-step process that occurs over a 13-month period, we get to see and hear each finalist both in a club setting and out in the community. They gain an unparalleled opportunity to grow professionally, and we gain a unique chance to watch each evolve as artists … at an important time in their professional development.”

Originally Published