The sixth annual BMI Future Jazz Master Scholarship is now accepting online applications for its 2021 season. The Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI) Foundation established the scholarship, an annual competition open to rising jazz stars enrolled in colleges and universities nationwide, in 2015 in honor of the NEA Jazz Masters Fellowship, a lifetime achievement recognition program of the National Endowment for the Arts. A panel of NEA Jazz Masters judges the contest’s finalists and selects a winner based on evidence of talent and potential as a jazz performer and composer. The $5,000 scholarship is then presented to the winner at BMI’s annual celebration of NEA Jazz Masters fellows. Past judges include Ahmad Jamal, Jack DeJohnette, Jimmy Heath, and Ron Carter.
“Jazz remains one of our nation’s most original and enduring art forms,” Deirdre Chadwick, President of the BMI Foundation, said in 2015, “and this new scholarship is a fitting way for BMI to pay tribute to the artistic excellence of jazz pioneers, while opening the door for the brightest jazz stars of tomorrow.”
To be eligible for the competition, all applicants must be current full-time or part-time students of a U.S. college or university and between the ages of 12 and 24 as of the submission deadline. (Former winners, other than Honorable Mention, of the BMI Future Jazz Master Scholarship are not eligible.) The deadline for submissions is January 2021.
Previous winners of the BMI Future Jazz Master Scholarship include August Arnold, a composer, jazz saxophonist/woodwind doubler, and jazz studies/saxophone performance major at the University of North Texas (2019); Sara Sithi-Amnuai, a multi-instrumentalist on trumpet, flugelhorn, and sheng, and a performer-composer MFA studies major at California Institute of the Arts (2018); Cole Davis, a bass player and jazz studies major at the Manhattan School of Music (2017); Chris Otts, a saxophonist, composer, and educator, and master’s-degree candidate in jazz studies at Georgia State University (2016); and Aaron Hedenstrom, a saxophonist, composer, and musical arts doctoral candidate in jazz performance at the University of North Texas (2015).
In a press release received by JT, Chadwick says, “Our programs are designed to provide new writers with opportunities to build a firm foundation from which to launch their careers—and many have done so quite successfully.”