Composer Jihye Lee has been awarded the Charlie Parker Jazz Composition Prize and Manny Albam Commission at the 30th Annual BMI Jazz Composers Workshop Showcase Concert, which took place on June 14 at the Marjorie S. Deane Little Theater in New York City. Serving as judges were Darcy James Argue, Alan Broadbent, and Ed Neumeister.
The showcase, according to a press release from BMI, features “the best and brightest new big band jazz orchestra compositions developed during the BMI Jazz Composers Workshop over the past year.” The free concert was hosted by musical director Andy Farber.
The 17-piece BMI/New York Jazz Orchestra performed works from nine of the workshop’s composers, with Lee’s piece, “Unshakeable Mind,” chosen as the winning composition. The prize is named in honor of the workshop’s late founder and longtime musical director. With the $3,000 commissions provided by the BMI Foundation, Lee will compose a new piece that will premiere at next year’s showcase.
The previous prize winner, Remi LaBoeuf, performed his commissioned work, “Sibbian,” to close out the evening.
The BMI Jazz Composers Workshop, according to a description on the BMI.com website, “is a regular meeting of emerging and/or developing jazz composers. The focus of the workshop’s activity is ‘big band’ (‘jazz orchestra’/‘large jazz ensemble’) composition. The purpose of the workshop is twofold: to foster the musical growth of the individual composers, and to create a body of work that helps to extend the language of composition for the jazz orchestra. The workshop enables composers to come together in order to share ideas and to learn from one another. There is no fee for participation. Membership in BMI, while encouraged, is not a prerequisite. Members must be at least 18 years old.”
Members have the opportunity to hear their work played in monthly reading sessions with the BMI/New York Jazz Orchestra. Previous winners have included Rufus Reid, Jamie Begian, Noriko Ueda, Darcy J. Argue, Sherisse Rogers, Asuka Kakitani, Jeff Fairbanks, and Sara Jacovino.