Katie Webster, an 18-year-old saxophonist from Seattle, has been named the 22nd recipient of the Jimmy Lyons Scholarship to Berklee College of Music. She will receive a four-year, full-tuition award presented in conjunction with the Monterey Jazz Festival. Webster is the first female recipient of the Lyons Award. She will begin her studies in Boston this September.
Previous recipients of the scholarship include Billy Buss, Rushad Eggleston, Milton Fletcher, Jonathan Pinson, Dayna Stephens, and James Williams.
In a press release announcing the scholarship, Paul Contos, director of education for the Monterey Jazz Festival, said, “Katie received Outstanding Soloist at this year’s Next Generation Jazz Festival, and the choice was an easy one for the judges. Her tone and approach to the alto saxophone are both highly advanced, and show great respect for the legacy of the jazz tradition. It’s an absolute delight hearing her play, so I was very excited to learn she’d won the Jimmy Lyons Scholarship. We expect she’ll do great things at Berklee.”
The release states that Webster began playing the clarinet at age 10 and “transitioned to the alto saxophone in the 7th grade after hearing the colorful, bluesy, expressive sound of saxophone master Cannonball Adderley. When she was 12 years old, she heard Berklee alumna saxophonist Grace Kelly in concert, and was inspired to pursue jazz. Following middle school, Webster served as lead alto at Ballard High School for two years, as well as playing in combos with students around the city.”
Webster was awarded Outstanding Alto Saxophone by Wynton Marsalis and a panel of judges at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Essentially Ellington 2018 competition. At the 2018 Monterey Next Generation Jazz Festival, in addition to receiving the Outstanding Soloist award, she was awarded a scholarship to the Berklee Five-Week Summer Performance Program. Other soloist honors for Webster include the Reno Jazz Festival (2016) and the University of Washington Jazz Festival (2018).
Webster will perform at the Monterey Jazz Festival this year in a group with Berklee-educated keyboardist Anastassiya Petrova. For more information, visit montereyjazzfestival.org.