Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Semifinalists Perfomances at Thelonious Monk Institute International Saxophone Competition 2013 (13 Videos - One Video for each Contestant)

The 26th annual Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition (open to musicians under age 30 from across the globe) took place September 15-16 2013. The Semifinals was held on Sunday, September 15th at the Smithsonian Institution's Baird Auditorium inside the National Museum of American History. The semifinalists competed before an all-star panel of judges including jazz saxophonists Jane Ira Bloom, Jimmy Heath, Branford Marsalis, Wayne Shorter, and Bobby Watson. Each semifinalist performed for 15 minutes, accompanied by Rodney Whitaker on bass, Reginald Thomas on piano, and Carl Allen on drums. From this group the judges selected three finalists (Melissa Aldana, Tivon Pennicott and Godwin Louis) who performed in the final round at the Kennedy Center on September 16th 2013. Melissa Aldana  won the prize making history as the Competition’s first female winner in a category for instruments. Tivon Pennicott and Godwin Louis received the second and third prize respectively.

Here are semifinalists at Baird Auditorium on September 15th 2013


Clay Pritchard was born in Grapevine, Texas, and began playing saxophone at age 12. In high school, he was selected to participate in the National GRAMMY band for two consecutive years. Prichard graduated from the University of North Texas, where he studied with Randy Lee, Jim Riggs and Marchel Ivery. Prichard has performed onstage with Phil Woods, Benny Golson, Jimmy Heath, Maria Schneider and Dick Oatts. He currently performs with the bands Emerald City and Snarky Puppy.


Danny Janklow was born in Los Angeles, California, and began playing saxophone at age 11. He studied at Temple University and graduated with honors. Janklow has studied with Terell Stafford, Dick Oatts and Walt Weiskopf, and has performed alongside Wynton Marsalis, Branford Marsalis, Benny Golson, James Moody, Jimmy Heath, Wycliffe Gordon, Savion Glover, Karrin Alyson, James Torme, Danilo Pérez, Stanley Clarke, Nicholas Payton, Steve Wilson and Bruce Barth. He participates in jazz workshops at Stanford University and teaches privately in Southern California.

(Second Place Winner)

Tivon Pennicott was born in Marietta, Georgia and began playing saxophone at age 14. He studied at the University of Miami's Frost School of Music under the tutelage of Maria Schneider, Randy Brecker and Dave Liebman. Since 2007, Pennicott has been a member of the Kenny Burrell Quintet and performed at Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola, Catalina Jazz Club and Yoshi's. He has recorded with Esperanza Spalding and Gregory Porter, and has performed with Stevie Wonder, Jimmy Heath, Wynton Marsalis, Joshua Redman, Roy Hargrove, Aaron Goldberg and Benny Green.


Ben Van Gelder was born in Groningen, The Netherlands, and began playing saxophone at age 11. He studied at New School University before enrolling in the University of Amsterdam and the Conservatory of Amsterdam, receiving lessons from Lee Konitz and Mark Turner. Van Gelder has played with David Binney, Ambrose Akinmusire, Nasheet Waits, Aaron Parks, Ben Street, Thomas Morgan and Rodney Green. He was recently selected as the winner of the Deloitte Jazz Award, one of the most prestigious jazz awards given in the Netherlands.


Andrew Gould was born in Long Island, New York, and began playing saxophone at age 10. He graduated magna cum laude from Purchase College, State University of New York, receiving the James Moody Scholarship Award before attaining his master of music degree at the Manhattan School of Music. Gould has studied under George Garzone, Jimmy Greene, Steve Wilson, Jon Gordon and Dave Pietro, and has toured internationally. He has performed with Jon Faddis, Bill Mobley and David Weiss, and is a member of the Wallace Roney Orchestra.


Braxton Cook was born in Boston, Massachusetts, and grew up in Silver Spring, Maryland. He began playing saxophone at age 10 and later studied at Georgetown University before transferring to the Juilliard School. Cook has studied under Steve Wilson, Ron Blake and Paul Carr, and received the Irene Diamond Scholarship to attend Juilliard. He has performed with Wynton Marsalis, Branford Marsalis, Gerald Albright, Cassandra Wilson, Joe Lovano, Terell Stafford and Terence Blanchard, and recently toured Europe as part of the Christian Scott Sextet.


Mike Lebrun was born in Framingham, Massachusetts, and began playing saxophone at age 12. He attended the Dreyfoos School of the Arts before graduating from Northwestern University with a double major in jazz studies and economics. Lebrun won the 2008 International Jazz Composer's Symposium and has studied with John Wojciechowski and Tom Garling. He has performed with Maria Schneider, Dee Dee Bridgewater, The Temptations, Bob Mintzer, Conrad Herwig, Ron Blake, Jim McNeely and Dave Liebman.


Dean Tsur was born in Timrat, Israel, and began playing saxophone at age 10. He attended the Israeli Conservatory before studying at the Berklee College of Music on a full scholarship. He went on to attend the Juilliard School of Music as a recipient of the Ruth Katzman Scholarship. Tsur has studied with Steve Wilson, George Garzone, Dino Govoni, Gan Lev, Mark Turner, Grant Stewart and Mike Tucker. He has performed at Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola, Lincoln Center, and the Blue Note.


Michael Griffin was born in Sydney, Australia, and began playing saxophone at age 11. He graduated from Newtown High School of the Performing Arts and later attended the Sydney Conservatorium. Griffin participated in the 2012 Melbourne International Jazz Festival, and has performed at the Sydney Town Hall, Sydney Opera House, Sydney Entertainment Center and Novotel Hotel. A James Morrison Scholarship finalist for four consecutive years, Griffin has shared the stage with Joe Lovano, Kirk Lightsey, James Morrison, James Muller, Jacki Cooper, Judy Bailey, Dale Barlow and Dave Panichi.

(Third Place Winner)

Godwin Louis was born in Harlem, New York, and began playing saxophone at age 9. He studied at the Berklee College of Music before moving to New Orleans to complete his master's degree in music from the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance at Loyola University. Louis has studied with Terence Blanchard, JB Dyas and Jimmy Heath, and performed with Herbie Hancock, Danilo Pérez, Ron Carter, Gloria Estefan, Billy Preston and Benny Golson. He recently toured Italy, China, France, Venezuela and Mexico, and is a member of the Haitian Youth Music Relief organization.


Sam Dillon was born in Great Neck, New York, and began playing saxophone at age 10. He received his master's degree in music from Purchase College, State University of New York. In addition to hosting many jazz workshops, Dillon has taught music lessons locally for the past 8 years. He has recently performed with the Artie Shaw Jazz Orchestra, Cecilia Coleman Big Band and Joe Chambers' "Moving Pictures" Jazz Orchestra, and has appeared at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Symphony Space, the Iridium and Yoshi's Jazz Club.

(First Place Winner)

Melissa Aldana was born in Santiago, Chile, and began playing saxophone at age 6. She attended the Berklee College of Music as a Berklee Presidential Scholar. While at Berklee, Aldana studied with Joe Lovano, George Garzone, Frank Tiberi, Greg Osby, Hal Crook, Dave Santoro, Bill Pierce, Dino Govoni and Ralph Peterson. She has appeared at venues such as the Blue Note Jazz Club, the Iridium, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, the Village Vanguard, the Jazz Standard and Smalls Jazz Club.


Lukas Gabric was born in Villach, Austria, and began playing saxophone at age 11. He attended the City College of New York and New School University, where he received the Thomas D. Michael Scholarship. A woodwind ensemble coach at the Frank Sinatra High School for the Performing Arts, Gabric has performed at the Apollo Theatre, Smalls Jazz Club, at international jazz festivals across Europe. He was recently accepted into the Juilliard School, where he is pursuing a jazz studies diploma.

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