Eastman New Jazz Ensemble, under Dave Rivello, and Eastman School of Music students Theresa Chen, George Darrah, Jonathan Fagan and Jon Rarick received DownBeat honors in the magazine’s 41st annual Student Music Awards.
“Eastman’s jazz and contemporary media department has a sustained history of excellence over many decades, and having this recognized by the world’s leading jazz publication is always a tremendous honor,” said Jamal Rossi, dean, Eastman School of Music. “All of us at Eastman are very proud of the achievements of this year’s DownBeat honorees.”
Eastman New Jazz Ensemble was recognized in the outstanding college performance — large jazz ensemble category. The ensemble performs repertoire from the last 20 years, including music not often heard or yet recorded. It frequently premieres new works, including those of student writers. The group of approximately 20 musicians won a DownBeat award in 2017 for graduate college outstanding performance.
Chen won the award for outstanding arrangements for small ensemble for her work, “Lonely Moments.” Chen is a third-year Doctor of Musical Arts student in jazz piano performance. She previously won for outstanding original composition for small ensemble.
Darrah, a DMA first-year, won outstanding arrangements — big band for “New Autumn.” Darrah, of Beverly, Massachusetts, won for outstanding arrangement in 2017.
Fagan was recognized for outstanding composition for “Legacy (For the Late Fred Sturm)” in the graduate division. He graduated with his Master of Music degree in spring 2017.
Rarick was the graduate college winner in studio orchestra for “Embers.” Rarick, of Grayslake, Illinois, is a DMA student in jazz writing. He previously won for outstanding arrangement.
“Having this many students as well as one of our largest ensemble is a great honor for us,” said Jeff Campbell, chairman of the jazz studies and contemporary media department. “This is a great opportunity for us to showcase our students work and help them be heard by a wider audience.”
The Student Music Awards were announced in the June 2018 issue of DownBeat.