Two Rochester High School Seniors are Winners of the 2013 Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival / Eastman School of Music Jazz Scholarships Both are Attending Eastman School This Fall

June 12, 2013

Rochester, NY-- June 12--12013--The 12th annual Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival / Eastman School of Music Scholarships are being awarded to two Rochester high school seniors, Ryder Eaton, a student at School of the Arts, and C.J. Ziarniak, a student at Aquinas Institute. Both will be enrolled in the fall as freshmen at the Eastman School of Music.

The students will be honored at the annual Gerry Niewood Jazz Scholarship concert Monday June 24 at 7:30PM at Eastman Theatre at Kodak Hall. The concert will feature the Eastman Jazz Ensemble directed by Bill Dobbins with special guest artist Mike Brignola on Baritone Sax. Opening the show is the Eastman Youth Jazz Orchestra led by Howard Potter. The concert is free but donations for the scholarship fund are welcome.

The scholarship program is sponsored by Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival producers Marc Iacona and John Nugent and funded by proceeds from the Festival.

"Our commitment to helping talented local youth further their education and create opportunities for them to perform in the festival alongside some of the finest musicians in the world, is an important part of our mission," said Iacona. "It is rewarding to see these talented young people go on to great success in their field. Since we established the fund in 2002, we are proud to have provided more than $125,000 for more than 30 scholarships."

Two former ESM/XRIJF scholarship winners are performing on this year's festival. Mike Cottone, (2003) and Karl Stabnau (2008, 2010).

Howard Potter, Director of the Eastman Community Music School said, "The faculty of the Eastman Community Music School are fortunate to get to work with students as dedicated, focused and talented at C.J. and Ryder. They each have a level of artistic sophistication, which is well beyond their years. Their improvisations are immediately identifiable as having the most elusive of all jazz qualities: swing, phrasing, and groove. We are thrilled to see them go on to Eastman and know that they are in for an experience of a life-time!"

About the Winners

Ryder Eaton, a Rochester native is a graduate of Rochester City Schools, and an instrumental major at SOTA. He was introduced formally to music in kindergarten while attending the Children's School of Rochester (#15). His Creative Expression Workshop teacher throughout elementary school, Ms. (Cheri) France, taught him at a very early age to express himself in many mediums, not just music.

Ryder studied at Garth Fagan School of Dance from age 7-14, and attributes this experience with the formulation of his musicality and feel. In the fourth grade he began studying the alto saxophone with his school's band teacher Bruce Austin. A year later he began studying snare drum, and continued to study both with Mr. Austin through elementary school. At the same time outside of school Ryder took private guitar lessons with Dennis Monroe, in middle and high school began taking electric bass lessons at Northfield School of music with Nate Coffee and The Hungness School of music with Joe Fox-Boyd, and played in orchestra at School of the Arts with Kathleen Perry and Liz Ristow.

In the summer after ninth grade, Ryder enrolled in Summer Jazz studies at the Eastman School of Music, learning the foundations of jazz and Music theory. In tenth grade he entered the Eastman Pathways program for Rochester City School District students, beginning classical lessons on the upright bass. In the summer between 10th and 11th grade, Ryder received a scholarship to study mandarin in Beijing China for 6 weeks, returning with a renewed gratitude for his opportunities at the Eastman. In the 11th grade Ryder began seriously studying jazz, taking on a heavy course load at ECMS. He has taken Jazz Theory I, II, and III, Jazz history, Jazz Transcription, Jazz Piano, and private lessons while performing with various groups that include: Saxology, Latin Jazz, and the Eastman Youth Jazz Orchestra. At school of the Arts he plays in the senior high Jazz ensemble and the Jazz combo under Doug Stone, and the wind ensemble under Mario Belculfine. Ryder loves skateboarding, skiing, drawing, and dancing.

C.J.Ziarniak began playing alto saxophone in 4th grade at Nativity School in Brockport. He later switched to tenor saxophone and was selected to perform with the Monroe County Jr. High Concert Band (2009) and Sr. High Concert Band (2010). In 2011, CJ began intensively studying jazz improvisation at the Eastman Community Music School, and performed with the Monroe County Jazz Ensemble on baritone sax, and then on tenor sax (2012 and 2013). He was selected as an Alternate for the NYSSMA All-State Instrumental Jazz Ensemble in 2011 and 2012. C.J. has been enrolled at the Eastman Community Music School since 2009. He has been a member of the Eastman Youth Jazz Orchestra, Jazz Youth Saxology and has studied privately with Jose Encarnacion, Doug Stone and Reuben Allen. He attended the Eastman Summer Jazz Studies program in 2011 and 2012, and the Litchfield Summer Jazz Camp in Kent, CT in 2012. He will be receiving an Advanced Diploma with Honors in Jazz Saxophone, June 2013.

While at Aquinas Institute, C.J. has been a member of Concert Band, Jazz Ensemble, Pep Band, and Pit Orchestra. He was selected to perform with the 2012 Rochester Music Hall of Fame All Star High School Jazz Ensemble and received the News Channel 8 Scholastic Arts Spotlight Award in October, 2012. He is an active member of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church in Brockport, and works part-time at the Rochester Museum and Science Center. C.J. will be attending the Eastman School of Music in the fall, studying Jazz Performance and Music Education.

About the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival (XRIJF)

The nine-day Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival presented by M&T Bank was founded in 2002 and is produced by John Nugent, Artistic Director and Marc Iacona, Executive Director. This year's 12th Edition, June 21-29, will feature a diverse and eclectic performance roster of 1,200-plus artists performing in more than 300 concerts including 81 free shows at 19 venues. The 2012 Festival drew more than 187,000 music lovers to hear some of the finest artists in the world perform.

The Eastman School of Music

is ranked among the nation's premier music schools, boasting Guggenheim Fellows and Grammy and ASCAP Award winners on its distinguished faculty. The school has been commended and recognized nationwide for giving its students an intensive professional education, entrepreneurial opportunities in their musical disciplines, and the experience of a broader liberal arts education within the University of Rochester. Eastman's prominent alumni include opera singers Renée Fleming, Nicole Cabell, Anthony Dean Griffey, Joyce Castle, and the late William Warfield; jazz musicians Ron Carter, Steve Gadd, and Chuck Mangione; composer-conductor Maria Schneider; and composers Dominick Argento, Kevin Puts, Charles Strouse, Michael Torke, and Jeff Beal. The school presents more than 700 public concerts a year and hosts a variety of prestigious festivals and events, including, most recently, the biennial convention of the International Society of Bassists.