Grant Le has been named this year’s recipient of the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival/Eastman School of Music (XRIJF/ESM) Gerry Niewood Jazz Scholarship.
The scholarship program is sponsored by XRIJF producers John Nugent and Marc Iacona and is funded by proceeds from the annual festival. The scholarship was founded in 2003 and, with the current recipients, 39 scholarships will have been awarded since its inception.
XRIJF has donated almost half a million dollars to the Eastman School of Music (ESM) for the annual scholarship program helping talented young musicians attend Eastman School. As of 2018, 40 scholarships have been awarded since 2002.
Le is a bassist from Hanover Park, IL outside Chicago. He originally studied piano and trumpet as a child, and began playing the bass in middle school as a member of the district jazz band. In high school, he was awarded the Bill May Jazz Education Fund Scholarship, which allowed him to study at the Illinois Summer Youth Music Camp, where he was mentored by Larry Gray, one of Chicago’s finest bassists.
The skills and experiences that Le gained during that time allowed him to earn spots in the ILMEA District 7 Jazz Band, District 7 Honors Jazz Combo, and All-State Honors Jazz Combo, where he held the spot for two years in a row in 2017 and 2018.
Le is an active performer in the Chicago-land jazz scene. He has had the opportunity to perform with amazing artists such as Chicago-drummer and bandleader Jimmy Bennington, as well as world-renowned trumpet player Roger Ingram. The summer before his senior year, Grant attended the Birch Creek Summer Music Camp, where he played in the Ambassador Combo and studied with Jeff Campbell, who he will also be working with this fall when he begins his studies with Campbell at Eastman as a freshman in fall 2018.
He has also performed with the Illinois Music Educators Association (ILMEA) All-State Honors Jazz Combo. He studied jazz at the Merit School of Music in Chicago, where he also tutors in aural skills and theory.
At this year's presentation, a unique performance will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the BAUHAUS, an influential art and architecture movement.
The German National Youth Jazz Orchestra (BuJazzO), presents a live-music to picture program with original compositions by prominent German and American jazz composers.
Five short films from the 1920s by internationally renowned Bauhaus master teacher, graphic artist, and photographer László Moholy-Nagy were newly scored for big band and vocal ensemble. Three animated advertising shorts (1919-1922) will open the program.
The project represents an exciting collaboration between BuJazzO, the Eastman School of Music, and Eastman Museum for Film and Photography in Rochester. The program premiered at the Kurt Weill Fest Dessau in March 2018 and thanks to funding by the German State Department will tour international jazz festivals until the culminating Bauhaus celebration in Berlin in 2019.
Ansgar Striepens: Excelsior (1922, “Excelsior Tires,” Walter Ruttmann)
Das Ornament des verliebten Herzens (1919, “Ornament of the Love-Struck Heart,” Lotte Reiniger)
Das Geheimnis der Marquise (1920, “The Secret of the Marquise,” Lotte Reiniger)
Christopher Dell: Lichtspiel (1930,”Lightplay,” László Moholy-Nagy)
Gebhard Ullmann: Berliner Stillleben (1930, “Berlin Still-Life,” László Moholy-Nagy)
Bill Dobbins: Marseille Vieux Port (1929, “Old Port Marseille,” László Moholy-Nagy)
Julia Hülsmann: Großstadt-Zigeuner (1932, “Urban Gypsies,” László Moholy-Nagy)
Niels Klein: Lobster (1936, László Moholy-Nagy)
Oliver Schneller: White City (2018, visuals and composition)
Ansgar Striepens studied trombone with Jiggs Whigham and composition with Jerry van Rooyen, Bill Motzing, Jörg Achim Keller, Bill Dobbins, and Bob Brookmeyer. From 1996 to 2004 Striepens was Professor of Jazz Trombone at Franz Liszt Conservatory in Weimar. Since 2008 he is Professor of Trombone at Folkwang University of the Arts in Essen as well as director of the Folkwang Jazz Orchestra. In 2013, Striepens received the renowned WDR Jazz Prize for Composition.
Christopher Dell studied vibraphone, percussion, and composition in Hilversum, Rotterdam and at the Berklee School of Music, Boston. From 2003 to 2005, Dell studied at the Technical University of Kaiserslautern in Human Resources and received his Ph.D. in 2012 in Organizational Psychology at the University of Duisburg-Essen. Since 1990, Dell has worked as a theorist, musician, composer, and curator. He has directed the Institute for Improvisational Technology since 2000 in Berlin. Since 2015, Dell is Professor for Urban Design Theory at HafenCity University Hamburg. In 2017 Dell was elected into the North Rhine-Westphalian Academy of Science.
Gebhard Ullmann studied medicine and music in Hamburg and lives in Berlin und New York as a composer, saxophonist (soprano & tenor saxophone), bass clarinetist and bass flutist. He is the recipient of many prizes, among them the Julius Hemphill Composition Award ('99), the German Phonoakademie Prize ('83), the SWF Jazz Prize ('87) multiple awards by the City of Berlin ('90er), and most recently the Jazz Prize of the City of Berlin in 2017. Ullmann has been under contract with the renowned Jazz label Soul Note since 1993.
Bill Dobbins is Professor of Jazz-Composition and -arrangement at the Eastman School of Music, where he directs the Eastman Jazz Ensemble and the Eastman Studio Orchestra. From 1994 to 2002 was director of the WDR Big Band Cologne; he has worked with Clark Terry, Dave Liebman, Randy Brecker, Gary Bartz, Eddie Henderson, Kevin Mahogany, Art Farmer, Steve Lacy, Paquito D’Rivera, Mark Feldman, Gary Foster, Clare Fischer, Peter Erskine, Nicolas Simion and the Kings Singers. From 1998 to 2002 he was Chair of Jazz at the Conservatory of Music in Cologne. In summer 2007 he was guest conductor of the German Jazz Orchestra (BuJazzO).
Julia Hülsmann studied jazz-piano at the Berlin University of the Arts. She has been active internationally for many years as a pianist and composer. She has released numerous CDs, among others with her trio and vocal guest artists such as Rebekka Bakken, Anna Lauvergnac, and Roger Cicero. Hülsmann teaches composition and jazz piano at the University of Music and Drama in Hannover and music education at the University of the Arts in Berlin. From 2012 to 2013 Hülsmann was President of the Society of German Jazz Musicians, which she helped to re-establish in 2012. For this work, Hülsmann received an Honorary WDR Jazz Prize in 2016. In the same year, she also received the SWF Prize.
Niels Klein is considered one of the hottest young musicians in the German jazz scene today. An internationally touring saxophonist and clarinetist, he received the ECHO Jazz Prize in 2015 and the WDR Jazz Prize in 2011. His own projects and compositions for jazz and classical ensembles continue to draw critical acclaim. He is Professor of Jazz Saxophone at the Conservatory for Music and Dance in Cologne since 2016.
Oliver Schneller began his composition studies with Lee Hyla at the New England Conservatory in Boston and graduated in 2002 from the studio of Tristan Murail at Columbia University in New York. In the late 1990s he directed the Electronic Music Studio at the City University of New York. As an assistant to Professor Murail, he taught composition, computer music, and psycho-acoustics at Columbia University. Schneller’s work was shaped by important encounters with Helmut Lachenmann, Brian Ferneyhough, Salvatore Sciarrino, Jonathan Harvey and George Benjamin. Since 2015 he is Professor of Composition at the Eastman School of Music, where he also directs the Eastman Audio Research Studio [EARS].
Reinhild Steingröver curated the film program for the BuJazzO concert in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the Bauhaus. She is Professor of German and Film Studies at the Eastman School of Music, University of Rochester (since 2000). She studied medicine, American Studies and French at the Free University of Berlin and received her Ph.D. in German and Comparative Literature from the University at Buffalo. Steingröver authored and edited four books and numerous articles on German film and literature. She has received numerous grants, among others from the DAAD, the DEFA Foundation, and the Suhrkamp Foundation.
Bundesjazzorchester – German National Youth Jazz Orchestra (BuJazzO)
The Bundesjazzorchester is the official youth jazz orchestra of the Federal Republic of Germany. Outstanding young musicians and renowned conductors and lecturers jointly form a resonating body of the highest musical level. Founded in 1988 by Peter Herbolzheimer, the Bundesjazzorchester is nowadays considered to be an excellent talent factory of tomorrow’s successful jazz musicians. After passing an initial audition, each member is accepted into the orchestra for a maximum of two years. Most of the musicians are either conservatoire students or graduates. Jiggs Whigham and Niels Klein jointly account for the artistic conception; they are closely connected to the orchestra. The 17-to-24-year-old young talents regularly develop new programmes together with them and with changing guest conductors. Among the approximately 900 former members are outstanding musicians such as Till Brönner, Roger Cicero, Tom Gaebel and Julia Hülsmann. The Bundesjazzorchester represents modern-music Germany at home and abroad via regular, transcultural exchange projects. As cultural ambassadors, the Bundesjazzorchester has already built many bridges of friendship and always presented an every new-sounding business card of “Jazz made in Germany” on its concert tours. BuJazzO is twinned with WDR Big Band, National Youth Jazz Orchestra (UK) and Nationaal Jeugd Jazz Orkest (Netherlands).