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Inaugurates Charlie Parker Jazz Composition Prize

Posted in News on July 6, 2000

The BMI Foundation announced today that it will inaugurate a Charlie Parker Jazz Composition Prize, to be given annually to the writer of the best new jazz work composed each year in the BMI Jazz Composers Workshop. The first $3000 award will be presented during the Workshop's annual showcase concert at Merkin Hall on July 20, and includes a commission to write another piece to be premiered at next year's concert.


Charlie Parker Jazz Composition Prize winner Rufus Reid (2nd from left), who won for his piece "Skies Over Emilia," shows off his BMI Crystal to BMI Jazz Composers Workshop Director Burt Korall, and Co-Musical Directors Manny Albam and Jim McNeely.

"It is an honor to establish this new award in the name of one of BMI's greatest jazz composers, the legendary Charlie Parker," said BMI Foundation President Thea Zavin. "This prize reinforces the Workshop's mission to nurture the next generation of jazz composers and is very befitting of his name."


Winner Rufus Reid (2nd from left) is congratulated by BMI's Robbin Ahrold and judges Dan Morgenstern, Slide Hampton and Lee Konitz.

The winning piece will be selected by a panel of jazz experts including Dan Morgenstern, writer/critic and Director of the Institute of Jazz Studies at Rutgers University, composer/arranger/trombonist/band leader Slide Hampton and jazz alto saxophonist Lee Konitz.


Workshop Director Burt Korall (left) and Co-Musical Director Manny Albam (right, front) pose with members of the Workshop who presented new works at the annual showcase concert. Seen here after the concert are (l-r): Korall, Jamie Begian, Anita Brown, Rob Middleton, Kurt Weiss, Tim Newman, Noriko Ueda, Co-Musical Director Jim McNeely, Charlie Parker Jazz Composition Prize winner Rufus Reid, Joseph Phillips, Jr., Jim Marentic and Albam.

Photos: Gary Gershoff

At the July 20 Merkin Hall concert, the 16-piece BMI/New York Jazz Orchestra, an integral part of the BMI Jazz Composers Workshop, will showcase 10 of the best pieces created over the past year. Compositions nominated for the Charlie Parker Award will be performed for the judges during the first half of the concert and the winning work will be named at the end of the evening.

The BMI Jazz Composers Workshop is directed by noted jazz authority and author Burt Korall, with esteemed co-musical directors Manny Albam, Jim McNeely and Michael Abene. It offers an environment where composers have the freedom to explore all avenues in the creative process with a focus on innovative large ensemble compositions in a collaborative environment.

Founded in 1985 by BMI Senior Vice President Theodora Zavin, the BMI Foundation, Inc. offers grants which make possible the continuation and development of creative programs for the composition of new music and the performance of these new compositions. With the aid of the distinguished writers, composers and publishers who serve on the Foundation's Advisory Panel and the executive staff from BMI who serve as its officers, the Foundation's grants offer a platform of support that fosters the growth of young composers and ensures the continuation of the heritage of American musical ingenuity for generations to come.

BMI, founded in 1940, is an American performing rights organization that represents more than 250,000 songwriters, composers and music publishers in all genres of music. Through its music performance and reciprocal agreements with sister organizations around the world, it grants businesses and media access to its repertoire of more than 4.5 million songs and compositions.