Darcy Argue Wins BMI Foundation’s Charlie Parker Jazz Prize

Posted in News on July 21, 2004
The BMI Foundation has named jazz composer Darcy Argue the winner of the 5th Annual Charlie Parker Jazz Prize for his work, "Transit." The $3,000 award, given to the writer of the best new work composed in the BMI Jazz Composers Workshop, was presented during the Workshop's 16th annual showcase concert at Merkin Hall on July 15. Argue has also been commissioned to write another piece to be premiered at next year's concert. The commission is named in memory of the late Manny Albam, the Workshop's longtime Musical Director who passed away in 2001.

Charlie Parker Jazz Composition Prize winner Darcy Argue (center) is congratulated by Workshop Musical Directors Michael Abene and Jim McNeelyCharlie Parker Jazz Composition Prize winner Darcy Argue conducts his winning piece, "Transit," during the BMI/New Jazz Orchestra's 16th annual showcase concert

Argue's winning piece was selected from among three compositions by a panel of jazz experts, including Dan Morgenstern, eminent jazz historian and Director of the Institute of Jazz Studies at Rutgers University; noted jazz pianist, composer and author Kenny Werner; and big band arranger/composer David Matthews. Previous winners of the Charlie Parker Jazz Composition Prize include Rufus Reid, Jamie Begian, Noriko Ueda and Jon Schapiro.

Last year's Charlie Parker Jazz Composition Prize winner, Jon Schapiro, conducts the 2003 Manny Albam Commission entitled "The Road To Nowhere"

Darcy James Argue leads New York's newest jazz orchestra, Secret Society, whose members include Ingrid Jensen, Joel Frahm, Jon Wikan and Rob Wilkerson. He is a founding member of Pulse, a composers' collective featuring current and former BMI Jazz Composers Workshop members. Before joining the Workshop in September 2002, he studied with Workshop co-founder Bob Brookmeyer at the New England Conservatory where he graduated with a Master of Music degree. Argue was awarded the Down Beat Student Music Award for Best Extended Composition in 2002 and the SOCAN Prize for Composition at the 2000 Montreal International Jazz Festival. He has written arrangements for various artists including Renee Rosnes, Shelby Lynne, the Klezmer Conservatory Band and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. His original compositions have been performed by many high school and college ensembles including the Eastman Jazz Orchestra and the McGill Jazz Orchestra. His compositions are published by

The BMI Jazz Composers Workshop is directed by jazz greats Jim McNeely and Michael Abene. The Workshop 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. The BMI/New York Jazz Orchestra, an adjunct of the Workshop, is a 16-piece modern repertory ensemble featuring top New York musicians who showcase new works regularly in concert and nightclub appearances.

Photos by Gary Gershoff


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