The first BMI Foundation/Jerry Harrington Jazz Composers Award was presented recently to Argentine composer Laura Andel during the performing rights organization’s annual Jazz Composers Workshop showcase concert at Merkin Hall. Andel received $2,000 for her piece, “El Pire,” which was judged the best composition developed in the workshop during the past year. The award will be given each year in honor of the late Jerry Harrington to celebrate his lifelong love of jazz music.
Andel, a native of Buenos Aires, has just received her Bachelor of Music degree from Boston’s Berklee College of Music and has been a member of the BMI Jazz Composers Workshop’s advanced class since 1996. “El Pire” was inspired by being in New York where there are “so many things going on at once,” and was also chosen to be performed and conducted by Andel at the BMI/New York Jazz Orchestra’s concert at the Blue Note earlier this year. This young composer, arranger, conductor and saxophonist’s impressive background also includes several awards in composition and scholarship, as well as experience in teaching, recording and film scoring.
The Jerry Harrington Award was established through the BMI Foundation by Harrington’s longtime friend, BMI’s Evelyn Buckstein, in memory of the late attorney and jazz aficionado to recognize the outstanding compositions created in the workshop.
Industry veteran Burt Korall, director of the BMI Jazz Composers Workshop, and musical directors Manny Albam and Jim McNeely, offer an environment where composers have the freedom to explore all avenues in the creative process. The workshop’s key adjunct, the BMI/New York Jazz Orchestra, is a modern, 17-piece repertory ensemble that debuts its works at an annual concert given at the end of the workshop’s academic year and at other times at major jazz venues.