In addition to honoring renowned jazz pianist Joanne Brackeen and guitar legend Pat Metheny as BMI’s newest Jazz Masters, the BMI Foundation proudly awarded Sara Sithi-Amnuai this year’s BMI Future Jazz Master Scholarship. The $5,000 award was presented to Sithi-Amnuai at the BMI-sponsored annual dinner and celebration of NEA Jazz Master Fellows at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. on April 15. Sithi-Amnuai, a multi-instrumentalist on trumpet, flugelhorn, and sheng, as well as a performer-composer MFA studies major at California Institute of the Arts, was chosen as the recipient by a panel of NEA Jazz Masters and flown to D.C. where she attended the dinner alongside award-winning jazz musicians and composers.
Established by BMI in 2015, and awarded based on evidence of talent and potential as a jazz performer and composer, the BMI Future Jazz Master Scholarship is an annual competition for rising jazz stars pursuing an academic degree in jazz studies. Born in Sydney, Australia, and raised in Laguna Niguel, California, Sithi-Amnuai’s first experience exploring the music world was through the classical piano tradition before she discovered a passion for the trumpet. Now, she regularly performs and records in a variety of ensembles, musical idioms and settings ranging from new music chamber groups and world music ensembles (such as an electric Balkan band and a traditional Chinese ensemble) to film and commercial music groups. She has also had the opportunity to perform with groups and artists such as Kenny Burrell, Kendrick Scott, the LA Philharmonic New Music Ensemble, Christopher Cross, Brian McKnight, as well as having recorded as a sideman with GRAMMY-nominated pianist David Benoit on his 2012 Concord Bicycle Music album Conversation, which charted on the Billboard Jazz charts. As a featured artist, Sithi-Amnuai has additionally performed with the South Coast Symphony, Grand Rapids Jazz Orchestra, Asia America Youth Orchestra and the Tom Kubis Big Band.
Congratulations, Sara, on a job well done!