UNT College of Music jazz students win 8 'DownBeat' Student Music Awards

DENTON (UNT), Texas -- University of North Texas College of Music jazz students, faculty and ensembles have been honored by the national jazz and blues magazine "DownBeat" with a total of eight student music and outstanding performance awards. The awards, considered the most prestigious in jazz education, will be announced in the June issue of the magazine.

Jennifer Barnes, assistant professor of vocal jazz and mentor of the UNT Jazz Singers, earned the DownBeat Jazz Education Achievement Award while the UNT Jazz Singers won in the Graduate College Large Vocal Jazz Ensemble category. Vocal jazz students Marion Powers and Nick Olynciw were noted as outstanding soloists for their performance of the ensemble's song "Groovin Hard."

Garrett Wingfield, jazz composition student, was named Graduate College Winner in Original Composition – Large Ensemble for his work "Anthropoidea" and jazz studies student Mark Hartsuch's "Winter Wonderland" earned the top honor in the Undergraduate College Jazz Arrangement category.

"These awards recognize the hard work that our students and their mentors devote to their artistry," said John Murphy, chair of the Division of Jazz Studies. "They show the comprehensive excellence of our program by recognizing instrumental and vocal soloists and groups, composers and arrangers, and jazz, Latin and pop styles."

The full list of awards is below.

Three winners:

  • Large Vocal Jazz Ensemble Graduate College Winner: UNT Jazz Singers; faculty mentor: Jennifer Barnes
  • Original Composition – Large Ensemble Graduate College Winner: Garrett Wingfield, "Anthropoidea"; faculty mentor: Richard DeRosa
  • Jazz Arrangements Undergraduate College Winner: Mark Hartsuch, "Winter Wonderland"; faculty mentor: Brad Leali

Five outstanding honors:

  • Jazz Soloist Graduate College Outstanding Performance: Daniel Matthews, trumpet; faculty mentor: Jay Saunders
  • Jazz Soloist Graduate College Outstanding Performance: Jake Macary, trombone; faculty mentor: Tony Baker
  • Latin Group Undergraduate College Outstanding Performance: UNT Latin Jazz Lab; director: José Aponte
  • Original Composition – Large Ensemble Undergraduate College Outstanding Composition: Kyle Gordon, "Incantation"; faculty mentor: Richard DeRosa
  • Jazz Arrangement Undergraduate College Outstanding Arrangement: Kyle Gordon, "My One and Only Love"; faculty mentor: Richard DeRosa

Connect with the College of Music on Facebook and on Twitter at @UNTCoM.

About the DownBeat Student Music Awards

The DownBeat Student Music Awards, founded in 1976, are considered the most prestigious awards in jazz education. Hundreds of musicians, music educators and music industry professionals received their first international recognition as DownBeat Student Music Award winners. At least six winners have gone on to appear on the cover of DownBeat as professional artists. Scores have been featured in the magazine and have won either Critics or Readers Poll honors. Even before becoming professionals, students have used this recognition to garner more than $10 million in scholarship opportunities.

About the UNT College of Music

The College of Music is one of the largest and most respected comprehensive music schools in the world. Approximately 1,500 music students attend the college each year, participating in nearly 70 widely varied ensembles while engaged in specialized studies in performance, composition, conducting, jazz studies, music education, music history, music theory or ethnomusicology. Music students, alumni and faculty have made appearances on the world's finest stages, have produced numerous recordings with many receiving Grammy awards and nominations, and have written influential texts in a variety of areas in music scholarship. Distinguished University alumni can be found around the globe in top music ensembles, opera companies, universities, and schools.

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