It’s one thing to take the stage with your own group at a conventional battle of the bands type of event. It’s a whole other animal to jump up there with a group you don’t usually play with, while being judged for a world-class award in a distinguished 1,660-seat music venue. But that’s just what the finalists in the 2015 American Pianists Association's Jazz Fellowship Awards Finals will do Saturday (March 28) at the Hilbert Circle Theatre. And you can watch -- and listen.
- Photo by Mark Sheldon
This is a battle of prodigies: Christian Sands (left) wrote his first composition at age 5, and Sullivan Fortner (right) was playing music by ear at age 7.
Having already taken part in the competition’s prior stages, Christian Sands, Emmet Cohen, Kris Bowers, Sullivan Fortner and Indianapolis’ Zach Lapidus will each perform with five-time Grammy Award-winning vocalist Dianne Reeves and the Buselli-Wallarab Jazz Orchestra, showcasing their talents one last time before a panel of judges. Following this final installment of the competition, the American Pianists Association's 2015 Cole Porter Fellow in Jazz will be named. A prestigious prize valued at $100,000, the award Includes a $50,000 cash prize (the largest prize in the world for a young jazz pianist), a recording contract with Mack Avenue Records and career assistance and engagement for two years.
- Aaron Lingenfelter
Contestant Kris Bowers began studying classical piano as a toddler in Los Angeles.