July 21, 2015 — Coral Gables, Fla. and Sydney, Australia — Pianist Tal Cohen, M.M. ’15, was named the 2015 winner of the coveted Freedman Jazz Fellowship, awarded July 20, 2015 in Sydney, Australia.
Cohen earned a Master's of Music degree from the University of Miami Frost School of Music in May, where he studied jazz piano with Martin Bejerano. He was a fellow in the Frost School's Henry Mancini Institute (HMI) and performed regularly last year with the HMI Jazz Sextet, under the mentorship of former HMI artistic director Terence Blanchard.
The Freedman Music Fellowships are offered and awarded annually to Australian classical and jazz music instrumentalists. Based on an invite-only process, nominees aged 35 and under are selected by senior industry figures. Those nominated for a Freedman Jazz Fellowship compiled a project proposal, and from this, four finalists were selected to perform at The Studio, Sydney Opera House on July 20. The jazz judges for 2015 were bassist Zoe Hauptmann, saxophonist David Theak and pianist Chris Cody.
At the end of the July 20 event, Tal Cohen was selected as the 2015 Freedman Jazz Fellow and was awarded a $15,000 fellowship. ABC Jazz covered the event and offered three days of studio time in the ABC New York recording studios.
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In 2014, Tal Cohen was named the winner of the Barry Harris National Jazz Competition in Detroit, Michigan. He was awarded a cash prize and performed at the Detroit International Jazz Festival over Labor Day Weekend that year.
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