Frost School Winners from Downbeat Magazine’s 34th Annual Student Music Awards

April 27, 2011 — The University of Miami Frost School of Music is excited to recognize its winners from DownBeat’s 34th Annual Student Music Awards.

The DownBeat Student Music Awards is an esteemed competition for middle school, high school, and college students to showcase their talent and be recognized for their musical skills.

University of Miami Frost School of Music ensembles and individual students are winners of 16 awards – a record number for the Department of Studio Music and Jazz. A wide range of categories are represented, demonstrating the breadth of the jazz program at the Frost School of Music.

Several of the Frost School’s Jazz Ensembles are Jazz Group category winners. The Emmet Cohen Trio, lead by faculty mentor Martin Bejerano, is the Downbeat Jazz Group Undergraduate College Winner. The Stamps Jazz Quintet, lead by director Chuck Bergeron, was awarded the Downbeat Undergraduate College Outstanding Performances category. The Frost Studio Jazz Band, lead by Stephen Guerra, boasts the Downbeat Large Jazz Ensemble Graduate Outstanding College Performances Award.

Numerous compositions are winners of the Downbeat Original Composition – Lead Sheet Award. Sam Yulsman’s, “Song for Robert Rauschenberg” took the Undergraduate Outstanding College Performances Award, while Gary Allen Thomas’, “A New Beginning” received the Graduate Outstanding College Performances Award. Kathleen Hollingsworth is the Graduate College Winner in the Jazz Arrangement category with her rendition of “My Favorite Things.”

An unprecedented number of awards have been given to soloists from the Frost School of Music for this year’s Downbeat Awards. Emmet Cohen, piano, and Gabe Medd, trumpet, are Undergraduate College Winners in the Jazz Soloist category; Alex Weitz, tenor saxophone is the Undergraduate College winner in the Blues/Pop/Rock Soloist category; Dan Andrews, alto saxophone, is the Undergraduate Outstanding College Performances winner for the Jazz Soloist category; Timothy Buchholz, jazz voice, is the Graduate Outstanding College Performances winner for the Vocal Jazz Soloist category.

In a sweeping victory, Jose Valentino Ruiz is the winner of 5 individual Downbeat Awards for his performances on the flute and bass guitar. For his performance on flute, he is the Downbeat Graduate College Winner in the Classical Soloist category, the Graduate Outstanding College Performances Winner in the Blues/Pop/Rock Soloist category, and the Graduate Outstanding College Performances winner in the Engineered Live Recording and Engineered Studio Recording categories. For bass guitar, he took the Graduate Outstanding College Performance Award in the Blues/Pop/Rock Soloist category.

As part of the DownBeat Student Music Awards competition, students record their music on a CD and submit it for judging by professional musicians and educators from across the country. Judging criteria is based on musicianship, creativity, improvisation, technique, sound quality and balance, excitement and authority. Awards are given in 15 categories in five different divisions.


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Jose Valentino Ruiz of the Frost School of Music earned five individual Downbeat Student Music Awards