Pianist/composer Max Berlin and trumpeter Emanuel Burks have been named the recipients of this year’s Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival/Eastman School of Music Scholarship and will attend Eastman this fall as freshman in the Department of Jazz Studies and Contemporary Media.
The scholarship program is sponsored by Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival producers Marc Iacona and John Nugent and funded by proceeds from the Festival.
The annual ESM/XRIJF Gerry Niewood Jazz Scholarship Concert highlighting the program and saluting scholarship winners will be held at 8 p.m. Monday, June 23, in Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre. Opening the show is the Eastman Youth Jazz Orchestra, led by Eastman Community Music School Director Howard Potter. They’ll be followed by the Eastman Jazz Ensemble directed by Bill Dobbins with special guest artist John Sneider. Sneider has gained national recognition as an innovative jazz trumpet player and composer. He has collaborated with Curtis Stigers, Max Roach, Chris Potter, Larry Goldings, Brad Mehldau, Curtis Fuller, The Blues Brothers, The Saturday Night Live Band, The Carnegie Hall Jazz Band, Joseph Arthur, Angela McCluskey, David Poe, and Madeleine Peyroux. The concert is free but donations to the scholarship fund are welcome.
Berlin is from Huntington Woods, Mich. He started studying piano at age 8 and frequently is tapped to accompany vocalists as well as theatre department rehearsals at his school, The Roeper School. He played in the school’s jazz band and sang in its concert choir. He also founded the linguistics club, ran cross-country during his senior year, and served on the editorial board of the school’s creative writing magazine, The Muse.
During his sophomore year in high school, Berlin started a piano trio that played school events and also gigged at local restaurants. He has written big band and solo piano works as well as pieces for his trio. He has also received commissions through his participation in the Metro-Detroit Jazz Workshops.
Berlin will be studying jazz composition at Eastman.
Burks, of Amherst, N.Y., started studying trumpet in fifth grade and began teaching himself piano three years ago. He performed with the jazz ensemble, wind ensemble, concert band, Latin Band, and marching band at Amherst Central High School, earning All-County, All-State, and All-National honors for jazz ensemble.
Regularly performing and sitting in on jam sessions in the Buffalo area, Burks is also known by his stage name Chunka Amaré. He has sat in with drummer Renard Harper, trumpeter Bruce Harris, bassist Juni Booth, pianist George Caldwell, and other musicians. He also composes both on piano and on computer.
Burks will be a trumpet performance major at Eastman.
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