Monthly Archives: December 2018

Episode 8: American Pianists Awards past, present & future



In Episode 8 of The Journey, we learn about the history of the American Pianists Awards through an interview with Joel Harrison, CEO and Artistic Director of the American Pianists Association. During the episode we’ll hear excerpts from performances by Sean Chen, Spencer Myer, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Kurt Ellling and the five 2019 American Pianists Awards finalists. 

Joel Harrison has been President/CEO of the American Pianists Association since 2008 and Artistic Director since 2001. He was previously a faculty member at Davidson College in North Carolina and at Mississippi State University, where he was also director of the Mississippi Piano Showcase and a Touring Artist for the Mississippi Arts Commission. He currently oversees all artistic programs, most especially the American Pianists Awards, relationships with collaborative organizations, strategic planning, staff development and oversight, Board communications, community and external relationships, fundraising, and representing the Awards to a national and international constituency.


Episode 7: Improvising with Emmet Cohen



Multifaceted American jazz pianist and composer Emmet Cohen is one of his generation’s pivotal artistic figures. Downbeat praised the “nimble touch, measured stride and warm harmonic vocabulary” he employs to communicate with other musicians and audiences at what he terms “the deepest level of humanity and individuality.” Cohen plays with the command and passion of an artist fully devoted to his medium. Leader of the “Emmet Cohen Trio,” Cohen presents jazz performance lectures through the YoungArts Foundation and Lincoln Center’s “Jazz for Young People” program. He has appeared in the Monterey, Newport, North Sea, Bern, and Edinburgh jazz festivals, among others, and at many famous music venues, including Rose Hall and the Kennedy Center. Cohen has also played in legendary international nightspots, such as Birdland, the Blue Note, Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola, Jazzhaus Montmartre, and Ronnie Scott’s. He is Hammond B-3 organist-in-residence at Harlem’s Smoke jazz club. A Suzuki piano student at age three, Cohen holds jazz piano degrees from the Manhattan School of Music (M.M.) and the University of Miami (B.M.). He was previously a finalist in the American Pianists Awards in both 2011 and 2015, and he was also a finalist in the Thelonious Monk International Piano Competition in 2011. Cohen has performed or collaborated with Debbie Allen, Ron Carter, Jimmy Cobb, Lea DeLaria, Kurt Elling, Billy Hart, Jimmy Heath, Ali Jackson, Bill T. Jones, Brian Lynch, Christian McBride, and Herlin Riley.