Jul 2, 2019
The American Pianists Association nurtures the artistic growth of America's top young pianists by focusing on creative expression and career development. Its largest and most prestigious support is given through a biennial competition known as the American Pianists Awards to discover the best aspiring young American jazz or classical pianists.
The unique and innovative competitions span 13 months and provide a platform to deeply engage musical artists in a variety of creative formats and settings. Winners receive cash and two-years of career advancement and support valued at over $100,000, making this one of the most coveted prizes in the music world and the largest for American jazz pianists. Past winners of the jazz competition include well-known names like Aaron Parks, Sullivan Fortner, Dan Tepfer, Aaron Diehl, and Adam Birnbaum.
The 2019 competition finished earlier this year, and the winner was Emmet Cohen, a two-time prior finalist. As a recipient of the Cole Porter Fellowship, he will receive, among other prizes and support, a recording contract with Mack Avenue Records. Other finalists in the 2019 competition were Kenny Banks, Jr; Keelan Dimick; Dave Meder and Billy Test.
Dr. Joel Harrison serves as President/CEO and Artistic Director of the APA. His duties at APA include the oversight of 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 APA to a national and international constituency.
Podcast 688 is my conversation with Dr. Harrison, as we discuss the lengthy and thorough process of choosing a winner of the APA, his thoughts on this year’s winner (including a selection from Emmet Cohen’s album with Ron Carter, “All of You“) and what judges look for in their winner.