Emerging Jazz Artist Award
Celebrating Toronto's outstanding emerging jazz artists.
The Emerging Jazz Artist Award furthers the career of an outstanding emerging jazz artist and is intended to support the pre-production, production, and/or recording of original music composed by the recipient. The Emerging Jazz Artist Award is a cash award of $10,000. Finalists receive $1,000. The award was established in 2014, through the generous donation of Cheryl and Manuel Buchwald, and will be given out annually for at least 10 years. The Emerging Jazz Artist Award is part of our Vision Awards.
“As a creative person you have a lot of dreams of things you would like to do, and finances often stop them. I often dream and dream big. An award like this makes those dreams possible.” – Larnell Lewis, 2017 Emerging Jazz Artist Award Recipient
Emerging Jazz Artist Award Recipients
Rebecca Hennessy, 2018 Recipient
Rebecca Hennessy is a highly sought-after Toronto-based trumpeter, composer and bandleader. As a leader and co-leader, Rebecca has released eight albums and has toured Mexico, Panama, Sri Lanka, Europe, USA and in Canada. She has performed and recorded with internationally recognized artists including Adele, Ron Sexsmith, Andy Kim, Owen Pallett, Broken Social Scene, Feist, Ab Baars and Ken Vandermark. Rebecca co-leads modern jazz quartet Way North. In 2016, her FOG Brass Band was nominated for both the Montreal Jazz Festival’s Grand Prix de Jazz and the Halifax Jazz Festival’s Galaxie Rising Star Award. Her most recent CD, Two Calls was rated best Canadian jazz albums of 2017 by Ottawa Citizen.
Larnell Lewis, 2017 Recipient
Toronto native Larnell Lewis is a musician, composer, producer, educator and clinician. One of Canada’s most promising up-and-coming drummers, Lewis has garnered international status with his most recent works with the three-time Grammy Award winning band, Snarky Puppy. He is a part-time music professor at Humber College, has been featured on the cover of Modern Drummer (September 2016), and has performed with such artists as Fred Hammond, Lalah Hathaway, Lisa Fischer, and Laila Biali.
Amanda Tosoff, 2016 recipient
Amanda Tosoff is a Toronto-based pianist and composer. She has performed with internationally recognized artists like Ingrid Jensen, Emilie-Claire Barlow, Phil Dwyer, Brad Turner, and Kelly Jefferson, and her groups have opened for jazz legends Bobby Hutcherson, Renee Rosnes, Oliver Jones, and Brazilian singer Luciana Souza. Amanda has been awarded such honours as General Motors Grand Prix de Jazz at the 2009 Montréal Jazz Festival, and more recently, a 2014 graduating scholarship from the University of Toronto – an award given out to graduates deemed to have potential to make a contribution to music. On her fifth release, Words (2016), Amanda has taken an adventurous leap beyond the confines of conventional jazz. She has taken poems and lyrics that possess a personal resonance for her and framed them in original new compositions that utilize vocals for the first time (sung by highly-regarded singer Felicity Williams of band like Hobson’s Choice, Broken Social Scene, and Bahamas). The result is an eclectic collection that incorporates elements of art song, classical, folk and jazz.
Justin Gray, 2015 recipient
Justin Gray is a bassist, composer and producer based in Toronto. His main influences include Jazz and North Indian Classical music. Justin co-leads the Toronto based Indo-Jazz ensemble Monsoon, and contemporary jazz ensemble Gray Matter. Justin is also on faculty at Humber College, where he leads the Indo-Jazz Collective.
Over the course of his career, Justin has had the opportunity to perform with a number of renowned jazz artists, including; Dave Liebman, Dave Douglas, Mike Stem, Ingrid Jensen, Seamus Blake, Dan Weiss, Rudresh Mahanthappa, Greg Osby, John Riley, Tony Mallaby, Pat Labarbera and David Mott.
In 2010, Justin invented and co-created the Bass Veena, an instrument designed for Indian classical and Indo-jazz music. Justin is now emerging as the first artist to perform traditional and original music on this instrument worldwide. Justin has previously received generous support from the Toronto Arts Council, Ontario Arts Council and Canada Council for the Arts to pursue original composition, recording and formal studies.
Chelsea McBride, 2014 recipient
Chelsea McBride is a multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, composer, and band leader based out of Toronto, Ontario. After relocating to Toronto from Vancouver to obtain her B.Mus at Humber College, Chelsea now leads two of her own projects: Chelsea and the Cityscape and Chelsea McBride's Socialist Night School, both of which feature her original compositions and talents as a saxophonist.
Her highly personal blend of modern jazz, pop-rock influences, and subtle, moody orchestrations has coalesced into a bright and fresh new sound that listeners of all stripes can enjoy.
Ethan Ardelli, 2018 Finalist
Ethan Ardelli is a Juno award winning drummer and composer based in Toronto. Ethan won the 2006 Grand Prix de Jazz at the Montreal International Jazz Festival as part of the David Virelles Quintet and has played on two Juno award winning albums, Jane Bunnett's "Radio Guantanamo" and Mike Downes' "Ripple Effect.” Since 2014, Ethan has been leading his own ensemble showcasing his original compositions. Ethan is also currently a member of the Darren Sigesmund Quintet, Nancy Walker Quintet, Alexander Brown Sextet, Brian Dickinson Trio and the Harley Card Quintet. Ethan is on faculty at the Humber College Community Music Program.
Matt Woroshyl, 2018 Finalist
Matt Woroshyl is a saxophonist, composer, woodwind specialist, band-leader, and clinician from Toronto. Matt has performed with many esteemed artists including Grammy-nominated Jamie Cullum, Jane Monheit, Ingrid Jensen, Mike Murley, Wycliffe Gordon, Jon Faddis, Reggie Workman, and Dave Liebman. Matt was named the Prince Edward County 2013 Rising Young Star, as well as receiving the William & Phyllis Waters Graduating Award from the University of Toronto. Matt has recently recorded his debut album, highlighting the innovative voice he has brought to the music scene.