On March 8, the ASCAP Foundation announced the recipients of the 2021 Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composer Awards. Among this year’s distinguished winners is CalArts jazz student Michael Echaniz (Music MFA 22).
Established in 2002, the award is designed to encourage young gifted jazz composers (up to the age of 30) and includes a cash prize. Its name recognizes ASCAP member, philanthropist and friend of CalArts Herb Alpert, whose foundation supports the Jazz Composer Awards program. This year’s competition was juried by trumpeter and composer Ambrose Akinmusire, trombonist, composer, educator Wycliffe Gordon, and composter-arranger Jihye Lee.
Public health conditions permitting, one of this year’s 20 Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composer Awards recipients will be featured by the Newport Jazz Festival through a partnership with the Newport Festivals Foundation.
Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, Echaniz is an avid performer, having played alongside internationally-renowned artists such as Jeff Denson, Romain Pilon, Tammy Scheffer, Erik Jekabson, and Nick Rossi. He has won a number of awards including the 2018 Dick Hindman Prize in Jazz Piano, 2018 Jazz Search West, the 2017 Reno Jazz Festival’s 1st Place College Combo, and the 2018 Reno Jazz Festival’s 2nd Place College Combo.