Natixis Global Asset Management announced earlier today the winners of this year’s George Wein Jazz Ambassador Scholarships, they are Elena Serrano of Providence, R.I., and Jeffrey Pinsker-Smith of Wellesley, M.A.

Since 2011, Natixis has provided scholarships to students who have shown tremendous musical ability, strong academic achievement, and a commitment to giving back to their communities. The scholarships will be presented by David Giunta, CEO of Natixis Global Asset Management for the U.S. and Canada, this weekend during the 2017 Newport Jazz Festival.

Natixis, one of the world’s largest asset managers, has been presenting sponsor of the Newport Jazz Festival since 2011. The firm awards two $5,000 scholarships annually to two aspiring college-bound musicians as part of its broader commitment to music education and to fostering the next generation of jazz musicians and fans. The scholarships are named in celebration of George Wein, the founder of the Newport Jazz Festival and one of the original jazz ambassadors, who has spent his life working to bring people together through the power of jazz.

“Natixis is honored to sponsor the legendary Newport Jazz Festival and help preserve the legacy of jazz,” said Giunta. “Supporting this national treasure aligns with our broader commitment to give back to our community, including support of the arts.”

Elena Serrano, a trumpet player, will receive the first scholarship during her performance with the Rhode Island Senior All-State Jazz Ensemble at the festival on Saturday, Aug. 5. Serrano is a graduate of Barrington High School (R.I.) and will study ethnomusicology, composition, and linguistics at Boston University in the fall. Serrano sees the scholarship as validation and encouragement for her goals to create music and help others create music.

The second scholarship will be presented to Jeffrey Pinsker-Smith on Sunday, Aug. 6, following his set with the Massachusetts Music Educators Association All-State Jazz Band. Pinsker-Smith, who graduated from Wellesley High School (Mass.), began playing the trumpet after learning about jazz in middle school. He has said he loves the creative aspects of jazz improvisation and that jazz allowed him to find his “own musical voice.” Pinsker-Smith heads to the University of Rochester in the fall to study music and computer science.

“Natixis is proud to recognize not only the tremendous musical ability of Elena and Jeffrey, but also their strong academic achievement and commitment to giving back to their communities,” said Giunta. “Through their music these students showcase some of the same traits we encourage in our business such as creativity and innovation, collaboration and embracing diverse thinking and perspectives.”

In addition to sponsoring the Newport Jazz Festival, Natixis also partners with the National Youth Jazz Orchestra (NYJO) in the U.K., a world-class orchestra formed 50 years ago for skilled musicians up to the age of 25 to perform nationally and internationally. Natixis’ music initiatives are part of our Together for Better℠ philanthropic outreach program which creates important and lasting change, combining our resources, our passions, and the power of change-making community partners. Child by child, family by family, community by community, we are changing the world. Together for Better.

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