The ASCAP Foundation, led by President Paul Williams, and Newport Festivals Foundation, Inc., led by Founder & Chairman George Wein, announced via a press release today that they will continue their joint effort to promote emerging jazz talent for the fourth consecutive year.
The Festival will feature a performance by composer and pianist Ben Morris, a recipient of the 2019 ASCAP Foundation Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composer Award.
Morris was selected by a renowned jury of jazz composers including ASCAP members Fabian Almazan, Erica Lindsay, and Nate Smith.
The Ben Morris Quintet will perform on Friday, August 2 at 1:00 p.m. on the Storyville Stage in Newport. Joining Morris on stage will beviolinist/fiddler and singer Zosha Warpeha, multi-winds instrumentalist Juan Gabriel Olivares, bassist Dan Montgomery, and jazz drummer Sam Gautier.
Morris lives equally in the worlds of jazz and contemporary classical music. His projects include chamber and large ensemble music, theater music, film scores, electroacoustic and intermedia works and blur the lines between these two worlds. He most recently spent time in Oslo, Norway studying jazz on a Fulbright Scholarship, composing a work for extended big band and video inspired by his Norwegian heritage. He has been a composer fellow at music festivals and workshops, including the Aspen Music Festival and the International Gugak Workshop in South Korea.
Morris has also received an ASCAP Foundation Morton Gould Young Composer Award, a Downbeat Award and a commission from the American Composers Orchestra Jazz Composers Institute. A passionate student and educator, Morris completed his studies at Rice University and the University of Miami and will continue on to a doctoral degree at the University of Colorado Boulder this fall.
Williams said in the announcement: “The ASCAP Foundation is thrilled to continue our partnership with Newport Festivals Foundation, Inc. to support young musicians and composers. Newport has created a wonderful tradition of nurturing the next generation of jazz performers, and we are so pleased to be part of it.”
George Wein commented in the announcement, “We are happy to be working with The ASCAP Foundation, now in our fourth year, to showcase the work of 2019 Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composer Award recipient, Ben Morris. Both organizations are committed to providing exciting opportunities for the next generation of jazz performers and composers and we look forward to hearing The ASCAP Foundation artist at this year’s Newport Jazz Festival.”
The Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composer Awards were established by The ASCAP Foundation in 2002 to encourage gifted jazz composers up to the age of 30. The program carries the name of the great trumpeter and ASCAP member Herb Alpert in recognition of The Herb Alpert Foundation’s multi-year financial commitment to support this unique program.