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presented by Keyboard Connection - The Piano Place

Piano Competition

Thursday, May 25, 2023

The Florida Theatre
Doors open at 6 PM • Competition begins at 7 PM

For over thirty years, the Jacksonville Piano Competition  presented by Keyboard Connection – The Piano Place has been a jazz fest tradition. The event continues to be one of the most exciting musical spectacles to be seen anywhere!

Five finalists representing the very best jazz pianists in the world are chosen by a blind panel of judges to compete for a cash prize and a chance to perform on the Swingin’ Stage at this year’s festival. This fierce competition has become an integral part of the festival and a favorite among many eager to witness some of the most incredible rising talents in the jazz world.

Past judges have included jazz legends such as Marcus Roberts, Brian Culbertson, Christian Sands, Jason Miles, Joey Calderazzo, Lynne Arriale, Dr. John, Per Danielsson, John Thomas, and other well-known jazz musicians.

For over thirty years, the Jacksonville Piano Competition  presented by Keyboard Connection – The Piano Place has been a jazz fest tradition. The event continues to be one of the most exciting musical spectacles to be seen anywhere!

Five finalists representing the very best jazz pianists in the world are chosen by a blind panel of judges to compete for a cash prize and a chance to perform on the Main Stage at this year’s festival. This fierce competition has become an integral part of the festival and a favorite among many eager to witness some of the most incredible rising talents in the jazz world.

Past judges have included jazz legends such as Marcus Roberts, Brian Culbertson, Jason Miles, Joey Calderazzo, Lynne Arriale, Dr. John, Per Danielsson, John Thomas, and other well-known jazz musicians.

Tickets to the Jacksonville Jazz Piano Competition presented by Keyboard Connection – The Piano Place will be on sale soon. Admission is included with the purchase of a VIP Full Festival Experience Package.

TICKETS
General Admission $20 (not including taxes & fees)
Visit box office or call to order: (904) 355-ARTS (2787) x0

2022 WINNERS

FIRST PLACE

Seth Finch

Seth Finch was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He started playing classical piano at age 5 and has not stopped playing piano since. At age 16, Seth was given the opportunity to perform at Carnegie Hall alongside Diane Reeves, Sean Jones, and Wycliffe Gordon, as well as tour Europe as part of Carnegie Hall’s NYO Jazz program. The following year, he toured Asia with Kurt Elling as part of the program. He now attends the Juilliard School for jazz piano as a student of Ted Rosenthal.

SECOND PLACE

Rafael Zaldivar

When Rafael Zaldivar sits down at the piano, he brings a wealth of inspiration to the keys: his compositions display his percussion expertise; his many years of collaborating with top jazz musicians; and his cultural heritage. Born in Camagüey, Cuba, Zaldivar is carrying on a rich family legacy of musicianship. After taking up percussion and piano at a young age, Zaldivar pursued his studies at the Higher Institute of Arts in Havana. Once Zaldivar came to Canada at the age of 22, he completed a B.A. from the Université de Montréal, an M.A. and a DMus both from McGill University. From then on, his musical career flourished, bringing him opportunities to work with such excellent musicians as Greg Osby, Terri Lyne Carrington, Francisco Mela, Nate Smith, Ben Wendel, Ari Hoenig, Dan Weiss, and Nir Felder. Zaldivar had the honor of being personally invited to Boston’s Bean Town Jazz Festival by jazz drummer Terri Lyne Carrington, and had the chance to share the stage with the renowned artist, who recently won a Grammy with her Mosaic project. Zaldivar was an Artist on Residence at “The Berklee College of Music” by September 2021.

THIRD PLACE

Jordan Williams

Jordan Williams, from Philadelphia, PA, began playing jazz classics by ear at age 6 at the Philadelphia Clef Club of Jazz & the Performing Arts. By age 11, he had formed his own band, The Young Lions Jazz Trio, along with drummer Justin Faulkner, and performed his first gig at a major Philadelphia venue. He has since expanded his performances from PA, NJ, and DE to MD, DC, NY, FL and CA. Williams is a classically trained pianist and a recent graduate of the George Washington University, where he received dual degrees in Jazz Studies and Engineering. At GW, he received a four-year scholarship as a Presidential Scholar for the Arts, and performed regularly with the Faculty Jazz Combo, the Latin Band, The Voice (a gospel/praise band) and at numerous public jazz venues throughout the DC/Maryland metro area. Williams has reached several milestones – a two-time National Young Arts Winner, Kennedy Center – Betty Carter Jazz Ahead Residency, The Berklee 5 Week program, Berklee Summer Jazz Workshop headed by Terri Lynn Carrington, a Grammy Band Finalist, TED Conference Performer, Apollo Theater “Legendary Star of Tomorrow”. He recently toured with saxophonist Isaiah Collier and performs regularly in New York City. Jordan Williams aspires to perform music that speaks to everyone and he is on a mission to uphold the great heritage of the American Classical Art Form, Jazz.

2022 FINALISTS

David Caldwell-Mason

David’s versatile life at the piano spans more than three decades and many styles of music, including jazz, gospel, classical and pop. He is also a composer and has released three jazz albums with his trio.

David has performed and recorded with Victory Boyd, Darren Barret, Mark Guilianna, Tyshawn Sorey, Juris Teppich, and Steve Turre. He has performed at The Blue Note, Smalls, The Bitter End, and Groove in New York; the Speakeasy in Winston, North Carolina; and Club Palm, Club Evans, and the Uiwang City Hall in South Korea.

He is a graduate of Simon’s Rock College of Bard and the jazz program at William Paterson University, where he formed his most important musical relationships, studying under Armen Donelian and Ari Hoenig.

Jason Yeager

New York-based pianist and composer Jason Yeager creates music that is deeply expressive and multi-faceted, defying convention while reveling in the traditions of jazz, classical, and Latin American folk traditions. An adroit accompanist on 20+ recordings as well as an imaginative bandleader on five of his own albums, Yeager most recently released All At Onceness with musical polymath Randal Despommier and New Songs of Resistance with his eponymous group, featuring reimagined nueva canción songs from Latin America and original compositions. The latter has been called “a musical reflection of troubled times and a search for affirmation nonetheless” (Boston Globe) and “one of the best albums of 2019 in any style of music” (New York Music Daily). In 2022, he will release two albums: Hand in Hand with singer-actress Julie Benko and Unstuck in Time: The Kurt Vonnegut Suite (Sunnyside Records). Yeager has worked with such noteworthy artists as Miguel Zenón, Luciana Souza, Greg Osby, George Garzone, Sean Jones, Jason Anick, Joe Hunt, and Sara Serpa, among others. A committed educator, he is Assistant Professor of Piano at Berklee College of Music and an instructor at the New York Jazz Academy.

2022 Master of Ceremonies & Rhythm Section

2022-jjf-piano-NoelFreidline

Noel Freidline

Master of Ceremonies

Clyde Conner

DRUMS

Dennis Marks

BASS