Jazz Ensemble Wins DownBeat Magazine Student Music Award

Kutztown University Jazz Ensemble students on stage

KUTZTOWN, Pa. – Kutztown University’s Jazz Ensemble I has been honored by the DownBeat Magazine Student Music Awards with the Outstanding Performance Award in the category of Undergraduate Jazz Ensemble College Performance. 

The DownBeat Student Music Awards recognize the top jazz ensembles at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Nine judges evaluate the participating groups based on several performance criteria including overall sound, proper interpretation, improvisation, creativity, intonation, phrasing and dynamics. The honorees are selected from a competitive pool in which winners must demonstrate a distinct voice in addition to technical proficiency.

The DownBeat Student Music Awards are considered the most prestigious awards in jazz education. Since its founding in 1976, hundreds of musicians, music educators and music industry professionals received their first international recognition as DownBeat Student Music Award winners. 

This is the 10th win for the KU Commercial Music program but the first for the Jazz Ensemble. Other winners in this category were Vanderbilt University and University of the Arts in Philadelphia.