The jazz scene has a new rising star, and she’s a vibraphonist. Sasha Berliner
, a 20-year-old musician, composer, producer and bandleader from San Francisco
, won the LetterOne RISING STARS Jazz Award, an annual competition that offers up-and-coming jazz musicians an opportunity to make a name for themselves.
“We were very impressed by the quality of the group of artists who were in the final round of voting and it was not easy to come to a decision about the winner,” said the jury that selected Berliner as the winner of the award. “Berliner convinced us with her musicality and dedication, but also that she is pushing the jazz envelope forward. We are convinced that we will hear a lot from her in the future.”
The jury was chaired by Mikhail Fridman—an international businessman, philanthropist and jazz fan whose generous support made the LetterOne RISING STARS Jazz Award possible—and also included producer Brian Bacchus, journalist Michelle Mercer, Montreal Jazz Festival Director André Menard, and legendary jazz vocalist Dee Dee Bridgewater
The competition was stiff, with more than 230 jazz musicians from around the world competing for the prize, but Berliner brought it home and won a seven-city international tour of North America that includes performances at the D.C. Jazz Festival, Blue Note Jazz Festival in New York City
, the Vancouver International Jazz Festival, the Rochester International Jazz Festival, the Festival International de Jazz de Montreal, the Iowa City Jazz Festival, and the San Francisco Jazz Festival, all of which take place in June 2019. Her winnings also include a full year of marketing and promotional support.
Berliner started playing drums at age eight, picked up the vibraphone at age 13, and is now an alumna of the SF Jazz High School All-Stars Orchestra and the Banff International Workshop in Jazz and Creative Music. She is currently a student of The New School of Jazz and Contemporary Music in New York. Her next album, Azalea,
is scheduled to be released in September 2019.
With the LetterOne RISING STARS Jazz Award, a tour across the U.S. and Canada, and a new record in the works, Berliner is poised to be one of modern-day jazz’s most promising up-and-comers.