Trumpeter Billy Buss wins Monterey/Jimmy Lyons Scholarship to Berklee


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Berklee College of Music and the Monterey Jazz Festival names Berkeley's Billy Buss the tenth Jimmy Lyons Scholar

Presentation to be made on the Jimmy Lyons Stage, 2 pm Sunday 9/17; previous Lyons Scholar, drummer James Williams to make presentation *

Berklee College of Music and the Monterey Jazz Festival announced today that trumpeter Billy Buss of Berkeley, California, is the tenth recipient of the Jimmy Lyons Scholarship at Berklee, a major music education prize. The scholarship is named in honor of the festival's late founder, James L. (Jimmy) Lyons, who began the festival 49 years ago with jazz education at its core.

The Lyons Scholarship is awarded each year--after thorough live auditions at the Next Generation Festival in April--to one California music student, in recognition of their outstanding talent. Because it is a full-tuition, renewable award, satisfactory academic and musical progress in each successive year will allow each Lyons Scholar to attend Berklee through graduation, entirely tuition-free.

Despite his youth, Buss will be one of the busiest musicians at this year's festival, performing with several different groups. In addition to sitting in with the Berklee Monterey Quartet on Sunday afternoon in performances at 2:30 and 5:00, Billy will also perform with the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra, the Clifford Brown/Stan Getz Fellows, and the Berkeley High Sextet.

2006 Lyons Scholarship winner Billy Buss is a gifted trumpeter, who graduated this past spring from Berkeley High School, in Berkeley, California. At Berkeley, he was lead trumpet and solo chair for its nationally award-winning jazz ensemble and jazz combo under the direction of Charles Hamilton. Playing trumpet since the age of nine, and studying jazz since age 11, Billy has received numerous awards, including two “Outstanding Performance/ Soloist" awards from the Downbeat Student Music Awards and several scholarship awards.

Buss was a member of the prestigious San Francisco All-Star High School Jazz Ensemble for four years, and performed with several other honor groups, including two years with the CMEA/IAJE California All-State Honor Jazz Ensemble, two years with the Monterey Jazz Festival High School All-Star Band, the 2006 Clifford Brown/Stan Getz Fellows, and the 2006 Gibson/Baldwin GRAMMY Band Jazz Ensemble. Billy's Berkeley High School jazz combo placed first in the nationally celebrated Monterey Jazz Festival's Next Generation Competition the past two years. Billy has also been an NFAA Presidential Scholar in the Arts on trumpet.

Inspired and coached by former Tower of Power trumpeter Mic Gillette since the age of 11, Billy considers himself fortunate to have played or studied with a number of prominent musicians, including Jay McShann, Ravi Coltrane, Victor Goines, Steve Turre, Charlie Hunter, Roy Hargrove, Brian Blade, Tiger Okoshi, Nicholas Payton, Phil Wilson, Wynton Marsalis, Joshua Redman, Oscar Peterson, Allen Toussaint, Hank Jones, Barry Harris, Irma Thomas, Ivan Neville, and Coolio.

Billy has performed in hundreds of locations and venues, including the Monterey Jazz Festival in California, the Umbria Jazz Festival in Italy, the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland, and numerous festivals in Japan.

Billy has just begun his collegiate music education at Berklee College of Music in Boston. One of his schoolmates, Gary Burton drummer and fellow Jimmy Lyons Scholar James Williams, will join Festival General Manager Tim Jackson in making the presentation to Buss on Sunday at 2:00 pm Sunday, on the Jimmy Lyons Stage.

Auditions for the Lyons Scholarship were via submission of an audition tape to the Berklee Scholarship Committee, which selected a group of 30 young Californians for live audition in Monterey. The students selected to audition are required to file an application for admission to Berklee, which must be approved by the college in order to compete for the scholarship. Auditions were held on the weekend of April 22 & 23, 2006, during the Festival's annual Next Generation Festival, and were conducted, as always, by senior Berklee faculty who come to California exclusively for this purpose. The college also awarded several other, significant tuition scholarships at the auditions.

Berklee College of Music was founded on the revolutionary principle that the best way to prepare students for careers in music was through the study and practice of contemporary music. For over 60 years, the college has evolved constantly to reflect the state of the art of music and the music business. With over a dozen performance and nonperformance majors, a diverse and talented student body representing over 70 countries, and a music industry “who's who" of alumni, Berklee is the world's premier learning lab for the music of today--and tomorrow.

This story appears courtesy of All About Jazz Publicity.
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