March 2022 Winner: Nathaniel Williford

This issue’s featured young artist award winner is Nathaniel Williford, a 17-year-old trumpet player who is currently a junior at Osceola County School for the Arts in Kissimmee, Florida. Nathaniel began his musical studies in sixth grade on the trombone but quickly decided to also start teaching himself how to play the trumpet. In fact, in 2018 he made the Florida All State Band on trombone prior to switching to trumpet as his primary instrument. In addition to playing trumpet in his high school’s Wind Ensemble, Latin Orchestra, jazz band and pit orchestra, Nathaniel performs in and leads his own groups including a jazz combo and the Nathaniel Williford Big Band. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Nathaniel took advantage of the extra time by practicing four and five hours per day and by seeking out new opportunities including performing lead trumpet in the Florida State Youth Symphony’s Jazz Band from August 2020 through February 2021 and lead trumpet in the New York Youth Symphony’s virtual Jazz Band from January 2021 through July 2021. As a result of winning his audition with the New York Youth Symphony, he was awarded a fellowship to begin studying privately with the trumpet instructor of his choice which resulted in him studying with Wayne Bergeron. 

Studying with his trumpet idol, Wayne Bergeron, has been incredibly exciting and beneficial for Nathaniel particularly because he wants to study trumpet performance and music production in college in order to become a studio musician and perhaps open a music studio of his own. Speaking of Nathaniel, Wayne Bergeron says, “I was immediately impressed with his persistence, dedication, and knowledge, especially from someone only 16 years old. Nathaniel is beyond his years as a player. He is a committed musician with a strong work ethic.” 

While attending his first I.T.G. conference in 2019, Nathaniel met Adam Rapa and Trent Austin who were so impressed with his promise as a trumpet player that they gifted him with two Lotus mouthpieces and a 2RL custom trumpet. Additionally he was able to meet and listen to several other inspirational trumpet players at that conference which encouraged him to continue working and improving on his playing. Some of his other favorite trumpet players include Clark Terry, Maynard Ferguson, Esteban Batallán, Maurice Andre, Clifford Brown, Freddie Hubbard, Lee Morgan, Fats Navaro, and Adam Rapa. Nathaniel credits his mom, Eminia Prasad, with recognizing that trumpet is what he was meant to do since day one of his musical studies. He is also very grateful for the support and guidance he has received from his band directors and teachers including Bill Molineaux, Jason Anderson, Stephen Grindel, Major Bailey and Dan Miller.  As the March 2022 ITG Young Artist Award recipient, he will receive a one-year complimentary membership to ITG.  Congratulations Nathaniel!

January 2022 Winner: Jack Towse

This issue’s featured young artist award winner is Jack Towse, a nineteen-year-old trumpeter and Cannonball trumpet artist from Huntington Long Island, NY. Jack graduated from Friends Academy High School in June 2021 and began his bachelors degree in jazz performance at Juilliard this past fall. Ever since he was 12-years-old, Jack attended the Manhattan School of Music PreCollege division studying both classical and jazz trumpet. While attending MSM, he studied with Jonathan Heim, Nadje Noordhuis and Jeremy Manasia, he attended theory, ear training, jazz history and composition and arranging classes, performed in jazz combos and also played in the orchestra. Speaking of Jack’s playing Nadje Noordhuis says, “he can transcribe difficult passages on the spot, play with a beautiful and full sound, and execute challenging intervallic leaps perfectly. He can swap between classical and jazz interpretations with the greatest of ease, and is an extremely gifted soloist in both jazz improvisations and in the classical realm.” In 2017, Jack was invited to join the Jazz at Lincoln Center High School Jazz Academy where he played under the direction of Ted Nash and Tatum Greenblatt. With the Lincoln Center band, he had the opportunity to play three to four shows a year at Dizzy’s club performing with several artists. Jack also performed in his high school’s jazz band and participated in All County and All State competitions, performing with the All State jazz band his junior and senior years of high school. In 2018, he attended the Summer Jazz Academy at Lincoln Center studying with Marcus Printup followed by the opportunity to tour Taiwan and China with Sean Jones in 2019.  

Jack has also been successful in national and international competitions. In the National Trumpet Competition Junior Division, Jack placed in 3rd place in 2016 and 2nd place in 2017. In 2018, Jack placed in 2nd place in the I.T.G. Youth competition. In January 2021, he was one of seven high school students named a finalist in the Young Arts Jazz Division. Jack also excels academically, taking several AP classes sophomore through senior year of high school and earning top honors each year for his grades.

Some of his favorite trumpet players include Kenny Wheeler, Freddie Hubbard and Eddie Henderson. He is very grateful for his experiences at MSM and Jazz at Lincoln center as they greatly shaped his character and his playing. He also cites Nick Mondello as being very influential in his development as a player since he introduced Jack to opportunities such as NTC and ITG. Jack’s family is another important influence as his older brother Sam plays jazz piano and studies at MSM, his younger brother Spencer plays the drums and attends the MSM PreCollege division and Jazz at Lincoln Center and his father plays guitar. Jack’s favorite hobbies include photography, hanging out on the beach and swimming in the ocean. As the January 2022 ITG Young Artist Award recipient, he will receive a one-year complimentary membership to ITG.  Congratulations Jack!

October 2021 Winner: Jeremy Bryant

This issue’s featured young artist award winner is Jeremy Bryant, a 18-year-old trumpeter from Tucson, Arizona. Jeremy graduated from Catalina Foothills High School in May 2021 and is slated to pursue his major in trumpet performance at the Cleveland Institute of Music studying with Michael Sachs beginning in fall 2021. 

Jeremy began playing trumpet at five-years-old in his elementary school’s Mariachi band program and the first five years of his playing were with this group all playing by ear. Since fifth grade, Jeremy has been studying classical trumpet with his private trumpet instructor, Betsy Bright, who performs with the Tucson Symphony. When describing Jeremy’s promise as a young trumpeter, Betsy says “his sound, style sense, musicality and intonation are already on par with many professional orchestral trumpet sections.” As a young musician, he has already gained orchestral playing experience through performing with the National Youth Orchestra of Carnegie Hall (NYO) in 2020 and 2021, performing co-principal trumpet in the Honor Orchestra of America in 2020, and performing with the Tucson Philharmonia Youth Orchestra since 2015 and serving as the principal trumpet in 2021. Other performance experience includes playing trumpet in a brass quintet with Tucson Brass Workshop from 2013-2021, performing in Interlochen's World Youth Wind Symphony in 2019, and performing in his high school’s marching band and as principal trumpet in their wind symphony. As a soloist, Jeremy performed a demanding full recital for a prominent recital series at Tucson's St Philip's in the Hills in spring 2021. 
Jeremy has also competed in several competitions including the ITG Youth Solo Competition, the Tucson Philharmonia Youth Orchestra concerto competition, and All Regional and All State competitions in Arizona. He earned second place in the 2016 ITG youth solo competition and second place in the Tucson concerto competition as well in 2021. Jeremy performed with the All Regional Orchestra in 2018-2020 and performed in the Arizona All State Band in 2019. Another performance highlight from his high school career was traveling with his high school marching band to perform in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade in 2019.

With his involvement in orchestral trumpet playing it is no surprise that some of his favorite trumpet artists to listen to are Bud Herseth, Phil Smith, Tom Hooten and Michael Sachs. He credits a lot of his success to his very supportive parents and the great tutelage and support he has received from his private trumpet instructor Betsy Bright over the past eight years. While most of his time is dedicated to practicing, school and work, Jeremy does enjoy skateboarding with his friends in his spare time. As the October 2021 Young Artist Award recipient, he will receive a one-year complimentary membership to ITG. Congratulations Jeremy!

June 2021 Winner: Hunter Story

This issue’s featured young artist award winner is Hunter Story, an 18-year-old trumpeter who graduated from Woodford County High School in Woodford County, Kentucky and is now majoring in Music Education at Eastern Kentucky University. While in high school, Hunter was actively involved in her high school’s band program in addition to pursuing several performance opportunities outside of school. She performed in her high school’s wind ensemble, symphonic band, and was active in the marching band all four years, serving as the drum major for her junior and senior year. She also performed principal trumpet in the Central Kentucky Youth Orchestra for two years, the Central Kentucky Jazz Orchestra for one year, and Asbury University Salvation Army Brass band for two years. She participated in the All State Symphonic Band for two years and in the Kentucky School for the Arts in 2019. Additionally she performed as a member of Buglers Across America.

Hunter started playing trumpet in the 6th grade and credits a lot of her success in music to the support of her private teacher, Dr. Rich Byrd, and her high school band directors Michael and Kelsey Collins. She began studying with Dr. Byrd after he heard her perform at a Solo and Ensemble contest and she feels very grateful for his support and guidance. The unwavering support of her band directors not only helped her during times when she felt discouraged but it also helped inspire her career goals. Hunter is interested in teaching elementary music and high school band because she really wants to be involved in the lives of young students helping them they way her teachers help her.

In addition to performing trumpet, she enjoys collecting vinyl records, singing, and experiencing the beauty of the great outdoors. She has sung in several choral groups and a cappella groups. Some of her favorite pastimes are gardening with her grandmother and hiking in Kentucky’s Red River Gorge and Raven Run. Some of her favorite professional trumpeters include Wynton Marsalis, Alison Balsom, and Vince DiMartino. As the June 2021 ITG Young Artist Award recipient she will receive a one-year complimentary membership to ITG! Congratulations Hunter!

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