Jazz Pianist Julia Brav ’08 Wins International Jazz Recognition
Senior Julia Brav ‘08 has been selected to the International Association for Jazz Education (IAJE) Sisters in Jazz Collegiate All-Star Quintet. The group will perform at the IAJE 35th Annual Conference in Toronto, Canada from January 9-13, 2008 for one of the world’s largest jazz gatherings, with more than 7000 educators, musicians, and industry representatives from over 35 countries expected to attend. Julia is a music major and a member of the certificate program in musical performance at Princeton University and has been a member of the university jazz program since she was a junior in high school. This is Ms. Brav’s second major international recognition in jazz performance this year. In May she was named winner of “Outstanding Performance” honors in the “Best College Jazz Soloist” category in Down Beat magazine’s 30th Annual Student Music Awards Competition.
Ms. Brav has also performed and recorded with Princeton’s Jazz Composers Collective and traveled to Estonia in the fall of 2006 for a series of concerts sponsored by the Department of State of the United States of America, the U.S. Embassy in Estonia, and the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre. Her original music was featured in performance at the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre, the Geneva Night Club in the city of Narva, which was recorded for broadcast on Estonian National Radio, and at Theatre No. 99 in Tallinn. Her composition “Il Mago” can be found on the group’s most recent CD release Expanding Horizons.
While at Princeton Julia has also performed as a featured soloist with the University Concert Jazz Ensemble, Crossing Borders Improvisational Music Ensemble, Ornette Coleman Ensemble, Ellington/Strayhorn Ensemble, Wayne Shorter Ensemble, Afro-Groove Ensemble, Jazztet, Horace Silver Ensemble, and the Jazz Vespers Ensemble. As part of these affiliations, she worked alongside of such guest soloists as Jimmy Heath, Conrad Herwig, Don Braden, Bryan Carrott, and Guilherme Franco, and was the featured pianist for the world premieres of commissioned big band compositions by Conrad Herwig and Ralph Bowen. Julia was also featured in joint concert at McCarter Theatre in Princeton with the Juilliard Jazz Orchestra, directed by Wycliffe Gordon, and the Princeton University Concert Jazz Ensemble performing Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn’s “Far East Suite.” In addition, Julia was twice selected to the New Jersey-IAJE Intercollegiate Big Band and has performed with a quartet at the “Women in Jazz” Festival in Trenton, New Jersey.
Julia is also a wonderfully imaginative and skillful composer. Recently she composed three works comprising a suite that was inspired by three women composers who have made invaluable contributions to modern jazz writing over the last quarter-century. The first piece of the suite, “Cat Dance,” was influenced by the music of pianist Joanne Brackeen (who has been Julia’s private teacher for several years now), while the two remaining compositions, “Falling Feather” and “Heliocentric,” draw upon the compositional styles of composer/arranger Maria Schneider and saxophonist Jane Ira Bloom respectively.
The mission of the IAJE Sisters in Jazz program is to encourage and promote the participation of young women in the art of jazz, both educationally and professionally, through a mentoring program linking them with established women musicians. The annual Collegiate Competition is an outgrowth of the mentoring mission, providing intensive opportunities for outstanding young instrumentalists and singers to meet more experienced female artists and industry professionals, perform before international audiences, and engage in peer-mentoring. The Sisters in Jazz initiative has been in existence since 1998 with past all star ensembles being featured in performance at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. as well as such major European jazz festivals as the Umbria Jazz Festival (Umbria, Italy), North Sea Jazz Festival (The Hague, Netherlands), and Jazz à Vienne (Vienne, France). Former ensemble members have also had the opportunity to work alongside such internationally renowned artists as Herbie Hancock, Roy Haynes, Geri Allen, Renee Rosnes, and Terri Lyne Carrington.
Anthony D. J. Branker
Director, Princeton University Jazz Ensembles