Portland Jazz Composers Ensemble plays music by winners of the IAWM/PJCE Jazz Composition prize
Featuring Migiwa Miyajima, Samantha Spear, Jhoely Garay, Yu Nishiyama and others

 

Since 2018, the International Association for Women in Music (IAWM) awards an annual Jazz Composition Prize co-sponsored by PJCE. Through this partnership, PJCE has been introduced to up-and-coming composers across the country. At 7:00 pm on Saturday, January 28, 2023 in Portland State University’s Lincoln Recital Hall, PJCE will perform music by all five of the winning composers: Jhoely Garay (NYC), Migiwa Miyahima (NYC), Yu Nishiyama (NYC), Sam Spear (Boston), and the soon to be announced 2022 winner, all lauded instrumentalists and band leaders in their own right.  Surrounding Alliance, PJCE will host a panel discussion and guest composers will work with area university students. 

 

About the artists:

Hailing from Japan, Migiwa “Miggy” Miyajima is a composer, producer, pianist, and bandleader of the 17-piece Miggy Augmented Orchestra. She creates large-scale works manifesting her distinct life experiences. Birdland Jazz Club says, “Miyajima’s music reflects her journey as a musician and humanitarian.” Formerly editor-in-chief of a magazine in Japan, Miyajima trusted the power of music and became a full-time musician at the age of 30. Four years later, she was made associate producer for the Grammy-winning Vanguard Jazz Orchestra. Her work with the group brought her two Grammy nominations. 

Jhoely Garay is a guitarist, composer, and arranger from Mexico City, Mexico. She graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in jazz guitar performance from The City College of New York in 2020. Garay is mentored by Dee Dee Bridgewater and has studied and collaborated with iconic artists such as Steve Wilson, Ted Nash, Peter Bernstein, Jim McNeely, Mike Holober, and Scott Reeves, among others. Garay is a four-time winner of the Latin Grammy Cultural Foundation scholarship and the Austin and Florence Kaye Foundation scholarship. 

Originally from Yokohama, Japan, Yu Nishiyama is a jazz saxophonist and composer. She first began playing piano at the age of 5 and picked up saxophone at age 14. She graduated from Senzoku Gakuen High School in Japan, and came to the United States to study jazz saxophone with Brad Leali at the University of North Texas. While at UNT, Yu wrote arrangements and original compositions for the UNT O’Clock Lab Band and other ensembles. She received her master’s degree in jazz composition and arranging at William Paterson University studying with Cecil Bridgewater and Ed Neumeister.

Sam Spear is a woodwind instrumentalist, composer, and music educator based in Boston, MA. She has performed with a host of the city’s finest jazz musicians including Allan Chase, Josh Rosen, and Bill Banfield, among others. Her four-part work for jazz orchestra Survivor’s Suite was awarded the 2019 Portland Jazz Composers Ensemble Prize. Spear is passionate about music education and works with students across greater Boston from middle school beginning wind players to undergraduate music majors. She was recently appointed to the faculty of Berklee College of Music as an assistant professor of Contemporary Writing and Production. 

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