16-year-old trumpet player, Skylar Tang from Crystal Springs Uplands School in Hillsborough, California won the Dr. J. Douglas White student composition and arrangement competition at the prestigious 27th annual Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Competition & Festival.
The competition aimed to encourage young musicians in high school to develop and arrange unique compositions for big bands in the spirit of creativity and honoring jazz’s tradition.
The young musician’s winning piece is called “Kaleidoscope”, which she thought resonates with her life as a student. Her composition took her roughly seven months to complete and was recorded on May 4 by the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra as part of their annual Essentially Ellington recording session.
Skylar began playing classical piano as a child and now performs on trumpet as well as guitar, drums, and keyboards. Various music from different eras inspired her including trumpet player Roy Hargrove, contemporary artists like pianist Aaron Parks, drummers and composers Terri Lynne Carrington, and Kendrick Scott Oracle.
In addition, Skylar received a $1,000 cash prize, a composition lesson with jazz saxophonist, and composer Ted Nash, and a free trip to New York City for the weekend.