Pictured: Finalists Finn Dunham, Matthew Kuperberg, Jonah Goldstein, and Henry Urschel
VENTURA COUNTY – Serving as competition judges, renowned musicians Bevan Manson, Eddie Arkin and Tom Buckner selected the winners of the 2018 Student Jazz Competition. Each year the winners receive $500, $250 and $100 cash prizes for first, second and third place, respectively. The students also receive multiple opportunities from VMF to perform for the public throughout the year, including the annual Rising Stars concert in May and other events to be announced.
First place went to Matthew Kuperberg, a senior at Agoura High School, on the piano. Second place went to Henry Urschel, a junior at Dos Pueblos High School, on alto sax. Third place was a tie between Jonah Goldstein, a Senior at Agoura High School, on guitar, and Finn Dunham, a Freshman at Thousand Oaks High School, on alto sax.
The annual competition’s finalists are selected from dozens of high school musician entries. For the live competition, each musician plays a piece they’ve chosen, spotlighting their improvised solos of original or classic jazz or blues tunes. They’re backed up by professionals: this year, Bevan Manson on piano, Domenic Genova on bass and Charles Levin on drums.
The 2018 Competition performance took place at Squashed Grapes, a jazz club in midtown Ventura, with 75 jazz-loving fans in attendance.