Alan Benzie

Photo of Alan Benzie by William Ellis

Congratulations to Alan Benzie, who’s just become the first ever UK musician to win the prestigious Billboard Magazine Endowed Scholarship at Berklee Music College in Boston. To quote the official press release:


One student is selected each year to receive the Billboard award based upon their outstanding musicianship and strong academic record at Berklee, as well as the probability of success in their pursuit of a performance and recording career.

The Billboard Endowed Scholarship, created in 1996 with a generous endowed gift from Billboard Magazine, has been presented to some of the finest young Berklee-trained musicians currently working in contemporary music, among them pianist Hiromi, alto saxophonist Jaleel Shaw (Roy Haynes), guitarist Nir Felder (Greg Osby), tenor saxophonist Bob Reynolds (John Mayer), and tenor saxophonist Walter Smith III (Terence Blanchard).

Alan Benzie (http://www.alanbenzie.com), 21, is a rising star of the UK jazz scene and beyond. Having trained as a classical violinist from age 8, he discovered jazz piano in his mid teens and has never looked back. He has won major awards in Scotland, including BBC Scottish Young Jazz Musician 2007, and at Berklee, the 2008 Jazz Performance Award, and the 2009 and 2010 Alex Ulanowski award for outstanding composition. A current student of JoAnne Brackeen, he has performed in the London, Glasgow, and Edinburgh jazz festivals. He has performed with Valery Ponomarev, Joe Locke, Butch Miles, Jacqui Dankworth, and George Garzone, among others. In April, 2011, Benzie will represent Berklee in a tour of Northern California, including stops at the Monterey Jazz Festival’s Next Generation Festival, and San Francisco’s Savanna Jazz Club.

I think I’m right in saying that Alan’s teachers in Glasgow included Chick Lyall and Steve Hamilton?

And here’s the man himself:

Now, what about some Glasgow gigs to celebrate?