University of Pittsburgh
November 5, 2009

Pitt Senior Wins 2009 Pitt-BNY Mellon Jazz Scholarship

Young pianist to be recognized at 39th annual Pitt Jazz Concert Nov. 7

Sharon Blake


Cell: 412-277-6926

PITTSBURGH-University of Pittsburgh senior James Holman has been selected the winner of the 2009 Pitt-BNY Mellon Jazz Scholarship. The $5,000 tuition prize is awarded annually to a Pitt music student and is based on submitted tapes of jazz standards that are judged by a panel of nationally recognized jazz musicians. Holman will be recognized for his accomplishment during intermission of the 2009 Pitt Jazz Concert, which takes place at 8 p.m. Nov. 7 in Carnegie Music Hall, 4400 Forbes Ave., Oakland.

Holman, 21, is a pianist with the Pitt Jazz Ensemble. A Chicago native, he began taking piano lessons at an early age and switched to jazz piano as a teenager, before enrolling at Pitt.

Holman is studying composition under Roger Zahab, Pitt music lecturer and director of the University Orchestra, focusing on third-stream music-a blend of jazz and classical. He also plays gigs for receptions and parties with various trios and quintets and is forming an instrumental blues band called Missing Turtle. Holman is the son of jazz pianist Scott Earl Holman, an accomplished Chicago-based pianist, performer, and recording artist.

The younger Holman and several other members of the Pitt Jazz Ensemble play an important role in the annual Pitt Jazz Seminar and Concert-traveling and performing with international guest musicians at area schools and community centers.

As he pursues his Bachelor of Arts degree in music, Holman says he is enjoying his experience at Pitt because of the access to "masterful musicians and scholars."

This is the 23rd year Pitt and BNY Mellon have funded the scholarship. BNY Mellon Jazz supports nonprofit organizations engaged in live performances and jazz education and recognizes individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions to Pittsburgh's rich jazz tradition.