University of Pittsburgh
July 24, 2006

Student Guitarist Wins 2006 Pitt-Mellon Jazz Scholarship

Award to be Presented at August 13 David Sanborn Concert at Hartwood Acres
Contact: 

Sharon Blake

412-624-4364

Cell: 412-277-6926

PITTSBURGH-Guitarist and University of Pittsburgh sophomore Frank Velardo has been named the winner of the 2006 University of Pittsburgh-Mellon Jazz Scholarship, a $5,000 tuition award presented every year to a promising Pitt jazz student. Velardo, 19, will accept the honor at Hartwood Acres Amphitheater at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, August 13, prior to the free public Mellon Jazz at Hartwood Acres event. Presented as part of the Allegheny County Summer Concert series, the event features Grammy Award-winning saxophonist David Sanborn.

A panel of internationally recognized musicians-David Baker, Rufus Reid, and James Moody-selected Velardo's winning audition tape of jazz standards.

Velardo is a 2005 graduate of Hempfield High School in Landisville, Lancaster County, and the son of Frank and Marilyn Velardo. A native of Long Island, New York, he has played in middle and high school jazz bands since the 7th grade. He has drawn influence from jazz guitarist John Scofield, alto saxman Sonny Stitt, and blues guitarists Robben Ford and Charlie Baty.

In April 2005, he won a top state honor by being selected to perform, under the direction of Barry Enzman, at the Pennsylvania All-State Music Festival in Hershey, Pa., an event sponsored by the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association (PMEA).

At Pitt, Velardo has studied under jazz guitarist John Maione and is a member of the Pitt Jazz Ensemble, under the direction of Nathan Davis, professor of music and head of Pitt Jazz Studies. Velardo has traveled with the ensemble to Jamaica to perform for young students in rural villages. When not in school, Velardo sits in at jazz jam sessions, including those at local clubs C.J.'s and Dowe's on Ninth. His jazz group Wolfgang and the Hat played campus events last year. Velardo plans to incorporate business classes in with his music studies to round out his education.

This is the 20th year Pitt and the Mellon Financial Corporation have funded the scholarship. Mellon Financial Corporation's year-round celebration of jazz music, Mellon Jazz supports non-profit organizations engaged in live jazz performances and jazz education, and recognizes individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions to Pittsburgh's rich jazz tradition. More information on Mellon Jazz activities is available via the Mellon Jazz link at www.mellon.com.

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