University of Pittsburgh
June 15, 1999



Sharon Blake


Cell: 412-277-6926

PITTSBURGH, June 16 -- Two University of Pittsburgh jazz studies majors -- Andy Bianco, 19, of Mt. Lebanon and Shanna E. Welsh, 21, of the North Hills -- will share the 1999 University of Pittsburgh-Mellon Jazz Scholarship. This is only the second time in the competition's 13-year history that the decision has ended in a "tie."

The two recipients will receive the $5,000 award Sunday, June 20 on the Point State Park Symphony Stage during the concert featuring Lou Rawls and Nathan Davis & Tomorrow -- the final event of the 1999 Mellon Jazz Festival. The concert begins at

7 p.m. Robert F. Pack, University of Pittsburgh vice-provost, and Jim McDonald, vice-president and manager of community affairs at Mellon Bank, will present the scholarship at 8 p.m.

Bianco, a 1998 graduate of Mt. Lebanon High School, begins his sophomore year at Pitt this fall, where he studies under Joe Negri and Davis, director of Pitt's jazz studies program. Bianco hopes to make a living as a jazz guitarist. "The voters on the panel stated that Andy had matured beyond his years as a player, " said Davis, "and played with great clarity and execution." Bianco especially enjoyed the Pitt Jazz Emsemble's recent 10-day sojourn to Jamaica, where it performed for children in rural schools three or four times a day. "Once when we were playing this Charlie Parker tune 'Anthropology,' all these little kids got up and started dancing in the schoolyard," he recalled.

Welsh, a saxophonist and Pitt Jazz Ensemble section leader, has studied under Davis for four years, and toured Jamaica several times. A 1996 North Allegheny High School graduate, she carries a double major at Pitt of jazz studies and anthropology. Welsh performs with the local jazz-fusion group "Leisure Monkey," at area restaurants and lounges. "Everybody on the panel felt that she had one of the greatest sounds they had heard from a young sax player," commented Davis. Welsh aspires to be a professional saxophonist but if that doesn't materialize, she may return to school to study entertainment law or education.

Scholarship winners are selected by a panel of nationally acclaimed musicians which this year included: David Baker, trombonist and chairman of the Jazz Department at the Indiana School of Music in Bloomington; Jimmy Owens, celebrated trumpet player who has been featured at the Pitt Jazz Seminar and Concert; Eddie Baker, founder of the Charlie Parker Memorial Foundation and the International Jazz Hall of Fame; and Benny Golson, accomplished saxophonist, composer and arranger.

Funded jointly by Pitt and Mellon Bank, the jazz scholarship was established by Mellon Bank in 1987 as an educational component to its annual Jazz Festival. All applicants are Pennsylvania residents who are new or continuing Pitt students and intend to study jazz.

Now in its 13th year, The Mellon Jazz Festival is one of southwestern Pennsylvania's greatest celebrations of music and an important part of Pittsburgh's rich cultural scene. This year's event is produced by George Wein's Festival Productions, Inc.