University of Pittsburgh
August 13, 2008

Freshman Trombonist Wins 2008 Pitt-BNY Mellon Jazz Scholarship


Sharon Blake


Cell: 412-277-6926

PITTSBURGH-Incoming University of Pittsburgh freshman and trombonist Brandon Hang has been selected as the winner of the 2008 Pitt-BNY Mellon Jazz Scholarship. The $5,000 tuition prize is awarded annually to a Pitt music student after tapes of jazz standards are submitted and then judged by a panel of nationally recognized jazz musicians. Hang will be honored for his accomplishment at the 2008 Pitt Jazz Concert on Nov. 1.

Hang, 18, is a graduate of Central Dauphin High School in Lower Paxton, Pa., where he won the 2008 award for the school's Outstanding Jazz Musician.

Even though he had been taking formal piano lessons, Hang says he picked up a trombone at age 10 and liked it. Mastering both instruments was a plus for Hang throughout high school, where he performed on trombone in the wind ensemble, orchestra, and jazz band, and also played piano in the pit band for musical theater productions.

"The fact that Brandon plays piano is crucial because it gives him a well-grounded base in music theory," said Nathan Davis, director of Pitt's Jazz Studies Program, adding that Brandon represents the kind of well-rounded student the Pitt jazz program has attracted through the years.

Hang began composing in eighth grade, and in high school composed and wrote arrangements for the jazz band. During his sophomore year, he performed trombone in the Harrisburg Youth Symphony and also has performed in bands sponsored by the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association. He picked up gigs in high school, including public jam sessions throughout the Harrisburg area.

Hang plans to major in pharmacy at Pitt, and is looking forward to auditioning for the University of Pittsburgh Jazz Ensemble. Although pharmacy is his career goal, he says he will always make time for performing.

This is the 22nd year Pitt and BNY Mellon Jazz have funded the scholarship. BNY Mellon Jazz supports nonprofit 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.