CSUN Jazz Students Take Top Honors at Reno Jazz Festival

Members of CSUN's jazz band perform. Photo by Lee Choo.

Members of CSUN’s jazz band perform. Photo by Lee Choo.

California State University, Northridge’s acclaimed Jazz A Band continued to dominate the competition with an armload of wins last month at the University of Nevada’s prestigious Reno Jazz Festival.

The 52nd annual landmark festival brought together some of the nation’s most talented middle school, high school, and college-age musicians for a weekend of musical artistry that pit some of the best bands in the western states against each other.

This was the second year in a row that CSUN musicians, led by jazz studies professor and conductor Gary Pratt, earned first place in the College Combos section of the competition. In addition to first place, CSUN also won second and third place in the same section.

In the Four-Year College Band category, the CSUN Jazz A Band earned first place. Third place was given to CSUN’s second big band, Jazz B Band, which competed within the first level of collegiate bands, despite being ranked a third-level collegiate band themselves.

Three CSUN musicians were singled out for individual awards. Shai Golan was awarded Most Outstanding Collegiate Saxophonist. Michael Ragonese demonstrated his mastery of the piano to take Most Outstanding Collegiate Rhythm Section.

The award for Most Outstanding Performer of the 2014 Reno Jazz Festival went to guitarist and Matador, Victor San Pedro.

“Our program does not compete to win awards, that’s not why we’re here,” said Pratt. “We invest a great deal in the process; it’s the process that we work very hard on. It has just turned out for nearly ten years that we have consistently placed and or won the Reno Jazz Festival.”

For more information about the varies CSUN jazz ensembles, including the Jazz A Band please visit http://www.csun.edu/mike-curb-arts-media-communication/music/jazz-ensembles

For more information about Reno Jazz Festival, visit http://www.unr.edu/rjf/.

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