Larry J. Bell Jazz Artist Awards

New to The Gilmore as of February 2022, The Larry J. Bell Jazz Artist Awards will be modeled after the classical Gilmore Artist and Gilmore Young Artist Awards, and will provide some of the most generous financial support given in the musical arts.  The Jazz Awards program has been established with an $8 million gift to The Gilmore’s endowment and is named for Kalamazoo businessman and President of the Gilmore International Piano Festival Board of Trustees, Larry J. Bell, who founded Bell’s Brewery in 1985.

The Larry J. Bell Jazz Artist Award will be conferred every four years to a jazz pianist of any age and nationality following a rigorous and confidential selection process. The selection will be made by an anonymous committee, and the pianist will receive $300,000. The first payment of $50,000 can be used at the artist’s discretion and the remaining $250,000 will be disbursed over a four-year period for projects and activities that will enhance the artist’s musicianship and career. The inaugural recipient of the new Larry J. Bell Jazz Artist Award will be announced in 2026.

The Larry J. Bell Young Jazz Artist Award will be presented every two years to single out two of the most promising of the new generation of U.S.-based jazz pianists, age 22 and younger. The first recipients will be announced in 2026.

Each Young Jazz Artist will receive a $15,000 stipend to further their musical career and educational development, as well as up to $10,000 toward a commission of a new piano composition for which the artist will have exclusive performance rights for one year. This Award is strictly monetary and advisory and does not involve managerial assistance from The Gilmore.

The Jazz Awards Nominating Committee, comprising music professionals from around the world, will recommend artists to be considered for the Larry J. Bell Jazz Artist and Young Jazz Artist Awards. These candidates will then be evaluated by the Jazz Awards Advisory Committee that is responsible for making the final selections. Throughout the process, candidates for the Awards will be unaware that they are under consideration.


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