A University of Manitoba student who just completed her first year of studies in the jazz program at the Marcel A. Desautels Faculty of Music has been awarded an Oscar Peterson Grant for Jazz Performance. Samantha Chrol was awarded the prize by the Hnatyshyn Foundation, an Ottawa-based foundation that annually awards eight $10,000 scholarships to exceptional young Canadians in post-secondary performing arts with its Developing Artists Grants program.
“I was very surprised when I heard I won because I knew the competition would be very strong and I would be one of many applying. I don’t practice or play with winning scholarships in mind, I continue to work hard and I am very fortunate that this opportunity came my way,” says Chrol, who was working in the kitchen at the International Music Camp Summer School of Fine Arts for July.
“This will really help with my musical studies because it will allow me to concentrate on my education and carefully research what I want to do after my bachelor’s degree at the U of M,” she adds.
At 19, Chrol already comes with an impressive performance CV. She has performed with several student jazz bands and is the first chair saxophonist in the University of Manitoba Jazz Lab Orchestra. She won the Outstanding Soloist Award from the Brandon Jazz Festival two years in a row and was the first Canadian to win an Outstanding Soloist Award in the Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Competition at Lincoln Centre in New York in 2007.
Steve Kirby, Director of Jazz Studies at the University of Manitoba describes Chrol as “a rare jewel.”
“She has such a warm, open and honest approach to everything she does, and she has an extremely inquisitive mind,” says Prof. Kirby. “On top of that she brings this enormous rhythmic and melodic gift combined with the most warm, supple and attractive tone imaginable for a saxophonist/clarinetist her age.”
Candidates for the award must be nominated by their educational institution. Kirby and another faculty member, Anna-Lisa Kirby assisted Chrol in producing a three-song CD as part of the nomination process.
The Hnatyshyn Foundation is a private charity established by the late Right Honourable Ramon John Hnatyshyn, Canada’s 24th Governor General. Its programs are funded by donations from government, foundations, corporations and individuals.
Click here to go to the U of M News Blog to hear Chrol play her saxophone.