As such, it was rewarding when both Tevan Goldberg and Henry Solomon heard they were among the winners for these prestigious awards.
"It is really an honor to be published in Downbeat magazine," says Henry. "It is widely recognized as the best jazz magazine out there. Also, I feel honored to be listed in the magazine with the other winners, a lot of whom I know and greatly respect as musicians and people."
"Winning a Downbeat award was a really pleasant surprise and a great affirmation of my own abilities," added Tevan. "I'm really honored to have represented Interlochen and its jazz department in such a positive light."
While both musicians share the same honor, they have followed very different paths.
"I'm actually a music composition major, so jazz is not my principle art form," says Tevan. "It was nice to apply a lot of my knowledge in classical composition and analysis to jazz arranging. I chose to be a composer mainly because I wanted to develop my own musical voice instead of just learning the music of others on an instrument. This translates to the improvisatory nature of jazz. The thing that draws me to jazz piano is the emphasis it places on harmony and being able to improvise with the rest of a jazz group or soloist."
"I initially just fell in love with recordings of jazz and saxophone, and I decided that I wanted to do that," says Henry. "Simple as that."
"I love how jazz is extremely free, yet has structure," he continued. "I also love how well it documents the human experience. I am convinced that there is a jazz song out there for every single emotion, experience, and person."
Tevan echoed that sentiment.
"Jazz to me is one of the most direct forms of musical expression. It cuts out the middleman and turns the performer partially into the composer. You really don't have to explain anything or justify it, you just play what you think needs to be played at the right time. It's also a highly democratic form of music, each musician in a combo has roughly an equal contribution to the overall product and requires each other in order to play their best."
Watching Henry and Tevan play together, one would think that they had been at this duo thing for years; which is certainly a testament to the outstanding skills that Downbeat has chosen to honor. This seemingly effortless collaberation is something that both students have found enjoyable.
"I think Interlochen has imbued in me a collaborative spirit that I will keep for the rest of my life on all fronts," says Tevan. "Working with Henry on this arrangement was a good example of how multiple people with high expectations can produce something of meaning and high quality."
To learn more about the Downbeat Awards, visit here.