Jake Richter Awarded Second Annual David N. Baker Jazz Composition Scholarship

Published: 05.09.2017

Above: Pictured (L-R): David N. Baker Jazz Composition Scholarship winner Jake Richter; Tom Walsh, Chair of the Jazz Studies Department at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music

The BMI Foundation (BMIF), in partnership with Indiana University (IU) Jacobs School of Music, has selected Jake Richter as the winner of the 2017 David N. Baker Jazz Composition Scholarship, named in honor of the revered jazz musician, educator, and founder of IU’s Jazz Studies program. Richter was presented with the $2,500 award on Saturday, April 22nd, 2017 at the Jacobs School of Music’s annual Jazz Celebration concert.

“I am absolutely honored to receive the David N. Baker Scholarship,” said Richter. “There is no one in the world that I admire more than David Baker, and to receive an award in his name is something that I am truly grateful for. I am fortunate to have had a few lessons with David while he was teaching at IU, during which I was not only blown away by his mastery of music and composition, but also by his compassion, humility, and his ability to impart joy into everyone he met.”

The David N. Baker Jazz Composition Scholarship is presented annually to a full-time junior, senior, or graduate Jazz Studies candidate at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. Established in 2015 through the generosity of BMI Foundation Advisory Panelist Robbin Ahrold, the award commemorates the iconic achievements of the late composer, performer, educator, and IU Jazz Studies program founder, David N. Baker. Recipients are chosen based on academic and artistic record. Candidates must demonstrate excellence in writing significant original work in the jazz idiom.

Richter, one of ten students in his class accepted to IU on a full tuition merit-based scholarship, is a Jazz Studies/Percussion Performance Major and a Music Composition Minor. Both as a performer and composer, he aims to create imaginative, engaging, and visceral music that marries the compositional integrity of classical music with the fearlessness, freedom and deeply honest rhythmic approach of jazz.

While at IU he studied with master musicians Steve Houghton, Walter Smith III, Michael Spiro, Dave Stryker, Brent Wallarab, and others. He also had the opportunity to perform with all of the aforementioned musicians, as well as luminaries Bobby McFerrin, Randy Brecker, Marquis Hill and John Fedchock. He has had over twenty of his original compositions performed at IU concerts or recitals, including several for big band. In 2016, he was awarded a Downbeat Student Music Award for his arrangement of Wayne Shorter’s Infant Eyes.

In addition, Richter currently co-leads several projects, including the Indianapolis-based jazz quartet Brother Sponge, who released their first album in February 2017. In the future, he plans to pursue Master and Doctorate degrees in Music Composition and Music theory.

About the BMI Foundation
The BMI Foundation is a nonprofit organization founded in 1985 to encourage the creation, performance, and study of American music. The Foundation’s programs include competitive scholarships for songwriters and composers, operating grants for nonprofit arts presenters, and support for innovative music education initiatives in schools and communities across the country. For more information about the work of the Foundation, please visit our website at For exclusive news and content, follow @bmifoundation on Twitter at, on Instagram at and like “BMI Foundation” on Facebook at