Alec Schulman is Fifth Annual Future Jazz Masters Winner

Published: 05.20.2020

Above: Alec Schulman

The BMI Foundation has awarded Alec Schulman the 2020 BMI Future Jazz Master Scholarship. The $5,000 prize is typically awarded at BMI's celebration of the National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master Fellows, but with that event delayed, the winner was announced online by BMI Director of Musical Theater and Jazz Patrick Cook. The event is looking to be re-scheduled in the near future. Schulman, 20, is a pianist and composer at Berklee College of Music. "It’s an honor to receive the 2020 Future Jazz Master Scholarship. Thank you very much to the BMI Foundation for this prestigious award. I’d also like to thank my teachers for their mentorship, and who have given me the life lessons in this music."


Alec Schulman is a forward-thinking pianist and composer from Los Angeles, California. Drawn to the heart of things, Alec embraces the moment with honest expression in pursuit of meaningful music. Alec has performed alongside icons such as Ambrose Akinmusire, Billy Hart, Justin Brown, Kenny Garrett, and Warren Wolf. Attending Crossroads School for the Arts & Sciences K-12, Alec fell in love with jazz and improvised music from an early age. As a bandleader, Alec has his own group featuring some of the most in demand musicians in Los Angeles. In 2016, Alec was the finalist for the Music Center’s Spotlight Jazz Instrumental Award, performing an original composition at Disney Hall. Additional accolades include the winner of the 2017 Downbeat Award in the composition category, a semifinalist in the International Songwriting Competition, and an Honorable Mention for the National YoungArts Foundation where he performed as part of YoungArts LA Week. After graduating from Crossroads, Alec studied piano and philosophy at McGill University. While in Montreal, he received recognition in the Jazz Journal SortieJazzNights, "Bringing a unique approach to the piano, Alec has a touch, sensitivity and an apparent maturity all his own” – Benjamin Goron. During his time in Montreal, Alec also was also featured on NYC-based, WBGO radio as an emerging artist for his playing and compositions. Alec currently attends Berklee School of Music pursuing jazz performance and composition. This year, he also received a Downbeat Award in Outstanding Performance at Berklee.

The BMI Future Jazz Master Scholarship is an annual competition for rising jazz stars pursuing an academic degree in jazz studies. The award was established by BMI in 2015 in honor of the NEA Jazz Masters Fellowship, a lifetime achievement recognition program widely considered to be the highest honor in jazz music, and pays tribute to the artistic excellence of jazz pioneers while providing crucial support for an emerging artist. The scholarship is awarded by a panel of NEA Jazz Master judges based on evidence of talent and potential as a jazz performer and composer.