The BMI Foundation has selected August Arnold as the winner of this year’s BMI Future Jazz Master Scholarship. The $5,000 award was presented to Arnold at Broadcast Music Inc’s annual dinner and celebration of the National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master Fellows in Washington, D.C. on Sunday, April 14th, 2019. Arnold, a composer, jazz saxophonist/woodwind doubler, as well as a jazz studies saxophone performance major at The University of North Texas, was chosen as the recipient by a panel of NEA Jazz Masters and flown to D.C. where he attended the dinner alongside award-winning jazz musicians and composers.
“I am humbled and honored to be the 2019 recipient of the BMI Future Jazz Master Scholarship,” said Arnold. “Thank you so much to the BMI Foundation for this prestigious award — it has inspired me to continue working harder than ever to become the best person and musician that I can be. I would also like to thank my parents for their unconditional love and support, as well as Brad Leali and the rest of the University of North Texas jazz faculty for their guidance and mentorship.”
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.
A Huntsville, Alabama native, Arnold began playing saxophone in the seventh grade for the Hampton Cove Middle School Band. Although he started later than most of his peers, Arnold quickly realized his love for music and began to adamantly practice and perform. He started studying classical saxophone but, upon joining his school jazz band, discovered that his true passion was jazz music. In this ensemble, Arnold discovered the freedom and excitement of musical improvisation. He began to refine his craft by practicing, taking lessons, playing in pit orchestras for musicals, and performing with local musicians and ensembles. During his time at Huntsville High School, Arnold played in the Alabama All State Jazz Band for four years and was an alternate for the Jazz Band of America in 2014 and 2015.
In 2015, Arnold began attending the University of North Texas to further his musical studies. During his time at UNT, he’s studied with Grammy-nominated jazz saxophonist Brad Leali and played in several of the jazz bands and combos — he currently plays alto saxophone in the renowned Two o’ Clock and Latin Jazz Lab Bands. Upon graduating this May, Arnold intends to continue his music education journey by pursuing graduate studies.