Berklee College of Music Awarded $5,000 Jazz Composition Scholarship

Published: 11.11.2015

The BMI Foundation has awarded Boston’s prestigious Berklee College of Music with a $5,000 scholarship to support an undergraduate student demonstrating outstanding achievement in jazz composition. Harpist Nicolas Castañeda was chosen as the scholarship recipient based on academic and artistic excellence by Berklee’s Jazz Composition and Contemporary Writing and Production faculties. Castañeda, 26, originally hails from Bogotá, Colombia and is currently a third-year degree candidate in Jazz Composition. A sample of his most recent EP, Renacer, can be heard below.

“First of all, I thank God for this award and I thank the people who made this possible , Professor Oscar Stagnaro and the BMI Foundation,” Castañeda remarked. “Having this support and recognition allows me to continue my studies at Berklee College of Music. Also, it inspires me to continue in my search to evolve Colombian and Latin American music through my compositions. Thank you very much.”

Nicolas Castañeda Lozano is a Colombian harpist and Jazz Composition student at Berklee College of Music. He studied “Llanera” harp with Hildo Ariel Aguirre at the Llano y Joropo Academy and later with Javier Mauricio Carvajal, Abdul Farfan, and Willian Castro. As a composer, he studied with Jaime Torres Doneys and Carlos Gonzalo Guzman at the Superior Academy of Arts / Distrital University in Bogota. Being an outstanding llanera harp performer in Colombia, Nicolas received numerous awards as a solo harpist and composer. In 2013, he achieved a Latin American scholarship to study at Berklee College of Music. Nicolas then began his search to create a “Colombian Contemporary Music” language; keeping the traditional music as a foundation and incorporating Jazz and Contemporary Classical Music in his compositions. In 2014, Nicolas released his first EP, Renacer (“Reborn”), which highlights his “Contemporary Colombian Music” project. He most recently won third place as a solo harpist and composer at the 47º Torneo Internacional del Joropo in July 2015. For more information, visit:

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. Tax-deductible donations to the Foundation may be made on our website. For exclusive news and content, follow @bmifoundation on Twitter at and like “BMI Foundation” on Facebook at