Photos by: Melissa Dispenza
Board members of the BMI Foundation (BMIF) recently hosted a luncheon at Broadcast Music, Inc.’s New York City headquarters celebrating current and prior winners of the Evelyn Buckstein Scholarship, an award valued at full tuition for City College of New York (CCNY) music students. Jazz saxophonist/composer Berta Moreno was chosen as the year’s recipient and honored alongside former winning composers Winy Taveras (2014) and Jasmine Kok (2013).
“Receiving the ninth annual Evelyn Buckstein Scholarship has been one of my most inspiring experiences since moving to NYC one year ago,” said Moreno. “The scholarship makes it possible for me to continue my studies in Jazz Saxophone Performance at CCNY, but what it really means to me is a chance to keep fighting for my dream of becoming the best jazz musician I can be and sharing the magic of this music with the world. This scholarship offers support, hope, and courage not only to me but also to the whole jazz community. It is extremely important for organizations like BMIF to support young people fighting to keep music alive.”
The Evelyn Buckstein Scholarship was generously endowed in 2007 by BMI Foundation Board Member, retired BMI Assistant Vice President and Counsel, and CCNY alumna Evelyn Buckstein. The program annually awards $5,000 to one or two gifted CCNY music students who aspire to careers as professional songwriters, composers, performers, and/or music educators.
About the Winners
Berta Moreno was born in Madrid, Spain. She began her music studies at an early age, on classical clarinet at the Conservatory of Madrid. During this time she also obtained a degree in Music teaching and a degree in Psychology & Pedagogy for Education at the University. After her classical training, she decided to devote herself to Jazz and play the saxophone, which has become her primary passion ever since. Awarded with the AIE scholarship in 2008 and 2009, she studied with the best jazz musicians in Spain.
In 2010 Berta moved to Rotterdam (The Netherlands), where she obtained a bachelor’s degree in Jazz Saxophone at “Codarts, University for the Performing Arts,” and won the VBD Stichting scholarship in 2014. During her time in The Netherlands, she won the 1st prize in Zoetermeer Jazz Competition 2013 with her quartet “Kind of Brown,” and took the 2nd place as a soloist in the Leiden Jazz Competition 2013 in the Audience Prize nomination.
Berta has also performed in some of the main jazz festivals around Europe, including NORTH SEA JAZZ Festival and North Sea Roundtown, and in some of the main venues and theatres around the Netherlands: De Doelen Concertgebouw, Lanteren Venster, Ro Theater, Gouvernastraat, Grounds Podium, and Bird Rotterdam. She has participated in TV and Radio programs, such as Omroep Zuidplas Radio, Virus 4 TV/radio program, and appeared on several albums, including Síguelo by Gerardo Rosales & Combo Mundial (Challenge Records) and Choros Limoneros by Choros Limoneros (Thrilling Sound Productions).
Berta Moreno is currently living and performing in New York City, while continuing her studies at the City College of New York, awarded with the prestigious BMI Foundation Evelyn Buckstein Scholarship in 2015, under the guidance of Steve Wilson, Jason Rigby, and Mike Holober, among others.
Winy Taveras, aka Wiinzta, is a multi-instrumentalist, writer, composer, producer, and audio engineer from the Dominican Republic. Winy has performed, as a guitar player with the Latin Band, and, as a bass player in the Rock Ensemble of The City College of New York, where she studies Music and Sonic Arts. Some of Winy’s recent work as an audio engineer includes recording composer and author Jonathan Pieslak discussing his book Radicalism & Music with the radio station WAMC, and working as an assistant recording engineer for the Epic Drums vs BeatBox Battle of Spencer Polanco. Winy also builds her own custom hand painted guitar/bass effects pedals. Winy is currently in New York City writing and composing two singer-songwriter EP’s, one in English, and one in Spanish for 2016. Winy is also working on a separate secret band project, where she’ll be playing multiple instruments and singing. Contact info: firstname.lastname@example.org
Originally from Malaysia, Jasmine Kok began pursuing music and performing art after moving to New York City to further her studies. Her main instruments are voice and piano. She also writes and performs her own music, mostly pop and ballads, although she does collaborate with artists and producers of different genres. She co-wrote a song “Stardust” with Pax Humana, an EDM producing duo, which was released last year.
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 twitter.com/bmifoundation and like “BMI Foundation” on Facebook at facebook.com/bmifoundation.