Inaugural David N. Baker Jazz Composition Scholarship Awarded

Published: 05.12.2016
Pictured (L-R): IU Jacobs School of Music Dean Gwyn Richards, BMIF Advisory Panelist Robbin Ahrold, 2016 David N. Baker Jazz Composition Scholarship winner Joey Kendrick, IU Jazz Studies Department Chair Tom Walsh, IU Professor of Jazz Studies Pat Harbison. Photo by Jacobs School of Music.
BMIF Advisory Panelist Robbin Ahrold
2016 David N. Baker Jazz Composition Scholarship winner Joey Kendrick and BMIF Advisory Panelist Robbin Ahrold

Photos by: Jacobs School of Music

The BMI Foundation (BMIF), in partnership with Indiana University (IU) Jacobs School of Music, has awarded the inaugural David N. Baker Jazz Composition Scholarship in memory of the revered jazz musician, educator, and founder of IU’s Jazz Studies program. The scholarship was announced at the Jacobs School of Music’s annual Jazz Celebration concert on Saturday, April 23rd, 2016 at the Musical Arts Center in Bloomington, IN. The evening paid tribute to the seven original inductees of the school’s Jazz Alumni Hall of Fame, including Baker, with performances of their music by IU student/faculty big band Plummer Jazz Sextet and others. BMIF Advisory Panelist Robbin Ahrold presented the $2,500 scholarship to Joey Kendrick, a senior Jazz Studies major on trumpet at the Jacobs School of Music. The concert also featured a performance of the last movement of Kendrick’s Suite for Jazz Ensemble, entitled “Blues.”

“David is one of America’s greatest and most prolific composers, with more than 2,000 compositions in both jazz and classical music in the repertoire that BMI represents on his behalf,” said Ahrold. “It seemed only fitting that the BMI Foundation acknowledge this immense musical legacy with a scholarship that would encourage the next generation of jazz composers. When David and I met with University officials last fall to confirm our agreement for this ongoing scholarship in his name, we looked forward to standing on this stage together to present this debut award. It was not to be. He has joined the pantheon of legendary BMI jazz composers from Lester Young, to Monk, Miles and ‘Trane whose influence will be felt for generations to come.”

The David N. Baker Jazz Composition Scholarship was established last year through the generosity of Robbin Ahrold, Century Media Partners President and retired BMI VP of Corporate Relations. The scholarship commemorates Baker’s iconic achievements as a jazz composer, performer, and educator and will be awarded annually to a full-time junior, senior, or graduate IU Jazz Studies student, based on academic and artistic record. Candidates must demonstrate excellence in writing significant original work in the jazz idiom.

2016 recipient Joey Kendrick remarked, “Receiving this award is incredibly meaningful to me for many reasons. Validation is one: the award assures me that I am not composing in a vacuum. This music means something. As Dizzy Gillespie said, ‘Men have died for this music. You can’t get more serious than that.’ To that end, the award is especially meaningful and poignant in light of Professor David Baker’s recent passing. This award represents his legacy and I will do my best to live up to his standard of excellence.”

Joey Kendrick is a jazz composer, arranger, and trumpet player currently based in Bloomington, Indiana. While attending the prestigious Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University, Joey studied under Pat Harbison, Joey Tartell, and Brent Wallarab.

Joey’s compositions and arrangements have been performed by many small and large ensembles in Bloomington and beyond. His recent works include a series of compositions designed for young jazz students; for his six-movement Suite for Jazz Ensemble, Joey, like David Baker before him, took inspiration from German classical music.

Joey was born and raised in the suburbs of Kansas City, where the vibrant jazz scene provided a fertile ground for his artistic development. He began his musical career as a trumpet student, but his interests quickly expanded to include many musical disciplines including piano and composition. In 2009, at the age of 14, Joey premiered his first jazz composition with his middle school’s jazz ensemble. Since then, Joey has continued to refine his writing abilities, penning multiple charts for a variety of ensembles and contexts from Latin small groups to jazz big bands to film scores. For more information, visit