Sara Sithi-Amnuai Awarded Fourth Annual BMI Future Jazz Master Scholarship

Published: 04.19.2018

Above: (L-R) are Patrick Cook, BMI’s Director of Musical Theatre and Jazz; Deirdre Chadwick, president of The BMI Foundation; Sara Sithi-Amnuai, recipient of the 2018 BMI Future Jazz Master Scholarship; and Charlie Feldman, BMI's Vice President of Creative and Industry Relations, at the 2018 NEA Jazz Masters Awards Dinner.

The BMI Foundation has selected Sara Sithi-Amnuai as the winner of this year’s BMI Future Jazz Master Scholarship. The $5,000 award was presented to Sithi-Amnuai at Broadcast Music Inc’s annual dinner and celebration of NEA Jazz Master Fellows at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. on Sunday, April 15th, 2018. Sithi-Amnuai, a multi-instrumentalist on trumpet, flugelhorn, and sheng, as well as a performer-composer MFA studies major at California Institute of the Arts, was chosen as the recipient by a panel of NEA Jazz Masters and flown to D.C. where she attended the dinner alongside award-winning jazz musicians and composers.

"Receiving the support of the BMI Foundation and the NEA Jazz Masters through the BMI Future Jazz Master Scholarship is an incredible honor, and I’m truly grateful for the generosity they have extended to me,” said Sithi-Amnuai. “Supporting young jazz musicians in their development as creative artists and valuing their unique statements, musical and otherwise, is not only important but it is also empowering and motivating. Thank you to the NEA Jazz Masters for your wonderful contributions and for paving the way, and to the BMI Foundation for your much-needed continued support of jazz performers, composers, mentors and educators."

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.

Born in Sydney, Australia and raised in Laguna Niguel, California, Sithi-Amnuai’s first experience exploring the music world was through the classical piano tradition before she discovered a passion for the trumpet. Some of her recent work explores the relationship between voice and trumpet, and audiovisual works involving interactivity and improvisation.

Sithi-Amnuai regularly performs and records in a variety of ensembles, musical idioms and settings ranging from new music chamber groups and world music ensembles (such as an electric Balkan band and a traditional Chinese ensemble) to film and commercial music groups. She has had the opportunity to perform with groups and artists such as Kenny Burrell, Kendrick Scott, the LA Philharmonic New Music Ensemble, Christopher Cross, Brian McKnight, as well as the opportunity to record as a sideman with Grammy Award-nominated pianist David Benoit on his 2012 Concord Bicycle Music album “Conversation” which has charted on the Billboard Jazz charts. She has also performed as a featured artist with the South Coast Symphony, Grand Rapids Jazz Orchestra, Asia America Youth Orchestra and the Tom Kubis Big Band.

In 2017, Sithi-Amnuai graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (Summa Cum Laude) in Ethnomusicology – Jazz Trumpet Performance and a minor in Music Industry at the University of California, Los Angeles. Most recently, she co-wrote a paper accepted for the International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression on “Women Who Build Things: Gestural Controllers, Augmented Instruments, and Musical Mechatronics.” She has had the privilege to study and work in groups under the direction of James Newton, Edward Carroll, Tamir Hendelman, Bobby Rodriguez, Vijay Iyer, Jason Palmer, Anthony Tidd, Steve Lehman, Nick Deyoe and Miroslav Tadic.

Her recent honors and activities include a 2017 ASCAP Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composer Award Honorable Mention, participation in the 2016 Banff International Jazz and Creative Music Workshop, a 2014 John Audino Memorial Scholarship Award for her classical trumpet solo work, a 2013 Downbeat Magazine Student Music Award for Best Original Composition-Orchestrated Work and finalist and semi-finalist awards for the 2009-2013 National Trumpet Competition.

Listen to Sara's original score "The Night and the Gazes" below:

About the BMI Foundation

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. For more information about the work of the Foundation, please visit our website at For exclusive news and content, follow @bmifoundation on Twitter and Instagram, and like “BMI Foundation” on Facebook at