The BMI Future Jazz Master Award is an annual competition open to rising jazz stars enrolled at colleges and universities nationwide. The award was established by Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI) in 2015 in honor of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Jazz Masters Fellowship, a lifetime achievement distinction widely considered to be jazz music’s premier accolade, and pays tribute to the artistic excellence of jazz pioneers while providing crucial support for emerging performers.
A panel of NEA Jazz Master judges selects the winner based on evidence of talent and potential as a jazz performer and composer, and the scholarship is presented at BMI’s annual celebration of NEA Jazz Masters Fellows. Past judges include jazz legends Ahmad Jamal, Jack DeJohnette, Jimmy Heath, and Ron Carter. In order to be eligible for the competition, all applicants must be between the ages of 17 and 24 as of the submission deadline. Former winners (other than Honorable Mention) of the BMI Future Jazz Master Scholarship are not eligible to enter the competition.