Gil Scott Chapman is a 27-year-old, classically trained jazz pianist from Westfield, New Jersey. He began his classical music studies with Dr. Loretta Jankowski at the tender age of 7; where under her tutelage, he won and placed in various classical piano competitions. He is a graduate of the Interlochen Arts Academy (2008).
Gil proceeded to earn his B.F.A. (Jazz Studies) and Master of Music (Improvisation) from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. While there, he studied under world renowned jazz pianist and educator Geri Allen (undergraduate); and also with another famed jazz pianist, Benny Green (Masters)–who was the late great Oscar Peterson’s protege.
Chapman has won a number of awards and piano competitions since a very young age; notably the P.T.S.A. (Piano Teachers Society Of America) Five Year Carnegie Hall Student Award and 1st place in the Music Educators Association of New Jersey “Young Artist Piano Competition”. He has performed in concerts and festivals around the world; venues such as Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.; the Monterey Jazz Festival (California); the Montreux Jazz Festival (Switzerland); and the Detroit Jazz Festival, to name a few.
Chapman has performed and recorded alongside many celebrated artists including opera diva Jessye Norman and composer-pianist Bob James. In 2012, while matriculated at the University of Michigan, Chapman received praise from the incomparable Ahmad Jamal, whom he played for in a master-class setting. The following year, the University of Michigan Jazz Department recommended Gil Scott to participate in another master-class at Wayne State University with composer-pianist Danilo Perez. To his delight, Chapman was invited to perform with Perez at the Detroit Jazz Festival.
Gil was also a nominee for the 2015 jazz fellowship awards of the A.P.A. (American Pianists Association)–which is touted as the largest and most lucrative award in the world for a young jazz pianist–where the top prize package totaled $100,000 in recording contracts and performances.
From an applicant pool spreading over 46 different countries, Gil was selected as the only American finalist in the (2014 Parmigiani International Montreux Solo Jazz Piano Competition) that takes place every year at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland. He was subsequently named a finalist in the inaugural 2014 American Jazz Piano Competition which was held in Melbourne, FL; and was also selected as a semi-finalist in the 2014 Nottingham International Jazz Piano Competition which takes place in the UK (Nottingham, England).
Gil has played a crucial role in the development the “Gershwin Initiative”—where (The University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance) has entered into a long-term partnership with the Gershwin family to undertake a two-part initiative that will bring the music of George and Ira Gershwin to students, scholars, performers and audiences across campus and worldwide. The Gershwin Initiative includes a new scholarly edition of George and Ira’s creative work, plus educational opportunities for U-Michigan students to perform and learn about the Gershwins’ art.
His most recent accomplishment includes being awarded 3rd place and $5,000 in the 13th Unisa International Piano Competition which took place in Pretoria, South Africa (January 2016). Over R820 000 ($65,000 USD) in prizes were given out at the prestigious event; which was the first competition in the world to feature a jazz category alongside a classical category.
A gifted artist with an insatiate curiosity, Gil Scott’s quest to push the jazz art form, therefore himself, is without end. “What thrills me about music,” Chapman says, “especially jazz, is the unexplored, the unknown. And the irony is you’re completely unaware of that unexplored territory until you get there— that journey excites me!”
For an inspired Gil Scott Chapman, there appears to be no bounds to possibility.
2016 University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
Masters Degree in Improvisation; conferred on April 29, 2016
2013 University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
B. F. A., Jazz Studies; conferred on May 3, 2013
2009 Berklee College of Music, Boston, MA Performance major; transferred
2008 Interlochen Arts Academy, Interlochen, MI
High school diploma; conferred on May 24, 2008
Teachers and Private Instructors
Prof. Benny Green, University of Michigan, Jazz
Prof. Geri Allen, University of Michigan, Jazz
Dr. Thomas Lymenstull, Interlochen Arts Academy, Classical Eliran Avni, New York Youth Symphony, Classical
Dr. Loretta Jankowski, Classical
2013 Danilo Perez, University of Michigan
2012 Ahmad Jamal, University of Michigan
2007 Bob James, Interlochen Public Radio
2005 Gilbert Kalish, New York Youth Symphony, Chamber Music Program 2005 Fred Sherry, New York Youth Symphony, Chamber Music Program 2004 David Krakauer, New York Youth Symphony, Chamber Music Program
2003 Carol Wincenc, New York Youth Symphony, Chamber Music Program 2003 Ida Kavafian, New York Youth Symphony, Chamber Music Program 2003 Claude Frank, New York Youth Symphony, Chamber Music Program
2015-2016 University of Michigan Big Band, Lead Pianist 2011-2013
2008 Darren Barrett Ensemble, Berklee College of Music, Pianist
2008 Terri Lynne Carrington Ensemble, Berklee College of Music, Tour of Detroit Public Schools
2007 Interlochen Arts Academy Jazz Ensemble, Monterey Jazz Festival
2004-2006 World Youth Symphony Orchestra (WYSO), Interlochen Arts Camp, 1st Chair Pianist
2003-2007 Interlochen Jazz Ensemble, Interlochen Arts Academy, 1st Chair Pianist 2003-2007 Interlochen Jazz Ensemble, Interlochen Arts Camp, 1st Chair Pianist 2002-2006 New York Youth Symphony, Chamber Music
Performances and Awards
2016 Placed 3rd, and won a $5,000 Prize in the 13th Unisa International Piano Competition held in Pretoria, South Africa
2014 Selected to premiere Gershwin’s “Rhapsody In Blue” with the University (of Michigan) Symphony Orchestra on October 10, 2014.
2014 Selected as a finalist for the inaugural American Jazz Piano Competition 2014 Selected as a semi-finalist for the Nottingham International Jazz Piano Competition in Nottingham, England
2014 Selected as a finalist in the Parmigiani Montreux Solo Piano Competition in Montreux, Switzerland
2013 Nominated in December for the 2015 Jazz Fellowship Awards of the American Pianists Association
2013 Detroit Jazz Festival (DJF) alongside Danilo Perez, accompanied by Big Band I of Wayne State University led by Chris Collins (DJF Artistic Director)
2012 Featured artist at Bethany Baptist Church Jazz (Newark, NJ), organized by Dorthaan Kirk and Associates, performed with Kenny Davis (bass), Kassa Overall (drums), and Lance Bryant (tenor)
2012 Collage Concert, Hill Auditorium, University of Michigan, Best Collage Performance Award (“Blue Rondo à la Turk”)
(Collage is the annual concert performed by the University of Michigan’s School of Music, Theatre & Dance. This was the first time a jazz artist received this award.)
2011 Opened for opera singer Jessye Norman at Hill Auditorium, University of Michigan
2011 The Conservatory Project, The Kennedy Center in Washington, D. C.
2009 Piano Department Achievement Award, Berklee College of Music
2007 Music Educators Association of New Jersey, Young Artist Piano Competition, 1st Place (Chopin, “Polonaise in C# Minor Op. 26, No. 1”)
2007 Parent Teacher Society of America (PTSA) Winners Recital, Carnegie Hall, Carnegie Award, 1st Place
2007 Belleville High School Jazz Festival, Outstanding Soloist Award 2007 New Jersey International Association for Jazz Education, State Finals,
Outstanding Soloist Award
2007 John P. Stevens High School Jazz Festival, Best Overall Soloist Award
2007 New York Youth Symphony Chamber Music Program Participant
2007 Interlochen Arts Camp, Fine Arts Award for Outstanding Achievement in Classical and Jazz Piano
2006 New York Youth Symphony Chamber Music Program Participant
2005 Parent Teacher Society of America (PTSA) Winners Recital, Carnegie Hall, Carnegie Award, 1st Place
2005 New York Youth Symphony, “An Evening of Chamber Music,” Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, New York City
2005 National Arts Club, Haydn, “Trio in G Major” (Violin, Cello, and Piano) 2005 New York Youth Symphony, “An Evening of Chamber Music,” National Arts Club, New York City
2005 International Concert Alliance, Young People’s Piano Competition, 1st Place (William Bolcolm, “Graceful Ghost Rag”)
2004 New York Youth Symphony, “Making Score: An Evening of New Music” (Dir. Derek Bermel), CAMI Hall, New York City
2004 New York Youth Symphony, “An Evening of Chamber Music,” CAMI Hall, New York City
2004 Parent Teacher Society of America (PTSA) Winners Recital, Carnegie Hall, Carnegie Award, 1st Place
2004 International Concert Alliance, Young People’s Piano Competition, 1st Place (Rachmaninoff, “Prelude In C# Minor, Op. 3, No. 2”)
2004 New York Youth Symphony, “Concert at the Esplanade,” New York City 2003 International Concert Alliance, Young People’s Piano Competition, 1st Place (Gershwin, “Prelude No. 1”)
2003 Parent Teacher Society of America (PTSA) Winners Recital, Carnegie Hall, Carnegie Award, 1st Place
2003 New York Youth Symphony, “An Evening of Chamber Music,” Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, New York City
2002 New York Youth Symphony Chamber Music Program Participant
2000 Parent Teacher Society of America (PTSA) Winners Recital, Carnegie Hall, Carnegie Award, 1st Place
2015 Gil Scott Chapman Performs Live At The American Jazz Piano Competition
2016 Gil Scott Chapman is interviewed: speaking about the “Gershwin Initiative” and playing collaborative pieces
2014 Rhapsody And Maize In Blue (featuring GSC & the Gershwin Steinway)
2014 George Gershwin’s Piano: A Gift To the University Of Michigan:
2012 Gil Scott Chapman Demo Recordings