Congratulations to Nadje Noordhuis for making it into the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition. This esteemed competition will take place Oct. 27 & 28 in LA. Nadje will compete in a live performance against 10-12 other semi-finalists for a ranking, and up to $20,000 award money.
A division of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, the Monk Competition is one of the most highly recognized competitions in the jazz world, helping young artists gain notability. Major record labels attend the competition, and like American Idol (and this is the ONLY comparison) the 2nd and 3rd place winners often gain more fame than the top placer. It's an incredible honor to make it into the competition.
Each year, the competition focuses on a different instrument. To make it to the semi-finals, competitors have to be 30 years of age or younger, submit 5 different tunes meeting a variety of requirements, and have never recorded as a leader or co-leader on a major or independent label.
Nadje, in addition to being a good friend, is a fantastic trumpet and flugelhorn player whom I often utilize in my own compositions. She hails from Sydney and Melbourne, Australia and attended the Manhattan School of Music to earn her 3rd degree, a Masters in Jazz Performance in 2005. She currently plays around NYC, most notably with Sherrie Maricle & The DIVA Jazz Orchestra, Kyle Saulnier's Awakening Orchestra, and the Justice League of Jazz (yes, I've settled on that name for my band, provided the folks at DC Comics don't mind...). Occasionally you can catch her with her own quartet, the NNQ.
As I was browsing the list of winners, dating back to the competition's inception in 1987, I noticed that no female instrumentalists have placed number one. In 2003, Karin Harris placed 4th for trombone, and in 1995 Shirley Bailey placed 3rd for guitar. But so far no number 1s.
On behalf of all female jazz instrumentalists, no pressure, Nad...