Tigran Hamasyan is the winner of the Paul Acket Award 2015. This prize is awarded every year by the festival and presented to artist deserving wider recognition for their extraordinary musicianship. With this prize, the North Sea Jazz organisation wants to highlight talented jazz musicians at the beginning of their career, known within the jazz scene, but not yet recognized by a wide audience.
Born in Armenia but living in the US, pianist Tigran Hamasyan won the piano competition at the Montreuz Jazz Festival at age 16. Although educated as a classical and jazz musician, he is also inspired by Armenian folk music, rock, electronics, poetry and more. Besides an extraordinary talent for playing the piano, Hamasyan also has a strongly developed feel for composition. His latest album Mockroot was released last February on the Nonesuch label.
According to jury member Wim Wabbes, artistic director of the Handelsbeurs Concertzaal in Gent, Tigran Hamasyan has the ability to express himself in varied styles and genres. "Whether as a soloist or as part of an ensemble, sometimes displaying his Armenian roots and at other times drawing from the rich American tradition, he always tells exciting stories with a masterly sense of melody. One of the driving forces of his generation."
"Tigran plays the music of tomorrow.", says Stéphane Kochoyan director of Epic Jazz à Vienne. "He has completely integrated jazz with his innovative mind and his openness towards the world. He controls his instrument, the acoustic piano, completely and has also mastered electronic instruments. His compositions testify to an immense love for his native country and the Grand Masters, of which he is undoubtedly one."
The BNP Paribas Foundation has been supporting the Paul Acket Award since 2011. Jean Jacques Goron, Managing Director of the Foundation: “A longstanding 20 year partner of jazz music, the BNP Paribas Foundation has been helping numerous musicians to forge their careers. It is a real delight for us that Tigran Hamasyan has been granted this year's Paul Acket Award, as the Foundation has been supporting him since 2007. Tigran is one of the most innovative and promising artists of the jazz scene today. A highly talented pianist, he is also an inspired composer, reflecting his various influences from rock music via Armenian folk songs to jazz standards. We are really proud of him and wish him all the best" .
Tigran Hamasyan will receive his prize at the festival where he will perform on Sunday July 12.
Paul Acket Award
With this award, the North Sea Jazz organisation wants to highlight talented jazz musicians at the beginning of their career. These artists are already known within the jazz scene, but not yet recognized by a wider audience. Besides a trophy, the winner of the Paul Acket Awards also receives a cheque of 5000 euro, meant to push his career even further. Former winners of this award are amongst others Ambrose Akinmusire (2014), Anat Cohen (2013), Craig Taborn (2012), Arve Hendriksen (2011), Christian Scott (2010), Stefano Bollani (2009), Adam Rogers (2008), Gianluca Petrella (2007), Conrad Herwig (2006) and Ben Allison (2005).