On April 10th Galen Demus, Jazz Education Coordinator and nephew of composer, arranger, lyricist and pianist Billy Strayhorn, presented to a class of graduate students in jazz studies an hour long presentation focusing on the life and contributions of Strayhorn in his collaboration with Duke Ellington and his orchestra, as well as his singular genius towards contributing to the jazz canon. Special thanks for the invitation from Professor Ansyn Banks, who teaches a semester long class on Duke Ellington using the 1993 book written by John Hasse: “Beyond Category-The Life and Genius of Duke Ellington”. The U of L class was both attentive and inquisitive, especially when gaining knowledge about Billy Strayhorn’s musical accomplishments before his collaborative years with Ellington. Pictured: Professor Ansyn Banks jazz studies grad class with Galen Demus (far left).

The first annual Billy Strayhorn Scholarship Concert celebrates the 2023 and 2024 winners of the Billy Strayhorn Jazz Education Scholarship for Piano and Composition, Kyle Takata and Mariia Kovalenko. Watch both these very talented student musicians perform as part of the Berklee College of Music 2024 Keys Fest.

Berklee College of Music