Billy Strayhorn Songs Inc. and the Billy Strayhorn Foundation are honored to recognize our 2024 recipient from Temple University, Ray Kaneko. Read some of Ray’s bio below:

Saxophonist, composer, and arranger Ray Kaneko is inspired by jazz icons like Sonny Stitt, Charlie Parker, Donald Harrison, and Tim Green, blending bebop and modern classic saxophone elements into his music. He grew up in Tokyo, Japan. He studied classical saxophone at the Tokyo Metropolitan Senior High School of Fine and Performing Arts. At the same time, he was a winner of the 15th Kurashiki International Saxophone Competition for high school students and the 27th Japan Classical Music Competition in saxophone for high school students. Furthermore, he received the second prize in the Japan Junior Brass and Percussion Competition of Saxophone for high school students. In addition, he was recognized with the Most Improved Student Award at Seiko Summer Jazz Camp 2016. Since then, he has participated in Jazz Port Townsend 2017 and 2018. After graduating from Tokyo Metropolitan Senior High School of Fine and Performing Arts, he received his Bachelor of Music Degree from Kunitachi College of Music. In 2021, he moved to Philadelphia, PA. Also he went on to receive his Bachelor of Music Degree from Temple University. Throughout his journey, he has had the privilege of being mentored by esteemed jazz musicians, including Dick Oatts, Terell Stafford, Tim Green, and Tim Warfield. Building on this foundation, he now focuses on sharing his music with audiences worldwide, performing at various venues, and cultivating his compositions and arrangements.

Congratulation to Ray and the outstanding jazz program at Temple for providing a musical platform for musicians like Ray to shine. Ever Up and Onward!