Congratulations to Kyle Takata, our 1st Recipient of the Billy Strayhorn Jazz Education Award at the Berklee College of Music.

A BIG congratulations to Berklee College of Music student and pianist Kyle Takata for being the inaugural recipient of the Billy Strayhorn Jazz Education Award presented to him in Spring of 2023. The 20 year old from Jamestown, Rhode Island  grew up in a musically diverse environment that was nurtured at a young age, learning to play the saxophone before focusing on the piano around 10 years of age. Kyle graduated from North Kingstown High School in Jamestown, Rhode Island. Throughout high school, Kyles musical efforts were bolstered by his involvement with the Rhode Island Music Education Association (also known as RIMEA), further honing his musical skills. Kyle, who is a songwriting major, began his journey with Berklee in 2021. Kyle notes it has been a great experience. “The life both inside and outside of class is awesome. The more you can network is first rate.” Kyle described his musical taste as “all over the place.” 50’s jazz, 60’s Motown, 70’s soul, 80’s disco, and 2000-2010 pop are some of his favorites. Burt Bacharach, Joni Mitchell, Stevie Wonder and John Legend are among songwriters he admires. When asked how he feels about being the first recipient of the Strayhorn Jazz Education Award at Berklee, Kyles response: “From when I first received the recognition, I was shocked. I remember playing Billy’s music with RIMEA…’Chelsea Bridge, Take the A Train, Lush Life’. I asked Kyle what would he tell younger musicians as they musically grow…“I would look at this music and that being here now is an amazing time for music.” And we agree that Kyle is an amazing recipient of our first Billy Strayhorn Jazz Education Award with the Berklee College of Music. Thanks to Assistant Professor of Piano Jason Yeager and the great staff at Berklee for spearheading this award in the name of Billy Strayhorn. Look for more up and coming rising stars like Kyle Takata in the future from Berklee !