Congratulations to our 2024 Billy Strayhorn Jazz Education Scholarship Award Recipient from the Berklee College of Music, Mariia Kovalenko.

Mariia Kovalenko is a freshman who came to Boston from her home in Moscow, Russia to attend the prestigious Berklee College of Music. While she wants to major in piano composition, hoping to work behind the scenes and writing her own music, Mariia was the winner among 11 participants at Berklee of the Billy Strayhorn Jazz Education Scholarship for excellence in piano and jazz composition. The inspiration for participating in the competition was that she loves Strayhorn’s music. “His music is very original. I love what he does with harmonization. It’s like things I never heard before.” Besides Strayhorn, Mariia is a fan of music written by Bill Evans and the classical composer Ravel (who Strayhorn also loved). When asked for advice she would give younger, aspiring musicians, Mariia said…”when I was 12 years old, I was about to stop. I had to learn not to feel so stressed, not to be so nervous. You have to learn to grow and put your heart into the music. Show yourself and just learn to be you.” Mariia is obviously a rising star we will hear more from. Sincere congratulations to Mariia and all of the competition participants. The future of Jazz shines bright.