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American Pianists Association Jazz Fellowship finalists announced

Kris Bowers
Kris Bowers
Courtesy of DL Media/American Pianists Association

Joel Harrison, President/CEO and Artistic Director of the American Pianists Association has announced the five Finalists for the American Pianists Association's Cole Porter Fellowship. The five Finalists are: Kris Bowers, Emmett Cohen, Sullivan Fortner, Zach Lapidus and Christian Sands.

Kris Bowers, a native and resident of Los Angeles, CA is the winner of the 2011 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Piano Competition. He is a graduate of The Juilliard School who was selected to perform at the 2012 NEA Jazz Masters Award Ceremony at Lincoln Center. He has also performed on Jay-Z and Kanye West's Watch the Throne and with artists such as Marcus Miller, Aretha Franklin, Q-Tip, and José James.

The Jazz Fellowship Awards are produced every four years by the American Pianists Association to select the Cole Porter Fellow in Jazz. The competition takes place in three parts including the Preliminary Round, Jazz Premiere Series and Jazz Discovery Week. The Cole Porter Fellowship, valued at $100,000, includes a $50,000 cash prize (the largest prize in the world for a young jazz pianist), a recording contract with Mack Avenue Records, and career assistance and engagement for two years.

Kris Bowers and the four Finalists will compete September 2014 - February 2015 in Indianapolis, Indiana. On March 27, 2015, the Semi-Finals will take place at The Jazz Kitchen and on March 28, 2015, the Finals will take place at Hilbert Circle Theatre with featured Grammy® Award-winning vocalist Dee Dee Bridgewater and the Buselli Wallarab Jazz Orchestra. The Finals will be judged by pianists Amina Figarova, Bill Charlap, as well as Mack Avenue Records Executive Vice President of A&R, Al Pryor. The Finals will be streamed live featuring webcast host Christian McBride at The winner will be named the American Pianists Association's Cole Porter Fellow in Jazz.