NBC News Anchor Lester Holt Becomes Honorary Chair of the 2014 – 2015 Jazz Fellowship Awards

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Lester Holt

American Pianists Association Announces
NBC News Anchor Lester Holt as Honorary Chair
of the 2014 – 2015 Jazz Fellowship Awards

The American Pianists Association is pleased to announce NBC’s Lester Holt as the honorary chair of the American Pianists Association’s 2014 – 2015 Jazz Fellowship Awards presented by REI Real Estate Services. The winner of the competition will receive 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.

Lester Holt serves as weekend anchor for the flagship broadcast NBC Nightly News, co-anchor of the weekend edition of Today, and Principal Anchor of Dateline NBC.

Holt joined the NBC News family in 2000, and has reported from many of the world’s hot spots. Notable work has included reporting from the Kuwait/Iraqi border as US forces prepared to launch their invasion of Iraq in 2003, the front lines in Lebanon on the war between Israel and Hezbollah in early 2006, and from Haiti on the immediate aftermath and response to the devastating earthquake, among others.


Beginning on Saturday, September 27, five Finalists will compete for the $100,000 prize and the title of 2015 Cole Porter Fellow in Jazz of the American Pianists Association. Having been selected as Finalists each of the five pianists – Christian Sands, Zach Lapidus, Emmet Cohen, Kris Bowers, and Sullivan Fortner – will perform as part of the Jazz Premiere Series in their own fully produced set at Indianapolis’ The Jazz Kitchen.

On March 27, 2015, the Semi-Finals will take place at The Jazz Kitchen and on March 28, 2015, the Finals presented by Ice Miller will take place at Hilbert Circle Theatre with featured four-time Grammy® Award-winning vocalist Dianne Reeves. The Finals will be judged by pianists Amina Figarova, Bill Charlap, and Edward Simon, as well as Mack Avenue Records Executive VP of A&R Al Pryor and journalist Don Heckman. The Finals will be streamed live featuring webcast host Christian McBride at AmericanPianists.org. The winner will be named the American Pianists Association’s Cole Porter Fellow in Jazz.

The mission of the American Pianists Association is to advance the careers of American jazz and classical pianists between the ages of 18 – 30. The organization was founded in 1979 in New York City and has been in Indianapolis since 1982. Past winners have included Aaron Diehl, Dan Tepfer and Aaron Parks, among esteemed others.

For more information on the American Pianists Association, please visit: AmericanPianists.org

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