June 2013 Winner: Jason Grimes

Jason Grimes is currently a high school senior at University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA), where he has been a student of Judith Saxton since his freshman year of high school. Previously, he had studied trumpet with Dennis Renfroe.

Jason received his first trumpet the Christmas right before his fourth birthday and began lessons when he was seven. He was homeschooled until coming to UNCSA. He also studied privately on trombone and saxophone for a year each while continuing to play trumpet. His father, Jac Grimes, is a trombonist who founded the Kings of Swing jazz band. Jason’s early exposure to that group was instrumental in providing the initial spark that kindled his interest in music. He has subbed with them frequently and his strong reading and rhythmic skills are easily attributed to this early jazz influence. Jason has parlayed his early start on the trumpet and comfort with a wide variety of instruments and styles into a leadership role at the School of the Arts, where slots for all ensembles are won by audition against all trumpets in the studio (the age spans from high school to post-graduate).

This school year, Jason currently serves as principal for the UNCSA high school trumpet ensemble, performs with a brass quintet (coached by David Jolley), and also fulfills principal trumpet duties on a wide range of repertoire with the UNCSA Wind Ensemble. As a high school senior, he has also won spots over his college-aged peers to perform in a rotating section for Orchestra and Opera Orchestra. Additionally, Jason performs as a member and a strong contributor to the UNCSA Jazz Ensemble section—a spot he won this past fall. In November of 2012, he auditioned into the North Carolina All-State Honors Orchestra.

While at UNCSA, Jason has performed in various masterclasses and received chamber music coaching with guest artists Susan Slaughter, Susan Rider, Barry Bauguess, Terry Everson, Arturo Sandoval, Charles Schlueter, Marc Reese, Charles Lazarus, Richard Cox, Alan Siebert, Jeffrey Piper, Amanda Pepping, and the US Army (Pershing’s Own) Brass Quintet and Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps Bugle Section.

During his busy time at UNCSA, Jason has maintained a healthy grade point average in an extremely academically competitive high school environment and still found time in his junior year to perform as principal trumpet with the Winston-Salem Youth Symphony. He also was in the North Carolina Western Regional Honors Orchestra, and has been a two time participant in the UNCG Carolina Band Festival, his junior year winning the principal chair in their Honors Symphonic Band (grades 11 and 12).

Jason has remained active in the summer months performing, mentoring, and serving as an intern for the John Coltrane Jazz Workshop Intern’s Ensemble in Highpoint, North Carolina, and performing with the UNC-Greensboro Summer Music Camp in the junior and senior bands and orchestra (2011) every summer since 2005. He attended Purtle Brass Camp in 2011.

As a freshman and sophomore in high school, Jason was a member of the Greensboro Youth Symphony and the Greensboro High Point Home School and Jamestown Brass Ensembles. He was a finalist for the Winston-Salem Youth Orchestra Concerto Competition, received superior solo ratings five consecutive years in the North Carolina Solo & Ensemble Competition, and took Taekwondo, almost attaining black belt prior to joining the UNCSA trumpet studio.

In the final months of his senior year at the UNC School of the Arts, Jason competed for a second year as a semi-finalist at the National Trumpet Competition and performed both for and with Allen Vizzutti during Vizzutti’s April Jazz Ensemble guest solo/clinician residency at UNCSA. As the June 2013 Young Artist Award recipient, Jason will receive a one-year complimentary membership in ITG.

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