Teacher Jeff Torchon says, "When professional musicians are asked about how she plays, they tell me that she is one of the pros and they would play gigs with her if given the opportunity."
The musical talents of Maya Keren '18 gained national recognition this year. She's been selected as a Merit winner in the National YoungArts Foundation program in the area of Jazz piano, and earned Finalist recognition in Grammy Band.
This National YoungArts Foundation program is recognizes emerging artists ages 15–18 or in grades 10–12 in the US. There are three tiers of winners: Finalist, Honorable Mention, and Merit. According to the Foundation, "The YoungArts Merit award level recognizes work that has been deemed as commendable by the panel, strong technically with a clear artistic point of view. Merit winners receive a medallion and are invited to participate in a regional program."
Maya says, "I'll have the opportunity to participate in a week-long regional program in New York City in April where I get to attend masterclasses with wonderful musicians (last year, Barry Harris, a famous jazz pianist was at NYC) and network with other jazz musicians."
Grammy Band, another national competition, also honored Maya's work this year. Maya explains, "If you are chosen for the Grammy program, you get to perform at the Grammy Awards. I did not get chosen but I was still recognized as a Finalist. For Grammy, twenty kids get chosen for the big band and one hundred kids get recognized as Finalists."
Teacher and fellow jazz musician Jeff Torchon has been working with Maya since she was in sixth grade, and he's super proud of her accomplishments. "She is a phenomenal musician and person and has really become an emerging pro in the area of jazz piano. When professional musicians are asked about how she plays, they tell me that she is one of the pros and they would play gigs with her if given the opportunity."
Maya knows that music will always be a part of her life. She says, "I'm so grateful to have been recognized by these programs and excited to be part of a network of alumni for both of the foundations. I definitely am planning to continue playing music in college and for the rest of my life. I hope to either double major in music and engineering and eventually pursue a career that combines both music and science."