KU music students take home top awards from national jazz contest

LAWRENCE — Two University of Kansas music students recently took home top awards from the coveted DownBeat magazine’s annual Student Music Awards. This marks the 35th year for the publication’s contest.

David von Kampen, a doctoral student studying for a music composition degree, won for his original composition/orchestrated work in the Graduate Division for his piece “Sneak Out.”

Brian Scarborough, an undergraduate student pursuing a trombone performance degree, received the Outstanding Performance distinction in the Jazz Instrumental Soloist/Undergraduate Division.

Both students study with Professor Dan Gailey, director of Jazz Studies at KU. Under Gailey’s direction, the program has received 12 DownBeat awards since 1992.

DownBeat, one of the world's leading jazz and contemporary music publications, presents the award annually. Students and educators nominate themselves in an open call for recorded performances and applications. Honors in various categories are announced the following spring in high schools, performing arts institutions, and colleges, and winners are published in the June edition of the magazine.

Von Kampen, Lawrence, is a DMA candidate in music composition and a graduate teaching assistant at KU. He has studied composition with James Barnes, Dan Gailey and Forrest Pierce at KU, and with Eric Richards and Randall Snyder at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Von Kampen currently directs the KU Jazz Singers and teaches music theory II. He is a three-time winner of the Vancouver Chamber Choir Young Composers Competition, a 2008 ASCAP Young Jazz Composers Competition Finalist, winner of the first annual Morningside College Choral Composition Contest and the recipient of the Vreeland Award for "exceptional creative ability" by the UNL School of Music in 2007 and 2011. He has written commissions for the Vancouver Chamber Choir, the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod National Youth Gathering Choir and Wind Symphony, and numerous collegiate and high school ensembles. Von Kampen choral and instrumental music is published by Concordia Publishing House, Sound Music Publications, Dorn Publications, and RYCUN Music Company.

Scarborough, Lenexa, is a junior trombone performance major at KU. He has performed with the Wind Ensemble, KU Symphony Orchestra, Jazz Ensemble 1, Jazz Combo 1, Kansas Brass Quintet, Trombone Quartet 1, Trombone Choir and Helianthus Ensemble.  Scarborough began freelancing at the age of 15 and has since performed with some of the top ensembles in the Kansas City area, including The People’s Liberation Big Band of Greater Kansas City, The Boulevard Big Band, New Jazz Order Big Band and the Fountain City Brass BandMost recently, Brian joined the trombone section of The Boulevard Big Band. In addition to his jazz and classical work, he has performed extensively with many theater companies across the city, and his show credits include "West Side Story," "Jekyll and Hyde," "Beauty and the Beast," "On Your Toes," "The Boys from Syracuse," "Smile," "Peter Pan," "Curtains," "White Christmas," two productions of "The Drowsy Chaperone," Annie," "Cinderella," "1776 The Musical" and "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels." Scarborough studies trombone with Michael Davidson, jazz with Dan Gailey and Danny Embrey, and has received coaching from Dave Cooper, Dave Glenn, Steve Owen, John Fedchock, Ingrid Jensen, Elliot Mason, Peter Epstein, Luis Bonilla and Steve Turre. 

For more information, contact the KU School of Music at 785-864-3436.