UW-Eau Claire alumni success stories

.Recent grad receives national jazz honor

Andrew Neesley

Andrew Neesley '03

By Jesse Okiror '04
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau Intern

UW-Eau Claire graduate Andrew Neesley received in February a 2004 American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers Foundation Young Jazz Composer Award.

The award, which recognizes outstanding American composers ages 12-30, encourages young jazz composers to create new works.

“The young talents nurtured by this program represent the future of a uniquely American art form,” said Marilyn Bergman, the ASCAP Foundation president.

Applicants for the Young Composers award submitted a notated score of one original composition along with information about prior music studies, background and experience.

“I am honored to be selected for this award,” said Neesley. “I have been writing music for a long time. It seems not only something I can’t stop doing but something I can’t escape.”

The 22-year-old Neesley began playing the violin at age 4 but fell in love with the trumpet early on. He won the National Trumpet Competition in Washington, D.C., in 1999 and was one of four finalists at the International Trumpet Guild Jazz Improvisation Contest.

As a student at UW-Eau Claire, Neesley was a member of the university’s Grammy-nominated Jazz Ensemble I.

“The ASCAP award is the biggest recognition for any veteran or young composer in the world,” said Dr. Robert Baca, professor of jazz studies at UW-Eau Claire. “Andrew was a student who was always reaching for the stars and lately he’s been catching a few of them.”

Neesley, a Glendale native, graduated from UW-Eau Claire in December 2003 and now studies jazz composition at the Manhattan School of Music in New York City.

“It’s always nice to have somebody say they like what you’ve created,” Neesley said. “Thanks to ASCAP for selecting me, and I look forward to using the accomplishment to push myself further and write even better music.”

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