Three Nanaimo high school music students have won recognition in the pages of a top jazz magazine.
Today, May 6, it was announced that the Wellington Secondary School trio of drummer Daniel Mottahedeh, pianist Petra Dobek and bassist Philip Morosan won DownBeat magazine’s 2020 Student Music Award for Outstanding Performance in the Small Jazz Combo category, high school division.
Wellington band director Carmella Luvisotto said the win was “super surprising,” as the trio was up against groups from across North America and many American band programs start at a younger age. She describes DownBeat as the “premier” jazz magazine.
“It is very prestigious to be nominated and given a place in the DownBeat magazine,” Luvisotto said. “It’s something that these students can for sure use on their resumes. To the people in the music world, it’s a big deal.”
Luvisotto submitted an audio recording of the trio’s performance from the 2020 Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival at the University of Idaho. They won the A Jazz Combos category with their set at the festival and all three students also finished as runners-up in individual categories.
“I just decided to choose it because it was the last thing we did before COVID,” Luvisotto said. “It was basically a week before COVID hit and they had played so well during that performance.”
Mottahedeh is currently studying music at McGill University and Dobek and Morosan are in their senior year at Wellington. All three have garnered many awards during their high school music careers, and Luvisotto said their success is thanks to their hard work, dedication and chemistry.
Luvisotto said they were “super excited” when they heard they won the award from DownBeat.
“To see that expression and joy in their face, and they felt truly honoured, I think that was super great as a teacher to see that and feel that excitement in your students,” she said.
Wellington last won a DownBeat Student Music Award in 2016. That year alto saxophonist Kenton Dick won for Original Composition – Small Ensemble in the high school category for his piece Somewhere Down The Road.