Young jazz guitarist selected for the national music award

by Marie Rodriguez

West Stockbridge — When Nico Wohl’s first-grade teacher requested him what he wanted to do when he grew up, his solution got here quick: “I want to be in a band,” he recalls announcing. Though he might now not cross on to pick out up a guitar for another five years, come what may his passion for track became inherent.

By the time he turned into 11 years old, he had received his first guitar—a small, acoustic model—and subsequently taught himself to play by ear. The first song Wohl mastered become “Crazy Train” via Ozzy Osbourne, 1980 hit coined a long time earlier than the younger musician’s personal delivery. In the ensuing eight years, Wohl has installed himself as an accomplished jazz guitar player, a feat for which he became recently diagnosed. In January, Wohl became named a 2019 YoungArts finalist snagging considered one of just six spots awarded to jazz musicians selected from a pool of extra than 500 applicants. The National YoungArts Foundation acknowledges artists for excellence in the visual, literary, layout and acting arts.

“Everyone who is competitive applies,” explained Wohl. “I changed into no longer looking ahead to this … I changed into so surprised,” he said of the respect. YoungArts’ signature software is an utility-based award for rising artists ages 15–18 or in grades 10–12 from throughout the United States. Selected via a blind adjudication technique performed by an unbiased panel of fantastically achieved artists, YoungArts winners receive precious support, which includes economic awards of as much as $10,000, professional improvement and educational studies running with famend mentors, and overall performance and exhibition opportunities at some of the state’s main cultural establishments.

Earlier this year, Wohl participated in the 38th annual National YoungArts Week in Miami. During the intensive, weeklong application, Wohl changed into one in all 160 finalists across 10 disciplines participating in grasp classes and workshops with the world over identified leaders in their respective fields. Nightly performances, spanning myriad genres from cinematic arts and classical tune to bop and design, allowed for collaboration with musicians who, curiously sufficient, Wohl had previously encountered on entirely exceptional ranges.

“That’s the component about jazz,” Wohl explained. “At the excessive level, it’s a quite small global,” he brought, noting “it’s rare that I hear approximately someone who’s in reality top that I don’t know.” Case in point? The six jazz musicians with whom he collaborated in Miami have been all acknowledged to Wohl from other programs.

During his four years of high faculty, Wohl participated in a pre-college application on the Manhattan School of Music; his attractiveness intended traveling to Harlem every Saturday for the duration of the faculty 12 months to take non-public training and in addition his have a look at of improvisation, ear training, theory, composition/arranging, and jazz records/patterns/evaluation. The prestigious program offers proficient instrumentalists the opportunity to grow as younger jazz artists and is one of the few establishments inside the U.S. Imparting jazz programs at the intermediate, secondary, undergraduate and doctoral tiers. Students on this program have received numerous countrywide honors which include Downbeat, ASCAP, Mingus, and Monk Awards. As for Wohl’s take at the enjoy? “I possibly would now not be where I am these days had it now not been for that software,” he stated, calling it “especially critical” to his improvement as a musician. He additionally cited Steve Ide of Sheffield as an early have an effect on.

Last summer time, Wohl toured Europe with the National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America. The NYO-USA is a software of Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute and brings collectively the brightest young gamers from throughout the united states of America. In 2018 Wohl changed into a part of an excursion that visited London, Amsterdam, and Edinburgh; previous to their departure, the NYO executed at Carnegie Hall, an revel in Wohl mentioned as “great, this type of mythical venue.” Wohl has been prevalent to participate for the coming summer time and looks ahead to touring to Asia. “I actually have plenty to look forward to,” he stated of performances in Seoul, Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Taipei.

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