Each year, Berklee and Berklee International Network partner MAI select a top student group to travel for a week to Nancy, France to perform at Nancy Jazz Pulsations. While there, they'll also give workshops and clinics at local music schools.
This year's featured group is the Patrick Kunka Quartet.
Created at Berklee, the Patrick Kunka Quartet brings together some of Scotland’s most promising young jazz musicians in an explosive and highly creative new project. Led by drummer and composer Patrick Kunka, their music combines a youthful energy and fire with a fully grown musical sensitivity and highly developed instrumental facility all round.
Patrick Kunka is a drummer and composer from Aberdeen, Scotland who was awarded a scholarship to Berklee at the age of 18. While at Berklee, Kunka was awarded the Keith Copeland/Sabian Award for Outstanding Musicianship from the Percussion Department, as well as the Professional Music Award for Outstanding Musical Achievement. Kunka also was runner-up in the Best Drummer category of the inaugural Scottish Jazz Awards in 2009. He has studied with Terri Lyne Carrington, Steve Davis, Bob Kaufman, and Jon Hazilla, among others.
Leah Gough-Cooper is an alto saxophone player from Dumfries, Scotland who was awarded a full scholarship to Berklee at the age of 16. Gough-Cooper studied with Berklee alumna Laura MacDonald in Scotland and now studies with master saxophonist George Garzone in Boston. In 2007 she was a finalist for BBC Scotland's Young Jazz Musician of the Year Award. Gough-Cooper also leads her own fusion group, Human Equivalent.
Alan Benzie is a piano player from Glasgow, Scotland. Originally a classical violinist, he only switched to piano during his last year at St. Mary's Music School in Edinburgh. Despite this, at the age of 17, Benzie won BBC Scotland's Young Jazz Musician of the Year Award, and was then awarded a scholarship to study at Berklee in 2007. He was also runner-up in the Best Pianist category of the inaugural Scottish Jazz Awards in 2009. Benzie has studied with Steve Hamilton and Chick Lyall in Scotland, and JoAnne Brackeen and Laszlo Gardony in Boston.
Dylan Coleman is a bass player from Townsend, MA. He grew up playing classical piano from a young age, but decided to switch to bass when he became interested in improvised music. Coleman was the Massachusetts All-State Jazz Bassist from 2005 to 2006, and now attends Berklee on scholarship, where he received the Norm Nathan Award for Outstanding Musicianship in 2009. At Berklee, he has studied with John Lockwood, Bruno Raberg, and Oscar Stagnaro.