Grant Richards Named Berklee's 13th Jimmy Lyons Scholar

By 
Margot Edwards
September 8, 2009
Grant Richards
Grant Richards
Photo provided by the artist
Photo provided by the artist

Berklee College of Music and the Monterey Jazz Festival announced today that pianist Grant Richards of Portland, Oregon, is the 13th recipient of the Jimmy Lyons Scholarship at Berklee, a major music education prize. The full-tuition scholarship is named in honor of the festival's late founder, James L. (Jimmy) Lyons, who began the festival 52 years ago with jazz education at its core.

The Lyons Scholarship is awarded each year to one music student in recognition of their outstanding talent. This year marks the first time that the competition, previously restricted to students from California, has been open to young musicians from the western United States. Because it is a full-tuition, renewable award, satisfactory academic and musical progress in each successive year allows each Lyons Scholar to attend Berklee through graduation entirely tuition-free.

Richards will sit in with the Berklee Monterey Quintet at the festival on Friday, September 18 at 8:00 p.m. on the Garden Stage, and again on Saturday, September 19 at 5:00 p.m. in the Coffee House Gallery. Previous Lyons recipient Billy Buss will also perform as part of the Berklee Monterey Quintet.

Monterey Jazz Festival trustee Carsbia Anderson, chair of the festival's education committee, and Berklee president Roger H. Brown will make the presentation to Richards at the festival on Sunday, September 20 at 2:00 pm on the Jimmy Lyons Stage.

Richards, a gifted pianist who graduated from Cleveland High School in Portland, begins his Berklee studies in Boston this month. He credited his dad and other teachers, especially Randy Porter and Gordon Lee, with being instrumental in his young career. Said Richards, "I'm really excited to receive such an honor. I hope to meet fantastic musicians at Berklee and learn from playing and studying with them. I also look forward to having the great resources Berklee provides in all aspects of music."

At just 18, Richards is one of the premier young jazz musicians in the Pacific Northwest. He is already playing professionally and released his first album, Extra Step, in 2006. Richards has won four Down Beat Student Awards since 2004, among many other accolades. He is the pianist for the Portland Youth Jazz Orchestra, and played with the Beaverton Arts and Communications Magnet Academy Jazz Ensemble. Both groups performed at the Cheonan/Beaverton Sister City Festival in South Korea to promote strong relations between the two countries. His own band, the Grant Richards Trio, plays regularly around Portland and also performed at the 2005 Portland Jazz Festival.