Tom Oren Wins 2018 Thelonious Monk Jazz Piano Competition

By 
Katie Gibson
December 10, 2018

Berklee student Tom Oren is the winner of this year’s Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition. 

john burk tom oren Herbie Hancock
tom oren piano
Tom Oren (center) with John Burk (left) of Concord Records and Herbie Hancock (right)
Oren performed Cole Porter's "Just One of Those Things" at the gala concert.
Image by Steve Mundinger/Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz
Image by Steve Mundinger/Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz

Berklee student Tom Oren is the winner of this year’s Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition. The honor includes $25,000 in scholarship funds and a recording contract with the Concord Music Group. Oren received the award at a gala concert at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., on December 3. 

A native of Tel Aviv, Israel, Oren is a third-semester double major in film scoring and performance, and is an alumnus of Berklee's Five-Week summer program. He attended the Thelma Yellin High School of the Arts, the Israeli Conservatory of Music, and the Rimon School of Jazz and Contemporary Music. During his compulsory military service, he also played in the Israeli Air Force band. Since 2016, he has been a member of the Eli Degibri Quartet, whose leader is also a Berklee alumnus. 

Oren and his fellow finalists performed a concert that included a tribute to Aretha Franklin as well as performances of a Cole Porter standard, “Just One of Those Things,” and a lesser-known jazz number, “Just as though You Were Here.”  He is the sixth Berkle-trained musician to win the competition since the event began in 1987. Several Berklee alumni have also earned second- and third-place honors in past Monk competitions.  

For more information on the competition and the Monk Institute, see the New York Times story or the institute’s website

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