DEVELOPING ARTISTS GRANTS
2007 Grant Recipient
Oscar Peterson Grant for Jazz Performance
Eli Bennett is an 18-year-old tenor saxophonist from Vancouver, British Columbia. He received his high school education through home-schooling and will start a Bachelor of Applied Music program in jazz performance and music composition at Toronto's Humber College in the fall of 2007.
Eli has performed at many jazz festivals including the 2006 Ottawa International Jazz Festival where he played with the CBC Galaxie Rising Stars and the 2006 Telluride Jazz Festival, where he performed with the prestigious Telluride Student All-Stars Jazz Ensemble. In both 2006 and 2007 he was selected for the Gibson/Baldwin GRAMMY Jazz Ensembles program.
He has won many awards and scholarships including two major awards from MusicFest Canada, - the 2005 Rico Golden Reed Award for the best student saxophonist and the 2007 Yamaha Kando Award for most outstanding young musician. Eli's composition, Mistaken Perception, won the 2007 DownBeat Student Music Award for best original high-school composition.
Says Denny Christianson, Director of the Music Program at Humber College, "It is not often that one has the occasion to suggest that a young musician is blessed with a certain degree of genius, but in this case, I believe it is warranted. Having worked with talented kids for a great number of years, I have not seen a saxophonist of Eli's stature, at his age, in at least fifteen years."
The Hnatyshyn Foundation jazz jury, composed of jazz musicians Christine Jensen, Barry Elmes and André Lachance, were impressed with Eli's strong performance. "He has an excellent command of both the saxophone and the jazz idiom and a nicely developed tone. Advanced development of the jazz language showed in his improvisations. Overall he shows a lot of maturity for his age."