2023 Emerging Jazz Artist Award Recipient and Finalists

Learn more about the recipient and finalists celebrated for 2023!

In May, we announced three emerging jazz artists as the finalists of the Toronto Arts Foundation Emerging Jazz Artist Award. The award offers a $10,000 cash prize for the recipient, with two finalists receiving $1,000. The finalists are celebrated for their future potential and active contributions to Toronto’s music scene. 2023 marks the tenth year that donors Cheryl and Manuel Buchwald have generously supported the award.

On June 27, 2023, we announced Kae Murphy as the recipient of the award. 

The 2023 recipient and finalists were: 

Julien Bradley-Combs - finalist

Julien Bradley-Combs playing the guitar. Photo by Eva Connelly-Miller.

Julien Bradley-Combs (he/him) is a guitarist, composer and educator living in Toronto, Canada. He plays many styles of music in a variety of settings, feeling at ease in any genre, and is also heavily involved in ZESTcreative, an interdisciplinary collective of contemporary dancers and musicians.

“I love improvised music in all of its forms and am extremely drawn to jazz because of how much it emphasizes the individual voice of each artist. I also love the deep tradition of jazz and how quickly it can change and adapt to include other genres and styles into its sound while still maintaining its essence.” - Julien Bradley-Combs

Watch a video featuring Kalya Ramu on vocals and Julien Bradley-Combs on guitar performing "Out of Nowhere," written by Johnny Green and Edward Heyman in 1931.  


Madeleine Ertel - finalist

Madeleine Ertel playing the trumpet.

Madeleine Ertel is a trumpeter, composer, and arranger known for her honest and melodic approach to music-making. A recent graduate of the University of Toronto with a Bachelor of Music in Jazz Performance, she can be found performing in a wide variety of musical contexts throughout the Greater Toronto Area.

“As an artist, I am interested in expressing honesty and vulnerability in my work. I was initially drawn to jazz music by the sense of togetherness I felt improvising with other people, and this is a feeling I continue to feel inspired by every day.” - Madeleine Ertel

Visit Madeline Ertel’s Website.

Kae Murphy - recipient

Kae Murphy playing the trumpet. Photo by Camille Neirynck-Guerrero.

Kae Murphy is a Toronto based freelance musician. Hailing from Owen Sound, ON, they have studied at the University of Toronto, the New School, the Banff Centre and the School of Improvisational Music. They have performed internationally with artists such as BADBADNOTGOOD, Whitney, Donny McCaslin, Maria Schneider and others.

“To me, this music is creativity in the purest form. There doesn't have to be any limits on any aspect of improvisation, meaning that one can be free to explore and push further in any aspect within the music. This inspires me on a daily basis.” - Kae Murphy

Watch an Instagram Reel of Kae Murphy playing the trumpet.

The Emerging Jazz Artist Award was established in 2014 to further the career of an outstanding emerging jazz artist. It is intended to support the pre-production, production, and/or recording of original music composed by the recipient. 


The panelists who assessed nominations for the 2023 award are Waleed Abdulhamid, multi-instrumentalist, composer, vocalist, music and film producer, Allison Au, Canadian saxophonist, composer and arranger, Josh Grossman, Artistic Director for Toronto Downtown Jazz and Andrew Scott, jazz guitarist.