Announcing the 2019 Emerging Jazz Artist Award Finalists

Early in their careers, these three finalists have already begun making their mark on Toronto’s jazz scene

TORONTO, June 11, 2019 – Toronto Arts Foundation is pleased to announce the finalists for the 2019 Toronto Arts Foundation Emerging Jazz Artist Award.

This year’s finalists all have a keen sense of the grand tradition behind jazz music, while putting their own stamp on the genre and the Toronto music scene with their unique style and approach.

The 2019 finalists are:

Mark Godfrey – award-winning bassist, composer, bandleader and educator

Teri Parker – jazz pianist, keyboardist, composer and bandleader

Jesse Ryan – woodwind player, composer and community arts educator

The Emerging Jazz Artist Award, a $10,000 cash prize (with finalists receiving $1,000), was established in 2014 thanks to a generous donation from jazz enthusiasts Cheryl and Manuel Buchwald, and will be given out annually for at least 10 years.

The award furthers the career of an outstanding emerging jazz artist under the age of 32 and is intended to support the pre-production, production, and/or recording of original music composed by the recipient. The Emerging Jazz Artist Award is part of Toronto Arts Foundation’s Vision Awards, presented every year at the TD Toronto Jazz Festival.

The 2019 recipient will be announced at an awards presentation at the TD Toronto Jazz Festival on June 22 at 2:30 p.m. at the TD Mainstage in Yorkville Park (115 Cumberland Street), followed by a performance from last year’s recipient, trumpeter Rebecca Hennessy. The event is free and open to the public.

"We are pleased to celebrate the achievements of Toronto's young jazz community represented by the finalists for the award," said Cheryl and Manuel Buchwald.

"The Emerging Jazz Artist Award shines the spotlight on the rising talent who will help shape the future of Toronto’s remarkable jazz scene," said Claire Hopkinson, Director and CEO, Toronto Arts Foundation. "Early in their careers, this year’s finalists have already begun making their mark – not only through their own exceptional work, but in collaborating with their fellow musicians in the city."

The peer jury, facilitated by Christy DiFelice, Music Program Manager at Toronto Arts Council, included award-winning percussionist, singer and composer Magdelys Savigne Carrion; jazz vocalist Felicity Williams; Josh Grossman, Artistic Director for Toronto Downtown Jazz; and bassist, composer and producer Justin Gray.

About the 2019 finalists:

Mark Godfrey has emerged as one of the new faces in Canadian jazz. Awarded the Grand Prix de Jazz from the Montreal Jazz Festival in 2014 along with his ensemble Pram Trio, his work as a co-leader, bassist and composer has garnered international recognition. Equally versatile on both double and electric bass, he has established himself a mainstay on the Canadian jazz scene, performing at jazz festivals across the country and with a variety of Canadian artists, including Kellylee Evans, Barbra Lica, Jake Koffman and the Toronto Jazz Orchestra. Godfrey, who released his debut EP in 2018, also works as a jazz educator.

Teri Parker is a jazz pianist, keyboardist and composer based in Toronto. She leads her own band, the Teri Parker Quartet, and co-leads the Parker Abbott Trio with pianist Simeon Abbott. Parker has released four full-length albums of original music and toured throughout Canada. She plays regularly at Toronto’s renowned Rex and Tranzac clubs with a varied cast of musicians, exploring original music and jazz standards in a contemporary context. Parker’s 2019 projects include an all-female band called Free Spirits, performing the music of the late Geri Allen and Mary Lou Williams.

Jesse Ryan is an emerging musician, composer and community arts educator in Toronto. He is a woodwind player with a special focus on alto saxophone and flute performance. Ryan is a talented composer whose musical ideas are a true celebration of the cultural, rhythmic and expressive connections between North American jazz and the music of the islands of the Caribbean. His debut album is scheduled for August 2019.

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About Toronto Arts Foundation

Toronto Arts Foundation is a charitable organization that sparks creative connections, spotlights artistic excellence, and supports vibrant cultural growth throughout our diverse city through private-sector investment. To learn more or to make a donation, visit

Contact information:

For more information about the Toronto Arts Foundation Emerging Jazz Artist Award, or to book an interview with the finalists, please contact Tabassum Siddiqui, Interim Communications Manager, at or 416-392-6802 x 217.