Toronto's Emerging Jazz Artist Award Finalists Announced

Toronto Arts Foundation announces three outstanding musicians and composers as finalists for the 2017 Emerging Jazz Artist Award.

TORONTO, June 6, 2017 – Toronto Arts Foundation announces three outstanding musicians and composers as finalists for the 2017 Emerging Jazz Artist Award. The winner will be announced to the public on June 24, 2017 at 5:15 pm, as part of the TD Toronto Jazz Festival, on the OLG Stage on Cumberland Avenue in Village of Yorkville Park, 115 Cumberland St. The announcement will be followed by a free concert featuring last year’s recipient, Amanda Tosoff.  

The Emerging Jazz Artist Award is intended to further the career of an outstanding musician and support the pre-production, production and/or recording of original music composed by the recipient. The $10,000 award was established in 2014, through the generous donation of Cheryl and Manuel Buchwald, and will be given out annually for at least 10 years. Finalists receive awards of $1,000 each.

"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 peer jury, facilitated by Christy DiFelice, Music Officer at Toronto Arts Council, included celebrated jazz artists and cultural leaders: Collin Barrett, Josh Grossman, Elena Kapeleris, and Shakura S’Aida.

The 2017 Finalists are:

Allison Au
Juno-award winning Jazz Saxophonist, Composer and Arranger, Allison Au refuses to be defined. Born to a Chinese father and Jewish mother, and raised in the multicultural metropolis of Toronto, Allison found music as a young child. She was exposed to a wide array of musical styles but was captivated by the unhinged freedom of Jazz. 

Michael Davidson
Michael Davidson is a Toronto-based vibraphonist in the improvised, jazz, and creative music scene. He has collaborated with many of the active jazz and improvised music players in Toronto. Michael leads The Michael Davidson Sextet, which is his main compositional outlet. He also co-leads the chamber jazz quartet Hobson’s Choice. You can hear him playing around Toronto with The Michael Davidson Sextet, Hobson’s Choice, Digital Watch, David Occhipinti’s Camera, Monk’s Music, The Dan Fortin Quartet, and Andrew Downing’s Otterville.

Larnell Lewis
Toronto native Larnell Lewis is a musician, composer, producer, educator and clinician. One of Canada’s most promising up-and-coming drummers, Lewis has garnered international status with his most recent works with the three-time Grammy Award winning band, Snarky Puppy. He is a part-time music professor at Humber College, has been featured on the cover of Modern Drummer (September 2016), and has performed with such artists as Fred Hammond, Lalah Hathaway, Lisa Fischer, and Laila Biali.

Toronto Arts Foundation Awards are designed to heighten public awareness of arts and artists in Toronto by shining a spotlight on artistic excellence and achievement. 

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 on the Toronto Arts Foundation Awards please visit

Jennifer Green, Associate Director, Toronto Arts Foundation;
416-392-6800 x207