November 26, 2012

NEC Jazz Vocalist Liz Tobias Takes Third Place in Australia’s National Jazz Awards

Liz TobiasInternationally acclaimed vocalist Liz Tobias, a first-year master’s student in New England Conservatory’s highly competitive Jazz Studies Program, earned third place in Australia’s prestigious National Jazz Awards held in Wangaratta, Victoria, in early November. Tobias, who hails from Adelaide, South Australia, is on scholarship at NEC under the tutelage of jazz greats such as Dominique Eade, Cecil McBee, Hankus Netsky, and Jerry Bergonzi.

Tobias's prize award includes AU$2,500, an invitation to record for Australian Broadcasting Corporation Classic FM's "Jazztrack with Mal Stanley"—the program on which the finals were broadcast live on November 4—and a performance slot at the 2013 Stonnington Jazz Festival.

Now 28, Tobias has been captivating the hearts of jazz lovers all over the world with her stunning voice and loveable stage presence. She was awarded first place in the 2009 International Jazz Voicingers Competition, was a finalist in the Australia-wide James Morrison Vocal Competition, and a semi-finalist in the Shure Montreux Voice Competition in 2011 performing for Quincy Jones, who proclaimed: "Girl—you can sing! You got gumbo!!"

In addition, she has performed at the Montreux Jazz Festival, headlined the Easy Jazz Festival, and toured Asia. Tobias has worked alongside some of the world's finest jazz musicians including six-time Grammy nominee Mark Murphy and Polish-born guitarist Jarek Smietana. Her singing style reflects Australia’s gospel and soul music scene, which surrounded her as a child. Her debut CD A Beautiful Friendship (and just the beginning of love) received airplay in 25 countries worldwide.

Competition website

Liz Tobias's website


New England Conservatory’s Jazz Studies Department was the first fully accredited jazz studies program at a music conservatory. The brainchild of Gunther Schuller who moved quickly to incorporate jazz into the curriculum when he became President of the Conservatory in 1967, the unprecedented program was approved by the National Association of Schools of Music and began offering classes in September 1969. Closely allied to the Jazz Studies program was his Third Stream department (now Contemporary Improvisation), which came along a few years later, building bridges between classical music, jazz, and related genres.

Jazz Studies faculty have included Carl Atkins, Jaki Byard, Jimmy Giuffre, six MacArthur “Genius” grant recipients (Steve Lacy, George Russell, Ran Blake, Gunther Schuller, Miguel Zenón, and Jason Moran) and four NEA Jazz Masters (Schuller, Bob Brookmeyer, Russell, and Ron Carter). Current faculty, led by Jazz Studies Chair Ken Schaphorst, are among the most distinguished jazz artists of today: Jerry Bergonzi, Ran Blake, Luis Bonilla, Anthony Coleman, Dominique Eade, Billy Hart, Fred Hersch, Dave Holland, Cecil McBee, Donny McCaslin, John McNeil, Jason Moran, Bob Moses, Brad Shepik, and Miguel Zenon, among others.

Prominent NEC alumni include Darcy James Argue, Bruce Barth, Richie Barshay, Don Byron, Regina Carter, Freddy Cole, Marilyn Crispell, Dave Douglas, Marty Ehrlich, Ricky Ford, Satoko Fujii, Jerome Harris, Fred Hersch, Roger Kellaway, Mat Maneri, Harvey Mason, Andy McGhee, Bill McHenry, John Medeski, Vaughn Monroe, Michael Moore, Noah Preminger, Jamie Saft, George Schuller, Luciana Souza, Chris Speed, Cecil Taylor, Daniel Tepfer, Cuong Vu, Phil Wilson, Bo Winiker, Bernie Worrell, and Rachel Z. As of the 2012–2013 school year, the program has 61 undergraduate and 45 graduate students representing 12 countries.

Contact: Ann Braithwaite
Braithwaite & Katz