Arts & Culture/Student Pianist Wins 2007 Pitt Mellon Jazz Scholarship

Issue Date: 
September 17, 2007


                                Ben Bromfield 

Pitt sophomore Ben Bromfield—who carries a double major in music and psychology—has won the 2007 Pitt-Mellon Jazz Scholarship. Funded jointly by the University and The Bank of New York Mellon, the $5,000 tuition prize is awarded annually to a Pitt music student based on submitted tapes of jazz standards that are judged by a panel of national jazz musicians.

Bromfield, 19, graduated last year from Newton North High School in Newton, Mass., and already has a repertoire that includes jazz, classical piano, and hip-hop.

He was studying jazz piano by age seven, and has performed with a gospel choir, in high school musicals, and in a five-member rock band called The Press with high school classmates. The Press has just recorded an album and is seeking a label.

In Pittsburgh, Bromfield is the keyboardist for The Known World, which performs monthly at the Club Café on the Southside, and for the more production-oriented BMVz, which performs hip-hop. He is a member of The Pitt Jazz Ensemble and traveled with the ensemble to Negril, Jamaica, last May to meet and perform for rural schoolchildren. He can be spotted jamming with professional jazz musicians at Gullifty’s on Wednesday nights, and his own Ben Bromfield Trio is called upon for on- and off-campus receptions and parties.

“Some of the bigger music programs are more structured, and you can’t pursue as many projects,” Bromfield says in explaining why he chose to attend Pitt. “Here, I am studying psychology—the academic subject that interests me the most—and playing jazz, the style of music closest to my heart.”

“I’ve heard some of the best young jazz talent from around the world,” said Pitt Professor Nathan Davis, director of the Jazz Studies Program. “As an up-and-coming pianist, Ben fits into that category.”

This is the 21st year Pitt and Mellon Jazz, a program of The Bank of New York Mellon, have funded the scholarship. To learn more about The Bank of New York Mellon’s community involvement, visit