Jazz competitions at ravenscroft

As a leading concert venue, Ravenscroft has quickly gained a national reputation as an extraordinary space in which artists can present their craft at the highest level. Its state-of-the-art facilities, including Ravenscroft Hall and Jazzbird, allow performers to truly enjoy the act of sharing their creativity with others. And Ravenscroft audiences, both in-person and online, are afforded a remarkable experience as well.

In an effort to identify, support, and elevate young creative artists, Ravenscroft has developed a prestigious pair of music competitions.

1) The Bob Ravenscroft International Jazz Piano Competition has been created to recognize and celebrate exceptional artistry in emerging professional jazz pianists (ages 21-35). The competition will take place once every three years, with the inaugural offering in 2022.

To learn more about this opportunity, please click HERE.

2) The Ravenscroft Jazz Prize celebrates rising American solo artists as they begin their journeys in improvised music. There are two categories for the prize: one for Developing Musicians (ages 17-19), the other for Early Professional Artists (ages 20-22). Additionally, there are separate competitions for vocalists and instrumentalists, with the inaugural offering in 2023.

To learn more about this opportunity, please click HERE.

Ravenscroft is an outreach of MSW Ministries, a 501 (c)(3) non-profit private operating foundation, dedicated to presenting creativity that gives glory to God. To learn more about MSW outreach ministries and activities, many of which take place in Ravenscroft, please visit this page.


Administrator of Competitions

Russell Schmidt is the Director of Education for MSW Ministries, and the Administrator for Competitions at Ravenscroft. He also leads MSW's Valley Jazz Cooperative program, a program he founded in 2016 to help Arizona music students explore their creativity. Previously, he served as Director of Jazz Studies at Bowling Green State University and the University of Utah, and was on the jazz faculty of the Eastman School of Music, where he co-conducted the Eastman Studio Orchestra.

As a pianist, Russell has performed with such celebrated artists as Carl Allen, Eddie Daniels, John Hollenbeck, Joe Lovano, Gerry Mulligan, Arturo Sandoval, and Clark Terry. Among his recordings as a leader are Jazz Triptych, Volume I - The Sacred (2018), a collection of hymns and spirituals reimagined in the jazz language, and the follow-up companion album Jazz Triptych, Volume II - The Secular (2019). As a composer and arranger, Russell has written for artists as varied as saxophonists Bob Berg and Michael Brecker, the Ying String Quartet, and the chamber music group Rhythm & Brass. Additionally, his arrangements and compositions have been released by Advance Music, GIA Publications, the Penfield Commission Project, and VJC Publications. As an author, he contributed two units to the Oxford University Press publication Teaching School Jazz: Perspectives, Principles, and Strategies (2019), including a chapter on jazz piano instruction.