This event has been canceled due to inclement weather.

Jazz Combo Competition

February 23, 2019 | Holland Performing Arts Center
Registration open! 

Omaha Performing Arts is excited to announce the 2019 Student Jazz Combo Competition in conjunction with the UNO Great Plains Jazz Festival. This fifth annual competition element of the festival provides outstanding student ensembles a chance to shine in a combo setting. Stay tuned for more information!

Competition Guidelines
High School and College student jazz combos of 10 or fewer musicians are eligible to compete.



Sullivan Fornter

Lauded as one of the top jazz pianists of his generation, Sullivan Fortner is recognized for his virtuosic technique and captivating performances. The winner of three prestigious awards – a Leonore Annenberg Arts Fellowship, the 2015 Cole Porter Fellowship from the American Pianists Association, and the 2016 Lincoln Center Award for Emerging Artists – Sullivan’s music embodies the essence of the blues and jazz as he connects music of all eras and genres through his improvisation.

headshot of sullivan foster looking sideways at the camera, standing


Godwin Louis

The alto saxophonist was born in Harlem, New York and began playing saxophone at age nine and is a graduate of Berklee College of Music and the prestigious Thelonious Monk Institute for Jazz Performance. Godwin has studied and performed with Herbie Hancock, Clark Terry, Roger Dickerson, Ron Carter, Al Foster, Patti Labelle, Toni Braxton, Babyface, Madonna, Gloria Estefan, Wynton Marsalis, and Terence Blanchard just to name a few.

As a composer, Godwin has received the Jerome Foundation Emerging Artist Grant, and the Jazz Gallery's "New Works Commission". As an educator, humanitarian and ambassador, Godwin has traveled from extensively to help promote cross-cultural understanding and introduce thousands to America’s indigenous art form, through public concerts, master classes, and jam sessions. Godwin is the founder of Experience Ayiti, a nonprofit educational, multidisciplinary arts organization.

headshot of godwin louis pointing at camera, smiling, holding alto saxophone


Etienne Charles

Born on the Island of Trinidad in 1983, 
Charles defies easy musical categorization. A recipient of a 2015 Guggenheim Fellowship and recent Chamber Music America Grant for New Works, he has been hailed by New York Times as "an auteur". According to Downbeat Magazine "Charles delivers his ebullient improvisations with the elegance of a world-class ballet dancer." 

He has received critical acclaim for his exciting performances, thrilling compositions and knack for connecting with audiences worldwide. More recently, he received the distinct honor of being selected as a 2015 Guggenheim Fellow in the Creative Arts.

headshot of etienne charles seated on the arm of a chair, looking at the camera while resting his arm on a trumpet