2019 Next Generation Jazz Orchestra Biographies

Jason Arkins

Baritone saxophonist Jason Arkins, 18, is a graduate of Carmel High School in Carmel, New York. In 2018, Jason was a YoungArts Honorable Mention winner, and was chosen to be in the YoungArts New York Combo. Jason will attend the University of Miami’s Frost School of Music in the fall of 2019. This is his second year in the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra.

Ethan Avery

Trumpeter Ethan Avery is a Senior at Crossroads School for Arts and Sciences in Santa Monica, Calif. and is currently in their “A” Jazz Combo. He was selected as one of the two winners of the 2019 DownBeat High School Student Jazz Soloist Award, and received a soloist award at the 2019 Next Generation Festival. This is Ethan’s second year in the NGJO and he looks forward to taking the stage with them at the Monterey Jazz Festival.

Summer Carmago

Trumpeter Summer Carmago, 18, is a graduate of Dillard Center for the Arts in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Summer was named a 2017 National YoungArts Foundation Merit winner, with a 2018 Honorable Mention in Jazz Trumpet, as well as 2018 Merit winner in Jazz Composition. Summer also received the DownBeat 2018 Outstanding Student Jazz Performance Award. Also in 2019, Summer was chosen for Monterey Jazz Festival’s Next Generation Women in Jazz Combo Summer will attend the Juilliard School in the fall of 2019. This is her first year in the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra.

Esteban Castro

Pianist Esteban Castro, 15, attends the Manhattan School of Music Precollege on a Nana’s Way Scholarship, where he is a double major in Jazz and Classical Music. Esteban was chosen as the First Prize winner in the prestigious 2016 Parmigiani Montreux Jazz Festival Solo Piano Competition and was their youngest-ever participant. He has also earned three ASCAP Foundation Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composer Awards; ten DownBeat Student Awards for Best Compositions and Best Soloist; two Charles Mingus Outstanding Soloist Awards. This is his first year in the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra.

Jayla Chee

Bassist Jayla Chee, 18, is a graduate of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California. Jayla is an active part of the Bay Area jazz scene and was a 2019 Jazz in the Neighborhood Emerging Artist, a 2019 YoungArts winner, and was chosen to be in the YoungArts Los Angeles Combo. Also in 2019, Jayla was chosen for Monterey Jazz Festival’s Next Generation Women in Jazz Combo; and will be a freshman at Juilliard in the fall. This is Jayla’s first year in the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra.

Benjamin Conn

Trombonist Benny Conn, 17, is a senior at Agoura High School in Agoura Hills, California. In 2018, Benny was selected for the All-Southern California All-Stars Jazz Band, the California All-State Jazz Band; and All-National (NAfME) Jazz Band. In 2019, Benny was selected as a semi-finalist in the L.A.’s Spotlight Jazz Competition; was named an Honorable Mention Winner in the YoungArts Jazz category; was selected for the California All-State Jazz Band, and was also chosen for the Jazz Band of America under the direction of Shelly Berg. This is Benny’s second year in the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra.  

Zion Dyson

Vocalist Zion Dyson is a graduate of The Bishop’s School in San Diego. A four-year competitor at the Next Generation Jazz Festival, Zion won first place in the High School Vocal Soloist Category in 2019, and her combo from Young Lions Jazz Conservatory, directed by Gilbert Castellanos, placed third. In 2019, she received a scholarship to attend New England Conservatory where she will study Jazz Vocal Performance beginning in September. This is her first year in the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra.

Grady Flamm

Trumpeter Grady Flamm, 17, is a senior at Rio Americano High School in Sacramento, California, where he plays in the school's award-winning AM Jazz Ensemble. In 2018 and 2019, Grady's combo was one of three selected in the country to play at the Charles Mingus Jazz Festival in New York City, where they won the Spirit of Charles Mingus award both times. Grady has been honored with three DownBeat Student Music Awards as part of the AM Jazz Ensemble and his student-led Mingus combo. This is his first year in the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra.

Serena Geroe

Guitarist Serena Geroe, 18, is a graduate of Canyon Crest Academy in San Diego, California. Serena is a 2019 National YoungArts Foundation Winner in Jazz/Guitar and was selected to the YoungArts LA Jazz Combo. In 2018, she was Brubeck Institute Jazz Colonist, Grammy Jazz Camp finalist, and the youngest soloist selected to play at the Oregon Coast Jazz Party. Serena will attend Smith College in the fall of 2019 and plans on pursuing a career in engineering. This is her first year in the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra.

Peter Glynn

Drummer Peter Glynn, 18, from Maplewood, New Jersey, is a freshman at Juilliard this September. In 2018, Peter became a YoungArts New York winner, and performed at the Baryshnikov Art Center in New York City under the direction of Adam Larson. He was a YoungArts winner again in 2019. This is Peter’s second year in the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra.

Kellin Hanas

Trumpeter Kellin Hanas, 17, is a senior at Wheaton North High School in Wheaton, Illinois, where she is the section leader of the marching band and jazz ensemble; and is a member of their top jazz combo, wind ensemble and pep band. In 2018 and 2019, Kellin was selected to attend the Illinois Music Educators Association (ILMEA) All-State and Illinois Honors All-State Jazz Band and was a finalist for the 2018 Grammy Camp Jazz Session. In 2019, Kellin was ranked as the top high school jazz trumpet player in Illinois; was selected to the Jazz Band of America; and was a Summer Jazz Academy at Jazz at Lincoln Center participant. This is her first year in the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra.

Sam Keedy

Trombonist Sam Keedy, 18, is a graduate of Denver School of the Arts in Denver, Colorado. Sam has attended the 2017 and 2019 Essentially Ellington competitions; was a 2017 Vail Jazz All-Star; and was a 2018-19 YoungArts jazz winner. He will be attending the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami next fall. This is Sam’s second year with the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra.

Veronica Leahy

Alto saxophonist Veronica Leahy, 18, is a recent graduate of Charlotte Latin School and currently a member of the dual degree program at Harvard and Berklee College of Music. She has received national recognition in both classical and jazz saxophone through her selection in the 2018 National YoungArts Foundation Jazz Combo, the 2018 Grammy Jazz Band, the 2019 Jazz Band of America, the 2019 Next Generation in Women Jazz Combo, and the 2017 and 2018 Honor Band of America. This is her first year in the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra.

Ilai Macaggi

Ilai Macaggi is a senior at Green Valley High School in Henderson, Nevada, where he plays trombone and euphonium in their Jazz Band and Combo, Concert Band, and Orchestra. Ilai has been recognized as an Outstanding Soloist at both the Essentially Ellington Regional Festival and University of Northern Colorado’s Greeley Jazz Festival. This is his first year in the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra.

Leo Markel

Trombonist Leo Markel, 18, is a graduate of Alexander W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts in West Palm Beach, Florida. Leo was a member of the 2017, 2018 and 2019 Florida All-State Jazz Bands, was a member of the 2018 GRAMMY Band, and was recognized as a YoungArts Honorable Mention Winner in both 2018 and 2019. Leo will attend the University of Miami’s Frost School of Music in the fall. This is his third year in the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra. 

Ian Munoz

Alto saxophonist Ian Muñoz, 16, is a senior at the New World School of the Arts in Miami, Florida. He was recently  featured as a guest artist on world-renowned flutist Nestor Torres’ album, Jazz Flute Traditions, which was nominated for a Latin Grammy in the Best Latin Jazz/Jazz Album category. Ian is a two-time National YoungArts winner, the recipient of two DownBeat Student Awards, a 2019 NYO Jazz member, and a member of the 2018 Jazz Band of America. This is Ian’s second year in the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra.

Daiki Nakajima

Tenor saxophonist Daiki Nakajima is a junior at Prospect High School in Saratoga, California. He has been a member of the award-winning SFJAZZ High School All-Stars Big Band since 2017 and the SFJAZZ High School All-Stars Combo since 2018. He has also been a part of the California All-State Jazz Band from 2016 to 2018. His honors include numerous DownBeat Student Music Awards, both as an individual and as a member of SFJAZZ, and recognition from various programs and festivals. This is his first year in the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra. 

Ethan Pires

Trumpeter Ethan Pires, 17, is a senior at Northgate High School in Walnut Creek, California.   In 2018, Ethan was selected for the California All-State Honors Jazz Band; was a finalist with distinction for the Grammy Band; and was chosen to be in the Berklee Five-Week Summer Jazz Workshop. In 2019, Ethan was chosen again for the California All-State Honors Jazz Band; was named a YoungArts Honorable Mention winner in Jazz Trumpet; and attended YoungArts LA where he worked with Ron McCurdy. This is his first year in the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra.

Joe Turgeon

Bass trombonist Joe Turgeon, 18, is a graduate of Jesuit High School in Sacramento, California. Joe is a four-time California All-State jazz musician, and in 2018, he was selected to the Jazz Band of America under the direction of Jeff Rupert. He had additionally performed with the California Jazz Conservatory Studio Jazz Band on lead trombone and the SFJAZZ All-Stars Big Band on bass trombone. Joe will attend the Manhattan School of Music in the fall of 2019. This is Joe’s second year in the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra.

Makoto Yorihiro

Tenor saxophonist Mak Yorihiro, 17, is a junior at Century Academy High School in Thousand Oaks, California. Mak has received a merit award in the YoungArts competition for jazz tenor saxophone and was selected to the California All-State Band as lead tenor. Colburn placed second in the High School Conglomerate Combo Division at the 2019 Next Generation Jazz Festival, and Mak received an outstanding soloist award. This will be Mak’s first year in the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra.