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Idaho State University

Jazz Director Jonathan Armstrong Awarded Competitive Arts Fellowship

Jazz Director Jonathan Armstrong Awarded Competitive Arts Fellowship


Jonathan Armstrong, director of Jazz Studies at Idaho State University, has been awarded the 2019 fellowship in performing arts by the Idaho Commission on the Arts (ICA). The ICA Fellowship is an annual award that recognizes exceptional work of Idaho artists and writers. Disciplines are recognized on a three-year rotation of performing, literary and visual arts.

Applicants undergo an extensive review process in which out-of-state panelists judge their artistic work and professional history. This year, the committee selected five fellows and three honorable mentions.

“I am incredibly honored and humbled by the ICA's fellowship award, and am deeply proud to not only represent the state of Idaho as a 2019 Idaho Commission on the Arts Fellow, but also to be one of many examples of the unique and remarkable culture that we have in the ISU Music Department and College of Arts & Letters,” Armstrong said.

In his application, Armstrong submitted five original compositions for consideration. Four were composed and performed by various ensembles led by Armstrong in Los Angeles between 2013 and 2015. The fifth submission was a recent composition entitled “Gathering Resonance,” which was written for a Pocatello based chamber octet, awarded an Idaho Commission on the Arts quickproject grant and performed at the Old Town Actor's Studio in the winter of 2017.

Fellowship winners earn $5,000. According to the ICA, the award is intended to promote public awareness of local art and advance the careers of Idaho artists. Armstrong plans to use the award to create and release a new album and believes that pursuing his own artistic interests will benefit his instruction.

“I have always felt that my role as a performing arts professor is to foster a culture of student art-making that is supportive, creative and exceptional,” he said. “In order to demand that kind of high quality music out of my students at ISU, I need to be pushing myself artistically and professionally in order to earn the student's trust and to model the effort and discipline necessary to cultivate a career as a professional musician and composer.”

Written by: Madison Shumway, College of Arts & Letters intern