Berklee Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice and Ucross Announce Partnership

The first joint fellowship between the institute and Ucross will be presented this fall to Shamie Royston.

June 28, 2022
Shamie Royston

Shamie Royston

Image courtesy of the artist

The Berklee Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice and Ucross have announced a joint music fellowship intended to promote equity in the jazz field. The inaugural award will be presented this fall to Shamie Royston, an acclaimed pianist from Denver, Colorado.

Made possible through the vision and leadership of Ucross trustee Kate Schutt B.M. ’03, who studied jazz guitar at Berklee, the fellowship will be awarded once a year to a female jazz musician or composer. The awardee will receive a two-week residency at Ucross, which includes uninterrupted time to compose and create, as well as studio space, living accommodations, and meals from a professional chef in a 20,000-acre ranch in northern Wyoming. The award also includes a $2,000 stipend.

“I am incredibly proud to partner with Ucross, an organization that values artistic freedom and creativity, in presenting Shamie Royston with the inaugural fellowship,” said Terri Lyne Carrington, founder and artistic director of the Berklee Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice. “Shamie is incredibly talented as a composer, arranger, and pianist, with limitless creative potential. I cannot wait to see the results that will come out of her artist residency. Her dedication to her craft and exemplary work deserve the opportunity to experience the unparalleled creative freedom this fellowship will provide.”

“Ucross is honored to join forces with the Berklee Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice to champion women in jazz. We look forward to welcoming Shamie Royston to our campus for uninterrupted time and space this fall,” said Ucross President William Belcher. “Also, I want to thank Kate Schutt for her dedication to Ucross and for her vision and her ability to connect these two organizations in a meaningful way for the partners and for female jazz artists.”

About Shamie Royston

Hailed by JazzTimes as “a vigorous, versatile pianist,” Royston grew up in Denver alongside her sister, the award-winning musician and Berklee professor Tia Fuller, in a musical and academically minded household. The daughters of two public school teachers, the sisters were introduced to jazz at a young age and eventually joined their parents in a family band. As a teenager, Royston attended the Telluride Jazz Camp and the University of Denver. She was mentored by trumpeter Ron Miles, with whom she formed a band, and later recorded with drummer Ginger Baker of Cream.

Today, Royston has established herself as an in-demand performer and educator in the New York and New Jersey area. Reviewing Royston’s album Beautiful Liar on NPR’s Fresh Air, jazz critic Kevin Whitehead described her music as a “straight-ahead, tuneful, hard-swinging brand of jazz that’s always in style,” adding that her “composing really stamps her music.” DownBeat said her music is “mainstream post-bop with thoughtful interaction and a deep sense of poise. It swings hard and breathes easy.”

In addition to leading her own ensembles, Royston continues to work with Fuller and has appeared with Carrington, Christian McBride, Sean Jones, Lonnie Plaxico, Ralph Peterson, Allison Miller, and many others.

Learn more about Ucross.