Katie Webster Named the 22nd Jimmy Lyons Scholar to Berklee

Webster, an 18-year-old saxophonist from Seattle, is the first female recipient of the prestigious four-year, full-tuition scholarship.

August 27, 2018

Katie Webster, an 18-year-old saxophonist from Seattle, has been named the 22nd recipient of Berklee's Jimmy Lyons Scholarship, a four-year, full-tuition award presented in conjunction with the Monterey Jazz Festival. Recognized for her thoughtful and mature sound on the alto saxophone, she is the first female recipient of the award. She will begin her studies in Boston this September.

Previous recipients of the Jimmy Lyons Scholarship include Billy Buss B.M. '09 (Billy Hart), Rushad Eggleston '03 (Crooked Still), Milton Fletcher B.M. '03 (Christian Scott), Jonathan Pinson B.M. '11 (Wayne Shorter), Dayna Stephens '01 (Kenny Barron), and James Williams '06 (Gary Burton).

“Katie received an Outstanding Soloist Award at this year’s Next Generation Jazz Festival, and the choice was an easy one for the judges,” said Paul Contos, director of education for the Monterey Jazz Festival. “Her tone and approach to the alto saxophone are both highly advanced and show great respect for the legacy of the jazz tradition. It’s an absolute delight hearing her play, so I was very excited to learn she'd won the Jimmy Lyons Scholarship. We expect she’ll do great things at Berklee.”

Webster began playing the clarinet at age 10. She transitioned to the alto saxophone in seventh grade after hearing the colorful, bluesy, expressive sound of saxophone master Cannonball Adderley. When she was 12 years old, she heard Berklee alumna saxophonist Grace Kelly B.M. '12 in concert and was inspired to pursue jazz. Following middle school, Webster served as lead alto at Ballard High School for two years and played in combos with students around the city.

Recently, Webster was awarded Outstanding Alto Saxophone by Wynton Marsalis and a panel of judges at Jazz at Lincoln Center's 2018 Essentially Ellington Competition. At the 2018 Monterey Next Generation Jazz Festival, Webster was named Outstanding Soloist and awarded a scholarship to the Berklee Five-Week Summer Performance Program. She also won soloist awards at the 2016 Reno Jazz Festival and 2018 University of Washington Jazz Festival.

“I’ve been very impressed with Katie’s ear and her facility on the horn,” said Berklee woodwind instructor Edmar Colón, Webster’s saxophone and ensemble teacher at Berklee this summer. “But more than this, I see that she has an exceptional drive to learn and improve. Nobody becomes great without that.”

There will be multiple opportunities to hear Webster perform at the Monterey Jazz Festival this year. She will sit in with Berklee’s Anastassiya Petrova Organ Quartet on Friday, September 21, on the Garden Stage at 9:30 p.m. and again on Saturday, September 22, in the festival’s Pacific Jazz Café at 6:15 p.m.