Scholarship Recipient Update – Chaz Salazar

24-year-old flutist Chaz Salazar appeared on From the Top with Host Christopher O’Riley most recently on Show 208, recorded in January 2010. Previously he appeared on Show 191, recorded in November 2008. In conjunction with his first performance on the show in 2008, he received From the Top’s Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award. Here is what he has been up to since then, along with some of his thoughts on how the award has impacted his life.

Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award Recipient - Chaz Salazar

Sold Out! Flutist Begins Popular Chamber Music Series

Chaz Salazar completed his Bachelor of Music in Flute Performance from Arizona State University in Phoenix and elected to stay on for the Master’s Program, having been awarded a Reach for the Stars Fellowship. This fellowship waived all tuition costs for two years and included a stipend of $15,000 for the first year, affording Chaz the opportunity to purchase an upgraded professional flute. During his second year, Chaz will begin the audition circuit for orchestras and plans to “take on every audition that comes my way.”

A strong advocate for music education and a dedicated teacher, Chaz maintains a private studio and began teaching part time for Harmony Projects, a program modeled after the wonderful El Sistema programs. When discussing his joy for teaching, he noted that “it has been so fulfilling to see his students’ progress.”

Chaz is also very proud of An Evening of Music, the chamber music series he initiated in which he and fellow musicians perform concerts in homes around the Phoenix area. “We begin with hors oeuvres, play full hour long lecture recitals, and end by socializing with the audience.” The program now has a waiting list due to its popularity.

What The Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award Meant To Chaz

“I used my Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award in many ways. At that time I was part of the Phoenix Youth Symphony which was planning a special tour around Italy. I was able to use a portion of the funds to pay my way for that trip. I used the funds to attend two other important summer festivals: the Julius Baker Flute Master Classes in Danbury, Connecticut and a festival at the Orford Arts Center in Quebec.   I could not afford to go around the country meeting many teachers at conservatories. These opportunities enabled me to meet many important flute teachers at once, and to have them meet me. I was able to sit in on master classes and study with many well-known master flute teachers, many of whom were principals in important orchestras. I also used funds from the scholarship to pay for my conservatory application fees which were $50 to $100 each. And finally I was able to use the remainder of the funds to purchase a Burkhart piccolo! Every good flutist needs a piccolo, and now I had my own.

Getting the scholarship bridged a huge gap that I couldn’t bridge myself, helping me to go from high school to college. We all need a helping hand – some more than others – and I was one of those people. Being able to buy my piccolo, which I still use today, meant that if I needed it for a piece or to use in a particular concert, I no longer had to borrow one.   Going to the master classes was very impactful for me because it exposed me to the highest levels of music making with many world renowned teachers such as the principal flutist of the New York Philharmonic, who still remembers me by name. It opened doors for me. These factors were vital to me as a young growing aspiring professional. I feel so lucky to have received this award which definitely shaped my early music education.”

Learn more about Chaz and listen to him by clicking here

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