A JAZZY FIRST PLACE FINISH ATTHE CANBERRA SCHOOL OF MUSIC

 

By MICHAEL FOSTER

 

     GUITARISTBen Hauptmann, 22, has taken a unique place in the history ofthe jazz studies course at the Canberra School of Music with thepresentation of a University Medal at graduation on Friday, May17. Hauptmann graduatedBachelor of Music in Jazz Performance with first-class honours.He was also awarded the Friends [of the School of Music] Prizefor 2002. He is only the second jazz student to win this prizein the 17 years of the jazz studies course.

 

     Heis the first jazz student to be awarded a University Medal sincethe CSM and the School of Art became the National Institute ofThe Arts and an entity of the Australian National University in1992, making music students eligible for the Medal.  Heand Kate Moore, in classical composition, became only the eighthand ninth music students to be awarded medals in the decade.

 

     Hauptmann,with typical modesty, said he was, "Pretty happy. I'm notsure what it will mean to my career, but it will mean a lot toMike Price [to resume as head of jazz studies and principal guitarteacher in July], Mike Nelson [acting head, the faculty and "Vaz"[Vesma Bobets, executive officer of the jazz department], thestudents. It should mean more recognition for the course."

 

     TheUniversity Medal is the highest award available to an undergraduatestudent. Protocol determines that "The university awardsa medal to recognise outstanding candidates for the degree ofbachelor, in departments or faculties of the university, providedthey obtain first-class honours of sufficient distinction supportedby a distinguished academic record." Further, "A notationis made on the testamur of the graduate".

 

     Studentsmust be nominated by their head of studies, advanced by the headof the department, in this case director of the CSM ProfessorNicolette Fraillon, and approved by a succession of increasinglyselective committees of relevant academics.  ProfessorFraillon said that Hauptmann's medal was indicative of the progressbeing made in jazz studies and the regard in which the coursewas held. Everyone involved was proud of the 10 medals awardedto students in the decade since they became eligible.

 

     Hauptmannis the second of three siblings to follow jazz studies. His oldersister Zoe, a bassist, graduated bachelor of music with honourslast year. She was the only woman among 10 finalists for the NationalJazz Award for bass at the Wangaratta Jazz Festival in 2001. Youngerbrother James is studying drums and is recognised as having similarability.  All three are products of the ACT educationsystem and the jazz preparatory course. They are the first exampleof three members of one family studying jazz. The family trioplayed Ben's composition 'Zo Po' at the graduation ceremony.

 

     Bendid not take up guitar until he was 14, in Year 8 at CampbellHigh School. One element of his course was music. He had to playan instrument, so followed several of his friends. Zoe startedguitar at the same time, later switching to electric and, duringjazz studies, also acoustic. He "took a shine" to guitar and took extralessons with two CSM jazz students, first Michael Miller and thenSam Rollings, with whom he is still friendly, with tentative plansfor duo recitals of their originals.

 

     Hewent on to Narrabundah College, which has a highly regarded musiccourse, auditioned for the jazz prep course in his final year,was accepted. He now joins highly regarded CSM jazz graduatesmaking careers in Sydney, the likes of saxophonist Andrew Robson,guitarists Carl Dewhurst and Rollings, vocalist Kristen Cornwell,the a cappella quartet Idea of North, who hosted the Americancolleges a capella festival in April, drummer Nick McBride, trombonistsAnthony Kables and Lucian McGuiness and Zoe. They are among manyrecognised in Sydney, and only partly in jest, as "the Canberraphenomenon".

 

     Hehas few interests outside playing, arranging and composing music,"but I still skateboard with friends from high school. Sincewe do not have a TV in Sydney, I see a lot more films". Neither Ben nor Zoe showed any interestin learning music until they were in high school, despite growingup listening to music. Their father, Michael, is a trumpet player,now with community bands. Their aunt, Lis (LIS CRRCT) is a windinstrument musician and teacher. Her husband, Col Hoorweg, teachesdrums in the jazz studies course and has played extensively inAustralia and overseas in many idioms. He studied jazz drummingat its source in the United States under a Winston Churchill MemorialFellowship.

 

About the author:

MICHAEL FOSTER writes on jazz forThe Canberra Times, the morning newspaper in the Australian FederalCapital. He has written on jazz, theatre and art in New Zealandand Australia since the early 1950s. He and his wife Bronwyn havesupported the jazz studies course since its inception in 1985.They established the first scholarship in jazz at the CSM in 1991.They have supported worthy individual students and the CSM BigBand on its Monterey trip. Most of their collection of recordedmusic, books and videos is on permanent loan to the CSM library.They are honorary members of the Australian National UniversityEndowment for Excellence, recognising their support for the CSM.