Iyanna Boatwright-Buffaloe is a University of Pittsburgh sophomore, a trombonist with an affinity for New Orleans-style jazz, and the recipient of the 2015 Pitt-BNY Mellon Jazz Scholarship.
Boatwright-Buffaloe, 18, from Darby, Pa., won the $5,000 academic scholarship based on a recording of jazz standards she submitted to a judging panel comprising members of the Pitt Jazz Studies Program faculty. Funded by Pitt’s Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences and BNY Mellon, the award is given annually to a current or incoming Pitt music student. Boatwright-Buffaloe will be recognized this fall at a private reception at the Frick Fine Arts Building, just prior to the Nov. 7 Pitt Jazz Concert.
“Iyanna has a beautiful clear sound and technique on her instrument,” said Pitt Jazz Studies Program Director and pianist Geri Allen. “She also has an innate feeling and retention of the soulful expression of great jazz trombone masters like Al Grey, Curtis Fuller, and Slide Hampton.”
Boatwright-Buffaloe picked up her first trombone at 11 and was immediately drawn to its powerful sound and unique range. She performed in the Penn Wood High School jazz band, concert band, and marching band and won the Louis Armstrong Jazz Award her senior year for “outstanding music achievement and an incredible dedication to the program.” As a Pitt freshman and member of the Pitt Jazz Ensemble, she had the chance to perform with drum master Roger Humphries earlier this year at Pitt’s K. Leroy Irvis Black History Month celebration. She sat in with Humphries and trumpeter Sean Jones at a local nightspot, and she collaborated with world-renowned jazz drummer Terri Lyne Carrington and students at Berklee College of Music in an inaugural virtual master class as part of the 44th Annual Pitt Jazz Seminar and Concert.
Although she is majoring in computer science and minoring in music, Buffaloe said she knows jazz will always be part of her life, either in performing, teaching others, or developing her own online jazz channel. This is the 29th year Pitt and BNY Mellon have funded the scholarship. BNY Mellon Jazz supports nonprofit organizations engaged in live performances and jazz education.
Story by Sharon Blake, University of Pittsburgh News Services