On February 5th 2015, Bryn Bliska ’14 was awarded the Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composer Award. She received the award for a composition she recorded as part of a post-graduation project with a fellow Brown graduate, Jamie Fried ’14. The two alumni recorded an independent album with gear mostly borrowed from friends and family in Fried’s grandparents’ house in Vermont. Bliska reinvested the cash prize from the Herb Alpert Award toward obtaining new equipment for future projects .
While at Brown, Bliska concentrated in neuroscience, but was heavily involved in the Applied Music Program of the Brown Music Department studying under jazz theory and improvisation instructor Ed Tomassi. She also played the piano and sang in the Brown Jazz Band, and studied recording techniques under Jim Moses.
Her studies and love of music led her to win several awards while she was at Brown. During her junior year in 2013, she was awarded The Buxtehude Premium for musical excellence. A year later, she won The Brand Musical Premium which is awarded to a senior for musical excellence. Furthermore, she was the three-time winner of the Mitchell Baker ‘90 Music Scholar Competition in 2012, 2013, and 2014. This award is given to a jazz musician for musical excellence.
After graduating, Bliska spent a year as a research assistant at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab studying music/multimedia technology. The following year, she returned home to the Bay Area in California where she is a professional musician, composer, and producer.
Her combined background in neuroscience and music has given her a great appreciation for how music interacts with the human brain. She remembers one of her most rewarding experiences at Brown as co-leading a Group Independent Study Project (GISP) on Music Cognition, saying, “it was an amazingly fun and satisfying experience that allowed me to bridge the gap between two of my passions.”
Bliska encourages Brown students to take advantage of the “incredible resources” of the Computer Music & Multimedia program (MEME) and the Granoff recording studio. She also challenges students to do as she did and “submit [their] work to competitions/blogs/any platform you love and respect because good things often come your way in return!”
To listen to Bliska’s work, go to www.brynbliska.com.