William Paterson University Jazz Major Caelan Cardello Named BMI 2021 Foundation Future Jazz Master

Caelan Cardello

Caelan Cardello, a senior majoring in jazz studies at William Paterson University, was awarded the Sixth Annual Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI ) Future Jazz Master Scholarship, a $5,000 award for rising jazz stars pursuing an academic degree in jazz studies.

A pianist and composer, Cardello was selected as the sole winner of the competition by a panel of National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) jazz master judges based on his talent and potential as a jazz performer and composer. The scholarship was presented at BMI’s annual celebration of NEA Jazz Masters Fellows. 

“Caelan Cardello is a very special talent and a deeply dedicated musician,” says Bill Charlap, Grammy award-winning pianist and director of  the University’s Jazz Studies Program. “When he plays, the piano is an extension of his soul, and he has the rare gift of being able to emotionally connect with his fellow musicians and with the audience.”   

“Caelan came here as a truly gifted young player and he has grown so much during his time here, under the piano mentorship of Bill Charlap, Geoffrey Keezer, Harold Mabern and Mike LeDonne,” adds David Demsey, music professor and coordinator of the Jazz Studies Program. “And, you couldn't ask for a more giving, generous and caring person—all characteristics that will help him build a major career.” 

Born into a musical household in Teaneck, N.J., Cardello began playing piano at the age of 5. He started his mentorship with jazz pianist and arranger Allen Farnham and began his classical studies with the Juilliard alum Steven Masi. Throughout his middle and high school years, Cardello had the opportunity to perform with jazz idols such as Christian McBride, Jimmy Cobb, Ravi Coltrane, Ingrid Jensen, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Brad Mehldau, Wynton Marsalis, Jon Faddis and Freddie Hendrix. 

In 2019, as a member of the William Paterson Jazz Ensemble, Cardello performed at Dizzy’s Club Cocoa Cola/Jazz at Lincoln Center and on the jazz radio station WBGO as part of a live broadcast. Cardello was a member of the all-student ensemble that performed at Professor Mabern's funeral in New York City and the all-star tribute to Mabern held at the South Orange Performing Arts Center later that year.