School of Music Student Wins Emerging Artists Award

June 12, 2016

Drummer John Venezia '17 (Instrumental Performance) awarded $5,000 scholarship from Catherine R. and Anthony A. Clifton Foundation




Congratulations to student drummer John Venezia ’17 (Instrumental Performance), who was named a 2016 Emerging Artist by the Catherine R. and Anthony A. Clifton Foundation. Venezia was hand picked by the School of Music to receive the $5,000 scholarship, which was presented during a concert ceremony hosted by CBS3/The CW Philly news anchor Ukee Washington at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts on May 11. The annual Emerging Artists Awards honor exceptional and talented students who represent the future of the performing arts.

The rising senior performed his composition “Forgiveness” accompanied by fellow UArts Instrumental Music students and recent grads Bruce Kang BM ’16 (Bass), Nathaniel Hawk ’18 (Piano), Christopher Mele ’17 (Trombone), Anthony Nigro ’17 (Saxophone), Sam Riessen ’17 (Guitar) and Alexander Wolfe BM ’16 (Trumpet).



Venezia grew up in a musical family in Westchester County, N.Y., and began playing the drums at the age of 9. He listened to a variety of music, including The Beatles, James Brown, Steely Dan, Frank Sinatra and Van Halen. After joining his high school jazz band, his musical taste evolved and he became fascinated with such jazz greats as Miles Davis, Charles Mingus and John Coltrane. During high school, he was selected to perform with the Westchester All-County Jazz Band and the New York Westchester Jazz Elite Big Band, where he performed with accomplished musicians like Wycliffe Gordon, Jason Rigby, Tony Kadleck, Ku-umba Frank Lacy and Rick Germanson.

At UArts, Venezia has played with some of the University’s finest ensembles, including the award-winning “Z” Big Band and Transfusion Ensemble. He currently leads a group called the John Venezia Project, which features accomplished musicians from both Philadelphia and New York. In addition to playing drums, he writes his own music and studies electric bass.