Next Generation Women in Jazz Combo

L-R: Parthenope Wald-Harding, Brenda Greggio, Gianna Pedregon, Zoe Harrison, Carmen Murray, Kellin Hanas, Katie Thiroux. ©2020 Berklee College of Music

About the Next Generation Women in Jazz Combo: The Next Generation Women in Jazz Combo is a small ensemble comprised of a select group of top high school women jazz players from throughout the United States. Directed by award winning bassist, vocalist and composer Katie Thiroux, the 2020 ensemble members were all selected based on set criteria through video auditions. Read the press release.

2020 Women in Jazz Combo Members
Directed by Katie Thiroux

Kellin Hanas, trumpet
Senior, Wheaton North High School, Wheaton, IL

Gianna Pedregon, violin
Junior, Orange County School of the Arts, Whittier, CA

Parthenope Wald-Harding, saxophone
Senior, Chetham's School of Music, Leeds, UK

Brenda Greggio, piano
Sophomore, San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts, San Diego, CA

Zoe Harrison, bass
Senior, Rio Americano High School, Davis, CA

Carmen Murray, drums
Senior, San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts, San Diego, CA

The Monterey Jazz Festival (MJF) has been committed to providing all young people with access to high-quality music education opportunities for nearly a half-century. In recent years, MJF has focused on encouraging and inspiring young women to participate and perform in all of its jazz education components and programs. Since 2019, MJF has assembled the Next Generation Women in Jazz Combo, a parallel of the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra, MJF’s flagship excelling high school all-star big band comprised of the top high school jazz musicians in the United States and beyond.

Saturday, January 18, 2020
Next Generation Women in Jazz Combo

Berklee College of Music, David Friend Recital Hall
921 Boylston Street, Boston, MA, 02115
4pm, free admission

The 2020 ensemble is visiting Berklee College of Music to work with the Berklee Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice under the artistic direction of Terri Lyne Carrington.

2020 Women in Jazz Combo Member Biographies

Pianist, composer and singer Brenda Greggio, 15, is a sophomore at the San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts with a major in Jazz Studies. She has been studying classical piano since she was four with Ms. Tanya Djangirov, and has taken jazz piano lessons since she was eight. She has been studying jazz for years with Gilbert Castellanos, Kamau Kenyatta, Irving Flores, Philip Jay Lim, Danny Green, Dr. John Reynolds, and Lee Secard. She had been a student of the International Academy of Jazz for two years and is in her third year at the Young Lions Jazz Conservatory in San Diego. She also attends the Colburn Music School in Los Angeles where she was offered a merit scholarship, and participates in the Young Lions Program, run by Gilbert Castellanos. In 2019, Brenda and her Conservatory Ensemble won third place at Monterey's Jazz Next Generation Jazz Festival, and with her Big Band from SDSCPA was one of the 15 finalists at the Essentially Ellington Competition at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City. She also won the outstanding soloist award at University of Las Vegas Jazz "Essentially Ellington" SW Regional Festival.

Trumpeter Kellin Hanas, 18, is a senior at Wheaton North High School in Wheaton, Illinois, where she is the section leader of the marching band, jazz ensemble, wind ensemble, and jazz combo. In 2020, Kellin was selected as a YoungArts Winner in Jazz Trumpet; was selected to the 2020 Jazz Band of America; and the 2020 Next Generation Women in Jazz Combo. In 2019, Kellin was selected to the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra, the Jazz Band of America, Jazz at Lincoln Center's Summer Jazz Academy, and was ranked as the top high school jazz trumpet player in Illinois by the Illinois Music Educators Association at the IMEC All-State Conference. In 2018, Kellin also was selected to go to All-State and was a 2018 Grammy Camp Jazz Session finalist. Kellin plans on majoring in Jazz Studies.

Bassist Zoe Harrison, 17, is a senior at Rio Americano High School in Sacramento, California. She has been studying jazz and classical bass with Michael Schwagerus for the past three years, and is currently a member of the SFJAZZ High School All-Stars and the Rio Americano AM Jazz Ensemble, both of which regularly attend the Next Generation, Charles Mingus, and Essentially Ellington jazz festivals and have accumulated numerous DownBeat awards. She also plays in multiple Rio Americano and student-run combos, and gigs throughout Northern California with both high school students and professional musicians. In her junior year, Zoe was accepted into the top UC Davis big band and combo under the direction of Jacam Manricks; performed with the Davis High School Symphony; and was selected to the Brubeck Summer Jazz Colony. Zoe has additionally performed at Carnegie Hall and numerous jazz festivals, including Monterey.

Drummer Carmen Murray is a senior at the San Diego School for Creative and Performing Arts where she is a member SDSCPA Jazz Orchestra, and concurrently performs with the Young Lions Jazz Conservatory Big Band and New Soil Ensemble. She took up jazz drumming after several years of classical percussion studies. She appears regularly throughout San Diego where she can be heard playing alongside Gilbert Castellanos, Christopher Hollyday, Joshua White, and Charles McPherson. Carmen has competed at the Next Generation and Reno jazz festivals, and at the Essentially Ellington Competition. In 2019, she appeared at the 62nd Monterey Jazz Festival with the inaugural Next Generation Women in Jazz Combo. This is her second year in the group.

Violinist Gianna Pedregon is a sophomore at Orange County School of the Arts in Santa Ana, California. She received a 2016 Outstanding Violinist Award and 2018 Overall Outstanding Performer Award from the Reno Jazz Festival; is a 2019 and 2020 L.A. Music Center Spotlight Award finalist; and was a 2019 YoungArts Merit Award Winner. Gianna is also concurrently a member of the Colburn School Jazz Workshop Thursday Night Band, directed by Lee Secard. She has received scholarships to the 2018 Idyllwild Summer Jazz Program where she was directed by John Daversa and Frank Fontaine, and, in 2019, Gianna was selected as one of 10 participants to Berklee’s Five-Week Aspire Jazz Workshop Women’s Combo under the direction of Terri Lyne Carrington and Rick DiMuzio. She was also selected to MJF’s inaugural Next Generation Women in Jazz Combo and performed at the 62nd Monterey Jazz Festival. She has appeared with Wayne Bergeron, Dave Koz, Polly Gibbons, Diane Schuur, and Black Violin, and has participated in masterclasses with Christian Howes, Jason Anick, and others. This is her second year in the group.

Saxophonist Parthenope Wald-Harding is in her final year at Chetham’s School of Music in Manchester, England, where she is a member of their big band, small ensembles, and her own bands which gig regularly. Born in Leeds, she began playing the violin at age eight and saxophone at 15. She studies jazz sax with Iain Dixon, classical sax with Carl Raven, and jazz piano with Les Chisnal. In 2019, she was offered a place at the National Youth Jazz Collective summer school; other accolades include a number of Robert Lewin scholarships through Awards for Young Musicians. Parthenope will continue her musical education in 2020 at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. This is her first year MJF’s Next Generation Women in Jazz Combo.

About Katie Thiroux, Next Generation Women in Jazz Combo Director

Rising star Katie Thiroux is a bassist, vocalist and composer. Coming from a musical family in Los Angeles, Katie began her career in music at age four on violin and switched to bass at eight. By age 10, she was performing in principal vocal roles in the LA Opera and Opera Pacifica. She began studying privately with jazz vocalist Tierney Sutton at the age of 12, and in 2005, Thiroux began a mentorship with John Clayton. Among her many awards, she’s received the Shelly Manne New Talent from the Los Angeles Jazz Society, and in 2006, Katie was awarded the full-ride Phil Ramone Presidential Scholarship to Berklee College of Music.

After teaching at the Berklee International School in Quito, Ecuador, she returned Los Angeles, where completed her master’s degree at California State University Long Beach on full scholarship in 2012. In 2015, Katie was a semi-finalist in the Thelonious Monk Competition. She has performed at jazz festivals in the United States, Mexico, Germany, Finland, Serbia, Singapore and Switzerland as both a leader and a sideman. In addition, Thiroux often incorporates workshops for students and audiences.

Her debut record, Introducing Katie Thiroux was released in 2015, and received many awards including "Debut Record of the Year" from the Huffington PostAll About Jazz, the Jazz Journalists Association and "Top 5 Debut Records of the Year" from the NPR Jazz Critics Poll. Katie’s latest recording, Off Beat, was cited by DownBeat as one of the “Best Albums of 2017.”

Katie has also been heavily involved with MJF's educational components. Thiroux is a 2006 Next Generation Jazz Orchestra alumna, and was a 2007 member of the Berklee-Monterey Quartet. She has performed and won soloist awards and scholarships at the Next Generation Jazz Festival as a high school student with the Colburn School and as a post-graduate with Cal State Long Beach. In 2017, MJF welcomed Katie as one of MJF's Traveling Clinicians in the Jazz in the Schools program, and she taught at MJF's 2018 Summer Jazz Camp. She recently performed at MJF61 in 2018 with her trio.