RISING STARS Jazz Award Logo


Los Angeles, California. Air Artist Agency is proud to announce the winners  of the 2021/2022 ‘RISING STARS Jazz Award’ – Armenian pianist Yessaï  Karapetian has won the European edition of the award, while US guitarist Dan Wilson has won the North American edition.

Altogether more than 750 artists – a new record – submitted a video of their performances  and soundtracks to be considered by the jury for the ‘RISING STARS Jazz  Award’. The Jury was chaired by world-renowned bassist and two-time Grammy Award  Winner Marcus Miller, who was joined by legendary producer Brian Bacchus, journalist and  ‘Radio France’ presenter Alex Dutilh, ‘The Guardian’ Senior Arts Editor Imogen Tilden,  journalist, author and ‘NPR’ contributor Michelle Mercer.

As part of their prize, Yessaï Karapetian and Dan Wilson will now perform in 2022 at major  jazz festivals in Europe and North America. Additionally, they will both receive a full year of  PR/marketing support through the award winning Air Artist talent agency.

Yessaï Karapetian was born in Armenia in 1993 and studied at the Conservatoire National  Supérieur de Musique in Paris. Upon graduation, he received a full scholarship to pursue a  Master of Music Degree in Contemporary Performance at the Berklee College of Music in  Boston, which he concluded successfully.

Yessaï convinced the ‘RISING STARS Jazz Award’ jury with the romantic,  ferocious and bridge-building music that he put forward. The jury said, “Yet again the level of  musicianship among the finalists was incredibly high. Taking that into consideration it is even  more impressive that Yessaï managed to stand out with his expressive style and entrancing  compositions.”

Dan Wilson, guitarist, composer and winner of the North American edition of the ‘RISING STARS Jazz Award’, spent the majority of his youth in the church community in  Akron, Ohio where his musical path began.

Dan’s musical identity was shaped by a variety of styles ranging from gospel and blues to  traditional jazz, bossa nova and hip-hop. After graduating, Dan performed to worldwide  acclaim with Christian McBride’s ‘Tip City’ and recorded his debut album ‘Vessels of Wood  and Earth’ for McBride’s imprint ‘Brother Mister’ on Mack Avenue. He is a member of Joey  DeFrancesco’s band and played on his Grammy nominated album ‘Project Freedom.’The jury of the ‘RISING STARS Jazz Award’ said, “Dan has the incredible ability  as a musician and a composer, to give his own, modern twist to music in an immensely  invigorating and respectful manner, while still paying tribute to the Jazz greats before him.  Despite the tough competition it quickly became clear to us that there could only be one  winner of this year’s US award.”

Starting his European tour in June 2022, Yessaï Karapetian will perform at seven of  Europe’s most famous jazz festivals — Love Supreme in the United Kingdom, Kongsberg  Jazz festival in Norway, Nice Jazz festival in France, Umbria Jazz Festival in Italy, Leopolis  Jazz Fest in the Ukraine, JazzOpen Festival in Stuttgart,Germany and Festival de Jazz de  Vitoria-Gasteiz in Spain.

In North America Dan Wilson will perform at the Blue Note Jazz Festival in New York (NY),  DC Jazz Fest in Washington (DC), San Francisco Jazz Festival at the SFJazz Center (CA),  Monterey Jazz Festival (CA), the Coastal Jazz & Blues Festival in Vancouver (Canada),  Festival International de Jazz de Montreal (Canada), TD Ottawa Jazz Festival (Canada),  Earshot Jazzfestival in Seattle (WA), Iowa City Jazz Festival (IE) and the CGI Rochester  International Jazz Festival (NY).

Producing the Award is the award-winning Air Artist Agency, whose director Burkhard Hopper  has long-standing experience in introducing new artists. For 9 years Hopper ran the Rising  Stars concert series in Europe which introduced artists such as Diana Krall, Brad Mehldau,  Kurt Elling, Jane Monheit, David Sanchez and Esbjörn Svensson to European audiences.  Hopper was also the European agent to artists such as Ray Brown, Lalo Schifrin, James  Morrison, Dee Dee Bridgewater and Monty Alexander.