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December 2006 Issue
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Jazz pianist gets her big break


A University of Adelaide music student has been awarded one of the nation's most respected prizes for unsigned artists, taking out the Jazz category at the 2006 Musicoz Awards in Sydney.

The Deanna Djuric Trio won the RODE Microphones Best Jazz Artist Award ahead of four other finalists from around Australia.

The founder of the trio, Deanna Djuric, is a graduate of the Elder Conservatorium jazz course, where she studied piano. She is currently doing her Masters in Music Performance at the Conservatorium.

Deanna is a prolific young composer and arranger, and her song Angelina's Dance was the winning entry in the Musicoz Awards. Elder Conservatorium graduates Mario Marino (drums) and Sam Riley (bass) are also members of the trio.

Deanna was awarded a RODE microphone valued at more than $1200, and a spot on a compilation CD of all the 2006 Musicoz winners, which is circulated throughout the music industry in Australia, the United States and Europe.

"It's a fantastic feeling to have won the Musicoz Award. This was exactly the kind of encouragement and acknowledgment I needed to realise that I'm on the right track," Deanna said.

"The exposure from the winners' CD is considerable in the industry," she said.

The award is a highlight among many achievements for Deanna. She won a placing in the 2000 UNISONG International Song Contest, was the overall winner of the South Australian World Vision 2000 Gospel Eisteddfod, was a nominee for the APRA Jazz Development Award in 2001 and again in 2005, and won a placing in the 2002 American Songwriting Contest.

In 2004, Deanna was awarded a Professional Development Grant and an Emerging Artist Award from Arts SA that enabled her to travel to the US and be mentored by outstanding pianist Lynne Arriale.

"Studying in the US gave me some encouragement, which is why I decided to do the Masters in Music Performance. I wanted to take my playing to the next level of refinement," she said.

The Deanna Djuric Trio, formed last year, has already made a name for itself around Adelaide, having performed during the Adelaide Fringe Festival, the East End Jazz Festival, the COMA Hipnote Spring Sessions, and the Adelaide Festival Centre's "Sunday Spectrum".

The trio has been invited to perform on 12 December at the Melbourne Women's International Jazz Festival, to be held at Melbourne's premier jazz club, Bennett's Lane.

Story by David Ellis

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Deanna Djuric receiving her award
Photo courtesy of Musicoz

Deanna Djuric receiving her award
Photo courtesy of Musicoz

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