I'm really looking forward to being part of a community of like-minded musicians who are all on the highest level.
—Curtis Nowosad, drummer
It's an enviable dilemma. Jazz drummer Curtis Nowosad recently auditioned for several masters programs in the United States, and was accepted to two prestigious New York institutions.
But they did more than just accept him. The Juilliard School has offered him a scholarship equivalent to two-thirds of his tuition, the highest scholarship they award.
And the Manhattan School of Music has accepted him as a fellow of the jazz institute, which means he would receive a full scholarship as well as many extra opportunities. The Winnipeg native is currently weighing his options.
"As a Canadian, it's a big deal," he told CBC. "I'd love to just up and move to New York -- it's what a lot of jazz musicians dream of doing, but it's not exactly the most practical thing to do."
Nowosad said the Juilliard audition was intense. He played before a panel of 15 jazz legends, including the likes of Ron Carter, Kenny Barron and Eddie Henderson. By contrast, the Manhattan audition was laid back, with only two spectators.
It's an impressive accomplishment for the recent University of Manitoba jazz studies graduate. Especially considering that when he first started the program, there was no drum professor on staff.
Nowosad recalled that American jazz bassist Steve Kirby had just arrived to head up the faculty and became his first professor.
Kirby continues to encourage Nowasad and give him performing opportunities. "He's done so much for me," says Nowosad. "He's definitely gone above and beyond the call of duty."
Nowosad is looking forward to accepting one of the offers and taking his career into its next phase. "I'm really looking forward to being part of a community of like-minded musicians who are all on the highest level."