Taking first prize in the competition, devoted this year to the piano, was 19-year-old Tigran Hamasyan, a native of Armenia who is currently an undergraduate at the University of Southern California.
Americans Gerald Clayton, 22, and Aaron Parks, 23, took second and third place. Clayton is also a student at USC, while Parks currently tours with trumpeter Terence Blanchard.
While the jury — which included Herbie Hancock, Andrew Hill, Danilo Perez, Renee Rosnes, Billy Taylor and Randy Weston — deliberated over the performances of the three finalists, the full house at the Kennedy Center was treated to an all-star gala featuring Wayne Shorter, Joshua Redman, Terence Blanchard, Patti Austin, Jane Monheit, Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter and Thelonious Monk's son T.S.
Hosting the evening were Quincy Jones, Phylicia Rashad and Billy Dee Williams; honorary co-chairs Madeline Albright and Colin Powell presented a special award from the Monk Institute to Stevie Wonder for his longtime support of jazz education.
The Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition, presented annually by the Institute, has launched the careers of, among others, singers Jane Monheit and Tierney Sutton, saxophonist Joshua Redman, and pianists Marcus Roberts, Jacky Terrasson and Joey DeFrancesco.
More information about the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz and its educational activities can be found at www.monkinstitute.org.