2020 ISJAC/USF Owen Prize in Jazz Composition Awarded to Eri Chichibu

The International Society of Jazz Arrangers and Composers (ISJAC) has announced the 2020 winner of the prestigious ISJAC/USF Owen Prize, recognizing an outstanding young jazz composer’s work; this year’s winner is Eri Chichibu. Her winning composition is entitled “The Sea – Seven Years Voyage” and will be performed by the resident professional jazz ensemble at the 2021 ISJAC Symposium at the University of Texas – Austin.


About the winning composition “The Sea – Seven Years Voyage”

Written for nonet, Eri Chichibu’s winning composition was inspired by the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011, which decimated her hometown in the Tōhoku region of Japan. The 2011 Earthquake is the strongest ever to hit Japan, and coupled with the resulting Tsunami waves, nearly 20,000 people lost their lives. She explains, “I wrote this piece in 2018, which is seven years after the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011. My hometown is in the Tōhoku area, and it had a huge impact on me. It was the first time to think about my life deeply, too. I was studying psychology and doing music on the side back then, but I got a chance to study music in the US afterwards. It felt like a dream and also was a big change to my life. These events happened beyond my imagination and I realized I can’t tell what will happen in life, or in the future. This piece is not only about the earthquake, but more about life after 2011 and our imagination for the future.” This same composition was also recently selected by the Jazz Education Network (JEN) to be featured in their young composer showcase at their January 2020 conference.


About the Winner — Eri Chichibu 秩父英里

Eri Chichibu is a Japanese composer, arranger, and pianist/keyboardist based in Boston. She studies at Berklee College of Music on scholarship where she dual-majors in Jazz Composition and Film Scoring while minoring in Video Game Scoring. Her compositional approach is informed by various fields such as visual arts, psychology, nature, and personal experience. She is a previous winner of the ASCAP Foundation Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composer Award (2019). Her pieces have been showcased in the Maria Schneider Workshop, John Hollenbeck Masterclass, as well as in prominent concerts at Berklee College of Music. She conducted a chamber orchestra at theaters around the New England area as a composer for the Berklee Silent Film Orchestra 2019. She has received commissions for video games and YouTube channels as a music composer and sound designer. In addition to working on her own projects, she enjoys collaborating with others. Her complete bio is available online at


About the Owen Prize

The International Society of Jazz Arrangers & Composers sponsors the annual Owen Prize with support from the University of South Florida and Distinguished Professor Chuck Owen. The Award recognizes an outstanding jazz composition by a young composer who must be a full-time student, 26 years old or younger at the time of submission. The winner receives a $1500 cash award along with a travel allowance towards attendance at the ISJAC 2021 Jazz Composers’ Symposium at the University of Texas at Austin where the work will be performed (should the composer be able to attend) in front of an audience of distinguished jazz composers from throughout the world.

For more information, contact: Claire Brantley,