Hitt wins Nebraska Jazz Orchestra's 2015 Young Jazz Artist Award

Eric Hitt
Eric Hitt

Eric Hitt, a sophomore music major in the Glenn Korff School of Music from Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, has won the Nebraska Jazz Orchestra’s 2015 Young Jazz Artist Award.

He will receive a cash prize and perform as a soloist at the Nebraska Jazz Orchestra’s “Left Coast Swing” concert on Friday, April 17. The concert is at 7:30 p.m. at the Cornhusker Marriott, 333 S 13th St. in Lincoln. Single admission tickets are $25 for adults and $12.50 for students and are available by calling (402) 477-8446.

“Eric is an extraordinary talent,” said Associate Professor of Bass Hans Sturm. “He came to UNL to be a performance major and has grown by leaps and bounds since arriving. That a bassist won an open jazz solo competition, competing against instruments normally associated with jazz solos such as saxophones and trumpets, is amazing. Knowing Eric, it is not surprising in the least.”

Hitt began his study of electric bass at age 10 in Omaha, Nebraska, with Jerry DeVore and soon developed a passion for jazz music. He was exposed to a variety of musical experiences while growing up by performing jazz and Christian music with area musicians including his parents, MAXJAZZ recording artist Christine Hitt and professional trumpeter Barry Hitt. Hitt began to learn double bass at age 16 while living in Wisconsin and Minnesota, relocating frequently because of his father's Air Force Band career.

In 2012, Hitt was selected as Co-Most Outstanding Rhythm Section Player while playing in the Birch Creek Jazz Ambassadors at Birch Creek Music Camp. While there, he studied with Jeff Campbell and Reggie Thomas. Hitt graduated from Chippewa Falls Senior High School in 2013, the same year his high school jazz ensemble won first place in Division A at the Eau Claire Jazz festival under the direction of his father.

Hitt is currently a sophomore working towards a Bachelor's degree in double bass performance from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, studying under Sturm. He performs with the UNL Symphony Orchestra, a graduate jazz combo and also is an active performer throughout the Midwest. He also went on a one-week tour of China with the Nebraska Jazz Experiment in 2014.

“His expectations of himself are limitless,” Sturm said. “Coupled with a creative imagination and focused work ethic, he will go very far. I couldn’t be more proud of his success.”