A Dream of Jazz Comes True: Misha Brovkin Creates the “Made in NY Jazz Competition”

Misha Brovkin

Misha Brovkin grew up in Siberia and loved jazz the first time he heard it. His parents were classically trained, and his father also played pop and rock music with local bands. As a child who played piano, when Misha tried improvising jazz from classical tunes, he was punished for it. It did not dissuade him.

It’s been his dream to bring jazz artists together in a kind of world forum. Five years ago, Misha founded the Made in New York Jazz Competition, bringing the sizzle to the global jazz community!

Important dates:

October 28, 2017 – Deadline to apply

November 20, 2017 – Last day to vote for artists

February, 2018 – Winners will be announced 

May 12, 2018 – Gala awards ceremony at the Tribeca Performing Arts Center


Do you play any instruments?

Yes, I play piano and I came to New York to pursue my dream – jazz.

Talk about the highlights of your career in TV, radio and production.

My parents are classical musicians and my father in addition worked with local bands back in Russia. They played rock and pop, so I was exploring synthesizers and spending time in studios from a very young age.

Later I created a band called “Vox Humana” and we spent many hours in the recording studio. I was amazed with all the tech and always stayed in the studio until late at night. After a while, I was invited to work as a sound engineer. They built a radio station and that’s how my love of radio grew!

Once in New York, I spent more than 10 years at a local (mostly Russian) media company. 

Why did you start this competition?

I first heard jazz when I was 8. Since then, I tried to learn more about this music (sometimes improvising on classical tunes and getting punished for it). Unfortunately, because of the lack of access to jazz back then, it wasn’t easy to learn about it.

I started to really listen to it when I was a little older and my family moved to Israel. I fell in love with it.

I remember listening to Randy Brecker for the first time in the “Brecker Brothers.” I played the CD again and again and again. I couldn’t believe that people could compose and play like this.

After I came to NY, I gigged a little and met amazing people here who were very open, friendly and supportive – even if you do not play that well. It helped me to grow!

I thought it would be great if people could actually feel and learn what jazz is from the main source! Also, it would be great to connect people who play jazz with jazz legends!

I mentioned Randy Brecker; today, we work together and I’m all goosebumps. I show Randy the videos that people send from all over the world, and the master himself reviews it! It’s my American dream that came alive: Randy Brecker, Lenny White, Mike Stern, Joe Lovano…it feels like I am still dreaming.

What does the committee do?

The committee is involved way before the judges. They deal with the pre-selection of candidates. We receive many entries and they help us by reviewing and choosing the artists who will go to the next round. 

Do you receive entrants from all over the world?

All countries. They bring a special flavor to jazz with some ethnic elements that makes their performances special.

I am also very excited when I see artists from the US participating in the competition. Our market is huge and I think it’s a great opportunity for any artist to showcase their talents to the jazz greats.  

Here is what jazz greats who’ve worked with us are saying about our concept:

Rufus Reid:  https://youtu.be/nUlvuKLH2xg

Philip Harper:  https://youtu.be/nZpoHe1e1qo

Tommy Campbell:  https://youtu.be/yhJhobKDXcA

Bobby Sanabria:  https://youtu.be/3ACZQ1krC2c

What are the prizes?

Jewelry artist Alex Soldier has designed the 2017 award for the Made in NY Jazz Competition! The award includes precious metals – primarily platinum-plated 925 silver with gleaming Swarovski crystal accents. The design incorporates Alex Soldier‘s signature texturing technique. At 7″ tall, this award was handmade in New York.

Made in NY jazz Alex Soldier award


First prize is $3000 + 10% from the participant’s pool.

The entry to the competition cost $75, and 10% percent of the money received will go toward the prize.

Kawai sponsors the airfare for the winner.

Second place receives a Kawai VPC 1 and an amazing software package from Syntogy.

Third place receives a certificate.

In the 2016 competition, Kawai supported the winner so he could travel to New York. It was an amazing guitar player from Thailand.

Do the contestants promote a lot on social media?

Yes, but we also heavily promote the website so the participants get more visibility. Our goal is to promote their art! Because of our efforts, we have become the number-one jazz competition in organic searches in all the main search engines (Google, Yahoo and Bing).

We often get contacted by agencies and producers. It became more than a competition. It’s a great platform to be seen! 

How high has the prize money gone in past years?

About $4000.

We have very strict rules and we’re committed to quality. We receive many applications, but unfortunately, we have to reject some of them because of the sound or video quality.

Also, many artists struggle to pay the fees and we allow them to enter the competition with the help of our partners.

(Check out this article by Katia Mukminova about competition judge Bobby Sanabria!)

How many people voted last year?

We have more than 40,000 subscribers!  

How many winners can you have in each category?

One winner from each category will go to the finale together with the most-voted participants.

Will there be recording opportunities for the winners?

They will have an opportunity to play with jazz masters in New York at our gala event and participate in our festivals. We also run the Made In New York Jazz Festival in Montenegro and in 2018 we’ll be introducing the Made In New York Jazz Festival in Georgia [the country]!

Here is the winner Anita Vitale performing at our fest: https://youtu.be/sSk4u8daJNA

What is the biggest challenge of hosting the competition?

It was dream that became 24/7 reality and sometimes I simply need 72 hours instead of the 24 that I have. 

What do you enjoy most about the competition?

The talent and vibe! People from all over the world share their love through music. We meet, hug, become friends, stay in touch and all of it is because of the magic that jazz makes. There is no racial or color division which is very important for me personally and I enjoy it the most!

This sounds like a labor of love for you. What other projects are you working on?

Yes, I absolutely love it and love seeing happy artists that get something out of the competition! Mostly I am dealing with the competition and our festivals.

I’m working hard to expand it to more countries and build a strong brand. Personally, I love to write music and hopefully one day I’ll have more time for this dream as well!  

Other comments?

Thank you for the interview and thank you for supporting jazz!  

For more information, visit http://madeinnyjazz.com.

For commentary from committee member and Grammy Award-winning Tenor Saxophonist Wayne Escoffery,  and contest judge Randy Brecker, Grammy Award-Winning Trumpeter and Flugelhornist, click here.



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