The Arts & Humanities Council and Bainbridge Performing Arts are delighted to announce the selection of musician and composer Jherek Bischoff for the 2012 Amy Award for emerging artists.

“Jherek so wholly embodies the spirit of the Amy Award,” said Dominique Cantwell, Bainbridge Performing Arts Executive Director. “It’s an honor for BPA to be able to recognize his success and celebrate his talent.”

Jherek said the last few years of his life have been “extremely exciting” – he’s traveled the world several times over and collaborated with many of his heroes. His upcoming album, Composed, will be released this month featuring a full orchestra, a host of Seattle’s best musicians, and a staggering lineup of guest vocalists including David Byrne, Mirah, Carla Bozulich, Craig Wedren, and others.

Jherek’s upbringing in the accepting and nurturing environment of Bainbridge had a huge impact on his development as an individual and an artist, he said. Growing up, he always felt he could express himself without fear of judgment.

“I was not a ‘normal’ kid. I was raised on a sailboat in Winslow Wharf Marina and was that kid with the bright green hair, bright orange coverall suit and purple Converse. In many towns, that would get my butt kicked! But on Bainbridge I was rarely given a double take,” he said.

David and Caren Anderson established the Amy Award endowment in memory of their daughter, who as a young person was devoted to artistic endeavors across disciplines including theater, studio art, and writing.

One of the Andersons’ inspirations for the award was the unsolicited recognition and encouragement Amy consistently received for her pursuits, which inspired her to continue. Through the Amy Award, the Andersons wanted to bolster other young artists in the same way.

“It’s different from having something that you apply for,” Caren said. “More than even Amy, it was just the idea that the award would come to somebody who was working as an artist and needed a little boost.”

That’s one reason Caren has come to treasure the annual reception, which underscores that the Amy Award is not just about the money, but about the joy of bringing friends and family together to celebrate and encourage a young, working artist. So many spouses, parents, and friends of honorees have approached her over the years to say how much the award has meant to their loved ones.

In fact, Jherek’s brother, Korum, was the first Amy Award recipient in 2001 and continues as a working musician. Jherek remembers attending Korum’s ceremony and feeling proud of his brother, but also proud of Bainbridge for acknowledging his brother’s talent, hard work, and influence on the community. That type of recognition is powerful, Jherek said, because “You never know how a person is going to end up.”

“I was once that crazy kid, and now two months ago I was on stage in a tux with an entire orchestra, with David Byrne at my side, on a stage at Lincoln Center playing my music!”

Sample Jherek’s music at