Walter Gorra, WP Graduate Student in the Music Department, Wins Prestigious Downbeat Jazz Award

Walter Gorra and Professor Pete McGuinness

William Paterson University student Walter Gorra, who is pursuing a master of music degree in jazz composition and arranging, won the prestigious Downbeat MagazineGraduate Student Jazz Award for Original Composition (Small Ensemble) for his original work, “Bandwidth.” The Downbeat awards, in their 41styear, honor the achievements of today’s top high school and collegiate jazz students and their teachers.

Gorra has also won several other awards as a musician, including the 2014 ASCAP Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composer’s Award, and he has performed with various ensembles at the Jazz Aspen Snowmass Festival, Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola, and the Telluride Jazz Festival, among other venues. 

He graduated from the University of Colorado Boulder in May 2017 with a master’s degree in structural engineering, along with bachelor’s degrees in civil engineering and jazz piano. Originally from Colorado, Gorra has since relocated to New Jersey to pursue his music studies at William Paterson.

He just released his debut album, “In Due Time,” which blends United States jazz with Afro-Cuban music, Brazilian music, and the music of South America. The album features seven of his original tunes.