UNSW student band Anoesis has placed second at one of the best jazz contests in the world, the prestigious Bucharest International Jazz Competition.

It was the first time a UNSW student ensemble has represented Australia in the competition, which is ranked second-best in Europe and third best in the world.

“We’re proud of our result and feel honoured to have met and played along with so many other great musicians from around the world,” band member Eitan Muir said.

The jazz quintet of UNSW Music students competed against 13 bands from 12 countries in the semi-finals last week and were one of four which progressed to the grand final.

Anoesis was one of two bands to receive a runner-up prize of Special Prize for Best Band.

Another Special Prize for Best Band was awarded to ShekBand, a Ukraine jazz trio of siblings aged eight to 14, in recognition of their achievements at such a young age. The winner was Entropy, a band from Italy.

“Interestingly, many of the musicians we felt closest to also reached the finals - perhaps we were drawn together by our aesthetic values and a particular appreciation for each other’s work,” Mr Muir said.

Anoesis comprises of Greg Stopic (alto saxophone), Alistair Johnson (tenor saxophone), Eitan Muir (electric guitar), Tomas McKeever Ford (upright and electric bass) and Patrick Rogers (drums). 

The group of composer-improvisers met during the first year of their music degree.

They have been mentored by Dr Sandy Evans, Lecturer in Music with the School of Arts and Media (SAM).

“Their talent, creativity, dedication and hard work has paid off and their success is richly deserved,” Dr Evans said.

The mentor and musician says the band’s success is a big inspiration to other jazz students and future students at UNSW.

“[Anoesis’s success] will encourage music students to be the very best they can be and to participate in international events where they gain valuable experience, international recognition and the opportunity to build networks with other talented musicians,” she said.

“The creative, professional and educational value of this type of experience is very significant. Anoesis have shown that and I wish them all the very best with whatever comes next.”