2016 Award Recipients
Presented April 2–6
in San Antonio, Texas
This year's recipient is Emanuel Ax. Born in Lvov, Poland, Emanuel Ax studied at the Juilliard School, supported by the sponsorship of the Epstein Scholarship Program of the Boys Clubs of America. He subsequently won the Young Concert Artists Award. Additionally, he attended Columbia University, where he majored in French. Ax captured public attention in 1974 when he won the first Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Competition in Tel Aviv. In 1975 he won the Michaels Award of Young Concert Artists followed four years later by the coveted Avery Fisher Prize. A Sony Classical exclusive recording artist since 1987, recent releases include Mendelssohn Trios with Yo-Yo Ma and Itzhak Perlman, Strauss’s Enoch Arden narrated by Patrick Stewart, and discs of two-piano music by Brahms and Rachmaninoff with Yefim Bronfman. Ax has received Grammy Awards for the second and third volumes of his cycle of Haydn’s piano sonatas. He has also made a series of Grammy-winning recordings with cellist Yo-Yo Ma of the Beethoven and Brahms sonatas for cello and piano. His other recordings include the concertos of Liszt and Schoenberg, three solo Brahms albums, an album of tangos by Astor Piazzolla and the premiere recording of John Adams’s Century Rolls with the Cleveland Orchestra for Nonesuch. In the 2004–2005 season, Ax also contributed to an International Emmy Award-Winning BBC documentary commemorating the Holocaust that aired on the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. In 2013, Ax’s recording Variations received the Echo Klassik Award for Solo Recording of the Year (19th-century music)/Piano. In recent years, Ax has turned his attention toward the music of 20th-century composers, premiering works by John Adams, Christopher Rouse, Krzysztof Penderecki, Bright Sheng and Melinda Wagner. Ax is also devoted to chamber music.
The recipient of the 12th annual MTNA Distinguished Service Award is MarySue Harris, NCTM. MarySue Hormel Harris began piano lessons at age 4, eventually continuing her lifelong love of music at Hastings College in Hastings, Nebraska, where she received a bachelor’s degree, cum laude. She also pursued graduate studies at the University of Michigan and the University of Nebraska. Harris has taught piano lesson for more than 40 years. Her students have won various Nebraska piano competitions. She has served MTNA as president of the Lincoln Music Teachers Association and as MTNA Community Outreach and Education chair. She was the Nebraska MTA Teacher of the Year in 1990 and received the Nebraska MTA Service Award for outstanding service to the organization in 1999. Her commitment to pedagogy and the beginning music teacher led to her establishment of the MarySue Harris Endowment Fund, which supports the Studio Teacher Fellowship Award. She is a performing member of the Morning Music Review and the Musical Arts Club of Lincoln, and she frequently performs as soloist and as a member of a duo piano team in Lincoln. She is a member of Sigma Alpha Iota and is listed in Outstanding Woman of America. She also serves on the Board of the Coalition for Music Education in Nebraska.
This year, an MTNA Citation for Leadership was conferred upon Frank Hackinson, one of the most recognized and respected names in the music publishing business. Through his innovative leadership and longevity in the industry, Frank Hackinson was a transformational figure in music education through his acquisitions of Columbia Pictures Publications and Belwin-Mills. In 1988, Frank and his wife Gail founded the FJH Music Company, which publishes an all-encompassing catalogue of educational music.
The recipient of the 2016 MTNA Teacher of the Year Award is Fay Adams, NCTM. Adams is an associate professor of piano at the University of Tennessee and serves as the coordinator of the Keyboard Area. She is retiring this year after 44 years at the university where she has taught piano, piano pedagogy and Suzuki pedagogy. Her awards include: YWCA Outstanding Woman in the Arts; Chancellor’s Citation for Service to the University of Tennessee; first recipient of the Distinguished Faculty Teaching Award in the UT School of Music; University of Tennessee Volunteer Spirit Award; MTNA FOUNDATION Fellow; TMTA Distinguished Service Award; past director of MTNA Southern Division; member of the MTNA board of directors; former chair of the MTNA Chapter of the Year Committee; former chair of the MTNA Teacher of the Year Award; and MTNA Senior Performance Competitions Coordinator. Adams is also director of the Suzuki Piano School of Knoxville. She is a registered Suzuki Piano Teacher Trainer, former member of the Suzuki Association of the Americas Board of Directors, former member of the Piano Review Committee and an active Suzuki Piano Clinician, having recently traveled to Morelia, Mexico, for the National Suzuki Conference of Mexico.
The Oregon Music Teachers Association is the 2016 MTNA State Affiliate of the Year. The award is based on a number of factors, including membership growth and retention, certification, teacher education and programs, collegiate chapters, Foundation Fund contributions, programming for students, community outreach and advocacy and quality and content of publications. This year we reviewed nine outstanding applicants, each demonstrating the qualities of professionalism, leadership, forward thinking, and creativity that connects our members and helps build a more musical tomorrow. Our state organizations are doing great things—improving governance structures, updating websites and adding online services, expanding student programs, providing financial incentives for certification programs, growing their membership base and supporting the MTNA Foundation. We wish we could highlight the fine accomplishments of each of the nine applicants. The committee selected Oregon Music Teachers Association because of its outstanding growth in membership over the past year, and its intentional work to broaden its membership base and support underserved districts, especially those in rural areas of the state. In the past year, Oregon MTA voted to open its membership to all who are professionally engaged in the field of music, regardless of the field of their degree. In the four months following that decision, membership increased at a rate 85 percent higher than the same period in previous years, for an overall membership increase of more than 7 percent. A grant from the Oregon Community Foundation enabled the Oregon MTA to reach out to both members and nonmembers throughout the state with a series of continuing education presentations. In rural and far-flung districts, programs have been well received by members, and have attracted a large percentage of nonmembers and students. The grant also enabled the organization to subsidize the cost of its annual conference, making attendance affordable for all members.
The Michibago Music Teachers Association in Wisconsin, has been selected as the 2016 MTNA Local Association of the Year based on a balance of several important criteria. The committee was impressed by Michibago’s breadth and depth of offerings for their members. They have worked hard to have a variety of programs that serve the needs of their members and students. They have also successfully integrated high school and college students into their membership, thus allowing those members to learn more about teaching and then stay in the music community after college-level work. The materials they assembled showed the many aspects of their organization and were well organized.
The University of Montana Keyboard Society has established a pattern of activities, sometimes over many years that are of benefit to the closer community and even the region. Its members are active as performers and researchers on behalf of the collegiate chapter, and, in turn, receive financial support for competition, membership fees (after graduation), etc. Presentation and documentation of activities were clear, organized and extensive. The committee was impressed by how the University of Montana chapter seems to be making a broad reach within their community and region to bring together the musicians and connect with their community. They have a number of members, and meet monthly. They have sponsored programs on a variety of different subjects that are of great benefit to the members and the community. They have also been providing financial support for worthy causes outside of their chapter. They did a great job of making an application that reflected all that they have been doing. UM had a beautiful application that described their chapter activities in detail, highlighted with photographs and posters of the varied events they sponsor. The outreach they do with concerts for area children, involvement in the community and their collaboration with the local chapter teachers is indeed impressive. Their presence at state and national conferences demonstrates how a collegiate chapter is providing opportunity for these college students to be actively involved during their university studies, and laying the groundwork for their continued involvement in MTNA for the remainder of their professional careers. It is also impressive that some are pursuing their certification through the support of the college chapter advisors. The University of Montana was a unanimous selection by the committee and worthy of the honor.
David von Kampen is a composer based in Lincoln, Nebraska. Von Kampen’s creative work spans a wide variety of genres and styles, including jazz, choral music, hymnody and liturgy, solo voice, chamber music and musical theater. He holds a doctor of musical arts degree from the University of Kansas, and master’s and bachelor’s degrees from the University of Nebraska. Von Kampen is a six-time Downbeat Award winner in graduate-level jazz writing categories, winner of the 2014 San Francisco Choral Artists New Voices Project, winner of the National Band Association’s Young Jazz Composers Competition, and he received Honorable Mention in the 2014 New York Youth Symphony First Music Commissions. He has more than 50 choral and instrumental compositions and arrangements published with G. Schirmer, Concordia Publishing House, UNC Jazz Press, MusicSpoke and others. Von Kampen is a lecturer at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where he teaches music theory and ear training, and directs the UNL Vocal Jazz Ensemble. He also teaches applied composition at Concordia University in Nebraska and serves as music coordinator for blended worship at Christ Lutheran Church in Lincoln. Von Kampen is a member of ASCAP, the Jazz Education Network and the American Choral Directors Association. For more information visit www.DavidvonKampen.com.
This year’s award is presented to Steven Brundage, for his article “The Art of Possibility (Parts I and II).” The articles were published in the April/May 2015 and June/July 2015 issues of American Music Teacher magazine. Brundage is the founder and director of Green Willow Academy, a music teacher co-operative in Greenville, South Carolina. He serves on the editorial board of the Frances Clark Center’s Piano Pedagogy Forum and as director of music at Heritage Bible Church in Greer, South Carolina. He is a doctoral candidate in piano pedagogy at the University of South Carolina and has published research in Clavier Companion and the College Music Society Symposium, along with AMT.
This year’s award is presented to Mengyuan Li, Paola Savvidou, NCTM, Marjorie Skubic, and Brad Willis, for their article “Assessing Injury Risk In Pianists: Using Objective Measures To Promote Self-Awareness.” The article was published in the November 2015 edition of the MTNA e-Journal. Mengyuan Li holds a master’s degree in electrical and computer engineering from the University of Missouri. Her current research is focused on Kinect data processing, image processing, machine learning and motion capturing. Paola Savvidou serves as assistant professor of piano pedagogy at the University of Missouri. She is an advocate of developing healthful and expressive piano technique through the use of technology, creative movement and yoga. Marjorie Skubic holds a PhD in computer science from Texas A&M University and is a professor in electrical and computer engineering at the University of Missouri with research interests in human-robot interaction, sensor networks for eldercare and preventative screening tools. Brad Willis, MPT, is a physical therapist at the University of Missouri-Physical Therapy Department. He has practiced since 2008 and his research focus includes playing-related musculoskeletal disorders and infrared sensors.
This year’s recipient of the MarySue Harris Studio Teacher Fellowship is Marjorie Fint. Fint received a master of music degree in piano performance and pedagogy and a bachelor of music degree in piano performance from the University of Oklahoma. During her time at OU, she held a graduate assistantship in teaching group and applied piano and was granted multiple scholarships and awards, including the Jewel Nelson Luccock Memorial Award and Scholarship, the Ruth Moore Memminger Piano Scholarship and the Outstanding Senior Piano Major Award. She studied piano pedagogy under Jane Magrath and Barbara Fast. Her piano teachers have included Jeongwon Ham, Ed Gates, Stephanie Shames and Jolene Bolin. After completing her master’s degree in the spring of 2015, she opened the Marji Fint Piano Studio located in the heart of Norman, Oklahoma. Her studio has been very successful and stays active in the local music community. As a solo pianist, Marjorie has performed regularly in several recitals, concerts and charity events, such as the St. Thomas More Lunchtime Recitals. Abroad performances include the 2012 Classical Music Festival in Eisenstaedt, Austria, where she participated in a master class featuring Alan Chow and performed in Haydnsaal at the Esterházy Palace. In 2014, she attended the Vienna International Piano Academy in Austria and studied with Krassimira Jordan, Wolfgang Watzinger and Stephan Möller. As a chamber musician, she has accompanied many instrumentals and vocalists and worked in ensembles, her most memorable being a five-movement work for two piano, two percussion entitled This is the World We Know by David Maslanka. Fint leads a devoted life of teaching and performing piano. Sharing the gift of music with others is her true calling.
This year’s recipient is Jeanine Jacobson, NCTM. Jacobson, a pianist, is professor emeritus at California State University, Northridge, where she taught piano for 20 years. Her degrees are from the University of Washington, the University of Minnesota and the University of Oklahoma. Since retiring from the university, she continues her profession as a master teacher, adjudicator, lecturer, performer and author. She has lectured to music teachers’ chapters, at universities, state music teacher’s conventions, at the National Group Piano Symposium, the National Conference on Piano Pedagogy and MTNA. She has had numerous articles and reviews published in all the American piano pedagogical journals and is the author of four books, the latest of which is a comprehensive piano pedagogy textbook in two volumes published by the Alfred Music. She currently resides in Hood River, Oregon, and Olympia, Washington.
Spring Seals has been selected as recipient of the $750 Recreational Music Making Workshop scholarship, awarded by the Piano Technicians Guild. Seals began studying piano at age 7 in her hometown of Grapevine, Texas, and received bachelor’s degree in piano performance with an emphasis in pedagogy from Oklahoma Baptist University. In the summer of 2009, she traveled to Nairobi, Kenya, to serve as a guest professor and performer at the Kenya Baptist Theological College. In 2010, Spring won OBU’s Concerto/Aria Competition and was given the opportunity to perform Saint-Saëns’ Africa Fantasy Op. 23 with an orchestra. Graduating Summa Cum Laude, Spring was given the award of Outstanding Senior in the School of Music at OBU. Following graduation, Seals was awarded a graduate assistantship at Texas Christian University where she completed a master’s degree in piano pedagogy, studying under Harold Martina and Ann Gipson. She also had the opportunity to receive private lessons and perform in teaching master classes with Yohaved Kaplinsky of the Julliard School of Music. At TCU, she received extensive teaching experience through group and private lessons for children, college students and adults. Spring teaches at Parker Piano Studios in Fort Worth and maintains a studio of 50 students ranging in age from 4–70. She enjoys teaching piano students of all ages and in all stages of study, and believes that everyone is capable of creating and enjoying music.
Davis Dorrough has been selected as recipient of the Teacher Continuing Education and/or Performance Study scholarship. Dorrough holds a master of music degree in piano performance and pedagogy from the University of Oklahoma. He has taught piano at the University of Oklahoma as a graduate assistant and Oklahoma Baptist University as an instructor of preparatory students. Dorrough is currently an independent piano teacher at Lakeside Piano Studios in Edmond, Oklahoma. He also serves as president of the Central Oklahoma Music Teachers Association and as the Independent Music Teacher Forum Chair for the Oklahoma Music Teachers Association. In 2014, Davis was the recipient of the MarySue Harris Studio Teacher Fellowship Award.