Musicians and other artists often work in isolation, with no immediate reward in sight. So the awards and honors that sometimes recognize their work are a welcome connection to the world that draws inspiration and strength from their efforts.

Here are some respected forums in which members of the NEC community have been recognized.

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Alice and Eleonore Schoenfeld International String Competition

2014-08-24 Trio Cleonice (Emely Phelps, piano; Ari Isaacman-Beck, violin; Gwen Krosnick, cello) took second prize in the chamber music section of this competition founded by sister string players who concertized internationally and taught for more than a half century at the USC Thornton School of Music. The Cleonice has just completed a three-year residency in the NEC Professional Piano Trio Training Program directed by Vivian Hornik Weilerstein.

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Great Plains International Marimba Competition

2014-07-30 Tsz Ho Samuel Chan ‘15, student of Frank Epstein, won the Great Plains International Marimba Competition held at the Wanda L. Bass School of Music at Oklahoma City University. The competition seeks to provide an avenue for musical growth of young marimbists around the world through educational and competitive experiences. As winner of the undergraduate soloist division (there are also high school and graduate level divisions), Sam won $1500, a professional recording of his finals performance, and a basket of musical merchandise contributed by competition sponsors. A native of Hong Kong who studied at the Hong Kong Academy for the Performance Arts before coming to NEC, Sam won one of NEC’s concerto competitions and as a result was featured soloist with the NEC Chamber Orchestra in Emmanuel Séjourné’s Concerto for Marimba and String Orchestra. He was also featured at the 2014 Convocation exercises that officially kick-off the academic year.

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Schneider-Schott Music Prize

2014-07-28 Violinist Carolin Widmann ’99 A.D. has won the Schneider-Schott Music Prize, in recognition of her commitment to the work of living composers. The €15,000 award will be presented on November 11 in a concert with the State Orchestra of Mainz under the direction of Hermann Bäumer. Founded in 1986 by music publisher Heinz Schneider-Schott, the prize recognizes artists championing the work of living composers. Widmann was born in 1976 in Munich, and studied in Cologne, at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London and at NEC, where she was an Artist Diploma student of Michèle Auclair.

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Yamaha Young Performing Artists Award

2014-07-22 Incoming student Annie Wu, who joins the Harvard/NEC joint degree program fall 2014  fall, is one of nine impressive musicians to win a Yamaha Young Performing Artists award. A flutist from Pleasanton, CA, Annie will study at NEC with Paula Robison, occupant of the Donna Hieken Flute Chair. Many past winners of this competition have established successful musical careers, holding chairs in such prestigious ensembles as the Philadelphia Orchestra and Vienna Symphony. 

Annie, 18, who studied with Isabelle Chapuis, is a much honored musician already. She is a National 2014 YoungArts winner and a 2014 Presidential Scholar in the Arts. At the age of 15, Annie won First Prize in the National Flute Association’s High School Soloist Competition in Charlotte, North Carolina, as well as the prize for the NFA’s Best Performance of a New Commissioned Work. She was the youngest first prize winner in the competition's history. As a result of this win, Annie is also a highly visible presence on YouTube in a video where she plays Greg Pattillo’s The Three Beats for Beatbox Flute, the Competition’s commissioned work. The video has accumulated over 1.2 million views.

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New York International Piano Competition

2014-07-03  Preparatory School pianist Daniel Kim won Second Prize in the Seventh New York International Piano Competition. The 17-year old was also winner of the Best Performance of Required Commissioned Work for his interpretation of Gabriela Lena Frank’s Nocturno Nazqueño. In addition to the monetary prize of  $6,000 for being awarded second place and $1,500 for Best Performance of a Commissioned Work, the Stecher and Horowitz Foundation will also present Daniel in distinguished venues throughout the United States, beginning next season.

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Evgeny Svetlanov Conducting Competition

2014-06-30 Lio Kuokman ’13 G.D., a graduate of NEC’s Orchestral Conducting Program won the top prize in Evgeny Svetlanov Conducting Competition in Paris. Recently Named Assistant Conductor of the Philadelphia Orchestra, he won Second Prize and the Audience Prize; no First Prize was awarded. He received a prize of €10,000 and a diploma. He The competition honors the late Soviet conductor, composer and pianist Evgeny Svetlanov (1928—2002) who led the Bolshoi Opera, the USSR State Symphony Orchestra and held positions with the London Symphony Orchestra, Swedish Radio Orchestra and Residentie Orchestra of the Hague.

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Irving M. Klein International String Competition
Stulberg International Competition

2014-06-11 Fifteen year old cellist Zlatomir Fung, a student in the NEC Preparatory School and a resident of Westborough, MA, won two major international competitions within a month.  On June 8, he was awarded first prize in the Irving M. Klein International String Competition in San Francisco, taking home $13,000 in prize money as well as a number of solo engagements in California. On May 17, he won the Burdick-Thorne Gold Medal, a $5000 cash prize, and a performance with the Grand Rapids Symphony at the Stulberg International Competition in Kalamazoo, MI. At the latter competition, he also won the $500 Bach Award, an award that is co-sponsored with the Kalamazoo Bach Festival.

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DownBeat Student Music Awards

2014-05-09 Appearing in the June edition of DownBeat magazine, the 37th Annual DownBeat Student Music Awards recognized 13 NEC alumni, incoming or current students as performers, bandleaders, and coaches.

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Bay Area Theatre Critics

2014-05-05 Tenor Julius Ahn '08 was named "Best Principal Actor in a Musical" by the San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle for his starring role in the American Conservatory Theatre production of Stuck Elevator.

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Fulbright Awards

2014-05-05 Elan Asch, who studied jazz saxophone at NEC with Jerry Bergonzi and George Garzone, will relocate to Seoul on his Fulbright to study the piri and taepyeongso (Korean double-reed instruments) with Korean "Living Human Treasure" Jeong Jae Guk. Elan will study music of the royal court, folk music, and shaman ritual music.

Derek Beckvold, who studied saxophone performance with Kenneth Radnofsky will spend his year abroad learning the tradition, language and repertoire of the Hindustani drum tabla. Having first studied tabla with NEC faculty Jerry Leake, he will continue in depth studies with Shailendra Mishra Ji in New Delhi, India. The acquired knowledge of the instrument will then be assimilated into a cross-cultural pedagogical approach to learning and internalizing this drum's language and rhythmic structures. He will work with Music Basti, an organization devoted to establishing music education programs for at-risk youth in New Delhi, as well as with the Global Music Institute, a school which is actively training the next generation of Indian musicians and teachers.

Emily Feeney, who has been studying with Will Hudgins, will spend a year in Germany on her Fulbright. She will study percussion performance at the Universität der Künste in Berlin, focusing on the methodology for orchestral playing unique to Germany, involving instrument construction, playing style, interpretation and audition preparation.  She will also investigate effective audience building strategies used by successful arts organizations in German, particularly the Berlin Philharmonic.

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Frank Huntington Beebe Fund for Musicians Grants

2014-05-05 Emily Deans, who has worked at NEC with Kim Kashkashian, will spend a year abroad studying Baroque violin and viola in Cologne with Richard Gwilt.  She will also travel to Freiburg to work with Gottfried von der Goltz, music director of the Freiburg Barockorchester. She will compile thisresearch to be used in writing her dissertation for her NEC doctorate.

Bridget Haile, a student of Carole Haber, plans to spend a year in Berlin working with John Norris, a voice teacher and coach with the Bavarian State Opera Studio and the Opera Studio at the Berliner Staatsoper Unter den Linden.  She will concentrate on the intersection of opera and art song in performance, both through attending concerts and through her own performing and programming. 

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New York Youth Symphony Commission

2014-05-02 NEC Composition student Jonas Tarm ’16, a student of John Mallia, has been commissioned to write a new orchestral work by the New York Youth Symphony to be played at Carnegie Hall in March 2015. The honor came with his selection as one of seven winners of the prestigious First Music competition sponsored annually by the orchestra. Called "invaluable" by The New York Times, the 31-year-old competition is widely seen as a leading force in the U.S. for spotlighting up-and-coming composers under age 30.

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Doris Duke Impact Awards

2014-04-22 Jazz alumna Matana Roberts '03 M.M. is one of 20 individuals in the first class of Doris Duke Impact Awards, presented by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. Roberts receives an unrestricted cash grant of as much as $80,000.

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Annenberg Fund Grants

2014-04-08 NEC Violinist Tessa Lark ’11,’12 M.M., former student of Miriam Fried, won a $50,000 Leonore Annenberg Fund Grant.

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Hilton Head 2014

2014-03-25 Shen Lu ’11 M.M. ’12 GD, former student of Alexander Korsantia, won first prize in the 2014 Hilton Head International Piano Competition.

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German Piano 2014

2014-03-25 Misha Namirovsky ’14 D.M.A., student of Hung-Kuan Chen, won the German Piano Award in Frankfurt, Germany.

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MTNA 2014

2014-03-25 Trumpeter Elmer Churampi ’17, student of Benjamin Wright, won the Music Teachers National Association national competition in Chicago.

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Avery Fisher Career Grants

2014-03-18 NEC-trained musicians swept the 2014 Avery Fisher Career Grants in the 40th Anniversary of the program. Violist Dimitri Murrath ’08 A.D. of the NEC faculty and pianist Charlie Albright ’11 A.B. Harvard, ’12 M.M. NEC took two of the three awards. Two Prep School alumni, violinist Andrew Bulbrook and violist Jonathan Moerschel, were winners of the third award as members of Calder Quartet.

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Menuhin Competition

2014-03-17 In Mo Yang ’17, a violin student of Miriam Fried, won second prize in the Menuhin Competition.

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Sphinx Competition


2014-02-14 Violinist Clayton Penrose-Whitmore ’15, student of Nicholas Kitchen, was named second place Laureate in the senior division of the Sphinx Competition.

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Aviv Competition


2014-02-14 Violinist Daniel Aizenshtadt ‘16, a student of Miriam Fried, won the Ilona Kornhauser Prize in Violin at the Aviv Competition in Israel.

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Lone Star Emmy Award

2013-11-11 Jordan Montgomery ’08 shared a Lone Star Emmy Award, presented November 9 by the Lone Star (Texas) regional division of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. Jordan, who studied composition at NEC with Michael Gandolfi and John Mallia, was honored as part of the core creative team that produced Sam Houston: American Statesman, Soldier and Pioneer, a three-part documentary that aired on PBS in July.

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Concert Artists Guild 2013

2013-10-25 Violinist Alexi Kenney '15, student of Donald Weilerstein, and pianist Ko-Eun Lee '04 Prep, former student of Wha-Kyung Byun at NEC at Walnut Hill program were selected two of the three prize winners in the Concert Artists Guild Victor Elmaleh Competition. They each received management through CAG and a New York recital.

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Tbilisi International Piano Competition

2013-10-14 Pianist Tsotne Tsotskhalashvili ’13, ’15 M.M., a student of Alexander Korsantia, won second prize in the V Tbilisi International Piano Competition, held in Tbilisi, Georgia, October 1–14.

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ARD Munich 2013

2013-09-16 Yura Lee '05 A.D. won the Viola Grand Prize in 2013 ARD Munich Competition. Former student of Miriam Fried, Lee was known at NEC primarily as a violinist. She won €10,000 Prize and concert dates including performances with the Munich Radio Orchestra, Munich Chamber Orchestra, and the Bavarian Radio Orchestra.  

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American Prize in Conducting

2014-09-13 Thanapol Setabrahmana ‘11 M.M. in Wind Ensemble Conducting, former student of Charles Peltz, took second place nationally in the band/wind ensemble division of The American Prize in Conducting competition.

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Haskil 2013

2013-09-13 Cristian Budu, a student of Wha-Kyung Byun, received the grand prize at the Clara Haskil International Piano Competition, held in Vevey, Switzerland. In addition to the grand prize purse of 25,000 Swiss francs, Budu also won the Audience and "Children's Corner" prizes.

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Fundacíon Hebraica 2013

2013-08-16 Violinist Jeremías Sergiani Velázquez ’14, a student of Miriam Fried, won the 25th annual Fundación Hebraica Argentina Competition for young artists in Buenos Aires. In addition to $25,000 in prize money, he won a concerto appearance with the National Youth Symphony Orchestra under conductor Mario Benzecry.

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Fischoff 2013

2013-05-12 Trio Concorde, a piano trio coached by Vivian Hornik Weilerstein, received the bronze medal in the senior strings division at the Fischoff National Chamber Music Association's annual competition.

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Find more NEC Fischoff winners.

2013 Jazz Journalists Association Awards for Music

2013-05-01 The Jazz Journalists Assocation announced winners of the 17th annual JJA Jazz Awards for musicianship in 29 categories. Here are the categories in which NEC musicians were recognized.

Record of the Year and
Large Ensemble of the Year

Centennial: Newly Discovered works of Gil Evans
Ryan Truesdell '06 M.M.
This recording also includes several other NEC performers, as noted here when it received several Grammy nominations. The recording ultimately won a posthumous Grammy for Evans, as arranger.

Best Male Vocalist
Gregory Porter '86

Best Female Vocalist
Luciana Souza '94 M.M.

Violinist/Violist/Cellist of the Year
Regina Carter '82

Traps Drummer of the Year
Billy Hart of the faculty

More about these awards, and full list of winners.

Guggenheim 2013

2013-04-12 Kati Agócs of the faculty and alumnus Mathew Rosenblum '78, '79 M.M. were among the 11 composers awarded 2013 Guggenheim Fellowships.

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Find more NEC Guggenheim Fellows.

Hannover 2012

2012-10-15 Dami Kim '10, '12 M.M., who is currently completing the Graduate Diploma program at NEC as a student of Miriam Fried, was one of two first prize winners at the 8th International Joseph Joachim Violin Competition Hannover in Germany. Along with a 50,000 Euro cash prize, sponsored concerts, and a Naxos recording project, Kim receives use of a Guadagnini violin for three years.

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Tchaikovsky Young Musicians 2012

2012-09-15 Zlatomir Fung, a 13-year-old student of Emmanuel Feldman in NEC's Preparatory School, won second prize in the cello division of the 7th International Tchaikovsky Competition for Young Musicians, held in Montreux, Switzerland. We don't have video from the competition, but you can watch Zlatomir in a recent solo performance.

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Kapell 2012

2012-07-24 Jin Uk Kim '08 M.M., '10 G.D., who is currently completing the doctoral program at NEC as a student of Wha Kyung Byun, took second prize at the William Kapell International Piano Competition, held this month in Maryland. Of the NEC pianists accepted into this competition, three were among the nine semifinalists, with Kim one of only three pianists in the final round.

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Naumburg 2012

2012-06-12 Violinist Tessa Lark, a student of Miriam Fried and Lucy Chapman, took first prize at the Naumburg Competition, which currently runs on a three-year rotation between pianists, string players, and singers. Lark joins the dozens of NEC-affiliated musicians who have excelled at this competition in its almost century-long history.

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Find more NEC Naumburg winners.

Tokyo Viola 2012

2012-06-04 Wenting Kang, a student of Kim Kashkashian, took first prize at the 2nd Tokyo International Viola Competition, with a jury led by Nobuko Imai. Kang will receive a viola made and donated by Robert Blaszauer of Budapest, and an invitation from the Verbier Festival Academy 2013, along with a million-Yen purse.

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Find more NEC winners of the Tokyo International Viola Competition.

Queen Elisabeth 2012

2012-05-26 Nine NEC violinists were admitted as candidates in Belgium's Queen Elisabeth Competition. Six of these opted to participate, and three advanced to the finals. As unranked laureates, Ermir Abeshi, Dami Kim, and Nancy Zhou each receive 4,000 Euros and a recital booking. The performances of these three as well as those of GaHyun Cho, Yoojin Jang, and Jung Yoon Yang are preserved as podcasts by RTBF.

Find more NEC Queen Elisabeth winners.

Fischoff 2012

2012-05-14 Trio mod3tre, consisting of violinist Tessa Lark, cellist Deborah Pae, and pianist Misha Namirovsky, took the silver medal in the Senior Strings division of the 2012 Fischoff Competition. The group is coached by Vivian Hornik Weilerstein.

Find more NEC Fischoff winners.

Doris Duke Performing Artist Awards

2012-04-19 Third Stream (Contemporary Improvisation) alumnus Don Byron '84 is one of 21 individuals in the first class of Doris Duke Artists, presented by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. Over the next 10 years the Foundation will fund the work of 200 performing artists, and those designated Doris Duke Artists will receive an unrestricted cash grant of as much as $275,000. "The first class of artists were chosen based on demonstrated evidence of exceptional creativity, ongoing self-challenge and the continuing potential to make significant contributions to their fields in the future," according to a statement from the Foundation. Byron, cited for his work in "exploring and reinterpreting an existing tradition," is one of six musicians in the initial group of honorees, who range from stage director Anne Bogart to choreographer Reggie Wilson.

Byron's most recent recording project, Love, Peace, and Soul, explores the gospel heritage of Thomas A. Dorsey and Sister Rosetta Tharpe.

Read the DDCF press release.

More about Don Byron.

2011

54th Annual Grammy Awards
Elmer Gantry opera, "Best Contemporary Classical Composition": composer Robert Livingston Aldridge '80 M.M. and librettist Herschel Garfein '82 M.M. share the honors. More about Elmer Gantry.

Louisiana International Piano Competition
First prize at the "Artist Level": Michael Namirovsky, D.M.A. student. More about this competition.

MacArthur Foundation Fellowship
Cellist Alisa Weilerstein, a member of NEC ensemble-in-residence the Weilerstein Trio.

Gilmore Young Artist Award
Pianist George Li, Preparatory School student of Wha Kyung Byun.

XIV Tchaikovsky Competition
Gold medal in cello: Narek Hakhnazaryan '11 A.D.
Third prize in violin: JeHye Lee '08 M.M., '10 G.D.
Fourth prize in violin: Nigel Armstrong '07 Prep

2014-06-17


IT'S LIKE AN ACT OF MURDER; YOU PLAY WITH INTENT TO COMMIT SOMETHING. DUKE ELLINGTON