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Philadelphia Youth Orchestra’s 2018 Ovation Award Ceremony and Festival Concert

WRTI Classical Host Jack Moore announced the winner of the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra’s Fifth Annual Ovation Award at the Kimmel Center on June 10th.  This year's recipient of the award is violist and teacher Shelley Beard Santore.

Nine other musical educators from the Delaware Valley were recognized for their inspiration and outstanding leadership during PYO's Annual Festival Concert. The ten finalists were nominated by their students.

Shelley Beard Santore "embraced the challenge of teaching, nurturing, and empowering me.”

Maestro Louis Scaglione led over 120 PYO students ranging from age 14 to 21 in a program featuring Leonard Bernstein’s Symphonic Dances from West Side Story, and Ein Heldenleben, Op. 40 by Richard Strauss.  The performance also included the premiere of Manhattan Nights, a composition by Kevin Day, winner of the Second Annual Young Composers Competition.

The goal of the Ovation Award is to honor exceptional music teachers who have had a significant impact on students, in the practice studio, on the stage, and beyond. Ten finalists are chosen by a blue ribbon panel. They were introduced and recognized before the  winner was announced.

The Ovation Award was conceived to honor music educators who share their knowledge, skill and wisdom with young people.  The award was created in partnership with WRTI 90.1, and is sponsored by Jacobs Music Company, and J.W. Pepper.  

Here are the ten 2018 Ovation Award Finalists, including Ovation Award winner Shelley Beard Santore:

Shelley Beard Santore,  Lansdowne, PA
“Mrs. Shelley embraced the challenge of teaching, nurturing, and empowering me.”
“Mrs. Shelley gave me my passion, and my voice.”

As an active chamber musician, Shelley Beard Santore was a former and founding member of both the Tononi Quartet and the prize-winning Mühlenberg Piano Quartet.  Her many chamber music collaborations include performances with members of the Minnesota and Cleveland Orchestras, the Opera Company of Philadelphia. Ms. Beard Santore is currently the Suzuki Academy Department Head and Master Faculty member at The Music School of Delaware. She has served as Vice President of the Greater Philadelphia Suzuki Association and former President of the Philadelphia Viola Society. A graduate of the Peabody Institute and Indiana University School of Music, she has extensive Suzuki Teacher Training and her students have placed and won top prizes in many classical and folk competitions including the American Viola Society solo and ensemble competitions.  They’ve also been accepted at musical institutions including The Juilliard School, Cleveland Institute of Music, Peabody Conservatory, Oberlin Conservatory, Aspen Music Festival, and Interlochen Arts Academy.

Nominated by Nicolette Marie Sullivan-Cozza, Hockessin, DE, and Juliana Castillo, Wilmington, DE
Nicolette and Juliana credit Ms. Beard Santore with instilling confidence in their ability to perform on stage, as well as her excellence as a viola instructor.  They are both members of the PYO.  Nicolette has been studying the viola for twelve years.  Juliana has played the violin for ten years and the viola for two.  She’s a participant in the Settlement Music School Advanced Study Scholarship Program in the Gail W. Snitzer Quartet.

Gloria dePasquale, Narberth, PA
Mrs. D. "devotes so much of her life to sharing her love of music with the next generation.”
Gloria dePasquale joined the cello section of The Philadelphia Orchestra in 1977 at the invitation of Eugene Ormandy. She is a graduate of The New England Conservatory of Music and graduated with honors with both her Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees as a student of Stephen Geber. She was cellist of the dePasquale String Quartet for more than two decades. The Quartet was in residence at Villanova University and presented a highly acclaimed chamber music series performing with such artists as Yo-Yo Ma, Emanuel Ax, Christoph Eschenbach, Yefim Bronfman, Wolfgang Sawallisch, and Andre Watts.  In addition to serving as director and conductor for the PYO’s Philadelphia Regional Youth String Music Program, Ms. dePasquale designed and directs the PYO College and Conservatory Audition Preparation Program.  She maintains a large private studio and her graduating students are regularly accepted to the nation’s foremost conservatories, colleges, and universities.  Ms. dePasquale also serves on the board of The Philadelphia Orchestra and the board of the League of American Orchestras.
Nominated by Elijah Lee, Villanova, PA
Elijah has studied the cello for seven years, and is a student at The Haverford School. Elijah is currently a member of the PYAO cello section and plays the bass in his church’s praise band. He credits Mrs. D for encouraging and inspiring him to pursue his passion for musical excellence.

Steven Holgate, Reading, PA
Mr. Holgate “gave me the space to fail and reach my own decision to commit to this musical life. Since that time, we have celebrated every audition and achievement together.”
Steven Holgate holds a Bachelor of Science in Music Education from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, where his applied instruments were euphonium and bass trombone.  He earned a Masters Music Performance from Illinois State University in tuba and wind conducting.  Steven has been teaching music in the Governor Mifflin School District since 1992. Currently, he is the band and orchestra director at Mifflin’s Intermediate School, where over 40% of the school’s students study a musical instrument.  In addition, Steven maintains a private brass studio at the Yocum Institute of Arts in Wyomissing, PA, where he teaches brass pupils from beginning to adult.  In the summer, Steven is the director of the Berks Summer Strings Institute, which is entering its 7th summer with over 130 Berks County participants from public, private and home schools. He is also assistant director of the Berks Summer Band Institute, an organization that reaches more than 340 musicians in Berks County.

Nominated by Marlin Thomas, Shillington, PA
Marlin notes that Mr. Holgate has not only given him skills that have made him a better musician, like breathing and phrasing, but also skills that have made him a better person.  He credits Mr. Holgate’s emphasis on perseverance and hard work for his growth as a person, and a musician.  Marlin is a tuba player in PYO, and has studied the tuba for seven years.

Margie Keefe, Rockledge, PA
Ms. Keefe “has helped me realize that being a good musician is more than just playing your instrument well. She has shown me what it means to be a good citizen.”
Marjorie Keefe served as a String Specialist with the School District of Philadelphia for 37 years, teaching at numerous elementary, middle and high schools throughout the city. She is a Summa Cum Laude graduate of Temple University, and holds a master degree from the State College of New Jersey, and has performed professionally in a wide variety of ensembles, including the Reading, Bridgeton, and Harrisburg Symphony Orchestras. A long-standing committee member and conductor of ensembles for Philadelphia’s All City Middle School and High School Orchestras, as well as the city’s regional festivals.  Marjorie has also been a teacher and conductor of string ensembles at the William Penn Charter School.  Since retiring in 2013, she has spent the last five years serving as Managing Coordinator for the Philadelphia All City High School and Middle School Orchestras and Bands. She is thankful for the constant support of her wonderful family, friends, and colleagues, and most of all for the students she has been privileged to work with over the past 42 years, whose talents, dedication and achievements have created an inspiring legacy!
Nominated by Marquise Bradley, Philadelphia, PA
Marquise is a clarinetist in PYO and student at the Philadelphia High School for the Creative and Performing Arts. Marquise recognizes Ms. Keefe’s dedication to teaching young students what they can achieve with hard work and focus.

Eunice Kim, Avondale, PA
“As a student who grew up dreading my weekly piano lessons, I never thought I would grow up to love and long for the thrill of a fresh music book or the satisfaction of mastering a new piece. I have no doubt that I would never have grown to feel this way about music without Mrs. Kim.”
Born in South Korea to music-loving parents, Eunice Kim demonstrated exceptional musical talents at an early age and began harp at the age of 11. After winning a Grand Prize in the Tenth Annual Harp Korea National Competition she made her debut on Korean national television (KBS) as a featured artist.  She came to the U.S. to attend the Curtis Institute of Music under the tutelage of the late Marilyn Costello, former long-time principal harpist of The Philadelphia Orchestra. She later studied with Elizabeth Hainen at Boyer College of Music and Dance at Temple University for a master’s degree in Harp Performance.  She has performed with The Philadelphia Orchestra as second harpist during their summer residency in Saratoga Springs, NY, and in 2011 she performed the Morceau de Concert by Camille Saint-Saëns with the Temple University Sinfonia.  Her most recent performance in March 2018 was a W.A. Mozart Flute and Harp Concerto in C major, as a guest artist with conductor Simeone Tartaglione. She is currently the harp instructor at the Sanford School and at Swarthmore College.
Nominated by Lily Suh, Middletown, DE
Lily, a student at the Charter School of Wilmington, has studied the harp for five years and is currently a member of PYO. Lily credits Mrs. Kim for her enthusiasm for music and would like to recognize Mrs. Kim for her dedication to her students.

G. Scott Litzenberg, Kennett Square, PA
“Even after 30 years of teaching, Mr. Litzenberg still serves his students with the same dedication, love, and care that he did when he began his career.”
Scott Litzenberg is an experienced teacher who will be retiring in June, after 34 years as a high school band director.  He has taught at Wilson High School in West Lawn, PA, Upper Darby High School in Upper Darby, PA, and Unionville High School in Kennett Square, PA. His bands have been selected as a finalist in the Essentially Ellington Jazz Festival in New York City, won the overall band award at the Kentucky Derby Festival; and the twice have been named as the grand Champion at the Gator Bowl Festival in Jacksonville, FL. The bands have received numerous superior ratings at concert, jazz and marching festivals in his 34 years of teaching. Scott works part-time as an Event Manager at Longwood Gardens and is also the Principal Timpanist with the Chester County Pops Orchestra and a charter member of that ensemble. A 1984 graduate of West Chester University with a B.S. in Music Education, he is a member of Phi Beta Mu and an alumnus of Kappa Kappa Psi and Phi Mu Alpha Music Fraternities.
Nominated by Beth Petricoin, Akron, PA
Beth, a flute and piccolo player for eight years, credits Mr. Litzenberg for fostering a love of music in his students for over 30 years. Beth is proud to have been taught by Mr. Litzenberg and would like to recognize his unwavering dedication to his students and community.

Anne Peterson, Wallingford, PA
“Anne has been both my mentor and my music teacher. She will always serve as an example to me.”
Anne Peterson grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia, and had the good fortune to study with Roger Scott, Michael Shahan, and Neil Courtney, all of The Philadelphia Orchestra.  She studied double bass and piano, at Eastman School of Music, the New School of Music, and attended the University of Pennsylvania before winning her first orchestra position with the Louisville Symphony Orchestra. After brief periods in Kentucky and New York, she returned to Philadelphia as a member of The Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, The Philly Pops, and Opera Philadelphia.  She performs as well with the Academy of the Vocal Arts, and Delaware Symphony.  In addition to playing with these and other orchestras, she is principal bass in the Pennsylvania Ballet Orchestra. She is an adjunct faculty member at Temple University, and teaches at Haverford and Swarthmore Colleges. Anne and her husband, Gary Sippel, a chef, have three daughters, and a cat. While family, music, and fantastic food are the great passions in her life, she also enjoys hiking, mushrooming, working in clay, reading voraciously, and doing word puzzles!
Nominated Julia Crainic, Merion Station, PA
Julia has studied the bass for six years, and is a student at Lower Merion High School. In addition to being a member of PYO, Julia also serves as a Philadelphia Regional Youth String Music intern. Julia values Ms. Peterson’s dedication to educating and fostering confidence in her students.

Aaron Picht, Philadelphia, PA
Mr. Picht “believes everyone has the ability to make music.”
Aaron Picht is the conductor of the Youth Chamber Orchestra and Baroque Players at Temple Music Prep.  He received a Bachelor of Music Degree in Performance from the Boston University School of Fine Arts, where he studied viola with Walter Trampler and chamber music with Eugene Lehner.  His primary pedagogic influence however, was George Neikrug, a longtime student of the legendary Demetrius Dounis.  Mr. Picht has toured and performed at a variety of concert venues including the Longy School of Music, the 92nd Street YMHA, Lincoln Center, the Baltimore Chamber Music Society, the ISCM Festival - Boston, and the Holland Festival.  Mr. Picht began teaching at Temple Music Prep in 2003 and succeeded Maestro Luis Biava as the conductor of the Youth Chamber Orchestra in 2015.  Since then, Mr. Picht has led the Youth Chamber Orchestra on two concert tours of Iceland, an appearance at a “Harmony for Peace” concert at Verizon Hall, and a recent performance on a “Salute to Tchaikovsky” program at The New England Conservatory.
Nominated by Immanuel Mykyta-Chomsky, Elkins Park, PA
Immanuel has studied the piano for twelve years and currently plays in the PYO and the Gray Charitable Trust Trio at the Settlement Music School. Immanuel credits Mr. Picht for inspiring him to create music with his patient nature and unique ability to hold rehearsals that are simultaneously productive and fun through combining music with life lessons.

Dr. Eduard Schmieder, Philadelphia, PA
Dr. Schmieder “ignites his students’ natural abilities to find their own unique voices on the violin.”

Eduard Schmieder holds the Temple University Carnell Chair Professor of Violin at Center of the Arts in Philadelphia, where he is an Artistic Director for Strings and teaches an internationally selected class.  Prior positions were a Distinguished Algur Meadows Chair at SMU in Dallas (1990-2006), and tenured professor of the violin at USC, the position formerly held by Jascha Heifetz.  Dr. Schmieder has taught master classes in virtually every foremost conservatory in the world, and since 2004, on the faculty at the Mozarteum Summer Academie Salzburg.  He serves as a jury member at international competitions, has performed as conductor and violinist in prestigious concert halls worldwide, and collaborated with such musicians as Yehudi Menuhin, Ida Haendel and Martha Argerich. In 1996, he performed a recital in Genoa on Paganini’s famous Guarneri del Gesù “Il Cannone” violin.  He has been written about in the books Violin Virtuosos: From Paganini to the 21st Century, and The Great Violinists.
Nominated by Joseph Kauffman, Philadelphia, PA
Joseph is an active freelance violinist in the Philadelphia area and a student at Temple University. Joseph credits Dr. Schmieder for making him the musician and person he is today.
Lee Snyder, Huntingdon Valley, PA
“Mr. Snyder’s mantra, ‘practice solves problems,’ is a life lesson that will stay with me forever.”

Lee Snyder received his bachelor’s degree from the Oberlin Conservatory where he studied with Stuart Canin (Paganini Competition winner). He earned two master's degrees: one from Juilliard School while studying with Ivan Galamian and Dorothy Delay, and another from State University of New York at Stony Brook. He was a member of the American Symphony under Leopold Stokowski and the Chamber Symphony of Philadelphia under Anshel Brusilow. He has concertized in the US, Germany, and Central America. He has also performed concerti with several local orchestras. For many years, Mr. Snyder was a member of the Alverthorp Trio. As a teacher, Snyder is the Arthur Judson Distinguished Faculty Chair at Settlement Music School. He has had nine students perform as soloists with The Philadelphia Orchestra, as well as having many students win the local community orchestra solo competitions. Two of his former students are presently members of the Philadelphia Orchestra while others have graduated from the Curtis Institute, the Juilliard School of Music, Eastman, Cleveland Institute of Music, Peabody, and others. His former students have positions in other major orchestra and a number are on the faculty at the Settlement Music School faculty.
Nominated by Vibha Janakiraman, West Chester, PA
Vibha is a member of PYO and has studied the violin for seven years. Vibha thanks Mr. Snyder for teaching her to apply the skills fostered in musical training to valuable aspects of everyday life.