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The Philadelphia Youth Orchestra's 2016 Ovation Award Nominees

WRTI's Jack Moore will announce the winner of the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra's Third Annual Ovation Award at the Kimmel Center on June 5th at 3 pm. Ten music educators from the Delaware Valley have been nominated by their students, and will be honored for "inspiration and outstanding leadership in music education" during the PYO's Annual Festival Concert.

Meichen Liao-Barnes

The goal of the Ovation Award is to honor exceptional music educators who change students' lives by not only imparting musical knowledge, but by helping to build character and confidence for a lifetime. The ten finalists are: Shelley Beard — Private teacher, Music School of Delaware — Lansdowne, PA
Matthew Ceresini — Great Valley High School band/music teacher — Malvern, PA
Tanya Ivanova — Violin teacher — Penn Wynne, PA
Mary Javian — Private teacher — Fairmount/Philadelphia, PA
Jennifer Jie Jin — Private cello teacher — Berwyn, PA
Meichen Liao-Barnes — Violin teacher — Merion Station, PA
Dr. Ovidu Marinescu — Private cello teacher — West Chester, PA
Susan Nowicki — Private piano teacher — Glenside, PA
Charles Salinger — Private teacher — Ambler, PA
Coco Symer — Private music teacher — Cherry Hill, NJ

Maestro Louis Scaglione (president and music director of PYO) will present the winner with a trophy and the grand prize, which includes a check for $1,000 from the H.E.L.P. Foundation and a $500 gift card from J.W. Pepper. Jacobs Music Company will provide plaques for all finalists and a crystal trophy for the winner. Finalists will each receive a $100 cash prize from H.E.L.P. and a $100 gift card from J.W. Pepper.

Bios of Ovation Award Finalists:

Charles Salinger

Charles Salinger graduated from the Curtis Institute of Music in 1977.  For the past 38 years he has been an active performer in the Philadelphia area.  Charles plays principal clarinet in the PA Ballet Orchestra, the Delaware Symphony, Opera Delaware, and is a substitute player with The Philadelphia Orchestra. In addition to his classical music career, Charles also enjoys performing other musical genres such as jazz, klezmer, dixieland, and musical theater.

In addition to his performance career, Charles takes pride in his teaching, which has earned him an impressive reputation and produced many fine musicians in classical music as well as jazz.

Corinna (Coco) Wiedmer-Symer

Students of oboist and teacher Corinna Wiedmer-Symer have gone on to prestigious colleges and universities with careers in music, letters, sciences, and government. A pupil of The Philadelphia Orchestra’s Principal Oboe, Richard Woodhams, Coco has won degrees and awards from both The New School of Music (BM), and Temple University (MM).

A longtime substitute player with The Philadelphia Orchestra, she has been on the faculties of Lehigh University and The College of New Jersey. And in addition to teaching oboe, she very much enjoys coaching student ensembles.

Jennifer Jie Jin

Jennifer Jie Jin, Cello

Jennifer Jie Jin has performed throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia. Before her move to the U.S., she won First Prize in the National Cello Duo Competition of China, the Bao-gang Elegance Art Award and the Excellent Performance Prize in the National Competition of China. She has appeared as a soloist with Bay Atlantic Symphony Orchestra, National Repertoire Orchestra, and Shanghai Symphony Orchestra and has participated in prestigious festivals worldwide, including the Aspen Music Festival, Tanglewood Music Festival, Ravinia Festival and many others.

A committed teacher, Ms. Jin is the co-director of Chamber Strings Summer Music Festival, Vivace Music Competition and Vivace Orchestra. She is the co-director of Honor String Ensemble at Archbishop John Carroll High School. Ms. Jin has coached her students to win top prizes in many competitions.

Mary Javian

Mary Wheelock Javian

Mary Wheelock Javian’s goal as an artist is to use music to create positive social change in communities. Ms. Javian joined the faculty of the Curtis Institute of Music in 2011 and became the school’s director of professional development and community engagement in 2014. A double bassist, she performs frequently with The Philadelphia Orchestra, IRIS Orchestra, and numerous groups throughout the country. In the summer she serves on the faculty of the Verbier Festival in Switzerland. 

Ms. Javian has consulted on community engagement across the country and in Europe. She has done curatorial work for Curtis, LiveConnections, and Intercultural Journeys. As a private teacher, Ms. Javian’s students have gone on to music schools such as Curtis, Peabody, Indiana University, Vanderbilt, and Temple, and have joined such orchestras as the Metropolitan Opera, New Jersey and Omaha Symphonies, and the IRIS Orchestra.

Matthew Ceresini

Music educator Matthew Ceresini has been an instrumental music director and classroom music teacher at Great Valley High School in Malvern, PA since 2013.  He is currently director of the school's string orchestra, symphony orchestra, concert band, jazz band, marching band, basketball pep band, and co-chairperson of the secondary music department.  He teaches elective music classes including Guitar I & II, Rock Band, Music Technology and Industry, and Adaptive Choir.  Under his leadership, the marching band was awarded Gold and Silver Finalist placement at the Cavalcade of Bands A Class Championships in 2014 and 2015.

Mr. Ceresini grew up in Upper Darby, PA and attended Upper Darby High School.  He holds undergraduate degrees in Music (BA) and Music Education (BS) from Lebanon Valley College and a master’s degree in Music Education (MM) from Boston University. He is a 2015 graduate of Pennsylvania Music Educators Association Leadership Academy. He began his teaching career at Radnor High School in Wayne, PA.  Previous to his current appointment, he served for seven years as director of bands at Central Dauphin High School in Harrisburg, PA.  In his spare time, he enjoys writing music and playing basketball.

Meichen Liao-Barnes

Meichen Liao-Barnes is the associate concertmaster of the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia. A graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music and the Juilliard School, Ms. Barnes has performed with the Lincoln Chamber Players and toured with Music from Marlboro. She was one of seven international judges for the Postacchini International Violin Competition in 2015. This summer she will be teaching at the Brancaleoni International Music Festival and the Philadelphia International Music Festival. 

Ovidiu Marinescu

Dedicated whole heartedly to the cause of music, Ovidiu Marinescu continues to inspire generations of musicians as a cello professor and conductor. Marinescu brings to the podium his full commitment and passion to the profession. For many years, he was the orchestra conductor at West Chester University and he is frequently invited to lead orchestral festivals from Pennsylvania Music Teachers Association to All-Catholic or Mennonite orchestras.

Marinescu’s experience on the professional stage validates his unselfish approach to music making. He has conducted the Russian Philharmonic Orchestra, the Romanian Radio Orchestra, Helena Symphony, and many other professional groups in Romania, Spain, Portugal, Switzerland, and the U.S.  As a cellist, he has performed in Carnegie Hall, Weill Hall, Merkin Hall, the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory, among others. He has over a dozen commercially released recordings including the complete cello suites by Bach.  Marinescu has developed and is co-producing a TV documentary series entitled Resonate, which explores music making with people from across the globe, with the first episode filmed this past April in Cuba. 

Many of his students have developed professional careers as musicians, and some are successful in other fields, always drawing inspiration from music.

Shelley Beard

Shelley Beard Schleigh

This is Shelley Beard’s second nomination for the Ovation Award. As an active chamber musician, she was a founding member of both the Tononi Quartet and the prize-winning Mühlenberg Piano Quartet. As a member of these ensembles, Ms. Beard has performed at numerous concert venues including The Julliard School, The Curtis Institute of Music, Peabody Conservatory, Westminster Choir College, the Samuel Barber International Chamber Music Festival at Westchester University, Temple University, Ramapo College, Wesley College, An Die Musik (Baltimore), Ursinus College, and for the Pottstown Symphony Chamber Music Series. Chamber music collaborations include performances with members of the Minnesota and Cleveland Orchestras, Opera Philadelphia, and at summer music festivals including Aspen Music Festival, International Festival-Institute at Round Top, and Credo Chamber Music Institute at Oberlin Conservatory.

Ms. Beard is currently the Suzuki academy department head and master faculty member at the Music School of Delaware. She has served as VP of the Greater Philadelphia Suzuki Association and former president of the Philadelphia Viola Society. Ms. Beard is a graduate of the Peabody Institute (BM) and Indiana University School of Music (MM) and has extensive Suzuki teacher training. Her students have won top prizes in many classical and folk competitions and have been accepted to some of the finest musical institutions including The Juilliard School, Cleveland Institute of Music, Peabody Conservatory, and Oberlin Conservatory. Ms. Beard is a registered Suzuki teacher with extensive Suzuki training and has received the Suzuki Association of the America's Certificate of Achievement.

Susan Nowicki

Susan Nowicki is a faculty member of the Curtis Institute of Music where she coaches for the vocal studies department. She has appeared throughout the United States as soloist and as collaborative pianist, and frequently performs with members of The Philadelphia Orchestra. A strong advocate of contemporary music, Ms Nowicki has premiered and performed works with the ensemble Network for New Music, and has recorded numerous works for the Albany, Capstone, De Haske and North-South labels. She has also produced and performed on a release of chamber works by Jan Krzywicki for Albany Records.

Ms. Nowicki is in demand as an adjudicator and clinician for music festivals, conferences and competitions. She maintains a private piano studio in Wyndmoor, PA and is an instructor for The Well Balanced Pianist programs — intensive courses for pianists, which combine the study of coordinate technique with performance mindset strategies and learning styles awareness (www.wellbalancedpianist.com).

Tatiana Ivanova
Tatiana Ivanova is a classically trained violin instructor. She graduated from Samara Music College and Belorussian Academy of Music. She has a master's degree in performing arts and teaching. She started music instruction in 1983 in Russia, where she taught for 20 years.

After migrating to the United States, Ivanova continued to build her career as a violin instructor, teaching at Nelly Berman School of Music and several other schools. Her distinguished teaching method is one that produces highly accomplished violinists. She enjoys teaching and is always happy to share her love for music with her students.

Sunday, June 5, 2016
3:00 pm
76th Annual Festival Concert and Announcement of Ovation Award Winner

Louis Scaglione, Conductor
Jack Moore, Announcer
Peter Richard Conte, Organ
Joel Collier, Euphonium

Verizon Hall, The Kimmel Center

Barber: Toccata festiva, Op. 36
Szentpali: Symphony concertante for Euphonium and Symphony Orchestra            
Higdon: Blue Cathedral
Rachmaninoff: Symphonic Dances, Op. 45