2014 Conference Award Recipients

Presented March 22–26
in Chicago, Illinois

MTNA Achievement Award
Byron Janis: New York, New York

One of the world’s greatest pianists, Byron Janis has had a long, distinguished career. He recently shared in an interview how he overcame the challenges of being a pianist with arthritis. He has played with every major symphony orchestra in the world and performed at the White House six times. Janis has been featured on television programs such as The Tonight Show, 20/20, CBS Sunday Morning and in the PBS documentary The Byron Janis Story. He composed the score for the musical The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Janis’s many honors include Commander of the French Legion d’Honneur for Arts and Letters, the Grand Prix du Disque, the Stanford Fellowship and the gold medal from the French Society for the Encouragement of Progress. His recordings appear on the RCA, Mercury Phillips and EMI labels, and he became a Yamaha artist in 2011.

MTNA Citation for Leadership
Michael J. Bates, Yamaha Corporation of America

Mike Bates is the senior member of the Institutional Solutions Group in the Keyboard Division of Yamaha Corporation of America, where he has worked the last 28 years. His career at Yamaha has included nine years as the general manager of the Music Education Division. He has also been responsible for numerous special projects, including developing the music and arts advocacy materials created by NAMM and MENC in the early 1990s. Bates was on the small team that developed the initial Technology Guidelines for Music Educators published by MENC and was a founding board member of The Technology Institute for Music Education.

MTNA Distinguished Service Award
Ruth Pitts, NCTM: Waco, Texas

The 10th annual MTNA Distinguished Service Award was given to Ruth Pitts. Pitts, NCTM, has been a member of the Waco MTA, the Texas MTA and MTNA since 1975, and she has won Teacher of the Year at all three levels—local, state and national. Pitts has taught at Free Will Baptist Bible College, Houston Baptist University, Dallas Baptist University, Baylor University and McLennan Community College, where she still teaches and is sponsor/advisor of its MTNA collegiate chapter. She has served MTNA as a member of the Board of Directors, president of Texas MTA, president of the South Central Division, on the development committee of the MTNA Foundation and chair of the Collegiate Chapters Forum. She was named at MTNA Foundation Fellow in 2010.

MTNA Teacher of the Year
Martha Hilley, NCTM: Austin, Texas

The 2014 MTNA Teacher of the Year is Martha Hilley, NCTM. Hilley is a longtime professor at the University of Texas, School of Music, where she has held positions as head of the keyboard division and associate director, among others. Currently, she is South Central vice president for the Texas Council of Faculty Senates. Hilley has also served MTNA on the Board of Directors, Pedagogy Committee, as Collegiate Chapter Committee chair and was responsible for spearheading the creation of the Virtual Collegiate Chapter Initiative. She was given the Outstanding Collegiate Teacher Award by the Texas MTA in 2002. Hilley was named an MTNA Foundation Fellow for the state of Texas in 2002 and received the MTNA Distinguished Service Award in 2008. Hilley’s abilities as a music educator have been well-documented through the years. She received the Texas Excellence Teaching Award in 1983 and was awarded one of four Dad’s Association Centennial Fellowships in 1988. In 1992, she was recipient of the prestigious Orpheus Award, presented by Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia and in 1998, she was awarded the William Blunk Endowed Professorship for excellence in undergraduate teaching. In addition to all of her awards, Hilley has had articles published in Clavier Companion and Piano Quarterly. She also co-authored two college piano texts: Piano for the Developing Musician (5th Edition) and Piano for Pleasure (4th Edition)

State Affiliate of the Year
Texas Music Teachers Association
Debra S. Hadfield, NCTM, president

The Texas Music Teachers Association is the 2014 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 contribution, programming for students, community outreach and advocacy and quality and content of publications. The committee has selected Texas Music Teachers Association to be the recipient of the 2014 MTNA State Affiliate of the Year Award. The committee noted that Texas MTA has had a strong presence in MTNA for many years, and will celebrate their 100th Convention in June 2014. The committee was impressed with the Texas MTA website, specifically with its user-friendly menus that brought up easy-to-read details about their programs, association offers, history, handbook and biannual magazine. The website even has a world-wide outreach with free resources for all music teachers and music students featuring three programs for grades 1–12, including Music Appreciation Online with web-based music activities, five sets of past Theory Tests and Ear Training Tracks and two sets of past World of Music Tests. The committee was touched by the generosity of Texas MTA, which awards $47,000 to students annually, as well as by the generosity of its individual members, which gave $38,087 given to MTNA Foundation last year. The committee was impressed with the Texas MTA 2013 convention, which had 6,311 attendees! They also added a two-day Teacher Enrichment Conference in 2013 in conjunction with the MTNA/TMTA Performance Competitions. The committee wants to commend Texas MTA for offering its own student composition, publication, video and performance contests. The award was accepted by Debra S. Hadfield, NCTM, president of the Texas Music Teachers Association. 

Local Association of the Year
Richmond Music Teachers Association (Virginia)
Jennifer Scott, president

The Richmond Music Teachers Association in Richmond, Virginia, has been selected as the 2014 MTNA Local Association of the Year based on a balance of several important criteria. Richmond MTA impressed the committee with both the breadth and depth of their programming, including various teacher workshops such as Catherine Rollin’s “Technique and Artistry ~ You Can’t Have One Without the Other” and Marvin Blickenstaff’s workshops with “Nature’s Clues to Interpretation” and “The Case of the Potential Piano Drop-Out: What do you do when the magic stops.” Richmond also has wonderful student programs, such as a Playathon where they raised money for scholarships to students at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), a Bach Competition and a Student Recital Series. Twenty-one percent of their teachers are nationally certified. They also have a strong tie with the local collegiate chapter at VCU. They actively try to gain membership by having a New Member Luncheon and Tea each year, and also have set up a mentoring program for new members so that they can have a guide through the year. The committee was also impressed by their thorough website and Facebook page. The award was accepted by Jennifer Scott, president of the Richmond Music Teachers Association.

Benjamin Whitten Collegiate Chapter of the Year
University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (Ohio)
Brianna Matzke, president
Michelle Conda, advisor

The University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music is the recipient of the 2014 Benjamin Whitten MTNA Collegiate Chapter of the Year Award. The president of the Chapter is Brianna Matzke and the faculty advisor is Michelle Conda. This honor recognizes CCM’s commitment to the music teaching profession and MTNA. The committee selected CCM for this award due to their wide variety of activities that involve the majority of their chapter members. The committee was impressed with the full chapter’s involvement in planning and attending the Ohio MTA state conference and the broad range of participation in outreach, fundraising and community support. The additional membership development through both attending and making numerous presentations at national conferences and symposia was also noted. Finally, the Queen City Arts program is a creative program involving many chapter members in an important opportunity for both member development and community outreach. 

Distinguished Composer of the Year
Michael-Thomas Foumai: Ann Arbor, Michigan
Flash Fiction: Commissioned by the Michigan MTA

This year’s MTNA Distinguished Composer of the Year is Michael-Thomas Foumai for his work Flash Fiction, commissioned by the Michigan MTA. It was selected from among 29 works entered in this year’s competition. Michael-Thomas has recently been commissioned by the Composers Conference at Wellesley College and will serve as composer-in-residence of the 2014 Alabama Orchestra Association. Winner of the 2013 American Prize for Orchestral Composition, Michael-Thomas was named the Composer of the Year by the Sioux City Symphony Orchestra and awarded the Jacob Druckman Prize from the Aspen Music Festival. His music has been recognized with numerous awards including three BMI composer awards and Presser Foundation Award. Michael-Thomas’s orchestral works have been performed all over the United States and he has performed around the world. Michael-Thomas holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Hawaii and master’s and doctorate degrees from the University of Michigan, where he is currently a doctoral fellow.

American Music Teacher Article of the Year
Jessica Johnson, NCTM: Madison, Wisconsin
"Feeling The Sound: Reflections On Claiming One’s Own Musical Voice": Published August/September 2013

The American Music Teacher Article of the Year Award is presented to the author of an outstanding feature article written expressly for the AMT. This year’s award is presented to Jessica Johnson, NCTM, for her article “Feeling The Sound: Reflections On Claiming One’s Own Musical Voice” The article was published in the August/September 2013 issue of American Music Teacher magazine. Johnson is an associate professor of piano and director of graduate studies in piano pedagogy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In 2006, she was recipient of UW-Madison’s Emil Steiger Distinguished Teaching Award. She also has given workshops and presentations at the European Piano Teachers Association International Conference, the World Piano Pedagogy Conference and MTNA National Conferences. She has also held residencies at major universities and colleges throughout the United States and in Canada and China. Along with AMT, Johnson has also been published in Clavier Companion,Piano Pedagogy Forum and Piano Adventures Teacher Newsletter. This is Johnson’s second time receiving this award; she also received it in 2007 for co-writing an article with Midori Koga.

MTNA e-Journal Article of the Year
Kevin Richmond:Memphis, Tennessee

The MTNA e-Journal Article of the Year is a new award this year. It is presented to the outstanding author of a feature article written expressly for the MTNA e-Journal. This year’s award is presented to Kevin Richmond for his article “Non-Traditional Notation And Techniques In Student Piano Repertoire.” The article was published in the February 2013 edition of the MTNA e-Journal. Richmond, an assistant professor and coordinator of class piano, teaches class piano and class piano pedagogy, and the University of Memphis. He received degrees in piano performance from the University of Wisconsin and the University of Texas and has performed in Austria, France, Germany, Japan and the United States. He served on the faculties of the Universität Kassel in Germany, the Loire Valley Music Institute in Chinon, France, and the University of Texas at San Antonio. Richmond joined the faculty of the University of Memphis in 2007.

Studio Teacher Fellowship Award
Davis Dorrough, NCTM: Edmond, Oklahoma

This year’s recipient of the MarySue Harris Studio Teacher Fellowship is Davis Dorrough. Dorrough is a nationally certified teacher of music from Edmond, Oklahoma, whose musical experience began at an early age in rural Arkansas. He grew up as the third generation of pianists in his family, having followed his mother’s and grandmother’s passion for music. Davis holds a master of music degree in piano performance and pedagogy from the University of Oklahoma. While at OU, he received a graduate assistantship in group and applied piano teaching, as well as the Dorothy Detrick Kendall Memorial Scholarship and the Martha M. Boucher Piano Scholarship. His teachers have included Jane Magrath, Timothy Smith, Vicki Shaeffer and Vicky Kiehl. Dorrough performed abroad at the 37th annual Classical Music Festival in Eisenstaedt, Austria, where he had the opportunity to perform in Franz Joseph Haydn’s Grand Hall at the Esterhazy Palace. He is currently an instructor at Oklahoma Baptist University, organist at First Presbyterian Church in Midwest City and co-founder of Lakeside Piano Studios in Edmond, Oklahoma. 

Frances Clark Keyboard Pedagogy Award
From The Top 

This year’s recipient is From The Top, and the award was presented to co-executive producers Jennifer Hurley-Wales and Gerald Slavet. From The Top, hosted by Christopher O’Riley, is a popular weekly music series on National Public Radio (NPR). The show has been on the air now for 13 years and features musicians ages 8–18. It showcases these young talents, sharing their stories and performances, providing scholarships and allowing them to shine in national broadcasts, live concerts and outreach events across the country. From The Top has taped more than 260 radio broadcasts in America’s premier concert halls, reaching more than 200,000 live audience members in 141 U.S. cities and two international cities. From the Top has also produced two seasons of its Emmy Award-winning PBS television series. From The Top and the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation have invested more than $1.8 million in scholarships to more than 175 high achieving pre-collegiate musicians with financial need.

Piano Technicians Guild Foundation Scholarship
Andrea Marks, NCTM
Angels Camp, California

The winner of this year’s MTNA-Piano Technicians Guild Foundation Continuing Education and/or Performance Study Scholarship is Andrea Marks of Angels Camp, California. Marks, NCTM, received her undergraduate degree from the University of Minnesota, a double major in piano and business administration. While there, she studied piano with Duncan McNab. After teaching privately for many years and becoming certified in Michigan as well as nationally, Marks went back to school at the University of Central Missouri, and received a master’s degree with a piano pedagogy emphasis. At UCM, she studied with Mia Hynes and Richard Smith and served as a graduate assistant. Marks has been an active member of MTNA since 1992, serving in various capacities at the national, state and local level in Michigan, Missouri and California. She served as a local association president in both Kalamazoo, Michigan, and Warrensburg, Missouri. She also served as the Missouri MTNA Pre-College Competitions coordinator for the Missouri State Music Teachers Association. Marks is currently a member the California Association of Professional Music Teachers (CAPMT), Music Teachers Association of California (MTAC) Stanislaus branch and is also a member of the National Federation of Music Clubs. She has taught piano for more than 30 years and currently has a studio in Angels Camp, California. She is also adjunct music faculty and accompanist at Columbia College in Sonora, California.