Honors Convocation Awardees
BARBARA GRUNTAL ALLEN
Awarded to a student who has demonstrated excellence in the study of voice, and has made a considerable contribution to the Music Department and to the furtherance of musical activities at the College.
Rachel Perez ’19 - 2019 recipient
Has dived into vocal activities at Skidmore as if into a bottomless pool. Her Senior Recital included a remarkable variety of genres, languages, and styles--an achievement for a singer who has only been enrolled in voice lessons for the past two years. From her leadership in the Chorus and VCE, and through accompanying multiple outreach performances and rehearsals of last year’s opera scenes, Rachel has been a structural support and enhancement to all of these performances.”
Killian Grider '18 - 2018 recipient
Has been an important ‘voice’ on campus, but not always strictly from his own throat.
His bass-baritone was heard regularly in the Chorus, the VCE, and the
opera. But his song also resonated through the voices of many others. As co-director of Beatlemore
2017, he arranged most of the vocals, and he has written for many a cappella groups on campus,
including the Bandersnatchers, which he also directed. He ends his Skidmore career as music director
of two theatrical productions.
Laura Bowman Pendleton '14 - 2014 recipient
Has distinguished herself as a Filene Scholar. Her inspiring work ethic, inherent
talent, fertile imagination, all coupled with her ability to perfect vocal technique
and combine it with musical artistry, have been unequaled in recent memory. Laura
has been one of the linchpins of both the Skidmore Chorus and Vocal Chamber Ensemble.
And her solo performances, most notably her stunning senior recital, have enthralled
all who have heard her. As Laura moves toward to a career in medicine, we hope she
will continue sharing her remarkable gift with myriad lucky listeners.
Emma Goldberg Liu '14 - 2013 recipient
Soprano, came to Skidmore having studied voice for one year at Fiorella LaGuardia High School. Since her freshman year, she has participated in the Skidmore Chorus, Vocal Chamber Ensemble, and has frequently been a featured soprano soloist. Emma has sung in master classes and performed in the “Singing In Spring” and “Falling for Song” department voice recitals. During her junior year, while studying in Paris, Emma expanded her French repertoire. After being a featured artist in the Marcella Sembrich Opera Museum's Showcase of Young Performers in early June, Emma spent the rest of the summer in Graz, Austria, studying lieder at the American Institute of Musical Studies. She was also accepted into the highly competitive opera program, which is usually reserved for graduate-level and professional singers.
LOUIS EDGAR JOHNS
Established by Mrs. Johns and awarded to the outstanding music major or minor in piano.
Josh Binkhorst ‘20 - 2019 recipient
Josh is a truly brilliant piano student--an ambitious soloist and an enthusiastic collaborator. Josh has played in orchestra, several chamber ensembles, and in last Fall’s memorable Carnival of the Animals. He performed Beethoven’s monumental Diabelli Variations for the Theatre Department’s production 32 Variations. And he has surmounted some of the most prodigious works in the repertoire. As a Political Science and Music double-major, Josh epitomizes the ethos of the liberal arts.
Hannah Knaul '18 - 2018 recipient
Hannah Knaul is never afraid of difficulties and never refuses to take challenges. She has given many performances this year including a terrific senior recital in March with a substantial program, performances in two piano master classes, as well as performing in the Filene Winners’ Concert, and the Musicale during the Filene Competition. Hannah has proven herself to be not only a marvelous student, but also a person of well-rounded intellectual ability.
Filene scholar Danny Pravder '16 - 2016 recipient
Danny is strong both as a classical pianist and as a jazz performer. He is passionate about music and completely dedicated to his art. His curiosity is engaging, and he loves challenges. Last year, collaborating with the Dance Department, he was the solo pianist in Les Sylphides, playing Chopin while ballerinas danced in the shared stage. His recital included classical works as well his own compositions. He also performs extensively as a jazz pianist. We wish him well as he continues to grow as a musician.
Filene scholar Alexandra Zabludoff '15 - 2015 recipient
Has done superb work at Skidmore. She participated in a challenging recording project with Grammy-award engineer Adam Abeshouse. She attended master classes by Wendy Young, Jeremy Denk, and Gabriela Montero. She has worked backstage at Zankel and helped archive recorded performances. Besides her student responsibilities, she has found time to tutor in the Music Department’s Piano Lab and evaluate a local piano teacher’s students. She participated in a shared recital including compositions by Samuel Barber, Esta Blood, and Bach’s D minor concerto. Sasha’s signature Bach performance is a cluster of energy!
HERMAN JOSEPH MULLER
Established by Helen T. Muller Rigo '39 in memory of her father and awarded to the outstanding senior major in the Music Department.
Christina Pavlaki ’19
Excels in performance, academics, and citizenship. An outstanding pianist, singer, and chamber musician, Christina plans to pursue graduate study in choral conducting. She has assisted with the Chorus and has directed her own choirs. She’s been an articulate advocate for the Music Department in various contexts. While she is naturally smart and talented, she’s also an extremely hard worker, throwing herself into her work purely for the sake of learning, always raising the level of classroom discussion and collaboration.
Taylor Fohrhaltz-Burbank '18
Taylor’s magical combination of traits – her exceptional musical talent, an ability and inclination to think deeply, a hunger to challenge herself with new ideas, and an unwavering work ethic – account for her extraordinary accomplishments as both cellist and scholar. Taylor will go out into the world as a persuasive advocate for music and for social justice. Whatever she ends up doing with music, it will be to make the world a better, not just more beautiful, place.
Andrew James Koehler '14
Has been a distinguished student throughout his four years at Skidmore. His contribution
to the Music Department has been multifaceted, with his exemplary participation and
leadership in academic music courses, small jazz ensembles, big band, orchestra, student
musical productions, as well his own personal bands and recording projects. Andrew
has been an inspiration to his peers and faculty. His senior recital of April 6, 2014,
was a fantastic representation of Andrew’s composition and arranging skills and his
very fine improvisation in jazz piano. He expresses himself artistically and creatively
though his music and has represented the college and Music Department in countless
performances both on and off campus. Andrew has demonstrated academic excellence in
all areas of study, and has earned the accolades of faculty and students throughout
his Skidmore experience. He is most deserving of this award.
Samantha Hoffman '13
Presented her teachers with the nearly impossible task of finding a way to challenge her. Her brilliance shone in every class. Samantha returned from a junior year spent at Oxford University even more intrigued by academic research and thinking, and decided to raise the bar for herself by writing theses in both of her declared majors (music and English). Her thesis in music was an ambitious attempt to grapple with Russian influences, specifically Mussorgsky, on Debussy, whose music presents daunting analytical obstacles. Samantha’s thesis and all her course work sustained our highest expectations; she was indeed the outstanding music major of her class.
Joseph Garrison Parker
Established in honor of Joseph Garrison Parker, M.D., brother of Cyrena Parker Konecky '46, and awarded to a junior or senior who not only excels in his or her Science major, but also shows promise in Fine Arts and/or Music.
Samantha Abrams '19 - 2019 recipient
A double major in Music and Psychology, already functions like an early career graduate
student. Beyond her academic acumen, Sam is organized, mature, efficient, diligent,
and always generous and supportive of her fellow students. She has distinguished herself
as a violist and chamber music collaborator; and in Music classes she has demonstrated
both a keen grasp of abstract, sometimes highly technical, aesthetic concepts and
an exceptional ability to realize such concepts creatively in compelling musical compositions
delightfully studious individual!