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Skidmore College
Music Department

Honors Convocation Awardees


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.

Destiny Donelson '21 - 2021 recipient

A Chemistry major, Destiny Donelson cultivated her love of singing throughout her Skidmore career. She performed with the Skidmore Chorus, Opera Workshop, was a featured soloist in Songfest, the culminating concert of Skidmore’s Bernstein Festival, and performed outreach opera at area schools. The lead singer of the band Nu-Note, she performed twice at the Tang and other area venues. In addition to her senior recital, Destiny sings a concert featuring Black poets and composers as a Tang’s Instagram Live event.

Emma Berkowitz '20 - 2020 recipient

We celebrate Emma Berkowitz’s ’20 industrious Skidmore career of solo, operatic, and choral performances, her See Beyond award, which granted this powerful mezzo-soprano continued vocal training in Spain, and her “voice” as a student representative in department meetings. We also acknowledge Emma’s brilliantly conceived senior voice recital: a gorgeous program of repertoire displaying the Victorian obsession with nationalism and exoticism, inspired by her English major. We wish her well as she pursues graduate school in music composition.

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.


Established by Mrs. Johns and awarded to the outstanding music major or minor in piano.

Jacob Kelly '23 - 2021 recipient  

Sophomore Jacob Kelly has been an extraordinary pianist since he came to Skidmore. His performances are riveting, intelligent and always present an original viewpoint. His repertory this year is at the level of a graduate student: Chopin’s First Scherzo, Beethoven’s Waldstein Sonata, Albéniz’s El Puerto, and Liszt’s Transcendental Etude. His talent is comprehensive; he is determined, intelligent, and very ambitious. We look forward to a bright future for him as a pianist and musician.

Josh Binkhorst ’20 - 2020 recipient

A double major in Music and Political Science, Josh Binkhorst ’20 is an exceptionally talented pianist who possesses a natural virtuosity and an insightful ability for expressive communication. A pianist member of the Skidmore Orchestra, Josh has performed several works, including Saint-Saens’ Concerto in G minor for which he won the prestigious Concerto Competition. After Skidmore, Josh plans to attend graduate school for piano performance. The Music Department wishes him well as he continues to grow as an artist.

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!


Established by Helen T. Muller Rigo '39 in memory of her father and awarded to the outstanding senior major in the Music Department.

Eliza Kuperschmid '21

“What a gift!” describes Eliza Kuperschmid -- an extraordinarily deep, creative, and motivated student who consistently brings both abundant energy and “calm joy” to her work. Eliza distinguished herself building an African lamellophone, devising a rap musical about Beethoven, researching K-pop through a gender-studies lens, and performing a senior recital that displayed mastery of avant-garde flute techniques. Besides music, Eliza’s gifts include creative writing and dramaturgy; we look forward to seeing her blend all three in an exciting artistic career! 

Sara “Lindsay” Walsh ’20

Irrepressibly ebullient, Sara “Lindsay” Walsh ’20 possesses a zest for discovery not only in vocal performance, but also as a writer and researcher. Her enthusiasm fuels an astonishing work ethic which produces graduate level work in papers, presentations, and performances in opera, chorus, recitals, competitions, and festivals. Whether in rehearsals or class discussions, Lindsay leads with kind confidence and superior understanding. A soprano with an astounding vocal range and multi-dimensional beauty of tone, no doubt her future will soar likewise.

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.

Sophia Zhang ‘21  -  2020 recipient

Whether Sophia ’21 is conducting biology research, an orchestra or playing the piano, she does a masterful job while making it look easy. Sophia’s disarming modesty and sense of humor  mask a strong work ethic, sharp intellect, intellectual courage and leadership skills. Her joy, confidence, and kindness toward others are equally evident in her work and charming personality. To quote one of her professors: “It is a joy to have such a wonderful student in both music and science.”

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 – a
delightfully studious individual!