Three IU faculty members, volunteer honored with 2011 Indiana Governor's Arts Awards
Four of the six recipients of the 2011 Indiana Governor's Arts Awards are affiliated with Indiana University.
The recipients of the awards were revealed Aug. 25 by Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels and the Indiana Arts Commission. "It is my honor to recognize the contributions and dedication these recipients have made to the arts," Daniels said in a statement. "Each one is an example of the rich talent Indiana is blessed with."
This year's recipients include Distinguished Professor of Harp Susann McDonald and Sylvia McNair, both faculty members of the Jacobs School of Music at IU Bloomington; Alexander Toradze, a Distinguished Professor and Martin Professor of Piano at IU South Bend; and June Edwards, vice president of the Arts Foundation Board at IU South Bend.
Other honorees are Mark Fauser of Marion, Ind., and the Children's Museum of Indianapolis.
The recipients will be honored during a ceremony this spring (April 26, 2012) at the Ernestine M. Raclin School of the Arts on the IU South Bend campus.
Originally conceived in 1973, the biennial awards program honors individuals, organizations, partnerships, businesses and communities that have made significant contributions to the arts in and beyond the confines of Indiana. The awards recognize excellence in artistic achievement, philanthropy, arts education and leadership in the arts and build statewide awareness of the important role the arts play in Indiana.
The last time the awards were presented, in 2009, Jacobs School alumna Angela Brown, an opera singer, was among the honorees. Below are biographies of the IU-affiliated winners of the award.
Two-time Grammy Award-winner Sylvia McNair's more than 70 recordings range from Mozart arias with Sir Neville Marriner and the Academy of St.-Martin-in-the-Fields to CDs with André Previn of music by Jerome Kern and Harold Arlen. She was awarded a 1993 Grammy Award for a recording of Handel's Semele and a 1996 Grammy for The Echoing Air: The Music of Henry Purcell. Her career highlights include performances for Pope John Paul II at the Vatican and for Hillary Clinton, as well as a recital at the U.S. Supreme Court by special invitation from Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.
"I can hardly believe my great good fortune to be receiving this award in my adopted home state," McNair said. "Maybe there's been a mistake? In a state full of so many great artists and musicians, this is a huge surprise and an enormous honor."
As a young musician studying in Paris, Susann McDonald became the first American to win the prestigious Premier Prix de Harpe. She headed the harp department at the Julliard School of Music before coming to Bloomington to chair the Harp Department at the IU Jacobs School of Music. Along with teaching, McDonald is developing organizations devoted to the harp. She is artistic director of the World Harp Congress, honorary president of the Association International des Harpists, and founder and music director of the USA International Harp Competition held every three years in Bloomington.
"I am honored to be a recipient of this award by Governor Daniels and the IAC," McDonald said. "This recognition of my life's work as a harpist means so much to me. I am proud of my long association with the IU Jacobs School of Music as chair of the largest harp department in the world."
Alexander Toradze is a graduate of the Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow. He emigrated to the United States in 1983 and, in 1991, was appointed as the Martin Endowed Professor of Piano at IU South Bend, where he created a unique teaching environment. The members of the multinational Toradze Piano Studio have developed into a worldwide touring ensemble that has garnered international critical acclaim. His piano studio is known throughout the world as a symbol of excellence that rivals that of education centers like the Julliard School of Music and the Manhattan School of Music.
"I'm honored, appreciative and pleased to be a recipient of the 2011 Indiana Governor's Arts Award," Toradze said. "Indiana University South Bend has been and continues to be a place of nurture for a great many young, talented pianists from around the world. I am happy to have the chance to continue passing on my knowledge and experience to the future generations of keyboard artists. I am also glad to see how much the local community is committed to supporting IUSB's educational projects; this is a constant source of inspiration and motivation for all of us."
Musician, cultural leader and philanthropist June Edwards studied voice and violin in her youth, returning to the music world in 1956 when she joined the South Bend Symphony Orchestra Guild. She served in several offices over the years, including three terms as president. She supports the South Bend Symphony Chamber Music series that bears her name and the South Bend Chamber Singers in the chamber music series. Her impact on the arts is also seen in the art wing named after her at the South Bend Museum of Art. In February 2001, she made the largest donation in the museum's history. She sees her contributions in terms of helping to educate the community about what art is -- and can be -- in daily life. Edwards received the Mayor's Art Award in 1995 and was nominated as Woman of the Year in Volunteerism in the Arts. She is presently a member of the Arts Foundation Board at IU South Bend, serving as vice president.
"I was so surprised and happy when I received word about my receiving an award," Edwards said. "My years of supporting the arts have been pleasurable and satisfying. I will continue to work in the arts arena for many years."