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SMU Meadows School of the Arts Receives Grace Note Award from New Philharmonic Orchestra of Irving

Awards honor North Texas schools receiving national recognition for leadership in music education

SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts received one of four Grace Note Awards from the New Philharmonic Orchestra of Irving at their “Sundays at the Symphony” concert on February 19. The awards honored four North Texas schools that are receiving national recognition for leadership in music education, training the next generation of young musicians.

Sam Holland with NPOI president Gretchen Cabrera (R) and conductor Dr. Sergio Espinosa (L)
Photo by Ed Flaspoehler

The Meadows School received the award for its “nationally recognized undergraduate and graduate programs and professional diplomas in music and arts administration, training symphony professionals and administrators for American orchestras.”

The other recipients included DISD’s Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing Arts, honored for its nationally noted jazz and music performance programs and academic excellence; Texas Christian University, recognized for bringing national attention to chamber music and Latin American music through workshops and travel programs; and the University of North Texas, a music education pioneer that today has the nation’s largest accredited music school enrollment.

The awards were presented by Maestro Sergio Espinosa, Ph.D., and NPOI President Gretchen Cabrera.

“With its new Arts District, North Texas is becoming known for its emphasis on the arts,” said Cabrera. “We want to recognize four educational institutions that are receiving national attention for their exciting impact on music education.”

“It is a delight and a privilege to accept the award on behalf of the 70 gifted faculty and 300 incredible students in the Division of Music,” said Sam Holland, director of the Meadows Division of Music, in receiving the award during the ceremony. “Community orchestras such as NPOI perform a vital function in our culture, and it’s exciting to see that a number of SMU friends and alumni perform in the orchestra.”

“The Meadows School’s fine graduate and diploma programs in music performance are preparing many of the nation’s orchestra musicians, as well as administrators and teachers,” said NPOI musician and volunteer Betty Taylor Cox. “In fact, as a cellist, I was very fortunate to study under Lev Aronson when he was serving as adjunct faculty for the school in the 1980s. So I’m especially delighted that Meadows was recognized with this award.”

This is the third year the Grace Note Awards have been presented. In their inaugural year, the awards honored groups who are helping to create an audience for classical music in north Texas, and last year’s awards honored organizations that are providing opportunities for young musicians to perform, including area youth orchestras and the Cliburn Foundation.

The New Philharmonic Orchestra of Irving is a community orchestra founded in 1988. It is comprised of trained musicians who choose to continue to play music while they serve in other professions, such as teaching, computer programming, accounting and filmmaking. The orchestra serves audiences throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth area, presenting an annual series of concerts that include traditional symphonic compositions as well as popular pieces from film and stage.

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