Brian DeMaris


January 1, 2016

Brian DeMaris, artistic director of Lyric Opera Theatre in the School of Music, was awarded second place for the 2015 American Prize in Conducting: Opera Division. DeMaris received this award for his 2014 performance of "Tosca" with Mill City Summer Opera in Minneapolis.This is the first time he has received the award for a professional production; his first win was in 2013, when he got second place for productions of "Suor Angelica" and "Gianni Schicchi" at Ithaca College.

"Special thanks go to the amazing artists, chorus and orchestra who I am so lucky to work with in Minneapolis," says DeMaris. "It is wonderful that The American Prize organization exists to support the careers and acknowledge the contributions of artists of all types. There are not many other competitions specifically for opera and musical theatre conductors in the United States, so it is an honor to be affiliated with this special award." I'm also excited for Mill City Summer Opera, a company which I helped start five years ago with my dear friends Karen Brooks and David Lefkowich," says DeMaris. "This company has produced four complete sold out seasons to critical acclaim, which is unique for any start-up opera company to have such immediate success. I'm looking forward to returning to conduct this summer in my fifth season as music director." The American Prize is a series of non-profit national competitions that celebrate American excellence in the arts. All finalists receive valuable feedback from a member of The American Prize judging panel. Download Full Image

Jason Thompson


January 1, 2016

Jason Thompson, assistant professor in the School of Music, and his music education colleagues were awarded a $10,000 grant from the National Association for Music Education and the Society for Research in Music Education to conduct a study addressing diversity, equity and inclusion within their profession. Over a two-year period, the funds will enable these researchers to explore the community capacity and community cultural wealth that 13- to 18-year-olds in the Phoenix metro region use to "do music" in school music programs, in community music programs or on their own apart from any school or community organization.

Existing inequities suggest that the social, cultural and musical capital of underrepresented groups may lack currency among existing institutional structures. However, these researchers believe that understanding how young people develop these capacities through music participation, as well as where they face limitations, may help the profession develop more effective ways to bridge school and community partnerships and to facilitate inclusive musical opportunities for underrepresented and underserved young people. Thompson, the lead for the study, was one of only two recipients awarded a grant by the national organization. Download Full Image