Music Educator Awards

Annual CSO Music Educator Awards

Music Educator Awards

presented by American Electric Power
sponsored by Kim & Judith Swanson

Established in 1997, the Columbus Symphony’s Music Educator Awards recognize those individuals who instill and inspire a love of music in the children and adults of Central Ohio. The purpose of these annual awards is to promote a greater understanding of and appreciation for music education, as well as to honor those individuals who are making a real difference in our community through their dedication to music education. One award is honored in each of the following categories:

Elementary Music Educator          Secondary Music Educator           Community Music Educator

Each Music Educator Award winner receives a monetary grant to be spent at their direction for a broad range of music education endeavors, such as purchasing music, instrument repair, or professional development classes for the educator. For additional information, please call (614) 221-4916.

Nominations may now be submitted online HERE

2018 Music Educator Award nomination information

The recipients of the 2017 Music Educator Awards were honored in April at the annual dinner fundraiser at the Sheraton Hotel. CSO Associate Conductor Peter Stafford Wilson acted as emcee for the event.  Later in the evening, the winners were presented on the stage of the Ohio Theatre preceding the Columbus Symphony concert. The Music Educator Awards are made possible through the generous support of  American Electric Power and Kim & Judith Swanson.

Nominations for the 2018 Music Educator Awards will be open later this fall. Please watch for the announcement on this webpage or Columbus Symphony social media.

Additional 2017 nominees for this award are listed below. To see a list of past award recipients, click here. 

2017 Music educator Award winners:
Cynthia Bush  |  Elementary Education
Director of Orchestras, gr. 2-12
Columbus Academy
Cynthia Bush is celebrating her tenth year as a strings instructor for ten ensembles in grades 2-12. Ms. Bush also has a private studio of violin, viola and cello students in the Gahanna area. Ms. Bush began her career as a freelance musician and private instructor in Cleveland. Her love of early music led her to study early string instruments. One of the parents that nominated Ms. Bush wrote that she not only goes above and beyond for her students but out of her way for every single child in the strings program at Columbus Academy. she goes further to state that Cynthia is ALWAYS teaching, not just her orchestra students, but all students - about the beauty of music in our lives.
Bruce Carlson | Secondary Education
Director of Bands
Dominion Middle School, Columbus City Schools
Bruce Carlson has served as a dynamic music educator for 25 years. A native of Brecksville, Ohio, Bruce learned to play the euphonium and marched in a local drum and bugle corps for many years. At the Ohio State University, he studied with Dr. Paul Droste, marched with the OSU Marching Band and received his Bachelor's Degree in Music Education and Zoology. Currently teaching at Dominion, Bruce's passion for teaching has led to huge growth in student participation, parent involvement, community support, and musical excellence. His Concert and Jazz Band programs are considered among the finest in the city. Mr. Carlson has always believed in the power of music to change the lives of young people.
Tatiana Kats | Community Cducator
Artistic Director
Columbus International Children's Choir

Tatiana Kats is the founder of the Columbus Music and Art Academy, Columbus International Children's Choir, and Central Ohio Singing Competition. Under her leadership, the Children's Choir has performed in the most prestigious local, national, and international venues including The White House for President and First Lady Obama, Carnegie Hall, St. Peter's Basilica and on the great Wall of China. Mrs. Kats also teaches piano and her students routinely excel in piano and music theory exams administered by the National Music Certificate Program. Several of her piano students were the winners of local piano competitions. Tatiana earned a Master of Arts degree in choral conducting and a Master of Music degree in piano pedagogy from The Ohio State University. Before coming to the United States, she received her undergraduate music education and worked as a director of a music school and a conductor of youth and mixed choirs in Moscow, Russia.

Other nominees included Tino Benedetti (Upper Arlington Schools), Karla Cherwinski (Canal Winchester Schools), Debra Keller-Perry (Columbus City Schools), Becky Ogden (Columbus Montessori Education Center), Lynette Burris (Pleasant Local Schools), Ann Johnson (Whitehall City Schools), Josh Reynolds (Columbus City Schools), Keith Watson (River View Local Schools), Kathy Larkins (Columbus Chorus Sweet Adelines), Catherine Willis(Urban Strings Columbus Youth Orchestra).

Who should be nominated for CSO Music Educator awards?

Nominees should be Music Educators in the Central Ohio region who:

  • Make a lasting difference in the lives of students of all abilities and backgrounds.
  • Routinely go "above and beyond the call of duty by extending efforts beyond the classroom.
  • Make a significant impact on their community through music education.
  • Instill a life-long appreciation of music in their students.
  • Inspire students to reach appropriately high levels of musical understanding and ability.
  • Demonstrate longevity in the field of music education by their many years of work.