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Prizes awarded at annual Honors Banquet

Man in black suit holding a microphone

Yale School of Music Dean José García-León. Photo by Stephanie Anestis

The School of Music community gathered on Sunday, April 28, for its annual Honors Banquet, celebrating student accomplishments and the graduating class. Students, faculty, staff, and guests filled a ballroom at the Omni New Haven Hotel at Yale, where Dean José García-León, hosting the event for the first time, said, “It’s been an incredible privilege to enjoy your work” and said he’s attended almost all the concerts they gave during the academic year and watched and listened online when he’s been out of town. “We’re thrilled to celebrate you,” he said from the podium. As the prizewinners’ names were read, the applause was often enthusiastic, sometimes turning into standing ovations.

The following prizes were awarded.

Brass and Woodwinds

The Thomas Daniel Nyfenger Memorial Prize, awarded to a graduating student who has demonstrated the highest standard of excellence in woodwind playing, was presented to Lucas Zeiter.

The John Swallow Prize, given to an outstanding brass player whose artistry and dedication have contributed to the department, went to William Sands.

Choral Conducting

The Robert Shaw Prize, given in honor of the renowned American choral conductor to a choral conducting major in the School of Music who was chosen for distinguished achievement by the choral conducting faculty, was presented to Margaret Winchell.


The Woods Chandler Memorial Prize for the best composition in a larger form written during the year was awarded to Kyle Rivera.

The Rena Greenwald Memorial Prize for the best piano composition written during the year went to Arseniy Gusev.

The John Day Jackson Prize for outstanding chamber music compositions written for strings with or without other instruments was presented to Luke Haaksma.

The Frances E. Osborne Kellogg Memorial Prize for the best composition written in a contrapuntal style was given to Dayton Hare.

The Ezra Laderman Prize for the best compositions written for musical theater or voice was awarded to Forrest Eimold.


The Charles Ives Prize, awarded by Center Church to an outstanding organ major, went to Holly Broadbent.

The Julia R. Sherman Memorial Prize for excellence in organ playing was awarded to Collin Miller.


The Cecile and Robert van Sice Prize in Percussion, for a student who made the most instrumental and artistic progress during the year, went to Han Xia.


The Charles S. Miller Prize, given to a gifted pianist who has done outstanding work during their first year of study, went to Juan Pedro Garcia Oliva.

The Elizabeth Parisot Prize, which goes to outstanding pianists at the School of Music, was awarded to Leanne Jin and Ryan Sheng.


The Aldo Parisot Prize, awarded to gifted cellists who show promise for a concert career, was presented to William Suh and Jasmine Pai.

The Broadus Erle Prize, given to the members of an outstanding quartet at the School of Music, went to Evan Johanson, Emma Carleton, Andy Park, and Jasmine Pai.


The David L. Kasdon Memorial Prize, awarded to an outstanding singer at the School of Music, went to Finn Sagal.

The Smriti Deb Memorial Prize, given to an outstanding graduating singer who best reflects and exemplifies the ideals and values of Smriti Deb and her commitment to teaching low-income and under-represented children, was awarded to Ethan Burck.

The Simon Carrington Prize in Concert Voice, funded by the Yale Institute of Sacred Music and awarded to a singer who demonstrates, in solo and ensemble settings, the artistry and professionalism required of a career on the concert stage, went to Juliet Papadopoulos.

The Phyllis Curtin Career Entry Prize, whose purpose is to assist in launching the careers of graduating voice students who demonstrate exceptional talent as artists and the promise of professional careers, was awarded to Daniel Espinal and Seiyoung Kim.

Doctor of Musical Arts

The Friedmann Thesis Prize, awarded to a DMA candidate whose thesis is notable for its distinguished research, original perspective, in-depth engagement with its subject, and well-crafted presentation, was given to Mafalda Santos.


The Malcolm L. Mitchell and Donald M. Roberts Class of 1957 Prize, given to an outstanding graduating teaching artist in the Music in Schools Initiative, went to Amer Hasan.

The Philip Francis Nelson Prize, awarded to a graduating student whose musicianship is outstanding and who demonstrates curiosity, talent, and an entrepreneurial spirit in the many dimensions of the music profession, was given to Makana Medeiros.

The Presser Foundation Music Award, whose purpose is to advance the music education of an outstanding returning student, went to Julia Hwang.

The Plank Music Residency, established by the estate of Raymond Plank’s 44BA, is awarded to two students of distinguished achievement in their major. Each will complete a two-week residency of independent work in the extraordinary setting of the Ucross Foundation in Wyoming. The residency awards went to Mafalda Santos and Benjamin Webster.

The Yale School of Music Alumni Association Prize, which is awarded to graduating students who have not only excelled in their respective fields but have also made important contributions to the general life of the school, was presented to Andrew Samarasekara, Alexander (Alec) Chai, Yunchai Lee, Emma Meinrenken, Harry Ngo, Joe Tollefsen, Miranda Werner, Jessie Chiang, Sam Hollister, Andrew Liu, Ana Mora Barboza, Kara Morgan, and Matthew McDowell.