For three years, Louis Scaglione, President and Music Director of the PYO Music Institute (PYO), has proudly lead an alliance of organizations that is committed to honoring excellence in the field of music education. To that end, PYO and its partners established the PYO Music Institute’s Ovation Award for Inspiration and Outstanding Leadership in Music Education to bring greater recognition to music teachers who have truly changed students’ lives in a significant way. The award is presented and endowed by the H.E.L.P.® Foundation and sponsored by Jacobs Music Company, J.W. Pepper, and WRTI-90.1 FM.

For the 2016, 10 outstanding Delaware Valley music educators were named as finalists for the 3rd Annual Ovation Award by a blue ribbon panel of music and education experts. On June 5th at 4 p.m., the nominees will all be recognized, and the Grand Prize winner will be announced at PYO’s 76th Annual Festival Concert in Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts.

The PYO 3rd Annual Ovation Award finalists are:

  • Shelley Beard — Violin / Viola teacher — Lansdowne, PA
  • Matthew Ceresini — Great Valley High School teacher — Malvern, PA
  • Tanya Ivanova — Violin teacher — Penn Wynne, PA
  • Mary Javian — Double Bass teacher — Fairmount/Philadelphia, PA
  • Jennifer Jie Jin — Cello teacher — Berwyn, PA
  • Meichen Liao-Barnes — Violin teacher — Merion Station, PA
  • Dr. Ovidu Marinescu — Cello teacher — West Chester, PA
  • Susan Nowicki — Piano teacher — Glenside, PA
  • Charles Salinger — Clarinet teacher — Ambler, PA
  • Coco Symer — Oboe teacher — Cherry Hill, NJ

The goal of this award is to honor exceptional music educators who change students’ lives by not only imparting musical knowledge, but also by building character and teaching skills that last a lifetime. The distinguished finalists were nominated by their appreciative current or former students, who submitted glowing essays on the topic, “How Has Your Music Teacher Changed Your Life?”

Scaglione is thrilled with the response this award continues to attract and is most appreciative of sharing the award with such prestigious partners. “The heartfelt nominations we receive reinforce our shared belief that music education needs to be recognized because of the positive impact it makes on the lives of young people,” Scaglione says. “In addition to musical training, music teachers instill passion, discipline, and commitment in these students. With so many education systems reducing or eliminating arts education from their budgets, we feel this is an important way to continue bringing positive attention and recognition to music educators.”

The 3rd Annual Ovation Award presentation will take place at PYO’s 76th Annual Festival Concert in Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts (Broad and Spruce Streets, Philadelphia) on Sunday, June 5, 2016 at 4 p.m.. The finalists in attendance will be recognized on stage, and the grand prize winner will be announced by the highly respected broadcaster Jack Moore, Classical Music Director and Classical Host of WRTI 90.1, who will serve as emcee of the award presentation. The winner will receive a tribute, cash prize, and gift cards from J.W. Pepper, and the nominator will receive a cash prize from an anonymous donor.

Last year’s Ovation Award winner, Anthony (Tony) Williams, a jazz saxophonist, teacher, and mentor in the Mt. Airy section of Philadelphia, was surprised beyond belief at the recognition. Williams, now 84, beamed and said, “Of all the honors I have received, this captures me the most. I am so amazed to be the one chosen among so many outstanding people standing around me.”

This year’s blue ribbon panel of experts includes regional leaders in music education and performance: Emily C. Threinen, DMA, Director of Bands, Associate Professor of Music, and Artistic Director of Winds and Brass, Department of Instrumental Studies, Boyer College of Music and Dance at Temple University; Dr. Richard Dammers, Associate Professor, Music Education and Chair, Department of Music at Rowan University; and Kerri Ryan, Assistant Principal Viola for The Philadelphia Orchestra.

The partners in the Ovation Award bring more prestige to this recognition program. The PYO Music Institute organization is one of the nation’s oldest and most highly respected youth orchestral and college preparatory music education institutions for gifted and talented students. The Ovation Award is presented and endowed by H.E.L.P.® Foundation, which was established to assist non-profit community-focused endeavors. Two renowned music organizations with historic ties to the Philadelphia community partnered with PYO as sponsors of The Ovation Award: Jacobs Music, one of the nation’s most prestigious piano merchants and the tri-state region’s exclusive representative for new and authentically restored Steinway & Sons, Yamaha, and many other fine pianos; and J.W. Pepper, one of the leading sheet music merchants in the world. WRTI 90.1, broadcaster of the region’s most comprehensive classical and jazz radio programming, is media sponsor for the Ovation Award.

The public is invited to attend the PYO 76th Annual Festival Concert and Ovation Award presentation. Tickets, priced at $15-$25, may be purchased online. For more information, call 215.893.1999 or visit


About PYO Music Institute:
Now in its 76th year, the renowned PYO Music Institute organization, led by President and Music Director, Maestro Louis Scaglione, is one of the nation’s oldest and most respected community music education and youth orchestra performance programs, providing talented young musicians from across the tri-state area with exceptional musical training. Students go on to excel in many diverse fields, and it is with pride that PYO Music Institute notes that many members of the prestigious Philadelphia Orchestra are alumni.  The organization is comprised of five independent program ensembles designed to meet specific needs and experience levels of students selected through a competitive audition process. The anchor group is the PYO Music Institute (PYO), conducted by President and Music Director Louis Scaglione, featuring 120 gifted instrumentalists who range in age from 14-21. Young musicians 12-18 years old are featured in PYO’s companion ensemble, the Philadelphia Young Artists Orchestra, which is led by Director and Conductor Maestra Rosalind Erwin, who is Music Director and Conductor of Drexel University Orchestra. Bravo Brass, directed by Curtis Institute Dean of Faculty and Students, Paul Bryan, is an all brass ensemble for promising middle and high-school instrumentalists. PRYSM (Philadelphia Region Youth String Music) and PRYSM Young Artists ensembles provide string large ensemble and sectional master class instruction for beginning and intermediate musicians ages 6-14. The director and conductor of PRYSM is Gloria DePasquale, cellist with The Philadelphia Orchestra, and conductor of PRSYM Young Artists is Jessica Villante. Tune Up Philly (TUP) is PYO’s engagement program, directed by Paul Smith, that focuses on the creating and inspiring true community by providing children in underserved communities with invaluable opportunities to learn and perform a differentiated orchestral music curriculum.

About H.E.L.P.® Foundation and LCG, Ltd.:
H.E.L.P.® Foundation, the philanthropic division of LCG, Ltd., dedicates time and resources in furtherance of community service and in support of charitable causes and non-profit organizations, both regional and nationwide.  LCG fosters an organizational commitment to compassionate service as the nation’s largest privately held employee legal plan provider.   LCG maintains its national headquarters in Bala Cynwyd, PA, and has been implementing its exclusive H.E.L.P.® legal plan for worksites of all sizes and industries since 1995. For more information, please visit

 About Jacobs Music Company:
Jacobs Music Company is the area’s exclusive representative for new and authentically restored Steinway & Sons, and Steinway designed Boston and Essex pianos. Jacobs also represents many other highly respected new and used piano manufacturers from around the world, including Yamaha, Disklavier and Clavinova, all at great values.  Jacobs Music Company has six showrooms, including its flagship location at 1718 Chestnut Street in center city Philadelphia, as well as Willow Grove and Whitehall, PA, Cherry Hill and Lawrenceville, NJ and West Chester, PA.

About J.W. Pepper:
J.W. Pepper®, based in Exton, PA, is the leading retailer of sheet music in the world. In business for over 130 years, they have 11 store locations and two distribution centers across the country. They review over 21,000 new titles every year and hand-select the very best. Customer care is at the heart of their service. For more information, visit

 About WRTI 90.1:
WRTI 90.1 is a member-supported, public radio station that broadcasts the very best classical music and jazz recordings, and produces innovative, entertaining, and informative content. The station has 14 frequencies, extends west to Harrisburg and north to Scranton and Wilkes-Barre, and reaches as far south as Dover, DE and to the South Jersey shore area.