Every year, students in the Department of Music's performing ensembles are recognized for their high level of accomplishment in their discipline and their commitment to their ensemble(s). This year, eight students from the University Symphony Orchestra and two from the University Chorus and Women's Ensemble have been recognized.
Ellis Bohnoff Kohs Award for Orchestral Excellence
Established in 2003, the Ellis Bonoff Kohs Award for Orchestral Excellence is presented to outstanding undergraduate or graduate students in the University Symphony Orchestra who are members of the woodwind, brass, or percussion sections. It is awarded each year to University of Chicago students who have been members of the USO for at least one full season, and who have consistently demonstrated the highest level of musical accomplishment on his or her instrument, as well as extraordinary commitment to the Orchestra during that tenure. The recipient of the 2020 award is Rachel Laker.
Rachel Laker just finished her second year PhD studies in the Department of Geophysical Sciences, studying paleontology. She began performing in orchestras with the New World Philharmonic in 2011, winning the Philharmonic Concerto Competition in 2012. She then attended Miami University of Ohio to obtain a BS in Geology and a BM in Horn Performance in 2016, where she performed primarily with the Wind Ensemble, Brass Quintet, and Steel Band. Highlights from Miami include performing with the Wind Ensemble in Carnegie Hall in 2012 and competing in the 2016 Panorama Competition in Trinidad. Following undergrad, she earned a MS in Geology from the University of Wyoming where she performed with the Symphony Orchestra, Wind Ensemble, and Percussion Ensemble. Rachel is thankful to continue playing horn while pursuing her career in paleontology at the University of Chicago.
David L. Fulton Prize for Orchestral Excellence
Established in 1998, the David L. Fulton Prize for Orchestral Excellence is presented to outstanding undergraduate or graduate student stringed-instrument players in the University Symphony Orchestra. It is awarded each year to University of Chicago students who have been members of the University Symphony for at least one full season, and who have consistently demonstrated the highest level of musical accomplishment on his or her instrument, as well as extraordinary commitment to the Orchestra, during that tenure. The recipients of the 2020 Fulton Prize are Chloe Lindeman, Denisse Morales-Rodriguez, Justine Shih, Kevin Trickey, and Allen Yuan.
Chloe Lindeman just finished her third year of graduate studies at the University of Chicago, where she studies experimental soft matter physics as part of the Nagel Group. She graduated summa cum laude from Haverford College in 2017 and is a recipient of the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. Chloe is principal second violinist in the University Symphony Orchestra and is active in the University’s chamber music program. She studies with Clara Lyon and has performed alongside members of the Spektral Quartet and as part of Philadelphia’s Chamber Orchestra First Editions. She was the winner of the 2017 Bi-College Orchestra Concerto Competition of Haverford and Bryn Mawr Colleges.
Denisse Morales-Rodriguez is a rising fourth-year violinist in the College, majoring in Neuroscience. In the past twelve years, Denisse has studied with numerous violinists, including Amy Kiradjieff, Maeve Feinberg, and Tricia Park. Past accolades include winning the University Concerto Competition, being a semi-finalist of Cincinnati’s Overture Awards competition, earning the third-place prize at the Clermont Philharmonic competition, as well as serving as the concertmaster of Cincinnati Symphony Youth Orchestra. Since coming to the University of Chicago, Denisse has spent three years in the University Symphony Orchestra and performs in the Chamber Music Program. Besides practicing the violin, Denisse occupies her time performing research in the Sheffield lab, volunteering at Comer Children’s Hospital, and leading NEURO Club.
Originally from Columbus, Ohio, Justine Shih just finished her third-year in the College, majoring in Neuroscience and Music. She began playing violin at the age of eleven and has played with the Columbus Symphony Youth Orchestra, for which she served as concertmaster. She has also served as associate concertmaster of the OMEA South-Central Region Orchestra, concertmaster of the Worthington Kilbourne High School Orchestra, and has been a finalist in the Columbus Symphony Concerto Competition. She is currently studying with Ying Chai.
Outside of the University Symphony Orchestra, Justine has studied piano since the age of four under the instruction of her mother. She is also an avid singer-songwriter, winning the grand prize of the UChicago’s Got Talent competition in 2019, and performs frequently with the Underground Collective. She has served as co-president of UChicago Science Olympiad and is on the board of the Taiwanese American Student Association. After graduation, she plans on pursuing a PhD in neuroscience and going into research.
Kevin Trickey just graduated from the College with majors in Biology and Statistics. He has been playing violin for over 18 years, and has played with the University Symphony Orchestra for the past four years. His favorite part of playing has been experiencing the diverse breadth of repertoire tackled by the USO across different concerts, with Beethoven’s 9th, Penderecki, and Plena Libre among the most memorable, as well as being able to accompany professional soloists. In addition to violin and orchestral music, Kevin is a big fan of Chicago blues and enjoys playing blues harmonica; he also enjoys cooking, gardening, and swing dancing. After graduation he is moving to Berkeley, California, to take a job with Memphis Meats, a start-up company that creates lab-grown meat.
Allen Yuan, a native of Lake Bluff, IL, just graduated from the College with a major in Economics and a Specialization in Data Science and Computational/Applied Mathematics. Although he initially studied piano, Allen began playing cello in 4th grade and has been involved in orchestral ensembles ever since. Before college, Allen was a member of Midwest Young Artists Conservatory performing in the symphony orchestra and in the chamber music program. He also participated in ILMEA District and All-State Honors ensembles and was principal cellist of his high school’s symphony orchestra and pit orchestra. Allen has performed with the University Symphony Orchestra for four years, and outside of music, he has served as a case writer for the Financial Markets Program and as treasurer, VP, and Scav captain of his house. After graduation, Allen plans on moving to San Francisco to work as an economist for Lyft, and he hopes to continue his musical studies by joining an ensemble there.
Doris L. Taub Award for Exceptional Leadership in a Choral Ensemble
The Choral Award is presented to graduating fourth-year students who have demonstrated exceptional leadership as part of the University’s choral ensembles. This includes volunteer dedication as well as being a role model for their peers. The Choral Award is made possible by the Doris L. Taub Memorial Fund. The recipients of the 2020 award are Kristen Joseph and Eve Skosey-Lalonde.
Kristen Joseph recently graduated from the University with her Bachelor's in English Language and Literature and a Master's in the Humanities. She grew up in a musical household and has been singing for as long as she can remember. Being a member of U of C's Women's Ensemble and University Chorus these past four years has been one of the most fulfilling and inspiring experiences of her time at the University. She will be moving to the Philadelphia area in the near future to begin a career in publishing, and hopes to find a wonderful community choir to join.
Eve Skosey-Lalonde graduated from the College in Spring 2020 with a Bachelor's in History and a minor in Human Rights. She has sung in the University Chorus and Women's Ensemble since her first year as a student at UChicago, but the first time she sang with ensemble director Mollie Stone was in middle school in the Chicago Children's Choir. In the fall, Lalonde will begin pursuing a Master's of Social Work at the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago.