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Academy Awards

The Tennessee Arts Academy honors individuals and organizations each year in a variety of categories during the Bravo Awards Banquet and Performance and during the TAA Finale luncheon. Current and previous award winners are listed below, as well as descriptions of each award category.

2022 Tennessee Arts Academy Award Recipients
Harolyn Blackwell
Distinguished Service Award
Bravo Awards Banquet and Performance
Curb Event Center
6:30 pm
July 13, 2022

One of the brightest stars on stages in the United States and abroad, charismatic soprano Harolyn Blackwell has been hailed by audiences and critics alike as a “model of agility, spunk, charm, and silvery tone.” Recognized for her expressive and exuberant performances, as well as for her radiant voice, she continues to make a wide and varied career on the opera, concert, and recital stages of the world. Blackwell began her career on Broadway in Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story. Shortly after, she was selected as a finalist for the Metropolitan Opera National Council auditions, and her career path changed from the musical theatre to opera. At the Metropolitan Opera, Blackwell has appeared in numerous productions, including Le Nozze di Figaro, Manon, Die Fledermaus, and La Fille du Régimen. She has also performed with many national and international opera companies and at festivals around the world, including Lyric Opera of Chicago, Teatro Colon de Buenos Aires, Opera Orchestra of New York, and New York’s Mostly Mozart Festival. An accomplished recitalist, Blackwell has performed in several acclaimed concert series, including London’s Wigmore Hall, Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall, the Library of Congress, and the Kennedy Center’s Fortas Chamber Series. She has also appeared in a number of nationally televised concerts such as the Grammy Awards, the Kennedy Center Honors, the Memorial Day and Fourth of July Concerts on PBS, and the PBS Live from the White House concert. Blackwell has received numerous awards and honors. Most recently, she was the recipient of the National Opera Association’s Lift Every Voice Legacy Award. Her recordings include performances of her numerous Broadway and opera roles, in addition to three solo albums. Blackwell is currently a voice faculty member at Manhattan School of Music, New York University Steinhardt, and Barnard and Columbia University. As an advocate for arts education, Blackwell is a board member of the Metropolitan Opera Guild, the Voice Foundation, and the Martina Arroyo Foundation. She is a member of the artists committee for the Kennedy Center Honors and has also served on the artists selection committee for the Marian Anderson Competition.

Madeline Bridges
Joe W. Giles Lifetime Achievement Award
Finale Luncheon
Curb Event Center
11:30 am
July 15, 2022

Madeline Bridges is professor emerita of music at Belmont University. During her tenure in the School of Music, she taught graduate and undergraduate classes, served as director of graduate studies, and most recently was an associate dean. Bridges previously taught at Middle Tennessee State University and Carson-Newman College. She began her music education career teaching choral and general music in grades five through twelve at the University School of Nashville. During her long and storied music education career, Bridges guest conducted all-state elementary and middle school honor choirs throughout the country and led scores of workshops for local, state, regional, and national general and choral music conferences. In 1985, as a consultant in the Arts Education Program of the Tennessee Department of Education, she worked closely with the program’s director, Joe Giles, to help create the Tennessee Arts Academy (TAA). Bridges was the TAA’s founding music director before serving as both campus and project director for the organization. During her three decades in a leadership role with the Nashville Children’s Choir, she worked as program director with a staff of fifteen to oversee the choral development of more than two hundred young singers in four choirs each year. She also co-directed the touring choir, which was regularly chosen to sing on national broadcasts of Christmas at Belmont. A lifelong member of the Tennessee Music Education Association (TMEA), Bridges served as president of the group and was inducted into the TMEA Hall of Fame. She was also honored with the Tennessee Chapter of American Choral Directors Association Lifetime Achievement Award. A respected leader in church music education, Bridges directed and coordinated children’s choirs in numerous churches. She served as president of the International Board of Choristers Guild and was co founder (with Michael Hawn) and member of the inaugural faculty of Choristers Guild Institute, a national certification program for directors of children and youth choirs. Bridges’ numerous publications include Sing Together, Children published by Choristers Guild, and Book of Church Songs and Spirituals with John Feierabend (published by Gia Press). Bridges has authored or co-authored articles in both practitioner and research journals including Tennessee Musician, The Chorister, Journal of Research in Music Education, and Journal of Research in Music Therapy.

Marion and Stephen Coleman
Lorin Hollander Award
Bravo Awards Banquet and Performance
Curb Event Center
6:30 pm
July 13, 2022

Marion and Stephen Coleman are a unique and remarkable couple who have set the standard in Tennessee for excellence in the field of music and arts education. They have co-directed instrumental music programs for nearly four decades, serving most recently as directors of the Tullahoma City Schools band program. Bands under their direction have performed at regional, state, and national venues. Many graduates from their programs are currently outstanding elementary, secondary, and university music educators, as well as professional musicians.

During her time as an educator, Marion Coleman taught in a variety of settings, including elementary music, vocal music, and instrumental music. She is a past president of the Middle Tennessee School Band and Orchestra Association (MTSBOA) and Phi Beta Mu, and she was state chair for the National Band Association. She has served the Tennessee Music Education Association (TMEA) as the All State Band chair and the All State General chair. In retirement, she continues her advocacy for the arts—founding and serving as the first chair of the Tullahoma Arts Council and representing the arts as a member of the Mayor’s Council.

Stephen Coleman is the founder and the current president of ArtsEd Tennessee, a statewide non-profit organization that supports arts education throughout the state. He also serves as president of the TAA Foundation and has overseen its extraordinary growth during his term of office. As an instrumental music educator, he taught at the middle school, high school, and university levels. He has also served as president of MTSBOA, the Tennessee Bandmasters Association, Phi Beta Mu, and TMEA.

The Colemans have presented clinics and workshop sessions on various aspects of music education at state and national music conferences. They are recipients of the Outstanding Service Award from the City of Tullahoma and the Leadership Award from the Tullahoma School Board. Their professional honors include the National Band Association’s Citation of Excellence and induction into the TMEA and the Tennessee Bandmasters Halls of Fame.

Aaron Lazar
Spirit of Tennessee Award
Bravo Awards Banquet and Performance
Curb Event Center
6:30 pm
July 13, 2022

Aaron Lazar’s career spans film, television, Broadway, and concerts and has allowed him to share his passion for the arts with audiences worldwide. On film, Lazar has worked with acclaimed directors Clint Eastwood (J. Edgar), Martin Scorsese (The Wolf of Wall street), Shawn Levy (This is Where I Leave You), Mary Harron (The Notorious Bettie Page), and the Russo Brothers (Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame). On television, he was recently one of the stars of Filthy Rich on FOX and has had leading roles on Quantico, The Strain, and Girl Meets World. Lazar has starred in eleven Broadway productions. He debuted in The Phantom of the Opera; originated roles in the world premieres of A Tale of Two Cities, Impressionism, and The Last Ship; starred in the revivals of A Little Night Music and Les Miserables, for which he received a Drama Desk Award nomination; and romanced audiences in The Light in the Piazza at Lincoln Center and Live from Lincoln Center on PBS. Most recently, he starred as Larry Murphy in the first national tour of the Tony Award-winning smash Dear Evan Hansen, followed this past spring by a star turn, alongside his dear friend Kate Baldwin, in The Bridges of Madison County, directed by Hunter Foster. Lazar has been a guest artist with some of the world’s top symphonies, including the New York Philharmonic, the Boston Pops, and the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra at Masada. His acclaimed solo concert From Broadway to Hollywood has played cabaret clubs and performing art centers around the United States. As a producer, Lazar’s projects include the album Broadway Lullabies; the development of a limited television series based on the book City For Sale: Ed Koch and the Betrayal of New York; and his Broadway-themed destination venue, Living Broadway. Lazar is proud to bean honorary board member of the Tennessee Arts Academy Foundation.

Tennessee Arts Academy Awards
Arts Leadership Award of Excellence
is presented to an individual or group who has achieved a unique milestone in the arts that deserves recognition and honor.

Distinguished Service Award
is presented to an American whose work stands as a monument to the importance of the arts in the lives of all people.

Joe W. Giles Lifetime Achievement Award
is conferred upon a Tennessee teacher, whose life's work is widely acknowledged to have positively influenced the role of the arts in education, thereby benefiting the students of Tennessee's schools.

Lamar Alexander Founder's Award of Distinction
is presented to an individual whose meritorious accomplishments in the fields of education and the arts have profoundly impacted American culture and life.

Lorin Hollander Award
is given to a Tennessean whose influence has benefited arts education in general and/or the Tennessee Arts Academy in particular. This award is named in honor of internationally renowned concert pianist Lorin Hollander, a special friend of the Academy.

Partner in the Arts Award
honors an individual or business whose generosity and support have contributed in sustained and significant ways to the success of the Tennessee Arts Academy's mission.

Spirit of Tennessee Award
recognizes an individual or group whose work exemplifies the highest standards of artistic endeavor and brings positive recognition to the place of the arts in the lives of Tennesseans.
Previous Recipients
Joe W. Giles Lifetime Achievement Award
1995 Joseph Edward Hodges, Crossville
1996 Freda Kenner, Bells
1996 Sue Blass, Jackson
1997 Elizabeth Rike, Knoxville
1997 Celia Bachelder, Kingsport
1998 James Charles Mills, Johnson City
1998 Gene Crain, Memphis
1999 Patricia Brown, Knoxville
2000 Robert Pletcher, Nashville
2000 Kathy Hawk, Kingsport
2001 Tommie Pardue, Memphis
2001 Tully Daniel, Memphis (awarded posthumously)
2004 Marilyn duBrisk, Greeneville
2004 Bobby Jean Frost, Nashville
2005 Nancy Boone-Allsbrook, Murfreesboro
2005 Sally Crain Jager, Cookeville
2006 Michael Combs, Knoxville
2006 Jean R. Thomas, Chattanooga
2006 Mitchell Van Metre, Knoxville
2007 David Logan, Johnson City
2010 James R. Holcomb, Memphis
2011 Flowerree W. (Galetovic) McDonough, Knoxville
2011 Joe W. Giles, Nashville
2012 Richard Mitchell, Knoxville
2013 Carol Crittenden, Nashville
2014 Fred Patterson, Knoxville
2015 Gregg Coats, Memphis
2016 Ted Rose, Lebanon
2017 Margaret Campbelle-Holman, Nashville
2018 Linda Wilson Miller, Paris
2019 Donna Anderson, Knoxville
Lorin Hollander Award
1994 Cavit Cheshier, education executive
1995 Steven Cohen, state senator
1996 Nellie McNeil, teacher and advocate
1997 Tom L. Naylor, music educator and administrator
1998 T. Earl Hinton, music educator
1999 Jane Walters, educator and arts advocate
2000 Martha McCrory, music educator
2001 Solie Fott, music educator
2008 Jeanette Crosswhite, arts education administrator
2013 Pat and Thane Smith, arts patrons and philanthropists
2014 Cindy Freeman and Michael Meise, music educators and arts advocates

Spirit of Tennessee Award
2000 Wilma Dykeman, writer
2001 Jim Crabtree, theatre director and writer
2002 Alice Swanson, arts education administrator and advocate
2003 George Mabry, choral conductor
2006 Dolph Smith, visual artist
2009 George S. Clinton, Hollywood film composer
2009 Jackie Nichols, theatre administrator
2009 Michael Stern, symphony conductor
2010 Charles Brindley, visual artist
2015 Cherry Jones, Broadway actress
Arts Leadership Award of Excellence
2013 E. Frank Bluestein, Germantown
2015 Music Makes Us, Nashville
2016 Belmont University, Nashville

Lamar Alexander Founder's Award of Distinction
2013 Senator Lamar Alexander, United States Senator Douglas Henry,
2014 Tennessee State Senator
2017 Bill Haslam, Tennessee Governor
Distinguished Service Award
1994 Charles Strouse, Broadway composer
1995 Charles Fowler, arts educator, writer and advocate
1996 Jerome Lawrence, playwright
1997 Lorin Hollander, concert pianist and philosopher
2000 Scott Ellis, Broadway theatre director
2000 Mary Costa, opera singer
2001 Sheldon Harnick, Broadway lyricist
2001 Tina Packer, Shakespeare actor and director
2003 Bob McGrath, singer and host of Sesame Street
2005 John Simon, author and arts critic
2005 Dean Pitchford, songwriter, lyricist, screenwriter, and director
2006 Andre Thomas, choral conductor
2007 Joe DiPietro, Broadway playwright and lyricist
2008 Henry Krieger, Broadway composer
2011 Marvin Hamlisch, composer and pianist
2012 Richard Sherman, composer and lyricist
2013 Marc Cherry, Hollywood writer and producer
2014 Rupert Holmes, playwright, composer, and lyricist
2015 Richard Maltby, Jr., director, lyricist, producer, writer
2016 Audrey Flack, painter and sculptor
2016 Andrew Lippa, composer, lyricist, performer, and writer
2016 Doc Severinsen, musician and bandleader
2017 Christopher Durang, Broadway playwright
2018 Tony Walton, Broadway set and costume designer
2019 Jeff Calhoun, Broadway choreographer, dancer, and director

Partner in the Arts Award
2008 Steve Spiegel, president of Theatrical Rights Worldwide

Please check back regularly for updates and information about the 2022 Tennessee Arts Academy.