2023 Award Winners

The Illinois Council of Orchestras is pleased to announce the 2023 recipients of its annual awards for excellence in the field of music performance and for support of musical organizations. An awards panel that included judges from the Illinois Council of Orchestras Board of Directors and from independent arts organizations reviewed nominations representing orchestras, youth orchestras, and chamber ensembles from throughout Illinois.

The 2023 ICO Awards:

Professional Orchestra of the Year

Chicago Jazz Philharmonic
Orbert Davis, Co-Founder & Artistic Director 

Community Orchestra of the Year
Chicago Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra
Russell Vinick, Music Director
Conductor of the Year, Professional Orchestra

Orbert Davis, Co-Founder & Artistic Director 
Chicago Jazz Philharmonic

Board President/Chair of the Year

Thomas O. Kuhns, Chairman of the Board
Music of the Baroque 

Volunteer of the Year

Kathy Huff
The Hyde Park Youth Symphony 

Programming of the Year 

Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras
Allen Tinkham, Music Director 

Community Relations of the Year

Quad City Sympony Orchestra
Mark Russell Smith, Music Director

Cultural Leadership Award Presented in Memory of:
Terrance Malone Gray
Associate Conductor
Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras 


The Illinois Council of Orchestras was founded in 1974 with a mission:

  • to encourage, promote, and assist orchestras throughout the State of Illinois
  • to promote an exchange of information among members, including providing consultants and speakers
  • to hold educational conferences for member organizations, including musicians, staff, boards, volunteers, and audiences.

Presentation of the ICO Awards will take place at local concerts and other events of the winning orchestras, or virtually. 


ICO Awards Press Release 2023

History of ICO Awards 2023

Illinois Council of Orchestras Annual Awards

Nominations for the 2023 ICO Awards are no longer being accepted.

Each year the ICO conducts an awards program to recognize orchestras, conductors, and volunteers that have demonstrated exceptional achievement. These highly sought-after awards provide local and statewide recognition to both individuals and their organizations. An independent panel of judges reviews materials in March, and awards are announced in late March. Members of the ICO Board of Directors will make a formal presentation during the spring, upon request, to each of the award-winning orchestras at a concert or other special occasion.

ICO will be taking into account all of the virtual achievements that were made by our members, in addition to any in person events that were able to take place. 

Only current ICO member orchestras are eligible for these prestigious annual awards.


2023 Awards Brochure: This brochure contains information regarding the application process and the requirements for applying for an award. 

Awards Application: The deadline to apply for the a 2023 Award has been extended to Friday, February 10, 2023.

For more information about awards, contact Awards info@ilcouncilorchestras.org


February 10, 2023 Deadline

All applicants must be current members of the Illinois Council of Orchestras.

Awards will be based on achievements of the past season, 2021-2022

An organization may apply for awards in more than one category in the same year. If applying for an award in more than one category, you will need to upload the appropriate documents for each category.

After having received an award, an organization will not be considered for an award in the same category for a period of five years. The organization may apply in other categories. 

A community orchestra is one in which at least 60% of the musicians are either volunteers or are paid less than union scale.

A college/university orchestra is one in which at least 75% of the musicians are registered students.

If requested, one on-site presentation will be made at a performance by winning orchestras between March and July 2023, by a member of the Board of the ICO.

The Illinois Council of Orchestras reserves the right not to name a winner in every category.


  • Cultural Leadership Award
  • Orchestra of the Year*
  • Conductor of the Year, professional orchestra
  • Conductor of the Year, community/small orchestra
  • Conductor of the Year, college/university orchestra
  • Board President of the Year
  • Executive Director or General Manager of the Year
  • Volunteer of the Year
  • Programming of the Year
  • Community Relations of the Year
  • Guild of the Year


*Four separate awards will be presented in this category: professional orchestras, community orchestras, youth orchestras, and chamber ensembles.