Illinois Council of Orchestras Announces Annual Awards

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.

Especially this year, 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.


2022 Awards Brochure: This brochure contains information regarding the application process and the requirements for applying for an award. 

Awards Application: Applications for the 2022 Awards will open in November 2021

Apply Now
For more information about awards, contact Awards Chairman, Gregory Clemons


February 1, 2022 Deadline

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

Awards will be based on achievements of the past season, 2020-2021

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 2022, 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
2021 Award Winners

The Illinois Council of Orchestras is pleased to announce the 2021 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 2021 ICO Awards:

Professional Orchestra of the Year Music of the Baroque
Dame Jane Glover, Music Director
Community Orchestra of the Year DuPage Symphony Orchestra
Barbra Schubert, Music Director
Youth Orchestra of the Year Elgin Youth Symphony Orchestra
Matthew Sheppard, Artistic Director
Conductor of the Year, Professional Orchestra Scott Speck, Artistic Director
Chicago Philharmonic
Conductor of the Year, Community Orchestra Taka Matsunaga, Music Director
Midwest Philharmonic
Conductor of the Year, College/University Orchestra Emanuele Andrizzi, Principal Conductor
Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University
Executive Director/General Manager of the Year Declan McGovern, Executive Director
Music of the Baroque
Programming of the Year  Waukegan Symphony Orchestra
Alexander Platt, Music Director
Community Relations of the Year The Symphony of Oak Park & River Forest
Jay Friedman, Music Director
Volunteer of the Year Marjorie Stinespring
Music of the Baroque
Honorable Mention, Volunteer of the Year
Awarded Posthumously
Mary Moutvic
Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra


2021 Award presentations are being presented virtually for the forseeable future. 

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. The timing for this year's awards will be determined at a future date, due to the COVID-19 outbreak. 

ICO Awards Press Release 2021


History of ICO Awards 2021

Professional Orchestra of the Year

Music of the Baroque
Dame Jane Glover, Music Director

Community Orchestra of the Year

DuPage Symphony Orchestra
Barbra Schubert, Music Director

The DSO’s mission is to provide inspiration and cultural enrichment through musical excellence, educational programs, and community engagement with a vision of transforming hearts, minds, and communities through music.

As a highly accomplished, all-volunteer, community orchestra, the DuPage Symphony Orchestra works to inspire people of all ages to develop an appreciation of symphonic music; to provide accessible, real-life orchestral experiences for area children and students; and to create an outlet for talented musicians to share their passion for music throughout DuPage County.

During our 66th season of 2019-2020, audiences embarked on a Musical Journey of international discovery consisting of nine exciting concerts, performed with artistry and enthusiasm, and featuring guest artists at each of our five subscription concerts. New this season, we partnered with area businesses and non-profit organizations to provide a range of cultural and educational activities in the lobby of Wentz Concert Hall to enrich and enhance our patrons’ musical experiences. This included poster displays designed to add cultural context and preview the entire Musical Journey season, a photobooth with themed props so attendees could share their excitement with photos on social media and enter to win prizes, a Musical Passport program designed to engage audiences, and a new website feature – Newcomers Notes – so new patrons unfamiliar with classical music could learn more in advance of the concert.

This theme of Musical Journeys further benefited the organization by broadening our reach to new audiences. Engaging content resulted in a 5% increase in subscription sales, as well as a 2% increase in subscription renewals.

Youth Orchestra of the Year

Elgin Youth Symphony Orchestra
Matthew Sheppard, Artistic Director

Conductor of the Year, Professional Orchestra

Scott Speck, Artistic Director
Chicago Philharmonic

Scott Speck was named Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of Chicago Philharmonic in June of 2013 and has been Music Director of the Joffrey Ballet since 2010. His concerts with the Moscow RTV Symphony Orchestra in Tchaikovsky Hall garnered unanimous praise. His gala performances with Yo-Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman, Renée Fleming, Joshua Bell, Midori, Evelyn Glennie, and Olga Kern have highlighted his recent and current seasons as Music Director of the Mobile Symphony. This season he also collaborates intensively with Carnegie Hall for the tenth time as Music Director of the West Michigan Symphony. He was invited to the White House as former Music Director of the Washington Ballet.

In past seasons Scott Speck has conducted at New York's Lincoln Center, London’s Royal Opera House at Covent Garden, the Paris Opera, Chicago’s Symphony Center, Washington’s Kennedy Center, San Francisco’s War Memorial Opera House, and the Los Angeles Music Center. He has led numerous performances with the great symphony orchestras around the world.

He is also the co-author of three of the world’s bestselling books on classical music for a popular audience, Classical Music for Dummies, Opera for Dummies and Ballet for Dummies, and Ballet for Dummies. These books have been translated into twenty languages and are available around the world.  

Scott Speck has been a regular commentator on National Public Radio, the BBC, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, and Voice of Russia, broadcast throughout the world. He has been featured in TED talks and at the Aspen Ideas Festival. His writing has been featured in numerous magazines and journals.

Scott Speck can be reached at, on Twitter @scottspeck1, and at

“Scott Speck is as energetic as he is talented, with a charismatic personality that leaps over the footlights.” - The Baltimore Sun


Conductor of the Year, Community Orchestra

Take Matsunaga, Music Director
Midwest Philharmonic


As the third-place winner of the 2019 American Prize in Orchestral Conducting, Taka Matsunaga is currently the Director of Orchestras at Elmhurst University, where he conducts the University Philharmonic Orchestra. He also serves as Music Director of the Midwest Philharmonic Orchestra in Schaumburg.

Matsunaga came to the U.S. in 1998 to pursue his violin studies with David Taylor, Joseph Golan and Robert Chen while attending Roosevelt University and Northeastern Illinois University, where he received his master’s degree in music.

From 1999-2001, Matsunaga was a regular member of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, a training orchestra of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. In March 2000, he performed at Carnegie Hall under the baton of Maestro Daniel Barenboim. While playing in the Civic Orchestra, Matsunaga has played with world-renowned conductors including Neeme Jarvi, Christoph Eschenbach, Osmo Vanska, Pierre Boulez and Pinchas Zukerman, to name just a few.

Matsunaga has studied at the National Orchestral Institute at University of Maryland as a full-scholar musician under the direction of Gerard Schwarz, a former music director of the Seattle Symphony, and Lan Shui, a conductor laureate of the Singapore Symphony Orchestra. Matsunaga went on to join the Illinois Symphony Orchestra, South Bend Symphony Orchestra and the Southwest Michigan Symphony Orchestra, where he served as an Assistant Concertmaster.

As a conductor, Matsunaga made his debut at Carnegie Hall in New York in 2018 with the Midwest Philharmonic Orchestra. He has conducted in Vienna, Salzburg, Detroit and at Orchestra Hall at Symphony Center in Chicago.

Matsunaga is a member of the College Orchestra Directors Association (CODA), National Association for Music Education (NAfME), and American String Teachers Association (ASTA).

He lives with his oboist wife, Naomi, and three little children, Edward, Cecile and Felix.

Conductor of the Year, College/University Orchestra

Emanuele Andrizzi, Principal Conductor
Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University

Educated in Rome’s rich conservatory tradition as a conductor, composer, and pianist, Maestro Emanuele Andrizzi, whose conducting has been praised as “admirable” by the Chicago Tribune and full of “spirit and thoughtfulness” by the San Diego Union Tribune, is a versatile musician with vast experience in the symphonic, operatic, choral, and ballet repertoires and a passion for the broad spectrum of musical arts. As a conductor, he has collaborated with symphonic and operatic companies including the Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Diego Opera, Chicago Philharmonic, Opera Theater of St. Louis, Chicago Opera Theater, and New Philharmonic.

In 2018, he brought his expertise in Italian opera to a team of international artists who joined together to fill a void within Chicago's current operatic climate, and created the Opera Festival of Chicago (OFC). The OFC, of which Maestro Andrizzi was appointed Music Director, will amalgamate the atmosphere and artistry of the operatic festivals of Spoleto, Pesaro, Verona, and Festival Puccini, and aspires to become America's go-to hub for world-class Italian opera performances.

Mo. Andrizzi is a dedicated and enthusiastic educator. He has worked since 2013 as the Principal Conductor and Head of the Orchestral Program at the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University, and as the Music Director of the McHenry County Youth Orchestras. His work with young musicians has extended to collaborations with international artist programs, including the Ryan Opera Center, the Mediterranean Opera Studio and Festival, and the Chicago Opera Theater Young Artist Program. In addition, he has guest conducted in various university music programs, including the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University, the Bienen School of Music at Northwestern University, and DePaul University. Mo. Andrizzi has conducted many All-State, Honors, and Youth Orchestras, sharing his passion for the musical arts with young musicians from around the country.

Executive Director/General Manager of the Year

Declan McGovern, Executive Director
Music of the Baroque

Programming of the Year

Waukegan Symphony Orchestra
Alexander Platt, Music Director

The Waukegan Symphony Orchestra, established in 1974, is led by Music Director, Alexander Platt. The Waukegan Symphony Orchestra, which is part of the Waukegan Park District, provides a unique opportunity for over fifty devoted musicians of all ages, ethnicities, and varying levels of musical experience.

The Waukegan Symphony Orchestra was born when the comedian Jack Benny returned to his hometown of Waukegan to star in the Symphony's initial performance on April 24, 1974. The Symphony has since made itself synonymous with the broad range of culture that is the hallmark of our city, engaging its audiences in both traditional and more unusual musical works.

Besides programmed concerts, the Symphony has two special traditional performances. A Do-It-Yourself Messiah in honor and memory of a longtime supporter and board member, Joseph Favero. In 2019, the Symphony performed Mozart’s arrangement of Handel’s Messiah. The second traditional performance is a Young People’s concert, designed to introduce the younger family members to the orchestra. After the concert, there is a meet and greet on stage with the instruments and players.

Through the assistance of the Illinois Arts Council, the Waukegan Park District, the Waukegan Public Schools, and the Waukegan Band Foundation; the Symphony enriches the lives of numerous community members including many who otherwise could not enjoy the benefits of performances.

For musicians, it offers an opportunity to perform in an enriching musical environment. For community players and students, it offers the opportunity to work with professional directors and musicians to present a high-quality performance that are diverse, challenging, and entertaining.

Community Relations of the Year

The Symphony of Oak Park & River Forest
Jay Friedman, Music Director

The Symphony of Oak Park & River Forest, one of the oldest community orchestras in the country, was founded 89 years ago in October of 1931, by Oak Parker Gladys Welge.  Ms. Welge was the assistant conductor of the Women's Symphony Orchestra of Chicago at a time when women were not even allowed to play in symphony orchestras.  The S/OP&RF orchestra has given concerts continuously, with no break since our founding, surviving upheavals such as the Great Depression, World War II, and we are working very hard to survive the current pandemic.

Our conductors through history:

Gladys Welge, 1931 - 1954          Milton Preves, 1954 - 1966
Perry Crafton, 1966 - 1994           Jay Friedman, 1995 - present

In 2012, our Associate Conductor, Maurice Boyer, joined our musical family and has been a wonderful addition!   

The orchestra has benefited greatly from the professional collaboration and personal friendship of Jay Friedman and Riccardo Muti, the eminent music director of the CSO. On November 10, 2019, he worked with us for the 7th time! Maestro Muti also attended our 2015 performance of BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 9 and was favorably impressed by the concert. 

Maestro Friedman has led the Symphony and Chorus of Oak Park & River Forest in five stellar biennial performances at Chicago’s Symphony Center.

The S/OP&RF believes in providing young people with the opportunity to participate in the performance of live music. We continue to award young string interns with a cash stipend and hold an annual Youth Concerto Competition. We work to provide private lessons and instruments for lower income students a well as tickets for their families to attend our concerts. As always, we serve all youth by offering free admission to all students through college to our River Forest concerts.

We are thankful to the ICO for this recognition! 

Volunteer of the Year

Marjorie Stinespring
Music of the Baroque

Honorable Mention, Volunteer of the Year

Mary Moutvic
Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra
Awarded Posthumously

Mary Moutvic has served for decades in the Friends of the Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra.  She was Treasurer of the Friends for many years.  She served on the Board of Directors of the Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra for eight years.  She also twice, while still serving as treasurer, chaired the committee for the Fall Fashion Show, which is the largest, most time-consuming fundraising event for the Friends each year.  Mary co-chaired over a dozen IPO Fanfare fundraisers which is the largest fundraiser sponsored by the Board of the Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra.  Of course, Mary spent countless hours stuffing envelopes and helping the IPO in innumerable ways over the years including 2019-2020.  For her many years of service, Mary Moutvic was named Honorary Director of the Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra for the 2019-2020 season.

 For 2019-2020, Mary was actively involved with all the major fundraising efforts of the Friends of the Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra including the Fall Fashion Show, the Annual Holiday Party, the Rising Stars Concert, and the Musicians Dinner where she helped prepare and serve a meal for over 100 Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra musicians and their guests.  She was thus instrumental in helping the Friends raise a contribution of $25,000 for the IPO in fiscal year 2020.  For all these contributions, we believe that Mary Moutvic should be the Volunteer of the Year for 2019-2020.