Music Award Winners
2012 Dana Ramirez (violin), daughter of Graciela and Juan Ramirez and sister of Denise Ramirez, is a senior attending the Bergen County Academies in Hackensack, NJ. She has been studying the violin and piano for 11 years and has participated in an array of school music electives and clubs, including the school orchestra, string quartet, concert and chamber choirs, as well as both Regional and All-State Choirs and Orchestras. She is the Music Director of the St. Francis of Assisi Church, playing organ and singing for both Children and Adult Choirs. Dana is also the principal second violinist of the New York Youth Symphony and a pianist of the organization’s Chamber Music Program, where she has performed in Carnegie Hall, Symphony Space, and various retirement homes and hospitals. This year, she will be commissioning a new piano quartet by Eric Nathan at Weill Recital Hall. She has performed in both violin and piano for various masterclasses hosted by professional musicians, including Joel Krosnick, Fred Sherry, the Shanghai Quartet, and Gil Kalish. Dana has received numerous prizes, including the top prizes for the Professional Music Teachers’ Guild competitions and the NJN Hispanic Youth Showcase, aired on WNJN. In addition, she has performed in many school events and concerts, such as the Walter Engel Festival of Young Performers and Ensemble Prestige, and is an avid youth volunteer at Gilda’s Club of Northern New Jersey. Dana is an Honors student of the Pre-College Division at Mannes College the New School for Music, studying violin previously with Mrs. Adriana Ocello and currently with Ms. Eriko Sato, and piano with Ms. Dorothy Schroth.
2011 Ruriko Terada (harp) Formerly a senior at Paramus High School, Ms. Terada studied harp for five and a half years - first with Mrs. Elizabeth Collins of HoHoKus, and then with Ms. Bridget Kibbey at the Julliard Pre-College Division. She has since moved to California where she is studying harp at Colburn College. She reports that she is very busy with many performances in Los Angles, including performing with operas, a Stravinsky celebration, and making recordings.
2010 Beata Safari (pianist) A senior at Bergen County Academies who resides in Fort Lee, Ms. Safari is a versatile musician. She won the audition as a pianist, but she is also a vocalist, a flautist, and an organist. She studies piano with Mark Pakman at the Manhattan School of Music which she has attended for the last nine years. During the past six years she has also been a member of the Chamber Ensemble at the Manhattan School of Music, and sung in the Pro Arte Chorale, Bergen County Chorus and North Jersey Region Chorus. She has been a member of the Tri-M Music Honor Society since 10th grade. Her goal is to start her own chamber music group involving instrumentalists and vocalists performing classical and contemporary pieces. She is also interested in linguistics and would like to combine that interest with her music in a future career.
2009 Renata Kapilevich (vocalist) A senior and honors student at Cresskill High School, Ms. Kapilevich began studying voice with Karen Beardsley Peters, voice faculty member at Manhattan School of Music, from the beginning of high school. She is currently studying vocal performance at Manhattan School of Music Precollege Division where she enthusiastically participates in voice lessons, Ear Training, Musical Theory, and Musical Theater classes. She was privileged to be a part of the “Distinguished Concerts Singers International Program,” singing at Carnegie Hall with Cresskill High School Vocal Ensemble and six other High School Choruses in March of 2008. During the summer, she spent two weeks at the Westminster Choir College Solo Vocal Artist Program perfecting Alexander and Performance Techniques. There, Renata performed excerpts from the Operettas “Mikado,” and “Iolanthe,” for parents and friends at the Westminster Recital Hall. She also participated in NJ All State Choir for two years as well as NJ Region I Choir for three years and Bergen County Choir for two years. Renata loves classical music and plans to pursue her degree in vocal performance in hopes of becoming a professional opera singer in the future.
2008 $1000 Winner Emma Schmiedecke (cellist) A senior at Ridgewood High School, Ms. Schmiedecke began her study of the cello in fifth grade and is currently a student of Jonathan Spitz, principal cellist of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra and the Orpheus Ensemble. She has received many honors for her musical talents, including a 2006 listing as one of the Top 100 High School Musicians in the United States; a scholarship to the School for Strings, NYC; acceptance to the Professional Performance course at the Oxford, England Cello School (the youngest cellist ever to win that distinction); and a scholarship to the Heifetz International Music Institute. At Ridgewood High School, she serves as vice -resident of the Tri-M Music Honor Society and also sings with the concert and chamber choirs. She expects to pursue a career in music at the Peabody Conservatory, the Manhattan School of Music or the Eastman School, as well as continue her study in England. Emma is the daughter of two music educators. Her mother, Carol, is Music Specialist for Allendale Public Schools, and her father, Edward, is Supervisor of Music and Dance for the Ridgewood public schools district.
2008 $500 Winner Jessica Eucker (vocalist) A senior at Bergen County Academies, Ms. Eucker plans to pursue studies in vocal performance, as well as acting, playwriting and dance, after graduating from the Bergen Academies, where she has participated in productions of both classical and contemporary theater. She has studied voice at both the Ridgewood Conservatory and at the Metropolitan Opera, where she is currently an intern. In addition, she has performed in the Children’s Chorus at the Met, at Carnegie Hall, Riverside Church, at NJPAC, and in Italy. She has been chosen to receive the New Jersey Governor’s Award in Arts Education, and has appeared as soloist with the All-State, All-Regional and All-County Choruses and All-State Opera. Her parents, Anna and Eric Eucker of Washington Township, are also proud that Jessica is an honors student at the Academies.
2007 Kristen McGuire (flutist) A senior at Clarkstown High School, Nanuet, NY, Miss McGuire began studying the flute at the age of nine. Currently, she is a student of Stefani Starin of Upper Nyack. Kristen, the winner of the Bergen Youth Orchestra’s 2007 Symphony Concerto Competition, has been a member of the orchestra for the past six years and is presently principal flute. She has performed in the Rockland County Music Teacher’s Guild Young People’s Recital, numerous Rockland All-County and area All-State Music Festivals, and as principal piccolo for the Symphonic Band in the 2006 All-State Conference in Rochester, NY. In May 2001, she was thrilled to perform at the Metropolitan Opera House in a student flute ensemble in the American Ballet Theater’s production of “The Pied Piper.” She is looking forward to pursuing a Bachelor of Music in Flute Performance degree in the fall.
2006 Robert Farruggia (vocalist - Tenor) A senior and honor student at Clarkestown South High School from New City, NY, Mr. Farruggia began singing before he uttered his first words. As the son of Metropolitan Opera tenor Michele Farruggia and soprano Barbara de Deo, with whom he currently studies voice, he is no stranger to the musical stage. He has performed leading roles in numerous school and local theater productions, including Jean Valjean in Les Miserables, Anthony Hope in Sweeney Todd, Nathan Detroit in Guys and Dolls, to name a few. He has performed on television, and before the governor of New Jersey, Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Edward Cardinal Egan , and was a featured soloist at a national memorial service for the victims of the World Trade Center at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, NYC. Recently, he was awarded first prize at the "Rockland Star" competition. He is fluent in Italian, plays the piano and violin, has taken dance and enjoys acting. He plans to major in Music Performance in college and to continue his vocal training to prepare for a career in the world of music.
2005 Andrea Mumm (harpist) Ms. Mumm attended Ridgewood High School, and had been principal harpist of the school’s Chamber Orchestra for 4 years, as well as holding harp positions in the New York Youth Symphony and the Ridgewood Symphony Orchestra. She has studied at the Manhattan School of Music Preparatory Division, participated in the Walter Engel Festival for Young Performers Recital Series, has been soloist with the North Jersey Philharmonic Orchestra and been selected as principal harp for the New Jersey All-State Orchestra, as well as ASTA National High School Honors Orchestra. She has been a member and co-founder of a student chapter of American String Teacher’s Association (ASTA) and member of the Tri-M Music Honors Society. Committed to musical outreach, Andrea serves as rehearsal assistant for the middle school orchestra, brings harp therapy to a local hospital’s oncology unit, and shares her talents in area churches. She has set her musical goals to become an orchestral harpist and a music teacher.
2004 Carl Patrick Bolleia (pianist) Mr. Bolleia attended Westwood High School, and had been active in his school music programs, including serving as pianist and conductor of the high school jazz band for several years, assistant music director at the high school’s summer music camp, percussionist and keyboard musician in the pit band for the school musicals, and for five years was the accompanist for the junior and senior high school choirs. A finalist for the College of New Jersey Governor’s School, Bolleia has given private piano and percussion lessons for many years and has performed at weddings, country club parties and private homes. He plans to continue his music education at William Paterson University with the aim of eventually attaining a PhD in Music.
2003 Patrick Laird (cellist) Mr. Laird, who attended Midland Park High School, has been playing Cello since the age of 8. For the past few years he has been studying with Qiang T and Amir Eldan. He was the winner of the Hartwick College Summer Festival and Institute Concerto Competition in 2001. In 2002, he was selected to participate in the Intensive String Quartet Seminar at the ENCORE School for Strings, Cleveland Institute of Music. He has been a member of the All North Jersey High School Regional Orchestra and the All-Eastern Honors Orchestra. He has also performed as a soloist at the Walter Engel Festival for Young Performers. He college major will be Cello Performance.
2002 Peter Folliard (euphonium) Mr. Folliard is from Ridgewood and was a member of the Tri-M Music Honor Society. He is planning a double major in Music Education and Music Performance at the University of North Texas. His ambition is to earn his Doctoral of Musical Arts in either performance or conducting.
2001 Daniel Mumm (cellist)
2000 Richard J. Hicks, III (cellist)
1999 Elizabeth Lowry (vocalist)
1998 Samantha Friedrich (vocalist)
1997 Maria Clara Mallonga (pianist)
1996 John Williams (tuba player)
1995 Sarah Anne Lewis (vocalist)
1994 Jennifer Cho (vocalist)
1993 Viera Effler (pianist)
1992 Stephanie Ferrari (vocalist)
1991 Minako Imada (pianist)
1990 Elizabeth Cassidy (vocalist)
1989 Lisa Yaeger (vocalist)
1988 Yasuko Masaki (pianist)
1987 Margaret Topken (clarinetist)
1986 Marissa Regni (violinist)
1985 Miyako Sakai (pianist)
1984 Wendy Margo (pianist)
1983 Jody Lichtig (vocalist)
1982 Micahel Joseph Maraz (vocalist)
1981 Sarah Janick (pianist)
1980 Claire Benacerraf (vocalist)
1979 Margaret Bethke
1978 Susan Willen
1977 Elizabeth Foerster
1976 Ruthanne Wiley
1975 Jeffrey Good
1974 Dennis O’Shea
1973 David Boeddinhause
1972 Nicholas Schidlovsky
1971 Donald L. Appert
1970 James Rile
1969 Joy E. Buhler
1968 Janice Weber
1967 Denise Brown