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The ACSO Awards program recognizes remarkable individuals for their meaningful contributions to the orchestra field. ACSO oversees three awards in its portfolio: 1) Executive Leadership Award, 2) Emerging Professional Award, and 3) MVP Volunteer Award. 

Award winners are chosen based on strength of the application in demonstrating, in alignment with the criteria, the candidate’s extraordinary leadership and professional accomplishments. 

ACSO promotes diversity, equity, and inclusion values and principles. As such, we encourage nominators to consider submitting diverse candidates who meet the award criteria.

For questions about ACSO's Awards Program, contact us at [email protected] or call 800-495-2276 x3.

Executive Leadership & Emerging Professional Awards

Launched in 2020, the Executive Leadership Award and the Emerging Professional Award are competitive awards that recognize individuals who represent two ends of the administrative spectrum – those who have demonstrated ability and impact early in their careers, and those who have been advancing in leadership roles for many years and whose calculated risks, acumen for strategy, and program-building have propelled their organizations to success. 

Click here to learn more about the Executive Leadership Award and submit a nomination.
Click here to learn more about the Emerging Professional Award and submit a nomination.

2022 Winners:
Executive Leadership Award: Jenny Darlington-Person, Executive Director, Music in the Mountains
Emerging Professional Award: Tiffany Fajardo, Patron Services Manager, Berkeley Symphony

2021 Winners:
Executive Leader Awardee: Julia Copeland, Former Executive Director, Youth Orchestras of Fresno
Emerging Professional Awardee: Virginia Evans, Operations Manager, Reno Philharmonic

MVP Volunteer Awards

Since 1996 the Most Valuable Player (MVP) Volunteer Awards have recognized exemplary volunteers, volunteer projects, and volunteer organizations working for symphony orchestras in the ACSO network.

The MVP Volunteer Award is not a competition, but an opportunity for your extraordinary volunteer(s) to be recognized publicly. An administrative staff leader of an ACSO member organization may submit one completed nomination form by Tuesday, July 19, which constitutes the sole basis of the award being given. Once you begin the nomination, you will need to complete it in its entirety, as the portal will not allow you to save partially completed information or edit your response once it is complete. You can preview the questions here but you must complete the final nomination online. 

Nominations may be made for an individual volunteer, a volunteer committee, or a volunteer organization (such as a league or guild). ACSO will publicly announce the award winners in August 2022 and winners will be presented at ACSO's virtual Annual Meeting in August 2022 (date TBD).

2022 MVP Volunteer Award Nomination


2022 MVPs:
Mikki Andina, Santa Barbara Symphony
Mary Jane Cooper, Santa Barbara Symphony
Mary Eichbauer, Vallejo Symphony
Lloyd Garrison, San Bernardino Symphony
Janet Garufis, Santa Barbara Symphony
Nancy Israel, New West Symphony
Nancy McAleer Golden, Santa Barbara Symphony
Renee Rymer, Marin Symphony
Marilyn Solter, Redlands Symphony

2021 MVPs:
Terry Brown, Founder and Board Chair, Music in the Mountains
Linda Burroughs, Board President, Santa Cruz Symphony
Dr. Dee Lacy, Board President, Youth Orchestras of Fresno
Leslie Lassiter, Board Chair, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra
George Lucas, Chair of the Performing Arts Docent Tours, San Francisco Symphony
Charles Schimmel, Treasurer and CFO, Monterey Symphony
Paradise Symphony Society Board of Directors
San Bernardino Symphony Music in the Schools Committee

2020 MVPs:
Dr. Jay Fiene, Board Member, San Bernardino Symphony
Mary Ann Orr, Board & League Member, Santa Cruz Symphony 

2019 MVPs:
Grace Baldwin, Board Member, San Bernardino Symphony
Linda Burroughs, Board President, Santa Cruz Symphony
Business and Professionals Committee, Los Angeles Philharmonic Affiliates
Lee Rosen, Board President, Monterey Symphony
Anne-Marie Spataru, Board Member, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra
Sharon Stewart, Volunteer, Pacific Symphony
Autumn van den Berg, Board Chair, Tucson Symphony Orchestra

2018 MVPs:
Elizabeth Dinsel, Mill Valley Philharmonic
Earleen Ferguson Dudley, San Bernardino Symphony Orchestra
Lee Duffus, Santa Cruz Symphony
Julie Han, Youth Orchestra of Fresno/FOOSA Festival
Carol McCormack, Sacramento Master Singers
Laurie Nelson, Sacramento Philharmonic & Opera
Joon Shin, Berkeley Symphony
Fred Smith, California Symphony