" /> Awards


All the 2021 Award Nominations are now closed.

The ACSO Awards program recognizes remarkable individuals and organizations for their meaningful contributions to the orchestra field. ACSO oversees four awards in its portfolio: 1) Executive Leadership Award, 2) Emerging Professional Award, 3) Kris Sinclair Leadership Award, and 4) MVP Volunteer Award. 
In the midst of this global health crisis and social movement for equity and justice, it is especially important to honor the ability to navigate and lead others through change, to find opportunity in challenge, and to step up and serve others. 
For questions about ACSO's Awards Program, contact us at [email protected].

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. 

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

2020 Winners:
Executive Leader Awardee: Stephen Wilson, President & CEO, Fresno Philharmonic
Emerging Professional Awardee: Tara Aesquivel, Executive Director, American Youth Symphony
Emerging Professional Awardee: Connor Bogenreif, Manager of Operations & Education, Long Beach Symphony

Kris Sinclair Leadership Award

2021 is the final year for this award as the fund will be spent down after the 2021 award has been given.

The Kris Sinclair Leadership Award is a competitive award given to an ACSO Organizational Member that demonstrates recent and measurable leadership initiatives by its staff and/or board in one or more of the following areas: finance, governance, staff development, audience development, education, or community engagement.

This $5,000 award is made possible by the Kris Sinclair Fund for Professional Development that consists of contributions intentionally made in Kris Sinclair’s name to support professional development and technical assistance offered by the Association of California Symphony Orchestras (ACSO). Sinclair was the executive director of the Association for 31 years and provided members with technical assistance, professional development opportunities, and consultation on myriad orchestra management topics. 


2021: Sequoia Symphony Orchestra
2020: Auburn Symphony
2019: San Bernardino Symphony Orchestra

2018: San Diego Youth Symphony and Conservatory
2017: Community Women's Orchestra

MVP Volunteer Awards

Initiated in 1996, the Most Valuable Player (MVP) Volunteer Awards were created to recognize exemplary volunteers, volunteer projects, and volunteer organizations working for California’s symphony orchestras.

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, which constitutes the sole basis of the award being given. 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 July 2021 and winners will be presented at ACSO's virtual Annual Meeting during the 2021 Annual Conference Online (Aug 2-6).

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

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

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

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

Mary Jane Cooper, Santa Barbara Symphony
Pat and Sandy Gage, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra
Pat Hager, Mill Valley Philharmonic
David Hamilton, San Luis Obispo Symphony
Ronda Latham, Orange County Youth Symphony Orchestra
Becky Novy, Los Angeles Philharmonic Affiliates
Joseph Svehla, Pacific Symphony
Judith Valles, San Bernardino Symphony Orchestra