|The Illinois Council of Orchestras recently announced its 2010 awards recipients including its coveted 2010 "Illinois Conductor of the Year, Professional Orchestra" Award to Dr. Bruce Polay, Knox-Galesburg Symphony artistic director/conductor and Knox College professor of music and music chair. Polay will be honored locally with ICO Awards Chair Bryan Shilander from Chicago presenting the award at the April 17 Knox-Galesburg Symphony finale subscription concert at the Orpheum Theatre in Galesburg, Illinois. The ICO's prestigious awards are presented annually to recognize artistic excellence and for support of orchestras throughout the state.
Polay, for an unprecedented 3rd time, was chosen to receive the prestigious "Conductor of the Year" Award, based on his innovation in programming, soloist selection, quality of KGS concert performances, personal involvement in the community and his relationship with the KGS musicians and Galesburg Symphony Society Board of Directors.
According to Pearl Strickland, KGS Executive Director, the nomination statement submitted was multi-faceted. "Polay deserves this award due to his over 25 years as a tireless advocate of the orchestra he conducts and the community he serves, and for being a 'true' Maestro in the highest sense of the title. His excellence in artistry as a conductor, a performer, and composer and innovative programming expertise deserve acknowledgment at this coveted level."
Through Polay's dedication, vision and leadership statewide, nationally and internationally, he continually endeavors to bring stature, focus, and exposure to the performing arts in Illinois. As an acclaimed conductor, composer, competition judge, and pianist, he has appeared in each of these cultural arenas throughout Illinois as well as nationally and internationally -- seizing the opportunity created by his global connections to introduce musicians of national and international stature to Illinois as KGS soloists. Polay has created a perpetual link for the Arts in Illinois through his talent, leadership, and focus on education.
Polay and the KGS have been consistently recognized by the ICO having received sixteen additional awards in eight other ICO Award categories: including Polay, as recipient of the "Cultural Leadership," and "Programming of the Year" Awards in 2008 and 2006 respectively; the KGS three times as "Orchestra of the Year," most recently in 2008; Pearl Strickland as recipient of the "Community Relations of the Year" and two-time recipient of the ICO "General Manager of the Year" Awards and Robert Clark as ICO "Board President of the Year" and "Volunteer of the Year." Once recipient of an award, an organization or individual is not eligible for an award in the same category for five years.
An awards panel that included judges from outside arts organizations and the ICO, a state service organization for over 100 professional, community, youth, and college orchestras from throughout Illinois, reviewed the nominations. 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, and to hold educational conferences for member organizations, including musicians, staffs, boards, volunteers and audiences. The ICO serves the diverse needs of Illinois musical ensembles by providing a variety of programs to give guidance and support to orchestras of all sizes and budgets in areas including management, artistic direction, and marketing.
(Bruce Polay. Story and Photo Submitted by Knox-Galesburg Symphony)