The American Harp Society Foundation held the 21st Anne Adams Awards May 29 through June 1, 2018 at DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana.
It is a great honor to announce the winners of the 2018 Anne Adams Awards (in alphabetical, not ranked order): Mana Azimi, Abigail Enssle, and Adam Phan. Three scholarship awards of $2,000 each for full-time study of the harp are given to the three winners, thanks to the generous support from the Adams and the Doris E. Nebergall Funds, along with a $500 travel stipend for the winners performing at this recital. Lyon & Healy Harps, Inc. enhanced the awards with a $500 gift certificate for each of the three winners, along with a permanent plaque engraved with the winners’ names. Each of the remaining Grand Finalists, Deanna Cirielli, Anna Dunlap, Natalie Mann, and Juan Riveros, received a $500 Maxwell/Calkins Prize thanks to the generosity of the Sally Maxwell/Doris Calkins Fund.
The American Harp Society Foundation Board of Directors congratulates all of the finalists, their teachers, parents, and supportive schools. This was a banner year with 24 highly qualified finalists. We express our profound gratitude to DePauw University, Lyon & Healy Harps, Inc., our many devoted benefactors, and the volunteers who have worked so hard to make these scholarships and educational experiences possible for almost three decades. We also thank the three distinguished judges for this year’s competition: Frances Duffy, Julia Kay Jamieson, and Gillian Benet Sella.
Mana Azimi began playing the harp in the Mesa Public Schools (MPS) Harp Program when she entered her first year of high school. Since then she has performed with various ensembles including the South West Regional Orchestra, Arizona-All State Orchestra, Scottsdale Philharmonic, and Mesa Community College Symphonic Orchestra. She was a member of the MPS harp ensemble for three years and traveled to Chicago for their featured concert at the Lyon and Healy Recital Hall. Mana was a winner of the AMEA Solo and Ensemble Competition and was invited to perform her solo piece during the Arizona All-State Festival. She was also selected to play the Handel Concerto in B-flat Major with the Dobson Symphony for their final 2016 concert. Recently, she arranged a popular Persian tune for four harps that was performed and premiered by the MPS harp ensemble in 2017. Currently she is an undergraduate at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and studies with Dr. Ann Yeung.
Abigail Enssle began studying the harp with Pamela Eldridge at the age of four and has since established a vibrant musical life that includes solo performances, chamber music, and orchestral playing. In the summer of 2014 Abigail accompanied the Denver Young Artists Orchestra on a tour of Europe, then attended the Interlochen Summer Arts Academy where she was principal harpist of the World Youth Symphony Orchestra. That same year, she was awarded first prize in both the Broomfield Symphony and Boulder Philharmonic youth concerto competitions. In early 2015, she received the Jack Kent Cooke scholarship and performed on the National Public Radio program, “From the Top.” The following year, she was received first prize in the Emerging Artist division of the Young Artists’ Harp Competition in Rabun Gap, Georgia. She is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Harp Performance with Courtney Hershey Bress from Colorado State University, as well as continuing to perform with the Boulder Symphony, Arapahoe Philharmonic, and other local orchestras. Born and raised in the mountains west of Boulder, Abigail spends her free time running, climbing, skiing, and enjoying the Colorado outdoors.
Adam Phan is currently in his second year at The Juilliard School where he studies harp with Nancy Allen. He has recently won the Salzedo Prize in the American Harp Society National Competition. Adam is also a prizewinner of the Aspen Music Festival and School Harp Competition. Adam is an active orchestral performer and has worked under conductors including Alan Gilbert, Robert Spano, Valery Gergiev, and Charles Dutoit. Aside from performing, he also serves as a Program Assistant at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute, where he teaches music theory to young students auditioning for arts schools. Adam Phan is a proud recipient of the Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award and a Kovner Fellowship.
The American Harp Society Conference featured the Anne Adams Winner’s Recital as its opening event, June 26, 2018 in the beautiful University of Redlands Chapel. This was followed by a joyful Awards Ceremony at which Patricia Adams Harris and Martha (Maxwell) Griffith presented the winners with their scholarship awards. Janet Harrell, CEO of Lyon & Healy, Inc., then gave each winner a $500 Gift Certificate and invited the winners to visit the Lyon & Healy showroom in Chicago to see their names permanently memorialized on the special plaque that includes all distinguished Adams Awards winners since the beginning of the competition. The ceremony concluded with Paul Baker giving each winner an American Harp Society John Escosa Award in honor of former President of the AHS, John B. Escosa, Jr. The four other Grand Finalists, Deanna Cirielli, Anna Dunlap, Natalie Mann, and Juan Riveros, had previously received a $500 Maxwell Calkins Award.