UNCP music professor honored with International Composition Award

Dr. Mary Ann Craig (left) past president of ITEA, and Dr. Joanna Hersey, associate dean of Student Success and Curriculum at UNCP
Dr. Mary Ann Craig (left) past president of ITEA, and Dr. Joanna Hersey, associate dean of Student Success and Curriculum at UNCP

Dr. Joanna Hersey, professor of music and associate dean of Student Success and Curriculum for the College of Arts and Sciences at UNC Pembroke, was honored at the International Tuba Euphonium Conference held May 29-June 3 at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona.

The International Tuba Euphonium Association (ITEA) celebrated the organization's 50th anniversary with a week of concerts, student competitions, masterclasses and historical presentations. Participants gathered from across the world, joined by local educators, students, community members and a variety of exhibitors showcasing instrument design and new music.

Dr. Hersey received the inaugural ITEA Mary Ann Craig Focus on Women Award, established to highlight projects which focus on achievements and creativity of women, named in honor of Dr. Mary Ann Craig, performer, educator and past president of ITEA. "Our Focus on Women Award is a significant and important addition to the tuba euphonium community," notes past-president and conference host Dr. Deanna Swoboda. "This new award highlights and showcases the exceptional artistic work of women in what has been a predominantly white male organization and community."

Dr. Hersey, a United States Coast Guard Band veteran, attended the conference as a performer and presenter and served as a judge for the Tuba Military Band Competition, providing students with valuable feedback as they work toward their service goals in our nation's military bands. "I was honored to receive this award," notes Hersey, "especially since I have worked with Dr. Craig for more years than we want to admit! The biggest honor was performing in the ITEA President's Ensemble with her on the podium. I hope this award can inspire more creativity which centers women and I look forward to the projects considered for this prize in the future."

Dr. Mary Ann Craig was present as Dr. Hersey received the award and remarked, "I am thrilled that Dr. Hersey won the inaugural Mary Ann Craig Focus on Women Award. She is building a stellar career in multiple areas, including tuba performance, composition, research on women in music and pedagogy. She is a role model for students and colleagues alike." 

The winning project is her newest composition, Nanon, which features a graphic score composed for a euphonium and tuba duo with electronic accompaniment. This work showcases the experience of the mother of 18th-century musician Joseph Bologne Chevalier de Saint-Georges and their life together in late 18th-century Paris. "Expanding gender inclusion while presenting women role models," notes Dr. Swoboda, "this award is pushing the boundaries of what is possible, championing women in the tuba euphonium community and most importantly–– paving the way for others to go further."