Frost Distinguished Alumni Award Winners

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In 2019, the Multi-Grammy award-winning country music artist Lari White was honored with the award posthumously. It was presented to her husband, Chuck Cannon, by Dean Shelton Berg.

Congratulations to Our Award Recipients!

Congratulations to all of the Frost School of Music alumni who have received Frost Distinguished Alumni Awards to date. Your professional career accomplishments are an inspiration to those who follow in your footsteps.


  • 2019: Raul Midón, B.M. '90

    Raul Midón, B.M. ‘88, was named the Frost School of Music's Distinguished Alumnus of 2019. More information to come!






  • 2018: Lari White, B.M. '88

    Lari White, B.M. ‘88, was named the Frost School of Music's Distinguished Alumnus of 2018 posthumously. Lari White’s music earned three GRAMMY Awards for The Apostle Soundtrack and Amazing Grace 1 and 2: A Country Tribute. Her album Green Eyed Soul (2004), on her own label, Skinny White Girl Records, was hailed by the London Times as the best soul album of the year. She co-produced Toby Keith’s million-selling album White Trash with Money (2006), making Lari one of the first and only women in country music to produce a major label act. Read More>>>

  • 2017: Joshua Henry, B.M. ‘06

    Joshua Henry B.M. ‘06

    Joshua Henry, B.M. ‘06, named the Frost School of Music's Distinguished Alumnus of 2017, has earned his third Tony Award nomination for best leading actor as the role of Aaron Burr in the musical Hamilton. His second Tony nomination was obtained for Best Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical for his performance as "Flick" in the Roundabout Theatre Company’s production of Violet opposite Sutton Foster. The role also earned him nominations for Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards. His turn as Haywood Patterson in The Scottsboro Boys earned Henry his first Tony Award nomination in 2011. Read more>>>

  • 2016: Cristian Măcelaru, B.M. ‘03

    Cristian Macelaru B.M. ‘03

    Romanian-born conductor Cristian Măcelaru, B.M. ‘03 is the 2016 Frost School of Music Distinguished Alumnus. He will return to the University of Miami campus this season to conduct the Frost Symphony Orchestra and accept his award. 2016 also marks Măcelaru’s inaugural season as music director and conductor of the Cabrillo Festival, America’s longest running festival dedicated to new orchestral music. Executive Director Ellen Primack says, "His curiosity and passion, coupled with his skill and dynamism on the podium, make him a perfect fit." Read More>>>

  • 2015: John Easterlin, B.M. ‘84

    John Easterlin, B.M. '84

    John Easterlin, B.M. ‘84 was named the 2015 University of Miami Phillip and Patricia Frost School of Music Distinguished Alumnus. Easterlin was honored during his Festival Miami concert, “What a Character! The Many Faces of John Easterlin.” He is one of international opera’s most compelling performers. He makes regular appearances with America’s leading opera houses, including the Metropolitan Opera, New York City Opera, the Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Francisco Opera, and more. He performs at top festivals, including Ravinia, Tanglewood, Spoleto USA, and Saito Kinen Festival in Japan. Read More>>>

  • 2014: Steve Bailey, B.M. '85

    Steve Bailey, B.M. '85

    Steve Bailey, B.M. '85, bassist and educator, named Frost School of Music 2014 Distinguished Alumnus, is famous for his pioneering work with the six string fretless bass. Bailey is a master of styles, having recorded and toured with such diverse artists as Dizzy Gillespie, Dave Liebman, Paquito D’Rivera, Claudio Roditi, the Rippingtons, David Benoit, Jethro Tull, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Willie Nelson, and many more. After earning music degrees from North Texas State University and the University of Miami Frost School of Music, Bailey moved to New York. Read More>>>

  • 2013: Elizabeth Caballero, B.M. ‘99

    Elizabeth Caballero, B.M., ‘99Cuban American soprano Elizabeth Caballero, B.M. ‘99 recipient of the Frost School of Music 2013 Distinguished Alumna award, has performed in many of the great opera houses of North America. Her compelling interpretation of Violetta in La Traviata led to national engagements performing the role for Florentine Opera, Madison Opera, Pacific Symphony, and the Orlando Philharmonic. Read More>>>

  • 2012: André Raphel, B.M. ‘84

    André Raphel, B.M. ‘84André Raphel, B.M. ‘84, named Frost School of Music 2012 Distinguished Alumnus, has established a reputation as an exciting and versatile conductor through innovative programming, a commitment to new music, and fresh interpretations of the standard repertoire. Raphel is Music Director of the Wheeling Symphony Orchestra. He also enjoys an active career as a guest conductor with the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Detroit Symphony, and Oregon Symphony. Additionally, he has served as Assistant Conductor at the New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, and the Saint Louis Symphony. Read More>>>


  • 2011: Douglas J. Cuomo, B.M. '83

    Douglas Cuomo, B.M. ‘83Frost School of Music’s 2011 Distinguished Alumnus Douglas J. Cuomo, B.M. '83 has written extensively for concert and theatrical stages, television and film. His expressive musical language is a natural outgrowth of his eclectic background and training. While in his teens, Cuomo became a professional jazz guitarist, alternating his time in college with years on the road performing with a host of name acts. Read More>>>

  • 2010: Sandra Lopez, B.M. ‘96

    Sandra Lopez, B.M. ‘96Soprano Sandra Lopez, B.M. ‘96 Frost School of Music’s 2010 Distinguished Alumna, has captivated audiences around the world with her critically acclaimed performances in a wide variety of roles. Her performances include the title roles of Tosca and Suor Angelica, Cio-Cio San in Madama Butterfly, Nedda in I Pagliacci, Catherine in A View from the Bridge, Liu in Turandot, Micaela in Carmen, Mimi in La Boheme, Tatiana in Eugene Onegin, Marguerite in Faust, Violetta in La Traviata, and Aida in concert in Spain. Read More>>>


  • 2009: Charles Mason, B.M. ‘77

    Charles Mason, B.M. ‘77Charles Mason B.M. ‘77, is an associate professor and chair of the Department of Theory and Composition at the University of Miami Frost School of Music, where he received the Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2009. He has received many awards for his compositions including the American Composers Orchestra “Playing it Unsafe” prize, the 2005 Rome Prize, the Premi Internacional de Composició Musical Ciutat de Tarragona Orchestra Music prize, and a National Endowment of the Arts Individual Artist Award. Read More>>>

  • 2008: Lucy Arner, B.M. ‘86

    Lucy Arner,  B.M. ‘86Cuban born conductor, and Frost School of Music 2008 Distinguished Alumna Lucy Arner, B.M. ‘86, has an extraordinary list of musical accomplishments. She brings to the podium a special affinity for Italian and French opera, having worked in some of the world’s greatest opera houses including the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona and the Metropolitan Opera. She made her professional debut in 1996 conducting Puccini’s Suor Angelica and Menotti’s The Telephone at the Teatro Mancinelli in Orvieto, Italy. Read More>>>

  • 2007: David Clemmons, B.M. ‘88

    David Clemmons, B.M. ‘88David Clemmons, B.M. ‘88, was named Frost School of Music 2007 Distinguished Alumnus. He is an award-winning music supervisor, producer, casting director, and vocal director. He began his career as a performer on Broadway with roles in Les Miserables (Valjean), and the original companies of The Civil War and The Scarlet Pimpernel. He was seen in the national tours of Les Miserables and Jekyll & Hyde, and he appeared onstage at Houston’s Tony-award winning Alley Theatre in As You Like It and Jekyll & Hyde. Read More>>>

  • 2006: Michael Kovins, B.M. ‘70

    Michael Kovins, B.M. ‘70Michael Kovins, B.M. ‘70, recipient of the Frost School of Music’s 2006 Distinguished Alumnus award, is a University of Miami Frost School of Music graduate with a degree in business and music. He went on to become one of the leading and most impassioned voices in music retailing and music education. Kovins is best known as founding member and President/CEO of Korg USA. During his 26 year tenure, Kovins grew Korg to become one of the country’s largest suppliers of electronic musical instruments to retailers and major artists. Read More>>>


  • 2005: Joel McNeely, B.M. ‘82

    Joel McNeely, B.M. ‘82Frost School of Music’s 2005 Distinguished Alumnus Joel McNeely, B.M. ‘82, is an Emmy Award-winning composer, producer, and conductor who works with many of Hollywood’s most influential producers and directors including James Cameron, John Lasseter, Seth MacFarlane, and George Lucas. McNeely received an Emmy Award for Outstanding Achievement in Music Composition, an ASCAP Film and Television Award, and a Gramophone Magazine Award. He was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Achievement in Music Direction, a Grammy for Outstanding Classical Crossover Album, and an Annie Award for Outstanding Music in an Animated Feature. Read More>>>

  • 2004: Jim Papoulis, M.M. ‘82

    Jim Papoulis, M.M. ‘82Jim Papoulis, M.M. ‘82was named Frost School of Music 2004 Distinguished Alumnus. He composes, orchestrates, and conducts music for dance, film, symphonies, quartets, pop bands, gospel, and choirs. Paploulis’ distinctive style combines contemporary sounds with musical traditions from around the globe. His award-winning compositions are known for exploring new modes of musical communication by connecting classical and traditional forms with non-Western sounds and computer technology. Read More>>>


  • 2003: Carmen Lundy, B.M. ‘80

    Carmen Lundy, B.M. ‘80Frost School of Music 2003 Distinguished Alumna Carmen Lundy, B.M. ‘80, is a jazz vocalist, composer and actress celebrated throughout the world for her vocal artistry and jazz innovation. She attended the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami as an Opera major but soon discovered that jazz was her calling. After graduating with a degree in studio music and jazz, she moved to New York where she amassed a devoted following throughout North America, Asia, the UK, and Europe. Read More>>>

  • 2002: Lewis Cleale, B.M. ‘89

    Lewis Cleale, B.M. ‘89Lewis Cleale, B.M. ‘89, named University of Miami School of Music 2002 Distinguished Alumnus, is one of the most gifted musical actors on the stage today. He majored in finance at the University of Miami until he picked up a double major in music where he was encouraged to pursue a career in singing. His first big break came when he was cast in a European tour of Oklahoma! He made his Broadway debut in the 1995 Johnny Burke revue Swinging on a Star, for which he received a Drama Desk Award nomination as Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical. Read More>>>

  • 2001: Rosa Vento, B.M. ‘83

    Rosa Vento, B.M. ‘83Rosa Vento, B.M. ‘83, named University of Miami School of Music 2001 Distinguished Alumna, has performed to popular acclaim on both sides of the Atlantic. Her most notable appearances include the Vienna State Opera as Ilia in Idomeneo conducted by Sir Colin Davis, Silvana in the world premiere of Schnittke’s Gesualdo conducted by Mstislav Rostropovich, Hèléne in Verdi’s Jerusalem conducted by Zubin Mehta, and more. Vento has won a number of prestigious vocal awards, including the Loren L. Zachary Society competition, Metropolitan Opera National Council auditions, Rosa Ponselle International competition, Friday Morning Music Club, Palm Beach Opera auditions, and Liederkranz Foundation competition. She has a private voice studio in New York City and serves as faculty for NYU’s Steinhardt School and AMDA. Read More>>>

  • 2000: Kenneth Fuchs, B.M. ‘79

    Kenneth Fuchs, B.M. ‘79University of Miami Frost School of Music 2000 Distinguished Alumnus Kenneth Fuchs, B.M. ‘79, is an acclaimed composer of music for orchestra, band, chorus, and various chamber ensembles. He has received numerous commissions, achieving significant recognition through global media exposure. BBC Music Magazine called Fuchs “a master of orchestral writing.” His music has been performed in the United States, Europe, and Asia. Read More>>>


  • 1999: Jon Secada, B.M. ‘83; M.M. ‘86

    Jon Secada, B.M. ‘83; M.M. ‘86Jon Secada, B.M. ‘83; M.M. ‘86, is a three-time Grammy winner and international superstar.  With sales of more than 20 million albums worldwide, Secada is also a veteran of Broadway, television, and an accomplished producer. Secada joined Gloria Estefan’s band as a background singer when he left UM, where he composed several ballads for Estefan, including the number one hit “Coming Out of the Dark.” His debut album Jon Secada went triple platinum, and the Spanish-language version was the Number One Latin album of 1992, earning a Grammy for Best Latin Pop Album. Secada’s second album, Heart Soul and Voice, went platinum, and his third album, Amor, earned a Grammy for Best Latin Pop Performance. Read More>>>

  • 1998: Paul Martin Zonn, B.M. ‘59

    Paul Martin Zonn, B.M. ‘59Composer, conductor, and clarinetist Paul Martin Zonn, B.M. ‘59 is the recipient of many professional awards, yet he was reportedly most pleased to have been named University of Miami School of Music Distinguished Alumnus in 1998. Heralded as an innovator both in composition and clarinet performance, Zonn attended the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami on scholarship and later studied clarinet in Baltimore and New York, earning advanced degrees from the University of Iowa. He appeared on stage as clarinet soloist at Carnegie Hall, Tanglewood, and Ravinia, and with many different styles of musical artists that include the Lenox String Quartet, country music great Vince Gill, the Miami Philharmonic, the Nashville Jug Band, and the New Orleans Eagle Band. Read More>>>

  • 1997: Curtis Rayam, B.M. ‘73

    Curtis Rayam, B.M. ‘73The career of University of Miami Frost School of Music 1997 Distinguished Alumnus Curtis Rayam, B.M. ‘73 has taken him through some of Europe’s most venerable opera houses. The American tenor rose to international prominence in 1984 when he substituted for the ailing Luciano Pavarotti and sang the title role of Mozart’s Idomeneo to critical acclaim. Rayam made his professional debut with the Miami Opera in Puccini’s Manon Lescaut. He established a national reputation with the Houston Grand Opera in the role of Remus in Scott Joplin’s Treemonisha. Read More>>>

  • 1996: Samuel Pilafian, B.M. ‘72

    Samuel Pilafian, B.M. ‘72University of Miami Frost School of Music 1996 Distinguished Alumnus Samuel Pilafian, B.M. ‘72 is a renowned tuba artist versatile in both classical and jazz realms. He has recorded and performed with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Duke Ellington Orchestra, Lionel Hampton, and Pink Floyd. As a solo jazz artist, Pilafian has recorded 15 albums. A member of the large brass ensemble Summit Brass, Pilafian is best known as a founding member of the internationally recognized classical ensemble Empire Brass Quintet. Read More>>>

  • 1995: Dominique-René de Lerma, B.M. ‘52

    Dominique-René de Lerma, B.M. ‘52University of Miami School of Music 1995 Distinguished Alumnus Dominique-René de Lerma, B.M. ‘52 is a highly accomplished oboist, educator, American musicologist, and professor of music history who is considered the world’s foremost authority on black classical composers. In 1951, de Lerma became the youngest member ever to join the University of Miami School of Music faculty. He taught classical and general music history, music humanities and symphonic literature, while also coaching oboe and bassoon. Read More>>>

  • 1994: Dawnn Lewis, B.M. ‘82

    Dawnn Lewis, B.M. ‘82University of Miami School of Music 1994 Distinguished Alumna Dawnn Lewis, B.M. ‘82 is a triple-threat performer who has more than a hundred theater, film, and television credits. The Los Angeles-based actress is best known for her television role as Jaleesa in the hit TV sitcom A Different World, for which she also penned the theme music. In addition, she starred in Hangin’ With Mr. Cooper, performing its Season 1 ensemble theme song. Lewis is a Grammy Award-winning singer, a multiple ASCAP and BMI Award-winning songwriter, and an actress. Read More>>>

  • 1993: Bruce Ferden, B.M. ‘71

    Bruce Ferden, B.M. ‘71

    University of Miami School of Music 1993 Distinguished Alumnus Bruce Ferden, B.M. ‘71 gained international recognition as a conductor and musical director, leading orchestras throughout the United States, Europe, and Africa. At the age of 25, after working with Peter Herman Adler at the American Opera Center, Ferden was appointed assistant conductor of the New York Philharmonic. He later became music director of the Spokane Symphony for six seasons, the Nebraska Chamber Orchestra for nine years, and general music director of symphony and opera for the city of Aachen in Germany. Read More>>>

  • 1992: Thomas Hilbish, B.M. ‘41

    Thomas Hilbish, B.M. ‘41In a career spanning 40 years, University of Miami School of Music 1992 Distinguished Alumnus Thomas Hilbish, B.M. ‘41 has established himself as one of America’s leading conductors of choral music, widely recognized for fostering and interpreting 20th-century choral repertoire. Hilbish attended the University of Miami on music and basketball scholarships, where he was captain of the basketball team, president of the Student Body, and president of Florida Student Government. After graduating, Hilbish served his country during WWII as a naval aviation pilot trainer. Read More>>>

  • 1991: Constance J. Weldon, B.M. ‘53

    Constance J. Weldon, B.M. ‘53

    Florida native Constance J. Weldon, B.M. ‘53, named University of Miami Frost School of Music 1991 Distinguished Alumna, is known as the first professional female tubist in the United States. A former professor and Dean of The University of Miami Frost School of Music, Weldon performed six years with the North Carolina Symphony and two years with Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops. She later became first chair tuba with the Greater Miami Philharmonic. Read More>>>

  • 1990: Gary D. Fry, B.M. ‘76


    Gary D. Fry, B.M. ‘76University of Miami Frost School of Music 1990 Distinguished Alumnus Gary D. Fry, B.M. ‘76 is an Emmy-winning Chicago based composer, arranger, producer, and music educator. has a 19-year affiliation with the Chicago Symphony with more than 100 commissions during that span. He is also an artistic consultant and arranger for the Dallas Symphony and Chorus. He is the most-performed living composer with nearly 100 works for the renowned Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus. His work has also been performed by the Dallas Symphony and Colorado Symphony orchestras, the pops orchestras of Boston, Philadelphia, Dallas, and New York, and the American Jazz Philharmonic. Fry’s extensive background in choral music has led to several commissions from academic and professional vocal ensembles across the country. Read More>>>


  • 1989: Bruce Hornsby, B.M. ‘77

    Bruce Hornsby, B.M. ‘77Bruce Hornsby, B.M. ‘77, University of Miami Frost School of Music 1989 Distinguished Alumnus, is a thirteen-time Grammy Award nominee and three-time winner. He has sold over 11 million records worldwide and collaborated with such artists as Bob Dylan, Sting, Bela Fleck, Stevie Nicks, Branford Marsalis, and The Grateful Dead, among many others. Hornsby is an American singer and keyboardist notorious for the spontaneity and creativity of his live performance. His songwriting and seamless improvisation draws from classical, jazz, bluegrass, folk, Motown, gospel, rock, and blues. Read More>>>

  • 1987: Marvis Martin, B.M. ‘77

    Marvis Martin, B.M. ‘77Marvis Martin, B.M. ‘77, named University of Miami Frost School of Music 1987 Distinguished Alumna, is an African-American operatic soprano best known for her concert performances and recitals, including her renditions of Joseph Canteloube’s Chants d’Auvergne, and of Bess in Bobby McFerrin’s touring concert version of Porgy and Bess. Martin is acclaimed for her beauty of voice and sensitive communication, receiving awards, medals and glowing reviews as a song recitalist, concert singer, and opera performer. Read More>>>

  • 1986: Judith Nelson Drucker, B.M. ‘48

    Judith Nelson Drucker, B.M. ‘48Impressaria Judith Nelson Drucker, B.M. ‘48 was named University of Miami Frost School of Music 1986 Distinguished Alumna. She is responsible for establishing the Concert Association of Florida as one of the state’s most formidable artistic presenting organizations. For four decades under her leadership, the Concert Association of Florida never wavered in its mission to present world-class orchestras, classical artists, and dance in South Florida. Read More>>>

  • 1985: Willie Anthony Waters, B.M. ‘73

    Willie Anthony Waters, B.M. ‘73Conductor Willie Anthony Waters, B.M. ‘73, named University of Miami Frost School of Music 1985 Distinguished Alumnus, is a regular guest of opera companies and symphony orchestras in North America, Europe, and Africa. Waters served as General and Artistic Director of the Connecticut Opera for twelve years, conducting more than thirty productions, and as Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the Greater Miami Opera for seven seasons. During his tenure, Waters led a number of noteworthy productions. Read More>>>

  • 1984: Johanna Meier, ‘56-‘58

    Johanna Meier, ‘56-‘58Johanna Meier, ‘56-‘58, received the first-ever University of Miami School of Music Distinguished Alumni award in 1984. Recognized as one of the foremost Wagnerian sopranos of her era, Meier made her debut with the New York City Opera in 1969, followed by a major international career as a fourteen-year member of the Metropolitan Opera. Meier performed with most of the major symphony orchestras in the United States and abroad, including the New York Philharmonic, the Chicago Symphony, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and l’Orchestre de Paris, among many others. Read More>>>