Department of Music Awards

The Ann-Marie Parsons Memorial Prize

This award was established in 1991 in memory of Ann-Marie Parsons (Trinity '92) and recognizes excellence in the field of jazz studies.

The William Klenz Prize in Music Composition

This prize is awarded to a graduate or undergraduate student.

The Julia Wilkinson Mueller Prize for Excellence in Music

This award is named in honor of a former chair of the Department of Music and member of the Ciompi Quartet and is presented "to a graduating senior for achievement in musical performance."

The Henry Schuman Music Prize

This prize is awarded "to a graduating senior for an original composition or a distinguished paper in music history or analysis."

The Paul R. Bryan Award

Presented annually to recognize outstanding musicianship and exemplary service to the Duke University Wind Symphony. This award is given in honor of Professor Emeritus, Paul R. Bryan, professor of Music and conductor of the Wind Symphony (1951-1989).

The Ciompi Quartet Award

The Ciompi Quartet Award celebrates juniors and seniors who have excelled in chamber music and made it a significant focus of their time in the Duke Music Department. 

The Duke Symphony Orchestra Conductor’s Award

This award recognizes the graduating senior or seniors who have consistently displayed the highest level of musical excellence, exemplary service and thoughtful leadership in the Duke Symphony Orchestra.

Arts & Sciences Awards

Sudler Prize

The Louis Sudler Prize in the Arts is an award is presented annually by a faculty committee to a graduating senior who has demonstrated the most outstanding achievement in artistic performance or creation during four years of undergraduate work. The prize of $2,000 was established in 1983 through the generosity of Louis C. Sudler, Chicago, IL.

Benenson Award in the Arts

A lifetime member and former chair of the Friends of the Duke University Museum of Art, Edward Benenson (Trinity '34, Duke trustee emeritus) has been an important advocate for the arts on campus. He established the Benenson Awards in the Arts at Duke, along with the Benenson Lecture Series in the Arts. Since 1981, when the first Benenson Awards were given, more than 200 students have directly benefited from the program. Their endeavors have included art historical research leading to publications; creative summer projects resulting in exhibitions, films, or musical compositions; and participation in summer educational institutions, such as the Aspen Music Festival and the British American Drama Academy.

These grants support undergraduate or graduate students who show exceptional ability in the arts to undertake summer study at a nationally recognized arts program. The grant recipients are determined by a Duke arts program: Music; Art, Art History & Visual Studies; Dance; Theater Studies; Arts of the Moving Image; Center for Documentary Studies; Creative Writing (English); and the Nasher Museum. Each program is given $2500 to award to one or more students.


Undergraduate and graduate arts students are eligible. Preference should be given to students majoring in an arts program, however, the department chair can demonstrate that a non-major is fully immersed in the unit’s arts programming and shows exceptional abilities as an artist.  For example, students receiving the grant are likely to do graduation with distinction projects in the arts or should be prominently featured in the department’s arts programming during the school year following summer study.

Graduating seniors or students completing a terminal graduate degree before summer study commences are NOT eligible.

The summer program should be nationally recognized (e.g., Aspen Music Festival for Music, American Dance Festival for Dance) and allow students to engage in intensive study with established professionals and other talented student artists. Residencies at artist colonies are NOT eligible.

Students may not combine this grant with a Benenson Award to support study at the same summer program. Moreover, students may not commit to another summer program that overlaps or otherwise interferes with the summer arts program. Students who have made previous commitment to a summer program that overlaps or interferes with the summer arts program are not eligible.


Each department or program will identify the student(s) who will receive a grant and determine application deadlines internally. It will be up to the department to ensure that the student meets all eligibility requirements. The application must be received in Room 105 of the Mary Duke Biddle Building by March 1, 2014, to be considered. The department should forward its recommendations to the Vice Provost for the Arts by Friday, April 26, 2014, with the following materials:

  • Student’s name
  • Arts field
  • Major or Degree Program
  • Class year
  • Summer study program
  • Budget
  • Recommendation letter from the chair or program director supporting each student and attesting to the importance of the summer study program
  • Statement from the student articulating his/her goals as an artist

If the student is not admitted to the proposed summer study program, no award will be made.  Unspent funds do not carry over from year to year. The grant recipients must submit a report on their summer study experience to the Vice Provost for the Arts by the end of August 2014.