April 08, 2010
Bruce Polay, artistic director/conductor of the Knox-Galesburg Symphony, and professor and chair of the music department at Knox College, has been named 2010 Illinois Conductor of the Year by the Illinois Council of Orchestras (ICO). The award recognizes innovation in programming, soloist selection, quality of concert performances, personal involvement in the community and relationships with the orchestra's musicians and board of directors.
Polay is the first conductor in the history of the award to win it three times. Bryan Shilander, chair of the ICO Awards Panel, will formally present the award to Polay at the symphony's April 17 concert at the Orpheum Theatre in Galesburg.
The ICO awards panel included judges from outside arts organizations, as well as the ICO, a state service organization for over 100 professional, community, youth, and college orchestras from throughout Illinois.
Polay joined the Knox-Galesburg Symphony and Knox College faculty in 1983. He teaches music history, music theory and composition, and has won honors for his orchestral compositions, including ASCAP/Rudolf Nissim Composition Competition and ASCAP/Plus Awards. A concert pianist, he has performed as soloist and recitalist in Europe and in the United States, and has served as judge for international piano competitions. Polay has guest conducted orchestras in the US, Belarus, England, Italy, Mexico, Romania, Russia, Spain, and Ukraine.
Founded in 1951, the Knox-Galesburg Symphony is a joint initiative of Knox College and the Galesburg community. In addition to Polay's three Conductor of the Year awards, the Knox-Galesburg Symphony has won recognition from the ICO eleven times in eight areas, including three awards as Orchestra of the Year, as well as awards for cultural leadership, programming, community relations, general manager, board president and volunteers.
Founded in 1837, Knox is a national liberal arts college in Galesburg, Illinois, with students from 47 states and 48 countries. Knox's "Old Main" is a National Historic Landmark and the only building remaining from the 1858 Lincoln-Douglas debates.