Announcing The Winners Of The Inaugural Donald Runnicles Musical Arts Scholarship Competition


The Grand Teton Music Festival is pleased to announce the winners of the inaugural scholarship competition in honor of its Music Director Donald Runnicles. Pianist Ben Kaufman, saxophonist Taylor King, and cellist Sophie Lyman won first, second and third prizes respectively.

First prize winner Ben Kaufman hails from Saint Anthony, Idaho. He graduated from South Fremont High School and will attend Brigham Young University–Idaho in the fall. Second place winner Saxophonist Taylor King just graduated from Borah High School in Boise, Idaho. Cellist Sophie Lyman, who placed third, is from Rexburg, Idaho and just graduated from Madison High School.

The Donald Runnicles Musical Arts Scholarship is for high school seniors from Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana who plan to pursue degrees in music (classical, jazz, or other) at an accredited four-year college with a music program recognized by the National Association of Schools of Music, or a conservatory with a widely recognized national profile such as The Juilliard School, Curtis Institute of Music, or the New England Conservatory.

GTMF invited eight students to perform in a daylong festival of music at Walk Festival Hall in Jackson Hole on Saturday, June 9, 2018 to compete for $40,000 in scholarship prize money.

The eight semi-finalists included two pianists, a guitarist, violinist, vocalist, euphonium player, oboist, and cellist. The first prize was $20,000. $12,500 second prize, and $7,500 for third prize. Each finalist performed a twenty-five minute program on stage at Walk Festival Hall for a live audience.

“From the initial concept to the announcement of the winners on Saturday night, this scholarship has been one of the most meaningful projects I have worked on at the Festival. Seeing the faces of both the students and their families at the award ceremony is something I will cherish.” Grand Teton Music Festival President & CEO Andrew Palmer Todd said, after emceeing the daylong event and working closely with Development Director Anna Mattson to deliver the vision of an anonymous donor.

The competition was judged by three notable musicians. Hasse Borup, violin, is Head of String and Chamber Music Studies at the University of Utah. Associate Professor in violin and also a longtime Festival Orchestra member. Andrew Staupe, piano, is the Assistant Professor of piano at the University of Utah, an avid chamber music musician and a soloist with many of the country’s top orchestras. Adam Ballif, clarinet, is on the faculty at Brigham Young University-Idaho.

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About the Grand Teton Music Festival (GTMF):

For seven weeks each summer, the Grand Teton Music Festival reunites 200 celebrated orchestral musicians. These musicians represent 82 different orchestras and 57 institutions of higher learning throughout Europe and North America. After the summer season, GTMF provides various community outreach programs, a Winter Festival, as well as broadcasts from The Metropolitan Opera’s Live in HD series. The Grand Teton Music Festival is the single largest performing arts presenter in Jackson Hole with nearly 100 events annually. The Festival also launched a 13-part national radio broadcast called “Live from the Grand Teton Music Festival,” co-hosted by Donald Runnicles and Andrew Palmer Todd. Check local radio listings for broadcast times.

For media and interview requests, please contact Brittany Laughlin, Marketing Manager, Grand Teton Music Festival: or 307.733.3050.

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Announcing The Inaugural Donald Runnicles Musical Arts Scholarship Competition
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