Academy Awards

Tennessee Arts Academy Award Recipients

The Tennessee Arts Academy honors individuals and organizations each year in a variety of categories during the Bravo Awards Banquet and Performance and during the TAA Finale luncheon. Current and previous award winners are listed below, as well as descriptions of each award category.

The 2017 award recipients are as follows:

Christopher Durang

Distinguished Service Award
Bravo Awards Banquet and Performance
Curb Event Center
July 12 • 6:30 PM

Christopher Durang is one of America’s most prolific and celebrated playwrights. His play Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike won the 2013 Tony Award for best play in addition to the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award, Outer Circle Critics Award, and the Drama Desk Award. He received Obie Awards for his plays Sister Mary Ignatius Explains it All for You, The Marriage of Bette and Boo, and Betty’s Summer Vacation. Durang was a finalist for the 2006 Pulitzer Prize in drama for Miss Witherspoon and received a nomination for a Tony Award for best book of a musical for A History of the American Film. In 2010, he was presented with the very first Luminary Award from the New York Innovative Theatre Awards for his work off-off-Broadway. Durang won the PEN/Laura Pels International Foundation for Theater Award for Master American Dramatist in 2012. That same year, he was also inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame.

Other works by Durang include Mrs. Bob Cratchit’s Wild Christmas Binge; the musical Adrift in Macao, with music by Peter Melnick and book and lyrics by Durang; Beyond Therapy; Baby with the Bathwater; The Nature and Purpose of the Universe; Titanic; The Idiots Karamazov, co-authored by Albert Innaurato and featuring Meryl Streep; Laughing Wild; ‘Dentity Crisis; The Actor’s Nightmare; The Vietnamization of New Jersey; Why Torture is Wrong and the People Who Love Them; and Naomi in the Living Room.

Durang is also a performer; he acted with E. Katherine Kerr in the New York premiere of Laughing Wild and with Jean Smart in the play’s Los Angeles production. He shared an acting ensemble Obie for The Marriage of Bette and Boo. Durang has performed his crackpot cabaret Chris Durang and Dawne with John Augustine and Sherry Anderson at the Criterion Center, Caroline’s Comedy Club, Williamstown Summer Cabaret, and the Triad. The show received a Bistro Award in 1996.

In the early 1980s, Durang and Sigourney Weaver co-wrote and performed together in their acclaimed Brecht-Weill parody, Das Lusitania Songspiel, and were both nominated for Drama Desk awards for best performer in a musical.

In 1993, Durang sang at the Manhattan Theatre Club with Julie Andrews in the five-person, off-Broadway Sondheim revue Putting it Together. He also played a singing congressman in the Encores’ presentation of Call Me Madam with Tyne Daly at City Center.

In movies, he has appeared in The Secret of My Success, Mr. North, The Butcher’s Wife, Housesitter, and The Cowboy Way, among others.

Durang has been awarded numerous fellowships and high profile grants including a Guggenheim, a Rockefeller, the CBS Playwriting Fellowship, and the Lecomte du Nouy Foundation grant. In 1995, he won the prestigious three-year Lila Wallace Readers Digest Writers Award; as part of his grant, he ran a writing workshop for adult children of alcoholics. In 2000, he won the Madge Evans and Sidney Kingsley Playwriting Award.

Born in Montclair, New Jersey, Durang has degrees from Harvard College and the Yale School of Drama. From 1994 to 2016, he and Marsha Norman were co-chairs of the Playwriting Program at Juilliard. He is a current member of the Dramatist Guild’s Council.

Margaret Campbelle-Holman

Joe W. Giles Lifetime Achievement Award
TAA Finale Luncheon
Curb Event Center
July 14 • 11:30 AM

For more than forty years, music educator Margaret Campbelle-Holman has been mentoring, composing, conducting, and consulting with students and teachers across the United States. She is an author of three kindergarten to eighth grade music book series published by McGraw-Hill Education. In 1996, she was the co-lyricist for the state of Tennessee School Song. In 1997, she founded the MET Singers. She currently serves as the executive director of Choral Arts Link, a nonprofit devoted to fostering choral legacies for middle Tennessee’s children and youth. In 1998, she created a community-arts partnership with Nashville Symphony. Since that time and for nineteen seasons, the MET Singers (appearing as the Celebration Youth Chorus) have performed with the symphony during the Let Freedom Sing concert.

In 2004, Campbell-Holman served as artistic manager and choir mistress for the 100 voice children and youth chorus that premiered Nashville Symphony’s commissioned work Proud Music of the Storm. The work was composed by Bruce Saylor, conducted by Kenneth Schermerhorn, and funded by the National Endowment for the Arts.  She was the project director for the MET Singer’s premier of two commissioned works with the Nashville Symphony Chorus in 2015, as well as the Nashville Symphony in 2016.

In January 2017, she partnered with Kelly Corcoran’s contemporary music ensemble Intersection, as well as Fisk University and the Carl Van Vechten Art Gallery to present Upon These Shoulders. This program lifts up the deep heritage and strength of everyday people who lived and walked the civil rights movement, led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In addition to the MET singers and Intersection, collaborating artists included Freedom Rider Ernest “Rip” Patton and the Fisk Jubilee Singers, along with soloists and spoken word artists. In April of this year, Campbell-Holman collaborated with Intersection again to present Voices of Today.

Campbell-Holman currently serves as program director for MET Academy in the Schools and MET Summer Academy.

Arts Leadership Award of Excellence

is presented to an individual or group who has achieved a unique milestone in the arts that deserves recognition and honor.

Distinguished Service Award

is presented to an American whose work stands as a monument to the importance of the arts in the lives of all people.

Joe W. Giles Lifetime Achievement Award

is conferred upon a Tennessee teacher, whose life's work is widely acknowledged to have positively influenced the role of the arts in education, thereby benefiting the students of Tennessee's schools.

Lamar Alexander Founder's Award of Distinction

is presented to an individual whose meritorious accomplishments in the fields of education and the arts have profoundly impacted American culture and life.

Lorin Hollander Award

is given to a Tennessean whose influence has benefited arts education in general and/or the Tennessee Arts Academy in particular. This award is named in honor of internationally renowned concert pianist Lorin Hollander, a special friend of the Academy.

Partner in the Arts Award

honors an individual or business whose generosity and support have contributed in sustained and significant ways to the success of the Tennessee Arts Academy's mission.

Spirit of Tennessee Award

recognizes an individual or group whose work exemplifies the highest standards of artistic endeavor and brings positive recognition to the place of the arts in the lives of Tennesseans.

Previous Recipients:

Joe W. Giles Lifetime

Achievement Award


Lorin Hollander Award


Distinguished Service Award

1995   Joseph Edward Hodges, Crossville
1996   Freda Kenner, Bells
1996   Sue Blass, Jackson
1997   Elizabeth Rike, Knoxville
1997   Celia Bachelder, Kingsport
1998   James Charles Mills, Johnson City
1998   Gene Crain, Memphis
1999   Patricia Brown, Knoxville
2000   Robert Pletcher, Nashville
2000   Kathy Hawk, Kingsport
2001   Tommie Pardue, Memphis
2001   Tully Daniel, Memphis (awarded posthumously)
2004   Marilyn duBrisk, Greeneville
2004   Bobby Jean Frost, Nashville
2005   Nancy Boone-Allsbrook, Murfreesboro
2005   Sally Crain Jager, Cookeville
2006   Michael Combs, Knoxville
2006   Jean R. Thomas, Chattanooga
2006   Mitchell Van Metre, Knoxville
2007   David Logan, Johnson City
  James R. Holcomb, Memphis
Flowerree W. (Galetovic) McDonough, Knoxville
Joe W. Giles, Nashville
Richard Mitchell, Knoxville
Carol Crittenden, Nashville
Fred Patterson, Knoxville
Gregg Coats, Memphis
1994   Cavit Cheshier, education executive
1995   Steven Cohen, state senator
1996   Nellie McNeil, teacher and advocate
1997   Tom L. Naylor, music educator and administrator
1998   T. Earl Hinton, music educator
1999   Jane Walters, educator and arts advocate
2000   Martha McCrory, music educator
2001   Solie Fott, music educator

  Jeanette Crosswhite, arts education administrator

   Pat and Thane Smith, arts patrons and philanthropists
Cindy Freeman and Michael Meise, music educators and arts advocates
1994   Charles Strouse, Broadway composer
1995   Charles Fowler, arts educator, writer and advocate
1996   Jerome Lawrence, playwright
1997   Lorin Hollander, concert pianist and philosopher
2000   Scott Ellis, Broadway theatre director
2000   Mary Costa, opera singer
2001   Sheldon Harnick, Broadway lyricist
2001   Tina Packer, Shakespeare actor and director
2003   Bob McGrath, singer and host of Sesame Street
2005   John Simon, author and arts critic
2005   Dean Pitchford, songwriter, lyricist, screenwriter, and director
2006   Andre Thomas, choral conductor
2007   Joe DiPietro, Broadway playwright and lyricist




  Henry Krieger, Broadway composer
Marvin Hamlisch, composer and pianist
Richard Sherman, composer and lyricist
Marc Cherry, Hollywood writer and producer
Rupert Holmes, playwright, composer, and lyricist
Richard Maltby, Jr., Director, Lyricist, Producer, Writer


Spirit of Tennessee Award


Partner in the Arts Award


Arts Leadership Award of Excellence

2000   Wilma Dykeman, writer
2001   Jim Crabtree, theatre director and writer
2002   Alice Swanson, arts education administrator and advocate
2003   George Mabry, choral conductor
2006   Dolph Smith, visual artist
2009   George S. Clinton, Hollywood film composer
2009   Jackie Nichols, theatre administrator
2009   Michael Stern, symphony conductor
  Cherry Jones, Broadway actress
Charles Brindley, Visual Artist
2008   Steve Spiegel, president of Theatrical Rights Worldwide
  E. Frank Bluestein, Germantown
Music Makes Us, Nashville

Lamar Alexander Founder's Award of Distinction

  Senator Lamar Alexander, United States Senator Douglas Henry, Tennessee State Senator