Jason Burdett named ASO Music Educator of the Year

The Akron Symphony Orchestra is pleased to announce that Jason Burdett is the recipient of the Akron Symphony Orchestra’s Music Educator of the Year Award for 2019.

Akron Symphony Orchestra

Jason Burdett

Jason, the middle school and high school orchestra director in the Aurora City School District, will be honored at the Akron Symphony’s performance of The Four Seasons on November 16 at The University of Akron’s E.J. Thomas Hall.

“I am humbled and honored to be recognized for this award. I grew up in the Akron area and was a member of the Akron Youth Orchestra as a student and I understand the importance of having such a fine organization committed to music education,” Jason said of the award. “We are truly blessed to have so many talented musicians in the Akron Symphony who are willing to positively impact our communities. 

“I want to thank Marlene Moses, Cory Smith, Keith Holliday and Eric Benjamin for being my musical mentors, and I want to express my gratitude to the Akron Symphony and Maestro Christopher Wilkins for shining a light on the importance of music education through this award. The study of music helps students to collaborate, think analytically and creatively, develop grit, set goals and communicate effectively. If our students are going to succeed in the future, then music education needs to be part of their training. 

“Finally, I want to thank Chrysa Kovach for nominating me for this award and for fulfilling the excellent musical promise she showed as a student.”

Jason has been a member of the Aurora City School District for 20 years. He earned his bachelor’s degree in music education from Kent State University in 1999, a master’s of education degree in measurement and assessment from Kent State in 2008, and a second master’s of education degree curriculum and instruction from the American College of Education in 2019.

“The study of music helps students to collaborate, think analytically and creatively, develop grit, set goals and communicate effectively. If our students are going to succeed in the future, then music education needs to be part of their training.” – Jason Burdett, Music Educator of the Year

His orchestras have earned Superior ratings from the Ohio Music Education Association and have performed internationally. He seeks to inspire students to become lifelong musicians by encouraging students to explore composing, improvisation, performing concertos with the orchestra, and the study of music history and world music. In addition to two traditional high school orchestras, Jason leads a rock orchestra and several ensembles that perform for the community.

Outside of the classroom, he has performed violin in the Cleveland/Akron area for the past 20 years, including a concert in Playhouse Square with Christian recording artist Michael W. Smith, and as principal second of the Tuscarawas Philharmonic Orchestra under the direction of Eric Benjamin. Jason has also contributed his talents to three CDs, the latest with singer/songwriter Jessie Barr called Along For the Ride, which was released in 2014. 

Jason lives in Aurora with his wife, Katie, and his three daughters Ellie, Aubrey and Julia.

Jason will receive the award from Music Director Christopher Wilkins on stage at the November 16 concert. In addition, a $500 prize, sponsored by the Trillium Schools of Music, will be awarded to the Aurora City Schools music program in Burdett’s name.

The following finalists for the award will also be recognized at the concert:

  • Sarah Behal, Orchestra Director for the Stow-Munroe Falls School District
  • Joseph Licitri, a private piano instructor from Stow

The Music Educator of the Year Award promotes a greater understanding of and appreciation for the value of music education in schools. The award honors those music teachers who make a real difference through their dedication and involvement to the stability and growth of music education in their communities.

Previous winners are the award are Dustin Harris, Band Director at Cuyahoga Falls High School in 2018 and Steven Cocchiola, Orchestra Director at Brecksville-Broadview Heights High School, in 2017.

The award is open to any certified/licensed music teacher in a public, private or parochial classroom setting in grades K-12. Nominees must teach in Cuyahoga, Medina, Portage, Stark or Summit counties.

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