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Sunday, March 31, 2024 - 11:59PM
About the Crescendo Music Awards Grants

What Is the Crescendo Music Awards Grants Program?

The Crescendo Music Awards Grants is a Rotary Club Of Tulsa program, the purpose of which is to assist the pursuit of music education by making financial contributions to young music artists, students, and music programs.


1999-2015: An International Live Performance Competition. Today's program is an outgrowth of the International Crescendo Music Awards Competition, which Rotarian Joseph A. Bias founded in the spring of 1999 with a budget of $1,500 from the Rotary Club of Tulsa. In that first year, eleven high school and college students auditioned for a jury of six Rotarians. Three were called back to perform for the Rotary Club, and cash prizes were awarded. Through its 16 competition seasons, over 900 students auditioned, and $463,000 was awarded as cash prizes to extremely talented young musicians. 

Other scholarships were offered to Competition winners in addition to the almost $35,000 awarded annually in the 2005-2008 competitions. Dr. Esther Jane Hardenbergh (Assistant Professor of Voice at the Frost School of Music, University of Miami) awarded annual scholarships to the vocal winners for the University of Miami’s summer program in Salzburg, Austria, adding another $16,000 to our total awards. Additional scholarships for summer study in Germany and Italy were also offered to winning competitors in various years.

Through a generous gift from Marilyn Inhofe Davis, in memory of her sister, Joan Inhofe Johnson, we awarded an additional $2,500 cash prize annually through a People’s Choice Award determined by the vote of the live audience attending the Collegiate Division Finals concert.

Competition alumni have gone on to prestigious international careers but have also performed locally. In October 2012, the Signature Symphony at Tulsa Community College featured Jie Yuan (2006 Crescendo Gold Medalist in Piano) performing Rachmaninoff’s 2nd Piano Concerto and Weixiong Wang (2011 Crescendo Gold Medalist in Clarinet) performing Mozart’s 2nd Clarinet Concerto. In September 2013, Siwoo Kim (2010 Crescendo Gold Medalist in Violin) premiered Dr. Samuel Adler’s 1st Violin Concerto with the Tulsa Symphony Orchestra.  

2019-Present: A Grant-Making Program. In 2019, the International Crescendo Music Awards Competition transitioned into the current grant-awarding format focused on supporting music programs and the most talented young musicians within a 50-mile radius of Tulsa. Since 2019, more than $134,000 have been awarded as Grants. 

As of 2024, total combined Competition Awards and Grant Awards of almost $600,000 have directly benefited music education as a result of this program sponsored by the Rotary Club of Tulsa.

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