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Johnson Chosen for Prestigious 2024 Presser Award

Thu, 02/15/2024 - 11:19am | By: Mike Lopinto

Presser Award

Sarah Kate Johnson, a clarinetist and senior from Tupelo, Mississippi pursuing a Bachelor of Music Education at The University of Southern Mississippi (USM) School of Music, is the recipient of the 2024 Presser Award.

The Presser Foundation was established in 1939 under the Deeds of Trust and Will of the late Theodore Presser (1848-1925), who rose from humble beginnings to become a respected music teacher and publisher. This foundation is one of a few private foundations in the U.S. dedicated solely to supporting music education and music philanthropy. Selected by USM music faculty guided solely by consideration of excellence and merit, the Presser Award honors an outstanding senior in the school, who carries the title of Presser Scholar; the award includes a generous stipend.

“Ever since Sarah Kate stepped onto campus, she’s been a beacon of excellence, both in musical pursuits and academic endeavors,” said Dr. Colin McKenzie, director of the School of Music. “Her commitment to her studies and performances is truly commendable, and she possesses the skills to create a legacy that will shape our profession.”

An active performer, Johnson has been a member of USM’s Wind Ensemble, Symphonic Winds, The Pride of Mississippi, and the undergraduate Woodwind Quintet.  Additionally, she has performed in numerous masterclasses, in recital class, and for studio events. Faculty praised her preparedness and musicianship as obvious strengths.

Along with being an accomplished clarinetist, her work in the classroom is stellar, evidenced by an overall GPA of 3.8.  This level of dedication to academics, in combination with her work as a musician, distinguishes her as a leader among her peers.

“Sarah is a kind and genuine person who is extremely talented, intelligent, and dedicated to her musicianship and sharing her passion for music education,” said Dr. Jackie McIlwain, USM clarinet professor.

Learn more about the USM School of Music.