On May 26, 2012 at the Interlochen Arts Academy Honors Convocation, the following Academy alumni were presented with the Ovation Award in recognition of their diverse artistic, academic, professional, generational and cultural contributions to the world.
Aaron Dworkin (IAA 86-88, Violin)
Aaron graduated from the Academy in 1988 and received his Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees in Violin Performance from the University of Michigan School of Music. He is founder and president of the Sphinx Organization and serves on the Obama National Arts Policy Committee. His memoir titled "Uncommon Rhythm: A Black, White, Jewish, Jehovah's Witness, Irish Catholic Adoptee's Journey to Leadership" is available through Aquarius Press.
Jennifer Ehle (IAA 85-87, Theatre Arts)
Jennifer attended the Academy for her sophomore and junior years. Her performance as Elizabeth Bennet in the 1995 BBC television adaptation of “Pride and Prejudice” gained her a British Academy of Film and Television BAFTA award. Since then, she has had a successful career on stage and television and in films. In 2000, she won a Best Actress Tony for her work as Annie in Tom Stoppard’s “The Real Thing” and repeated the honor in 2007 in Stoppard's “The Coast of Utopia” triptych. Jennifer played the character of Catelyn Stark in the pilot of HBO’s “Game of Thrones,” and co-starred in the television series "A Gifted Man." In film, she played Myrtle Logue, wife of King George VI’s speech therapist Lionel Logue, in "The King's Speech." She recently received wide acclaim for her role as Dr. Ally Hextall in Steven Soderbergh’s “Contagion."
Janet Eilber (IAA 64-69 - Dance, IAC Staff 70, 72, ICA Trustee)
Ms. Eilber has been the Artistic Director of the Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance since 2005. Her direction has focused on creating new forms of audience access to the Graham masterworks. These initiatives include designing contextual programming, educational and community partnerships, use of new media, commissions and creative events such as the "Lamentation Variations" and "Prelude and Revolt." She has also remixed Graham choreography and created new staging in the Graham style for theater/dance productions of "The Bacchae" and "Prometheus Bound." Earlier in her career, as a principal dancer with the Martha Graham Dance Company, Ms. Eilber worked closely with Martha Graham. She danced many of Graham’s greatest roles, had roles created for her by Graham, and was directed by Graham in most of the major roles of the repertoire. She soloed at the White House, was partnered by Rudolf Nureyev, starred in three segments of "Dance in America," and has since taught, lectured, and directed Graham ballets internationally. Apart from her work with Graham, Eilber has performed in films, on television and on Broadway directed by such greats as Agnes deMille and Bob Fosse and has received four Lester Horton Awards for her reconstruction and performance of seminal American modern dance. She has served as Director of Arts Education for the Dana Foundation, guiding the Foundation’s support for Teaching Artist training and contributing regularly to its arts education publications. Eilber is a Trustee Emeritus of Interlochen Center for the Arts. She is married to screenwriter/director John Warren, with whom she has two daughters, Madeline and Eva.
Peter Erskine (IAA 68-71, IAC Faculty 10, Percussion)
Peter graduated from the Academy in 1971. He has played drums since the age of four and is known for his versatility and love of working in different musical contexts. He appears on more than 500 albums and film scores, and has won two Grammy Awards. He has played with Stan Kenton, Maynard Ferguson, Weather Report, Steps Ahead, Jaco Pastorius, Joni Mitchel, Steely Dan, Diana Krall, Michael Brecker, The Yellowjackets, Pat Metheny & Gary Burton, and has appeared as a soloist with the London Symphony, Los Angeles, BBC and Berlin Philharmonic orchestras. Peter has recorded numerous solo albums, including three on his own label FUZZY MUSIC. He has won the Modern Drummer magazine Readers' Poll in the "Jazz Drummer" category 10 times, and was awarded an honorary doctorate degree from the Berklee College of Music.
Jorja Fleezanis (AS 63-64, IAC 65-66, IAA 66-67, 68-69, Violin)
Jorja attended the Academy for the academic years 1966-67 and 1968-69. She currently serves as Professor of Music (Violin) and the Henry A. Upper Chair in Orchestral Studies at Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. Jorja was concertmaster of the Minnesota Orchestra from 1989 to 2009 -- the longest-tenured concertmaster in the orchestra's history and, when she was appointed, she was only the second woman in the U.S. to hold the title of concertmaster in a major orchestra. Jorga has had a number of works commissioned for her, including by the Minnesota Orchestra with the John Adams Violin Concerto and "Ikon of Eros" by John Tavener.
Dr. Steve Goodman (IAA 73-75, Visual Arts)
Steve Goodman graduated from the Academy in 1975 and serves as a field biologist specializing in birds and mammals at The Field Museum in Chicago. He spends much of his time in Madagascar, conducting biological surveys in the the country's dwindling forests and training local scientists as Coordinator of the Ecology Training Programme (ETP), a collaboration of WWF-Madagascar and the Université d’Antananarivo, where he is a faculty member. Steve has discovered several new species of birds and mammals. He co-edited the book “The Natural History of Madagascar,” the first comprehensive survey of the island’s plant and animal life published since the late 1800s.
Steve Hayden (IAC 62, IAA 62-64, Cello)
Steve graduated from the Academy in 1964. He is Vice Chairman and Worldwide Creative Director at Ogilvy & Mather, New York, one of the world’s premier advertising/marketing firms, and has managed successful ad campaigns for companies such as IBM, American Express, Kodak, Motorola, Dove, Cisco and SAP. Steve is a former chairman of the Board of Trustees at Interlochen Center for the Arts and currently serves as a life trustee.
Lance Horne (IAA 94-96, Composition)
Lance is a graduate from the Academy class of 1996 and is an Emmy Award-winning composer-lyricist who has collaborated with such names as Alan Cumming, Kristin Chenoweth and Ricki Lake. Lance received an Emmy Award for Best Original Song and a Daytime Emmy for Best Original Song "Chemistry" on “One Life to Live.” Lance has performed all over the world in major concert venues and has performed for President Obama, the First Lady and Queen Elizabeth.
Felicity Huffman (IAA 1979-81, Theatre Arts)
Felicity is a 1981 graduate of the Academy and is best known for her roles in "Desperate Housewives" and "Transamerica." On television, she starred as Dana Whitaker in the dramedy "Sports Night," and has had guest starring roles on "Frasier," "The X-Files," "The West Wing" and "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip." Felicity won an Emmy for Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series for her work on "Desperate Housewives," as well as two 2005 Screen Actors Guild Awards for Best Actress in a Comedy Series and part of Best Ensemble in a Comedy Series. Her performance in the film "Transamerica" was praised by many critics and garnered her a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress as well as nominations for Screen Actors Guild Best Actress and Academy Awards Best Actress. In March, Felicity and her husband William H. Macy each received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Tom Hulce (IAA 69-70, Drama)
After attending the Academy from 1969-1970, Tom began his stage career opposite Anthony Perkins in the 1975 production of “Equus.” He rose to national and international prominence in films, first with his role in “National Lampoon’s Animal House” and then with his Oscar-nominated role as Mozart in “Amadeus.” Tom received a Golden Globe lead actor nomination for his role in “Dominick and Eugene” and later provided the singing and acting voice for Quasimodo in the animated Disney production of “The Hunchback of Notre Dame.” In the past two decades, Tom has been an active and influential producer for the stage, heading projects by John Irving and Alan Bennett, among others. His most recent efforts include the award-winning “Spring Awakening” and Green Day’s Broadway production of “American Idiot.”
Linda Hunt (IAA 62-64, Drama)
Linda graduated from the Academy in 1964. She is best known for her role as Billy Kwan in the 1982 film "The Year of Living Dangerously" for which she won the Best Supporting Actress Academy Award for her performance, the first Oscar that went to an actor playing a character of the opposite gender. Since then, she has appeared in more than 20 films. She has received two Obie awards and a Tony nomination for her theater work. Linda is currently a cast member of the CBS series “NCIS: Los Angeles.”
Carol Jantsch (IAA '02)
Carol graduated from the Interlochen Arts Academy in 2002 and is the principal tubist with the Philadelphia Orchestra, a position she has held since 2006. She won the position while still a senior at the University of Michigan, becoming the first female tuba player in a major symphony orchestra. Carol is in high demand for recitals and master classes and has taught at Lieksa Brass Week in Finland and the Carnegie Hall Professional Training Workshop for Orchestral Winds and Brass in New York. Carol is on the faculty of the Curtis Institute of Music.
Jewel Kilcher (IAA 90-92, Voice)
Jewel graduated from the Academy in 1992. She signed with Atlantic records and released her 1995 debut “Pieces of You,” which spawned mega hits "Who Will Save Your Soul?" and "You Were Meant for Me." The album spent nearly two years on the Billboard charts and sold more than 12 million copies. Jewel maintained a steady fan following into the new millennium, leveraging her celebrity to boost children's and homeless-related charities and co-founding Higher Ground for Humanity, a non-profit dedicated to making safe drinking water available in developing countries. In 2008, Jewel made her way to number one on the Billboard Country charts with her single "Perfectly Clear" and in 2010 earned a Grammy nomination for the song "Satisfied" from her album “Sweet And Wild.”
Anthony McGill (IAA 94-96, Clarinet)
Anthony graduated from the Academy in 1996 and is principal clarinetist of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. He is most well known for his life performance of "Air and Simple Gifts" by John Williams with Yo-Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman, and Gabriela Montero at the inauguration of President Barack Obama in January 2009. Anthony has appeared as a soloist with orchestras including the Baltimore Symphony, New Jersey Symphony and the Curtis Orchestra. As a chamber musician, he has performed at numerous festivals. Anthony serves on faculty at the Peabody Institute, Mannes College, The Manhattan School of Music and The Juilliard School. Anthony was a recipient of the Avery Fisher Career Grant in 2000.
Joel McNeely (IAA 74-77, IAA Staff 76, ICA Trustee, Flute)
Joel graduated from the Academy in 1977. He is an Emmy® Award-winning composer, producer and conductor with more than 100 motion picture and television credits. Joel is the owner and principal composer of the Counterpoint Music Studio in Los Angeles. Some of his film credits include "The Tinker Bell Movie," "I Know Who Killed Me," "Holes," "Lilo and Stitch 2," "Pooh’s Heffalump Movie," "Mulan 2," "Return to Neverland," "Ghosts of the Abyss," "Uptown Girls," "Virus," "The Avengers," "Air Force One," "Wild America" and "Terminal Velocity." He recently produced and arranged a Grammy award-winning big band and orchestra album for "Family Guy" creator Seth MacFarlane for Universal Republic Records. Joel is a member of the Board of Trustees for Interlochen Center for the Arts and the Board of Advisors for the DeRoy Motion Picture Arts Program at Interlochen.
David Shifrin (IAA 65-67, Clarinet)
David graduated from the Academy in 1967 and is one of only two wind players to have been awarded the Avery Fisher Prize since the award's inception in 1974. An artist-member of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center since 1989, Shifrin served as its artistic director from 1992 to 2004. He has received three Grammy nominations for his chamber music performances, and his recording of the Mozart Clarinet Concerto with the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra was named Record of the Year by Stereo Review. David was presented his Ovation Award on March 26 at Alice Tully Hall in New York as part of the 50th Anniversary Orchestra, Band and Choir tour.
Doug Stanton (IAA 75-79, Creative Writing)
After graduating from Interlochen Arts Academy in 1979, Doug received a bachelor of arts from Hampshire College and a master of fine arts from the Writers’ Workshop at the University of Iowa. He is the author of two New York Times bestsellers, "Horse Soldiers" and "In Harms Way," and a founder of the National Writers Series. "Horse Soldiers" spent three months on the New York Times bestseller list and was selected as a “2009 Best Book of the Year” by Publishers Weekly and the Christian Science Monitor, and a “2009 New York Times Notable Book.” A motion picture adaptation of the book, 12 Strong, was released by Jerry Bruckheimer films in January 2018. The three editions of "In Harm’s Way" spent nine months on the New York Times bestseller list.
Cheryl Studer (IAA 72-74, Voice)
Cheryl graduated from the Academy in 1974. After training under figures such as Leonard Bernstein and Hans Hotter, Cheryl caught the world's attention for the first time at the 1985 Bayreuth Festival with her performance of Elisabeth in Wagner's "Tannhäuser" under Giuseppe Sinopoli. Since then, she has sung leading roles in all of the most prestigious houses in the world. She also has toured extensively, performing lieder recitals and appearing as a concert soloist with the world’s greatest orchestras. Her recordings of opera and lieder with labels such as Deutsche Gramophon, EMI and Virgin Classics have received numerous awards.
Zhibai “Bill” Zheng (IAA 92-96, Visual Arts)
Bill graduated from the Academy in 1996 and went on to earn his bachelor’s degree from the Cleveland Institute of Art. He will earn his Master in Business Administration from Wayne State University this year. Bill is a senior design manager for small, premium and family vehicles for Chrysler.