Awards & Honors

In addition to championing lesser-known works of the past, VocalEssence has an unwavering commitment to today’s composers, which has resulted in more than 140 world premieres to date. The organization has received the ASCAP/Chorus America Award for adventurous programming of contemporary music six times and has been honored with more Chorus America awards than any other ensemble nationwide, including the once-in-an-organizational-lifetime Margaret Hillis Achievement Award for Choral Excellence.

Among the many awards received by VocalEssence Artistic Director and Founder Philip Brunelle are:

  • Kodaly Medal (Hungary),
  • Royal Order of the Polar Star (Sweden)
  • Stig Andersson Award for contributions to Swedish music
  • Commander of the Royal Norwegian Order of Merit
  • Honorary Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE)
  • Ohti Recognition Award from the government of Mexico (2011)
  • Michael Korn Founder’s Award for Development of the Professional Choral Art (Chorus America’s highest lifetime achievement award)
  • Champion of New Music, given by the American Composers Forum (2007)
  • Melius Christiansen Award (highest honor of the Minnesota Chapter of the American Choral Directors Association)
  • Weston H. Noble Lifetime Achievement award, given by the North Central American Choral Directors Association (2012)
  • Minnesota Music Hall of Fame
  • S. Bank Sally Ordway Irvine Award
  • Best Impresario, given by Mpls.St.Paul magazine
  • Local Legend award, presented by General Mills and United Negro College Fund (2010)
  • Minneapolis Award, presented by Mayor Sharon Sayles Belton for “going the extra mile” to enrich the community (1998)