Violinists Brenna Crowgey ’21 (Bachelor of Music in Performance) and Jonathan Toomer ’21 (Bachelor of Music in Performance) have been named the 2020 recipients of the Lorraine A. Pedersen Memorial Scholarship for Orchestra Ensemble Performance. The award honors students who demonstrate a dedication to and proven achievement of excellence in orchestral performance, an ongoing development of musicianship skills, success in leadership roles and who show clear indication of a collaborative spirit and earned respect among their peers.
The Lorraine A. Pedersen Memorial Scholarship for Orchestra Ensemble Performance is awarded upon the recommendation of the orchestra director and approved by the dean of Shenandoah Conservatory. This award is presented to one or more students demonstrating excellence in orchestra ensemble performance who are rising seniors at the undergraduate level or rising second year students at the master’s or doctoral level.
Pedersen was born in Brooklyn, New York, and worked as a private secretary in several major firms in New York City before her marriage to Huno Pedersen and moving to Chevy Chase, Maryland. After her divorce, she transitioned to work as a private legal secretary for several prominent Washington law firms. In celebration of Lorraine’s life, her brother Robert Kott and sister-in-law Barbara Kott made this gift.
About Brenna Crowgey
Violinist Brenna Elise Crowgey is currently pursuing her Bachelor of Music in Performance at Shenandoah Conservatory, studying under Victor Brown Endowed Chair in Violin and Associate Professor of Violin Akemi Takayama, M.M., concertmaster of the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra and Williamsburg Symphony Orchestra. Crowgey has performed in an array of ensembles and music groups including the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra, Shenandoah Conservatory Symphony Orchestra, Blacksburg Master Chorale, Loudoun Choral, Shenandoah Conservatory Wind Ensemble, Next Step Modern Ensemble, Shenandoah Conservatory Saxophone Collective and the Eastern Symphony Orchestra. She has studied under world-renowned conductors such as Gerard Schwarz, conductor; Shenandoah Conservatory Director of Orchestral Studies and Professor of Conducting Jan Wagner, Diploma and Korrepetitions Praxis, Academy of Music in Vienna (Austria); Nadège Foofat; José-Louis Novo; and Grant Cooper to name a few. Crowgey also has a passion for chamber music and she is constantly looking for opportunities to grow her experience and repertoire. Highlights of pieces she has worked on include the Beethoven’s Septet, Brahms’ G Minor Piano Quartet, Dvořák’s Piano Quintet in A Major, and Dvořák’s String Quintet No. 3, op. 97. At Eastern Music Festival in 2018, she performed the Greensboro, North Carolina, premiere of Bruch’s String Octet, and was also awarded an honorable mention in the festival’s international concerto competition. She has participated in solo masterclasses with Midori, Eric Silberger and Bradley Moore, as well as the Berlin Philharmonic Piano Quartet. She has performed a special appearance presenting Russell Peterson’s trio for violin, alto saxophone and piano at Evermay Estate in Washington, D.C., as a part of the 2019 Fall Evermay Concert Series.
Other than studying and performing, Crowgey loves to share her passion by teaching violin students of all ages. Teaching is not only a passion, but also a hobby that keeps her fresh and always exposed to new perspectives. Since the COVID-19 crisis, she has been keeping busy by recording music videos, live concerts and teaching online lessons. Although she misses performing live with orchestra and chamber groups, she is excited by the opportunity to creatively incorporate collaboration even through unexpected circumstances.
Crowgey is fortunate to perform using an Italian violin provided by the Ryuji Ueno Foundation.
About Jonathan Toomer
Jonathan Toomer is a rising professional violinist and pianist who hails from the Washington, D.C. area. He has received recognition for his playing in the orchestral and chamber world on the violin, and has made a name for himself as an accompanist. Toomer is driven by the motivation to have his fellow musicians grow and succeed as he does. He enjoys playing games with his friends, listening to music and taking walks.