The 2020 Weston Noble Award has been presented to Eric Melear, who has a career as both a conductor and pianist, regularly traveling the world with a variety of singers and companies. A 1995 Luther graduate, Melear was a gifted pianist and singer, a tremendous conductor, a sought-after collaborative pianist and president of Nordic Choir. Since returning to the Vienna State Opera full-time in 2015, Melear has assisted world-renowned conductors Zubin Mehta, Peter Schneider, and Simone Young.
The 2020 Dr. Carlo A. Sperati Award has been presented to 2000 Luther graduate Dan Mollick. After graduating from Luther, Mollick received his master's degree in music education from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He has taught in many public school districts including Minneapolis, Minnesota; Bloomington, Minnesota; Manhattan Beach, Los Angeles; Minnetonka, Minnesota; and currently teaches orchestra at Valley View Middle School in Edina, Minnesota. During his seven seasons of conducting the Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphony's Concertino West Orchestra, Mollick has had the opportunity to collaborate with the Hmong Community Center in St. Paul, and the Somali Museum of Minnesota Dance Troupe and Mariachi Mi Tierra, both out of Minneapolis.
The 2020 Hemp Prize has been presented to Isabelle (Belle) Searcy. A senior majoring in music, Searcy is from Buffalo, Minnesota. She began studying violin in sixth grade and has never looked back. After graduating from Luther, she plans to pursue her master's degree in violin performance, with the goal of being a studio musician for orchestral film scores and violin accompaniment for singers.
The 2020 Presser Scholar Award has been presented to Zachariah Mayer, a senior from La Crosse, Wisconsin, who will graduate from Luther in 2021 with a degree in music education. After finishing his studies in January, he will continue to prepare for a career as an orchestra teacher with a semester of student teaching. His instrument of choice is the double bass.