UMKC Conservatory Alumnae Are Honored at 2014 Alumni Awards Luncheon, April 24, 2014
Each year, the UMKC Alumni Association recognizes outstanding individual alumni, and one family, with top honors. UMKC will honor its outstanding alumni for 2013–14 at a luncheon event, April 24, Swinney Recreation Center, on the UMKC campus. UMKC’s Alumni Association will highlight the recipients’ stories and accomplishments at the luncheon as well as through other events, presentations and classroom visits where they will share their experiences with students.
The UMKC Conservatory is pleased to note the UMKC Alumna of the Year: Jawole Willa Jo Zollar (BA ’75)
One of the single most internationally renowned names in dance, Jawole Willa Jo Zollar is also one of the most decorated. A trailblazer and innovator in the dance world, Zollar is the recipient of the 2013 Doris Duke Performing Artist Award. Zollar is also a past recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship. In 1984, Zollar founded Urban Bush Women (UBW) as a performance ensemble dedicated to exploring the use of cultural expression as a catalyst for social change. She has toured the United States and five continents sharing her works through live performances; a PBS special, “Free to Dance,” which chronicled African-American influence on modern dance; and was a representative of the U.S. State Department’s inaugural cultural diplomacy program. Zollar’s career includes performing and creating works for Alvin Ailey, Philadanco and collaborations with Compagnie Jant-Bi from Senegal and Nora Chipaumire. She has been designated a Master of African American Choreography by the John F. Kennedy Performing Arts Center. Zollar developed a unique approach to enable artists to strengthen effective involvement in cultural organizing and civic engagement, which evolved into UBW’s acclaimed Summer Leadership Institute. She serves as director of the Institute, and currently holds the position of the Nancy Smith Fichter Professor of Dance and Robert O. Lawton Distinguished Professor at Florida State University.
Conservatory of Music and Dance Awardee: Jan Kraybill (DMA ’00)
Jan Kraybill performs extensively as both a pianist and organist across the United States, Canada, Germany, Poland, Russia, South Korea and the United Kingdom. In 2010, she received the highest level of certification, the Fellowship (FAGO) Award from the American Guild of Organists. Locally, she performs with many ensembles such as the Kansas City Symphony and Chorus, the Spire Chamber Ensemble and The Kansas City Chorale. In 2012, the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts selected Kraybill to be the organ conservator for the Julia Irene Kauffman Casavant Organ. Her January 2013 performance at the Kauffman Center was acclaimed as brilliant. Paul Horsley of The Independent described her “extraordinary virtuosity” beginning one passage “at a tempo that seemed downright suicidal, but managed to hack through the thickets of one of Bach’s most complex works with nary a hitch. Her remarkable feat brought the audience to its feet.”
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