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Bucks music teacher wins PYO Music Institute’s Ovation Award


Bucks County’s Noelle Casella Grand was named the recipient of the 10th Annual Philadelphia Youth Orchestra Music Institute (PYOMI) Ovation Award at the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra’s 83rd Annual Festival Concert, held in Verizon Hall at The Kimmel Center on June 4.

Grand, a PYOMI alumna, was named the 2023 recipient alongside nine fellow finalists who were also honored at the event, including Charles DiGregorio of Feasterville and Susan Steen of Doylestown.

The Ovation Award, presented with partners J.W. Pepper, Jacobs Music Company, and WRTI 90.1, has been honoring music teachers in the Delaware Valley region since 2014. Music students of any age have the opportunity to nominate music educators who have made an impact on their lives. There have been hundreds of nominations made by current and former students over the past 10 years, and the award highlights the lifelong impact music educators make on their students. Nominators are asked to write an essay on “How My Music Teacher Changed My Life.”

Grand has a varied and active career as an orchestral cellist, soloist, and international educator. She is in high demand as an educator both in the United States, as well as abroad. Locally, in Bucks County, she directs the Grand School of Music, conducts the Youth Orchestra of Bucks County and is a cello professor at Bucks County Community College.

Most recently, she was appointed as cello professor at The College of New Jersey. She is a frequent guest artist at Lehigh University and the Greater Princeton Youth Orchestra, and she is on the faculty of the Elizabeth College Summer Orchestral Course in Guernsey, U.K. Grand’s private cello students have been recognized throughout the country and have gone off to pursue music at some of the best conservatories in the world.

After being presented the award, Grand said, “This is very emotional for me. It is such a full circle moment, particularly because Maestro Scaglione was my teacher and conductor. I also noticed the PYO principal double bassist was one of my students in the Youth Orchestra of Bucks County when he was in sixth or seventh grade. I feel proud that he has graduated to PYO. I always knew he had great potential.”

Grand received many nominations for the Ovation Award. Maestro Louis Scaglione said, “We are honored to recognize Noelle as she exemplifies an outstanding teacher who has made a positive impact on her students even beyond their music lessons. Reading her nominations was very endearing, as students talked about the positive difference she has made in their lives.”

One nominator, Emma Botes, wrote, “My cello teacher, Noelle Grand, has changed my life tremendously. Noelle has taught me how to be a good cellist and musician, but more than that, she has taught me how to be a good person.” Another nominator, Benjamin Bastean, wrote in his nomination, “It’s Noelle’s charisma, constructiveness, and humbleness that drives improvement in other people, and I am just one example. My life has been altered by her character and her musical abilities, and it’s something I’m incredibly grateful for.” A third nominator, Matthew Giannini, added, “She is beyond her years and has a grace and kindness in her manor of teaching that is quite extraordinary.”

Grand is a graduate of the Royal Academy of Music (U.K.) where she received a Master of Arts and LRAM Teaching Diploma with distinction. In addition, she holds degrees from Sarah Lawrence College and the Conservatorium van Amsterdam. Grand continues her performance career throughout the United States and Europe.

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