Bienen School alumni Thomas J. Tropp (G14) and Cory D. Wikan (G02) have been named co-winners of the 2014 Julius Herford Dissertation Prize from the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA).

Tropp’s dissertation is titled, “Cantaten in Musik gesetzt von W. A. Mozart (Cantatas set to music by W.A. Mozart): The Contrafacta Cantatas, K. Anh. 124-130.” The award committee called it “an outstanding paper written with clarity, precision and ‘lightness.’” Other reviewers said, “I admire his delving into an era and area most dismiss….a wonderfully researched, clearly written, thoughtfully considered document.”

Tropp received his doctor of musical arts degree from Northwestern University in 2014, where he worked under Bienen faculty members Donald Nally, John W. Beattie Chair of Music and director of choral organizations; Stephen Alltop, senior lecturer of conducting and ensembles; Robert Gjerdingen, professor of music theory and cognition; and Robert Harris, professor emeritus.

“This is a very exciting honor, and I am so thankful to both my faculty mentors and my colleagues at Northwestern for all their guidance, support, reading, and re-reading,” said Tropp.

Professor Nally said this is the first Northwestern doctoral recipient to receive the Julius Herford Dissertation Prize.

“We are so excited that Tom is receiving this national recognition for his significant research document and the editions of Mozart's music he has produced,” said Professor Nally. “We're obviously proud and grateful for the commitment and investment from ACDA.”

Tropp currently serves as lecturer at North Park University's School of Music and as director of music and arts at First Presbyterian Church of Lake Forest.

Cory Wikan received his master of music degree in vocal performance and literature from Northwestern in 2002. He went on to receive a doctor of musical arts degree from Boston University in 2014 and wrote the dissertation “Robert Shaw and the Brahms Requiem, op 45: A Conductor’s Approach to Performing a Masterpiece.”

Wikan is currently visiting assistant professor of music at Hurley School of Music, Centenary College of Louisiana.

Each year, the Julius Herford Prize Subcommittee accepts nominations for outstanding doctoral terminal research projects in choral music. Projects are eligible if they comprise the principal research component of the degree requirements, and eligibility is limited to doctoral recipients whose degrees were conferred during the calendar year prior to the year of nomination.

Tropp and Wikan will each receive a cash prize and commemorative plaque, to be presented at the upcoming southern and central regional ACDA conferences.

For more information on the Julius Herford Prize, visit the American Choral Directors Association website.

  • Donald Nally
  • Robert Gjerdingen
  • Stephen Alltop