Two hard-hitting instrumental music educators and a cellist who The New York Times has described as “an elegant and accomplished performer” will share a total of $10,000 as recipients of this year’s prestigious Randolph A. Frank Awards, which recognize performers and educators who enrich the quality of the performing arts in Palm Beach County.
Cellist Claudio Jaffé is recognized as the winner of the performer category. Stefanie Katz Shear, dean of the music department and director of piano studies at the Alexander W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts, is honored in the Performing Arts Educator category. Wesley Lowe, Jr., director of instrumental arts at King’s Academy, is named the recipient of the Emerging Arts Educator Award.
Palm Beach Symphony has managed and hosted the nominations process and awards presentation since 2019. The awards were presented at the final post-concert dinner of the 2021-2022 season. The three winners were an integral part of the season finale celebration as Katz Shear’s piano students performed in the lobby of the Kravis Center before the concert, Lowe’s Jazz Quintet from the King’s Academy performed during the dinner and Jaffé performed on stage as principal cellist with the Palm Beach Symphony.
A resident of West Palm Beach, Jaffé has performed throughout the community as a solo cellist, chamber musician and orchestral player, reaching thousands of people of all ages and backgrounds. In addition to the Palm Beach Symphony, he is also principal cellist of the Florida Grand Opera, cellist of the Delray String Quartet and resident conductor of the Florida Youth Orchestra for over 20 years. Jaffé also serves the community as a regular interpreter at FAU’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in Boca Raton, presenter of lecture recitals at the Cox Science Center and Aquarium and the Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience, interpreter at the Norton Museum of Art and Mandel Public Library of West Palm Beach and has participated in hundreds of Palm Beach Symphony classes and classroom workshops at area schools. Jaffé founded the string program at Saint Andrew’s School in Boca Raton. In addition to performing, he teaches at Palm Beach Atlantic University and previously served as Dean of the Lynn University Conservatory of Music where he established its preparatory division.
Jupiter resident Katz Shear has served in her current role for 13 years, mentoring hundreds of Dreyfoos student musicians and guiding them toward a brighter future in music Known for building a rigorous music theory curriculum, she has worked closely with the AP to develop music theory materials that prepare students for top music conservatories, resulting in an extraordinary record of students achieving the highest possible mark in the annual test. As Director of Piano Studies, her students perform throughout the school year in a variety of recitals, working as solo artists and collaborating with other Dreyfoos music students. His piano students have graduated and attended renowned universities and conservatories around the world. Katz Shear has also coached many artists while serving for successive seasons as rehearsal pianist for the Masterworks Chorus of the Palm Beaches and as accompanist for Palm Beach Opera Studio. Additionally, she was an adjunct professor of tonal harmony as well as an accompanist and vocal coach at Palm Beach Atlantic University for nine years.
Appointed Director of Instrumental Arts at King’s Academy in 2019, Lowe was recognized by the school with the Teacher Excellence Award and the Bright Idea Award, and received national recognition as a quarter-finalist for the 2022 Music Educator Award presented by the Recording Academy and GRAMMY. Museum. Lowe expanded the school’s instrumental music education program to 4th graders, doubling enrollment. Its students have received numerous accolades, including Student Jazz Ensemble (Improvisational Excellence Award from Essentially Ellington Festival 2018, Sweepstakes Award winner at Atlanta Southern Star Music Festival 2019), Symphonic Band (Grand Champion title at Atlanta Southern Star Music Festival 2019), and the College and High School Orchestras (Best Sounding Bands honored at the Disney Festival in 2018). The band’s program also gains national recognition through performances with the Miami Heat and Miami Marlins as well as in parades at Walt Disney World. A resident of Jupiter, Lowe was also named Instrumental Music Teacher of the Year by the Palm Beach Symphony in December 2021.
The Randolph A. Frank Prize was established in 2009 by Nancy and Jay Parker, longtime friends of Dr. Randolph A. Frank, who was an avid patron of the arts. They created the award with Founding President Steven Caras, an acclaimed dancer, dance teacher and photographer.
All established and emerging individuals who regularly perform or engage in performing arts education in Palm Beach County are eligible for the award. Palm Beach Symphony creates a judging panel for each category made up of experts in those fields who are often located outside of South Florida to ensure there is no bias in judging the merits of each appointment. Nominations for the 2023 Randolph A. Frank Award will open on December 1, 2022, and nomination criteria will be available at www.PalmBeachSymphony.org.
Palm Beach Symphony is South Florida’s premier orchestra known for its diverse repertoire and commitment to the community. Founded in 1974, this 501(c)(3) nonprofit arts organization adheres to a mission of engaging, educating, and entertaining the greater community of the Palm Beaches through live performances of inspiring orchestral music. The orchestra is famous for its performances led by top-notch musicians and distinguished guest artists. Recognized by the Palm Beach County Cultural Council with a 2020 Muse Award for Outstanding Community Involvement, Palm Beach Symphony continues to expand its education and community outreach programs with children’s concerts, coaching sessions, students and masterclasses, instrument donations and free public concerts that have reached more than 56,000 students in recent years. For more information, visit www.palmbeachsymphony.org.