Distinguished Alumni Award (2002)
Society of Peabody Alumni
Citation for the Distinguished Alumni Award
December 13, 2002
Edward Polochick, you have traveled a long way since you started piano lessons at the age of four near Scranton, Pennsylvania. You started your career early and were already performing as a pianist on the stage of Carnegie Hall at the age of nine.
You began your conducting studies while majoring in music at Swarthmore College and later continued as a coach and assistant conductor in the Opera Department of the Curtis Institute of Music.
You received Masters degrees from Peabody in both piano, as a student of Leon Fleisher, and in choral conducting, as a student of Theodore Morrison. As an accomplished pianist, you appeared as soloist with the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra.
In 1976 you won the coveted Leopold Stokowski conducting award, and conducted the Philadelphia Orchestra as a result.
In 1979, you decided to concentrate on conducting and accepted appointments on the conducting staffs of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra as Director of the Baltimore Symphony Chorus and the Peabody Conservatory of Music, where you are now Director of Choral Ensembles and Associate Conductor of the Peabody Orchestra.
In 1987 you founded the Concert Artists of Baltimore. This allowed you to program orchestral and choral music on a professional level. You felt there was a need for programming which was both entertaining and enlightening; and included commentary in much the same way your idol Leonard Bernstein presented his Young People’s Concerts.
Also in 1987, you conducted the Peabody Symphony Orchestra in its performances in Russia and won the top ASCAP Award for American Programming on Foreign Tours.
In 1998 you were named music director of the Lincoln Symphony Orchestra in Nebraska. You somehow manage to lead this group at the same time as you lead the Concert Artists of Baltimore and maintain your conducting posts at Peabody.
Last year you were named Best Classical Concert Programmer by the Baltimore City Paper, you were featured on the front page of the Today Section of the Baltimore Sun, and made national news regarding your incredible stamina and determination to travel by bus and car from Baltimore to Lincoln, Nebraska for the opening concert following the September 11 attacks.
You have exemplified the Johns Hopkins tradition of excellence and brought credit to Peabody Conservatory and the University throughout your career, it is for this that The Johns Hopkins University Alumni Association confers upon you the honor of the Distinguished Alumni Award.