Unveiling the 2023 Luther College Music Awards: Celebrating Excellence in Music Education and Performance

Welcome to Luther College, where the spirit of music thrives and excellence is celebrated. Join me, Emily Porter, as we unveil the remarkable winners of the 2023 Weston Noble, Dr. Carlo A. Sperati, Presser Scholar, and Hemp Prize awards. These prestigious accolades honor the exceptional talents and contributions of individuals who have dedicated their lives to music education and performance. Let's dive into the inspiring stories of these deserving recipients and celebrate their remarkable achievements.

Honoring the Legacy of Weston Noble: 2023 Weston Noble Award

Discover the remarkable recipient of the 2023 Weston Noble Award, Jan (Bakker) Knutson, and her outstanding contributions to music education.

Jan (Bakker) Knutson, a distinguished alumna of Luther College, is the proud recipient of the 2023 Weston Noble Award. This prestigious accolade pays tribute to music educators who embody the spirit and legacy of Weston Noble, a trailblazer in the field of music education.

During her time at Luther College, Knutson showcased her exceptional musical talents and emerged as a promising young conductor. After graduating, she embarked on a fulfilling career as an elementary school music teacher in Charles City, Iowa. Her passion for music education led her to pursue a graduate degree in music education and vocal performance from Florida State University.

Knutson's dedication to her craft and commitment to nurturing young musicians became evident during her tenure as the director of choirs and department chair at Parker High School in Janesville, Wisconsin. Under her guidance, the a cappella choir achieved remarkable success, touring across the country and earning recognition as a featured choir in the Dorian Choral Invitational at Luther College.

In addition to her teaching career, Knutson founded Parker Arts Academy, an institution that integrates an arts-focused curriculum into high school education. Her tireless efforts in promoting music education and fostering artistic growth have earned her numerous accolades, including the Jerry Hall of Fame Award and the Herb Kohl Teaching Fellowship.

Celebrating Excellence in Music Education: 2023 Dr. Carlo A. Sperati Award

Meet Gene Anderson, the deserving recipient of the 2023 Dr. Carlo A. Sperati Award, and discover his profound impact on music education.

Gene Anderson, an esteemed alumnus of Luther College, is the distinguished recipient of the 2023 Dr. Carlo A. Sperati Award. This prestigious honor celebrates music educators who exemplify the dedication and commitment demonstrated by Dr. Carlo A. Sperati, a renowned conductor and educator.

After graduating from Luther College, Anderson embarked on a fulfilling career in music education. He taught in public schools across Iowa before pursuing a master's degree in woodwind performance from the University of Iowa. His passion for teaching and music theory led him to complete a Ph.D. at the University of Iowa, where he explored the works of Jean-Philippe Rameau.

Anderson's career in academia flourished as he served as the director of bands and a music theory instructor at the University of Richmond. His leadership extended beyond the classroom, as he also held the position of head of the music department. Throughout his career, Anderson's commitment to excellence and his passion for music education have left an indelible mark on the lives of countless students.

Today, Anderson continues to share his love for music as a member of the Doctors of Jazz ensemble, performing at various venues and jazz festivals. His contributions to the field of music education and his unwavering dedication to his students make him a truly deserving recipient of the Dr. Carlo A. Sperati Award.

Recognizing Exceptional Talent: 2023 Presser Scholar Award

Meet Malachi Rettmann, the talented recipient of the 2023 Presser Scholar Award, and explore his passion for music and commitment to promoting diversity in the orchestra world.

Malachi Rettmann, a promising music major from Luther College, has been honored with the prestigious 2023 Presser Scholar Award. This esteemed recognition is bestowed upon a deserving student who demonstrates excellence and merit in the field of music.

Rettmann, a double major in music and management, hails from Madison, Wisconsin. His musical journey began at a young age, and he honed his skills as a member of the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestra. During his time at Luther College, Rettmann focused on bass performance, showcasing his exceptional talent and dedication.

As a recipient of the Presser Scholar Award, Rettmann has delved into research projects that explore the intersection of music and society. His Student-Faculty Summer Research Project focused on improving recruiting and marketing strategies for Luther College's Dorian Summer Music Camps. Currently, Rettmann is working on his senior capstone project, which examines how to manage and promote diversity in the professional orchestra world.

After graduation, Rettmann plans to utilize his research and pursue a career in arts and music administration, making a lasting impact on the industry and fostering inclusivity in the world of classical music.

Embracing Musical Excellence: 2023 Hemp Prize

Discover the exceptional talent of Emma Prostine, the recipient of the 2023 Hemp Prize, and her remarkable contributions to the Luther College Symphony Orchestra.

Emma Prostine, a gifted violinist and member of the Luther College Symphony Orchestra, has been honored with the prestigious 2023 Hemp Prize. This esteemed award, established by Richard and Joann Hemp, recognizes senior members of the orchestra who exhibit exceptional talent, musicianship, and leadership.

Prostine's musical journey began at Washington High School in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where she represented her school in the All-State Orchestra. Her passion for music led her to Luther College, where she has served as the principal second violin in the Luther College Orchestra for the past three years.

Beyond her musical achievements, Prostine is also a dedicated student, majoring in chemistry. She serves as the president of the Chemistry Club and has received the Adrien Docken Award for Excellence in Chemistry. After graduating from Luther College, Prostine plans to pursue a doctorate in pharmacy at the University of Iowa.

Emma Prostine's exceptional talent, leadership, and commitment to both music and academics make her a deserving recipient of the Hemp Prize. Her contributions to the Luther College Symphony Orchestra and her dedication to her studies serve as an inspiration to aspiring musicians and scholars alike.


As we conclude our exploration of the 2023 Luther College Music Awards, we are left inspired by the exceptional talents and contributions of the award recipients. Jan (Bakker) Knutson, Gene Anderson, Malachi Rettmann, and Emma Prostine have each made a significant impact in the world of music education and performance, embodying the spirit of excellence and dedication.

These remarkable individuals serve as shining examples of the transformative power of music and the profound influence that educators and performers can have on the lives of others. Their passion, talent, and commitment to their craft continue to shape the future of music and inspire the next generation of musicians.

As we celebrate their achievements, let us also recognize the invaluable role that music plays in our lives. It has the power to uplift, unite, and transcend boundaries. Through their unwavering dedication, these award recipients have enriched the world of music and left an indelible mark on the hearts and minds of those they have touched.

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