The Jury


2019  Senior String Division Jurors

Daniel Phillips, violin

Sabina Thatcher, viola

Michael Reynolds, cello

Marian Hahn, piano



2019  Senior Wind & Brass Division Jurors

David Shifrin, clarinet

Otis Murphy, saxophone

Marie Speziale, trumpet

Greg Hustis, horn



2019  Junior String Division Jurors

Rebecca Fischer, violin

Jeffrey Ziegler, cello

Liza Stepanova, piano


2019 Junior Wind & Brass Division Jurors

Toyin Spellman-Diaz, oboe
Jeffrey Heisler, saxophone
Marc Reese, trumpet


Review an archive of past Fischoff Competition jurors (through 2017).

The Fischoff takes great pride in inviting the nation's finest musicians and music educators to serve as Competition jurors.  Each Competition Division – string, wind, and junior – is adjudicated by the finest professional specialists in each field.  Jurors come together to form a larger panel for the Final round.

Selecting the “best” ensemble from all of the competitors can be a Herculean task.  The jurors do have some formulas on which they can rely.  However, their decisions are guided primarily by their own musical integrity and experience as performers and instructors.  They listen for interpretation – tempi and dynamics; ensemble performance – balance within the ensemble, blend, and unity of the members; technical accuracy – rhythm and intonation; and overall performance – poise, artistic impression, and expression.

Jurors individually rank the ensembles in each division. These rankings are combined, then averaged for each ensemble to arrive at a group’s composite ranking.  Rankings are a good method for determining the prize winners, but the real value for these young musicians comes from the written comments of the jurors.  The juror evaluations are distributed to all performing ensembles at the completion of the Competition.  From the written comments, the musicians gain valuable and constructive feedback, which is intended to stimulate their growth as artists and ensembles.

Identifying conflict of interest issues is very important to the integrity of the Competition.  During all Competition rounds, ensembles perform anonymously, identified to the jury only by number.  Conflicts of interest between jurors and ensembles or any individuals within an ensemble are carefully addressed and handled appropriately.