By Jesse Bade and Ben Suazo, Staff Writer and Assistant News Editor
When it comes to accomplished professors, Dr. Peter Boonshaft is already recognized as a beloved instructor and friend by his student musicians. His recognition last month by Music for All and the National Association for Music Education only stands as further proof that he is a valuable asset to our faculty.
On November 12, Boonshaft received the George N. Parks Award, which honors a musical educator who embodies leadership, perseverance and enthusiasm. Recipients must have a steadfast dedication to knowing students as people and have a collaborative spirit. They must also be able to instill qualities in their students that go beyond the field of music.
Boonshaft's colleague Dr. David S. Lalama, Professor of Music and Coordinator of Jazz and Commercial Music, said, "Peter Boonshaft has dedicated his life to American band music, and his importance to the positive public and professional perception of the Hofstra University Music Department in the field of Music Education cannot be overstated. This prestigious award is long overdue recognition of his past, present and future contributions."
Dr. Boonshaft is a conductor of the Hofstra University Wind Ensemble and Symphonic Band, professor of Conducting and Music Education, and director of the graduate Wind Conducting program. He founded the Pennsylvania Youth Honors Concert Band, the Connecticut Valley Youth Wind Ensemble and held the post of Music Director and Conductor of the Metropolitan Wind Symphony of Boston. He has also authored multiple books and articles on music education and continuously serves as a guest conductor, clinician and speaker for conferences, festivals, concerts and workshops nationally and internationally. To say that he is dedicated to the arts and musical education is a severe understatement.
"Peter Boonshaft is why the music education program here at Hofstra is so incredible," said sophomore Richard Blake, who plays bassoon in Boonshaft's Wind Ensemble and Symphonic Band. "He is one of the most famous music educators out there and it is very clear when first meeting him why that is. He is one of the nicest human beings alive first of all, and he goes out of his way to know every single member of the band on a first name basis. That is over 200 kids a semester mind you, and he pulls it off with ease."
"I think it's phenomenal that he won such a great award," said junior Samantha Ferrara, who plays bass clarinet in both bands. "He's on point, he's on time; he just knows what he's doing. If you come to the band concerts, it shows in our performance—this semester, we played a really tough program and it was incredible… He's very sincere and appreciative for all the work you do for him."