ISMTA Teacher of the Year

Individuals and local associations are invited to nominate a member for ISMTA Teacher of the Year.  Teacher of the Year nominees must be a current ISMTA member. Nominees shall have made a significant contribution over an extended period of time to not only their teaching studio, but community, their local association and ISMTA. Contributions may be educational, creative, administrative, financial or service related, but should be significant in both scope and impact.

ISMTA Teacher of the Year will be honored as part of the ISMTA Conference in November.   Winner will also automatically be nominated for the MTNA Teacher of the Year Award.

To nominate a teacher, use the link below to submit the following by July 31, 2024:

  • Nominee’s contact information
  • 150 word bio 
  • 600 word letter of recommendation
  • High resolution photograph of nominee
  • Up to 5 supporting documents (not required)

To complete the process, please email a high resolution headshot (minimum file size 1 MB) to  File title should contain member name (ex. JohnSmith.jpg) and the email subject line should say TOY HEADSHOT.

Additionally, up to 5 (five) supporting documents may be emailed to the same address, and may include additional letters of recommendation, recital programs, awards, newspaper articles, publications or other supporting documents.   Only digital files will be accepted (jpg, pdf, doc).

Please note that nominations which do not adhere to the aforementioned nomination process may be disregarded at the discretion of the Teacher of the Year Committee.

2023 Teacher of the Year:
Joseph Welch

Past Recipients


Janice Razaq*


Hannah Voigt


Chee Hyeon Choi


Frances Larimer*


Jennifer Cohen


Janet Hickey


Heidi Mayer

* Jance Razaq was named MTNA Teacher of the Year in 2023
* Frances Larimer was named MTNA Teacher of the Year in 2019

Joseph Welch’s musical versatility and supportive collaborative spirit have made him a highly valued pianist, coach, and teacher. Welch has a long relationship with Opera Edwardsville, where he was named Artist-in-Residence in 2022 and 2023. He performs with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra’s IN UNISON Chorus and is a vocal coach in the Opera Theatre of St. Louis Artists-in-Training Program.

Welch serves as Professor of Music and Chair of Music and Theatre at Blackburn College, where he wrote the curriculum for a new B.A. in Music that is practical, artist-centric, and aligned with the college’s mission. He has been named Gateway Arch East (ISMTA) Member of the Year twice (2017 and 2023) and was the 2023 Faculty Diversity Award Recipient at Blackburn College. Welch serves on the boards of Southern Illinois Young Artist Organization and Bunker Hill Education Foundation.

Learn more about this artist at