Classical music, opera and dance performers were recognized at the Tribute to the Classical Arts gala Feb. 22 at Hotel Monteleone. Winners were announced for performances in 2018, and special awards were presented to Barbara Hayley, OperaCreole and the Musical Arts Society of New Orleans’ (MASNO) Piano Insitute.

Hayley received a Lifetime Achievement award for her work in dance. She joined the Newcomb Dance Program in 1985, is a past chair of Tulane University’s Department of Theatre and Dance and directed the modern dance company New Orleans Dance. OperaCreole was recognized for its piece “Les Lions de la Reconstruction,” which used music composers of color in a work celebrating leading free people of color in 19th-century New Orleans. The Education Award went to the MASNO’s Piano Institute, which provides instruction to young musicians and holds an annual competition for solo performance.

The Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra won awards for Best Classical Music Performance and Best New Classical Music Performance. Marigny Opera Ballet company member Kellis McSparrin Oldenburg won awards for choreographing both short and full-length works.

Tribute to the Classical Arts is sponsored by Gambit, The Advocate, Anne Burr, Hotel Monteleone, Hall Piano Company and WWNO 89.9 F.M.

Special awards

Lifetime Achievement Award

Barbara Hayley

Education Award

MASNO’s New Orleans Piano Institute

Special recognition: Creative achievement in opera

Les Lions de la Reconstruction

Opera Creole

Outstanding Dance Presentation (Full Length)

“It’s All About New Orleans”

Lula Elzy New Orleans Dance Theatre

Jefferson Performing Arts Center

Outstanding Dance Presentation (Short)

“Raw Fruit”

“Southern Crossings”

KM Dance Project

Contemporary Arts Center

Outstanding Choreography (Full Length)

“Follies of 1915”

Kellis McSparrin-Oldenburg

Marigny Opera Ballet

Marigny Opera House

Outstanding Choreography (Short)


Kellis McSparrin-Oldenburg

“Jazz Ballets”

Marigny Opera House

Outstanding Dance Ensemble

KM Dance Project

Kesha McKey, Artistic Director

Best Classical Music Performance

“From the Big Easy to the Big Apple”

Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra (LPO)

Carlos Miguel Prieto, Conductor

Orpheum Theater

Best New Classical Music Performance

“Antropolis” by Gabriela Ortiz


Carlos Miguel Prieto, Conductor

Orpheum Theater

Best Chamber Music Performance

“Creation du Monde”

Musaica Chamber Ensemble

Marigny Opera House

Best Opera Production (Grand Scale)


New Orleans Opera Association

E. Loren Meeker, Director

Robert Lyall, Conductor

Mahalia Jackson Theater for the Performing Arts

Best Opera Production (Mixed Scale)

“Dialogues of the Carmelites”

Loyola Opera Theater

Cara Consilvio, Director

Carol Rausch, Conductor

St. George’s Episcopal Church

Best Choral Arts Presentation


Symphony Chorus of New Orleans

Touro Synagogue