We proudly offer several awards that recognize musical and teaching excellence.

The Ocy L. Downs Biennial Piano Competition will be held virtually this year because of Maine’s Stay Safer at Home Executive Order. Each candidate will submit a video performance.

In order to level the playing field, each candidate will come individually into the PCM studios to perform on our beautiful new Steinway piano in the Theory Room. You will be recorded by our staff on PCM equipment. All candidates will have the opportunity to perform on the same, high quality, instrument and be filmed using the same equipment.

In order to proceed as safely as possible and maintain social distancing, we are asking each candidate to come in at different times and work with minimal PCM staff. Candidates can be accompanied by up to two family members. Performances will be filmed in one take, as if it were a live competition.

Sign-up dates and times will be forthcoming, but we anticipate mid-to-late June for these recordings.

Be sure to send us one copy of your music, either via an email scan or old fashioned snail mail. We’ll make sure the judges get copies of your music.

Awards / Competition Year Recipients
» For Students
Ocy Downs Piano Competition 2018 Morgan Flanigan, First Place Winner
Alice Hauser, Romantic Period Prize
2016 Josie DePhilippo, Division II  (grades 10-12)
Alice Hauser, Division I (grades 7-9)
Frank Glazer Medal for Piano Performance 2018 Alice Hauser
2016 Josie DiPhilippo
Ruth Glazer Scholarship Award 2014 Marcos Edgar
» For Faculty
Carol Eaton Elowe Faculty Award 2018/19 Maria Belva, Choral Director
2015 Chiharu Naruse, Suzuki & Traditional Piano

Student Award Recipients

Morgan Flanigan

Morgan FlaniganMorgan is currently a piano performance major at the Cleveland Institute of Music in Ohio, studying under the tutelage of Kathryn Brown.  Previously, Morgan studied with Chiharu Naruse at PCM for eight years.  She won the 2018 Ocy Downs Piano Prize, 2017 Young Stars of Maine Elsie Bixler Junior Prize, 2016 Maine High School Concerto Competition, 2015 Young Stars of Maine A. H. Chatfield, Jr. Piano Prize, and the 2015 USM Youth Ensembles Scholarship Competition. During the 2016-2017 school year, Morgan participated in the piano seminar at the New England Conservatory Preparatory School.  She participated in the 2017 Atlantic Music Festival, and during the summer of 2015, Morgan studied under Yong Hi Moon at the Bowdoin International Music Festival and attended the MasterWorks Festival in Indiana.


Alice Hauser

Alice Hauser receives the Frank Glazer Award from the Conservatory's co-founder, Carol Elowe. Alice attended Kennebunk High School where she was a member of the National Honor Society and Tri-M Music Honor Society. She was also president of the Student Senate, Mock Trial lead attorney. Alice is a National Merit Finalist, a US Presidential Scholar Semi-Finalist, and an AP Scholar with Distinction. She attended the All-State Choral Festival all four years of high school. She was accepted into the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland’s summer piano program and was awarded the Jean and Harvey Picker Senior Prize from the Bay Chamber Concerts and Music School as part of their 2018 Young Stars of Maine competition. She studied piano at the Portland Conservatory of Music with Naydene Bowder and won the Conservatory’s Ocy Downs Piano Competitions in 2018 and 2016, Romantic Period Prize and Division I (grades 7-9), respectively. In 2018 she won the Conservatory’s Frank Glazer Medal for Piano Performance. Alice will be attending Wake Forest University as a Stamps Scholar.

Josie DiPhilippo

Josie DiPhilippoJosie is majoring in Piano Performance at the University of Southern Maine. She is currently studying with Dr. Laura Kargul and previously studied with Naydene Bowder at the Portland Conservatory of Music. She has participated in master classes with Conrad Tao, Tamara Poddubnaya, Henry Kramer, Charles Floyd, and Daniel Shapiro. Josie is an intern with the Portland Symphony Orchestra and is working to coordinate and present programs for all ages. Honors include First Prize in the Ocy Downs Competition, First Prize in the Pine Tree Piano Competition, Winner of the USM Youth Ensemble Scholarship Competition, Second Prize in the Young Artist Piano Competition (MA), recipient of the Frank Glazer Award and recipient of the Kotzschmar Memorial Trust Scholarship.

Faculty Award Recipients

Maria Belva

Maria Belva, Faculty - Portland Conservatory of MusicMaria Belva is a professional choral conductor and private voice teacher. She has a B.A. in Psychology & Education from the State University of New York at Potsdam and an M.M. in Choral Conducting from the University of Maine.

She is a Certified McClosky Voice Technician, and in her voice studio, she focuses on technique and musicianship. Maria was an active soprano soloist throughout the Monadnock Region of New Hampshire, and in this capacity, performed leading roles in operatic and music theatre productions. She also appeared often in churches, community events, benefits, and solo recitals.

Maria is a life-long chorister and understands first-hand the impact of creating an excellent choral experience. In Peterborough, NH, she founded and for 20 years directed the Grand Monadnock Youth Choirs for singers in grades 2- 12. Maria is the driving force behind the formation of the Girl Singers of Maine at PCM where she directs the program.

Chiharu Naruse

Chiharu Naruse, Faculty - Portland Conservatory of MusicChiharu Naruse holds a Masters Degree in Music Performance and a Masters Degree in Music Instruction from the Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler in Berlin, Germany. In Berlin, she studied piano under Klaus Bäßler and Lied Accompaniment under Wolfram Riegar.

Chiharu has performed throughout the world in recitals and piano competitions, including a piano concert to benefit Amnesty International in Germany, the Hyogo Piano Competition in Japan (silver prize), the Clara Haskil piano competition in Switzerland, the Pescara Academie Piano Competition in Italy, and the International Mozart Wettbewerb in Salzburg Austria.

In the spring of 2002, she moved to the United States to study under Frank Glazer. Since her arrival, Naruse has given several recitals at Bates College and Bowdoin College.  She has also collaborated with the Portland String Quartet, the DaPonte String Quartet and Frank Glazer.


Our Awards and Competition

Ocy L. Downs Biennial Piano Prize Competition

Ocy L. Downs

First awarded in 1999, this piano prize was established to honor Maine pianist and teacher, Ocy L. Downs, who, from 1927 until 1998, generously shared her time and talent with close to a thousand fortunate piano students and other young musicians. Learn more.

2020 Competition Guidelines

Maine pianists, ages 12 to 18, are invited to apply. You will perform 3 contrasting works of your choice.

Application deadline: March 1
Competition date: March 28

The First Place winner will receive an award of $500 and an invitation to present a 30-minute solo performance at PCM’s Noonday Concert Series in downtown Portland. The Second Place winner will receive a $250 award and a 5-15 minute performance at the Rossini Club.

To participate in the competition, please fill out the forms below and mail them to: Portland Conservatory of Music,  202 Woodford Street, 3rd Floor, Portland, ME 04103

» Application Form

» Repertoire Requirements

Frank Glazer Medal for Piano Performance

Frank GlazerWith the first award presented in 2015, this award is given annually to an outstanding PCM piano student in honor of concert pianist Frank Glazer (1915-2015).  He studied with Artur Schnabel and Arnold Schoenberg, and taught at the Eastman School or Music and later Bates College. Learn more about this remarkable pianist in this short biography of Mr. Glazer.

Carol Eaton Elowe Faculty Award

Carol Eaton EloweThis award was established at the Portland Conservatory of Music in 2012, and provides an annual $500 prize to a Portland Conservatory of Music Faculty member who exemplifies Carol Eaton Elowe’s qualities of superior dedication to the mission of the school. One of the founders of the PCM in 1995, she provided critical leadership and service to the school in its formative years. 


Ruth Glazer Scholarship Award

Frank GlazerOpen to all PCM students, the recipient of this award must exemplify the highest standards of musical excellence, as well as exceptional character and a capacity for leadership, following the fine example that Ruth Glazer set for us all. This annual award was established in memory of Ruth Glazer, a musician, teacher, arts administrator, and the founder of PCM’s Noonday Concerts.