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2019 Hartt Alumni Award Recipients

May 09, 2019

The Hartt School is proud to announce David Lazaar Katz ’77, AD’84, M’89; and Orin Wolf ’01 as recipients of the 2019 Hartt Alumni Award.

The awards will be presented to Katz and Wolf during the Hartt Undergraduate Commencement ceremony on Sunday, May 19.


Professional conductor, composer, playwright, actor, arts advocate, and educator David Lazaar Katz ’77, AD’84, M’89, is founder and chief judge of The American Prize National Nonprofit Competitions in the Performing Arts, administered by Hat City Music Theater, Inc., based in his hometown of Danbury, Connecticut.  Katz created The American Prize to provide reward, recognition, and professional adjudication to artists and arts ensembles nationwide—not just for performers and composers in the largest cities on the coasts or from the most prestigious schools, but also to those artists who create excellence under the radar, far from our major cultural centers. Since its founding, The American Prize has attracted thousands of contestants from all 50 states, and in 2016, Katz was honored by Musical America as a “Top Professional of the Year” for his work creating and sustaining The American Prize. 

Katz has led more than 60 orchestras and opera companies throughout the United States, Canada, and Mexico. He is the founding music director of the Chicago Bar Association Symphony Orchestra, and has led Chicagoland’s unique all-lawyer ensemble nearly 200 times during his tenure.  

As a playwright and actor, Katz tours internationally in MUSE of FIRE, his own, unique one-man play about the secrets of the conductor’s art. David has performed MUSE more than 60 times in the U.S. and Canada.


Orin Wolf ’01 graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Actor Training. He is the lead producer of the, The Band’s Visit, which won 10 Tony Awards in 2018, including Best Musical, making it one of the most Tony-winning musicals in history. It also won the 2019 Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album. Wolf is also president of NETworks Theatrical Presentation, the largest Broadway touring production company.

Wolf’s additional Broadway producing credits include Fiddler on the Roof (Tony Nominated), Beautiful — The Carole King Musical (Tony Nominated), Orphans (Tony Nominated), Hands on a Hardbody, Once (Broadway Tony Award Winner, London and National Tour), That Championship Season, and A View From the Bridge (Tony Nominated). His off-Broadway and touring credits include The Band’s Visit, Not By Bread Alone, GroundswellJudy Gold’s 25 Questions for a Jewish Mother, Robert Wuhl’s Assume the Position, History of the Word, and I Love a Piano.

Wolf, a native of Cleveland, Ohio, is the co-founder of OBB/Off Broadway Booking, an agency that pioneered a national touring market for off-Broadway shows. He was awarded one of the first T Fellowships for Creative Producing at Columbia University, a program created by Hal Prince and other producers to help nurture young producers. He is now director of the T Fellowships.

In addition, Wolf will deliver the Commencement address at the University of Hartford’s main undergraduate ceremony next month. Learn more.

The Hartt School has recognized outstanding alumni with the Hartt Alumni Award since 1959. The recipients are chosen by the Hartt Alumni Award Committee with nominations collected from Hartt alumni, faculty, and staff. Criteria for the award include distinguished professional accomplishments in the performing arts, as well as professional and critical recognition of these accomplishments. The committee strives to achieve a diverse list of honorees representing the various disciplines of The Hartt School.