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Donald Portnoy awarded highest honor S.C. presents in the arts

University of South Carolina professor is named a winner of The Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Awards

The South Carolina Arts Commission has named Dr. Donald Portnoy winner of the 2015 Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Award for the Arts in the individual category.

“Dr. Portnoy’s career has had a profound impact on the arts in South Carolina, regionally and nationally. He has brought music to countless audience members and powered the dreams and aspirations of students to achieve their own individual goals.” – S.C. Arts Commission

Dr. Donald Portnoy holds the Ira McKissick Koger Endowed Chair for the Fine Arts for the University of South Carolina where he is director of orchestral studies and conductor of the USC Symphony Orchestra and Chamber Orchestra. He is the founder and director of the renowned Conductors Institute of South Carolina, whose participants come from all parts of the United States and abroad to attend annual summer sessions in Columbia and Charleston (Spoleto Festival) South Carolina, and in Argentina.

To recognize outstanding achievement and contributions to the arts in South Carolina, the Arts Commission annually presents the Elizabeth O'Neill Verner Awards, the highest honor the state gives in the arts. These awards honor South Carolina arts organizations, patrons, artists, members of the business community, and government entities who maximize their roles as innovators, supporters and advocates of the arts.

Awards will be presented at a ceremony in Columbia on Wednesday, May 13. The S.C. Arts Foundation will honor the recipients and the arts community at the South Carolina Arts Gala, a fundraiser supporting the programs of the S.C. Arts Commission. For more about the Verner Awards or the S.C. Arts Gala, call (803) 734-8696 or visit

About the S.C. Arts Commission

The South Carolina Arts Commission is the state agency charged with creating a thriving arts environment that benefits all South Carolinians, regardless of their location or circumstances. Created by the South Carolina General Assembly in 1967, the Arts Commission works to increase public participation in the arts by providing services, grants and leadership initiatives in three areas: arts education, community arts development and artist development. Headquartered in Columbia, S.C., the Arts Commission is funded by the state of South Carolina, by the federal government through the National Endowment for the Arts and other sources.

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