Posted Tuesday, March 6th, 2018

2018 Scholarship Winners: Pianist John Duc-Tuan Nguyen and Actress Nicole Giordano

Morris Arts has announced that the 2018 winners of its annual Elaine Ehlers and Eugenie Coladarci arts scholarships for graduating high school seniors are pianist John Duc-Tuan Nguyen of the Morris County Academy of Math, Science and Engineering and actress Nicole Giordano of Mountain Lakes High School.

photo of John Duc-Tuan Nguyen

John Duc-Tuan Nguyen

Visual artist Coral Coad, a graduating senior at West Morris Mendham High School, received Honorable Mention.

“Congratulations to these remarkable young people who, obviously, have so much talent but who also worked so hard and persevered to accomplish so much in their young lives,” said Morris County Freeholder Christine Myers. “They are further examples of the fine young people who live and go to school in Morris County. Congratulations to you!”

Ehlers Scholarship winner, John Duc-Tuan Nguyen, is a graduating senior at the Morris County Academy for Mathematics, Science and Engineering in Rockaway. He plans to double major (or possibly minor) in music performance in college.

Nguyen, who lives in Flanders (Mount Olive), won third place in the Eighth Chopin International Piano Competition, Grand Prix in the National Young Musician Showcase Competition and IMAS Talented Young Musician Olympia Competition, and garnered top places in numerous other national and international competitions.

He has performed as a soloist at Carnegie’s Weill and Zankel Halls, NJPAC and Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall. His piano teacher described him as “truly gifted,”  “exciting,” a “striking talent,” with a “marvelous musical imagination for both lines and colors.”

For his application, Nguyen’s outstanding performances of two very difficult works demonstrated his musical maturity, poise, precision, exceptional technical skills, keen understanding of structure and “voicing,” clarity of line, poetic expressiveness, wide dynamic range, and unique flair in performance.

As a pianist, he is that rare combination of formidable technique coupled with a profound understanding of the music

photo of Nicole Giordano

Nicole Giordano

Coladarci Scholarship winner Nicole Giordano, who lives in Mountain Lakes, is a graduating senior at Mountain Lakes High School who plans to pursue a BFA in acting at college.

With advanced training at the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey and Boston University’s Summer Theater Institute, she was a finalist at the Governor’s Awards for the Speech and Theatre Association of New Jersey (besting nearly 500 competitors).

She won the Best Leading Actress award at the Bucks County Theatre Festival, and was one of 15 actors chosen from among 2,500 applicants for NYU’s Tisch Future Theater Artists Program. Her drama teacher stated, “This girl’s natural talents far outweigh those of many working actors today.”

Each year Morris Arts offers two scholarship opportunities for graduating high school seniors who have exhibited artistic excellence in dance, drama, music, or visual arts and plan to pursue post-secondary studies at an accredited institution or acknowledged arts school or fine arts program.

photo of Nicole Giordano on stage

Nicole Giordano on stage

The Elaine Ehlers Arts Scholarship, in the amount of $5,000, and the Eugenie Coladarci Arts Scholarship, in the amount of $1,500, were created to recognize artistic excellence, encourage the artists of the future, and to celebrate the value of the arts to the human experience.

Morris County high school seniors graduating in June 2018 who are currently attending public, private, or parochial school in New Jersey were eligible.

The Ehlers Scholarship was established in 2002 in memory of Elaine Ehlers (1953-2001), a health-care administrator by profession, who had a voracious appetite for all things artistic and musical.  She derived intellectual and emotional sustenance from the arts and supported programs at many museums and musical institutions.

By establishing this scholarship, an enduring legacy has been created to reward those who possess artistic talent and who plan to further their arts education.

The Coladarci Scholarship is awarded in memory of Eugenie R. Coladarci, who was Vice President of Marketing and Public Relations at Chase Manhattan Bank and an active member of Morris Arts. She was completing her first term as Board Chair when she passed away in 1997.

Genie encouraged the development of young artists and believed in the value of the arts to the quality of life.  The idea of a scholarship to assist talented young people wishing to continue their study in the arts was very important to her.

Morris arts logoThe winners will be introduced at the March 15 opening reception for the new exhibit “approaching VIBRANCY,” featuring works by 39 female opening at the Gallery at 14 Maple in Morristown). The free reception, scheduled from 6-8 p.m., is open to the public.

Morris Arts, located in Morristown, NJ, is a not-for-profit organization founded in 1973 dedicated to building community through the arts. Using the arts to inspire, connect and engage, Morris Arts serves as a resource for Morris County with a special focus on arts programming in the schools and in the community, arts advocacy, and support of the Morris Area community of artists and arts organizations.