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UW Music Professor Earns Distinguished Service Award

January 27, 2020
man holding an award
UW music Professor James Przygocki received the Wyoming Music Educators Association’s 2020 Distinguished Service Award for his work with the UW String Project. (Dan Huber Photo)

The University of Wyoming’s James Przygocki was given the 2020 Distinguished Service Award by the Wyoming Music Educators Association (WMEA) last week at the organization’s annual banquet in Gillette.

Przygocki is a professor in UW’s Department of Music and chairs the String Area. He teaches viola, violin and music education and pedagogy courses, while also conducting the department’s Chamber Orchestra. A deciding factor in the award was his 20 years as director of UW’s String Project, a program designed to teach beginning string students and develop future string teachers.

“I am delighted and honored to receive this award on behalf of the UW String Project,” Przygocki says. “Over the past two decades, nearly 100 UW students from across Wyoming, the U.S. and around the world have taught in this program, enriching the lives of hundreds of children and their families. Many of these former students are now outstanding music educators continuing this important work.

“I am so grateful to our supporters over the years, including the Maggie-George Foundation of Denver, the Wyoming Arts Council, the American String Teachers Association, the UW College of Arts and Sciences and the UW Department of Music,” he adds. “I also am grateful for the support and encouragement of so many Wyoming music educators, particularly my friends and colleagues teaching in the Laramie public schools.”

Przygocki also is an active performer, and he has served in numerous faculty and organizational roles across the nation throughout his career.

The annual WMEA award is given to organizations and people in recognition of direct impact on the music education community of Wyoming -- and for providing support services to the educators and events around the state.

The WMEA is a professional association for music teachers in Wyoming. Members include K-12, higher education and private music instructors. Public, private and parochial teachers are represented in the active, collegiate and retired membership. WMEA provides professional development for music teachers; provides opportunities for all music students to explore and excel in the arts; and serves as an advocate for music education in the schools of Wyoming.

For more information on UW’s Department of Music, visit

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