Richard G. Cox Award

Our beloved Richard Cox passed away in December of 2020 at the age of 92. He left behind not only an incredible legacy of choral excellence, but his love and benevolence for the whole of humanity. A scholar and supreme educator, a large portion of his work was geared towards his students, whom he loved dearly. We are pleased to name this new award after him and into perpetuity. It will be presented during the Friday evening concert of our Fall Conference.

This award is for conductors who have:

  • Ten or fewer years of choral directing experience in any community setting (the majority in NC)

  • Established high performance and choral repertoire standards

  • Demonstrable promotion of choral music in the community served

  • Characteristics of a master choral director

    • (Including: singer rapport, musicianship, enthusiasm for the profession, and professional growth)

  • Active Membership in NC ACDA

  • Support and involvement of NC ACDA functions

Selection Procedure:

  • Submission Deadline is October 15th

  • Biographical information of the nominee will be sought by the Award Chairs

  • The successful nominee will be presented with the award at the Fall Conference.


If you have any questions about this award, please email Awards Co-Chair, Anne Saxon. midpatch@aol.com

Richard Cox Bio:

A native North Carolinian with degrees from UNC-Chapel Hill and a diploma in Voice from the Paris Conservatory, Richard Cox completed the PhD in music history and literature from Northwestern University, where he met his future wife, Mary Alicia.

Having taught at High Point University for five years, Richard joined the faculty of UNC-Greensboro, where he remained from 1960-2002. Under his leadership, the School of Music developed a national reputation in the choral arena. As conductor of the UNCG Women’s Choir and Chorale, he led performances at a national ACDA convention in 1973 as well as five Southern Region conventions. From 1963-2013, he served as choirmaster at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church.

Richard edited choral works and wrote three books related to vocal and choral music, Singers’ Manual of German and French Diction (Schirmer Books, 1970), Singing in English (ACDA, 1990) and The Choral Music of Benjamin Britten (Hinshaw Music, Inc., 2011.)


Richard founded and directed the Bel Canto Company (1982-1987) and for many years guided choral preparation for the Greensboro Opera Company. He was President of the Southern Division of the ACDA from 1967-71 and the NC chapter from 1984-86, and for decades served on the National Committee on Research and Publications. Awards include NC ACDA’s Lara Hoggard Award, the Choral Excellence Award (Southern Region) and induction into the North Carolina Music Educators Association Hall of Fame.


Never truly "retiring," Richard remained active, attending ACDA conventions, volunteering at his church and elsewhere, advocating for human rights causes, and visiting his children and grandchildren.


Richard profoundly influenced several generations of students, colleagues, and friends. “A fitting tribute to Richard Cox” wrote by Welborn Young, current conductor of the Bel Canto Company, would be “to strive to learn more, teach with compassion, make beautiful music from the heart, and, most importantly, strive to be a better person by loving more fully with a respect for all people with whom we share this brief journey.”