ASU Music Student Named Presser Foundation Scholar with $4-K Grant!

News Date
music student Janet Lagah Bona with Dr. Adonis gonzalez.jpg

ASU Presser Scholar Janet Lagah-Bona (R) is pictured with faculty member Dr. Adonis Gonzalez

- Awarded for excellence in performance, high standards in character  and academic citizenship -

- By Kenneth Mullinax/ASU. 

A prestigious national music award has been bestowed upon an Alabama State University student by the Theodore Presser Foundation. The award includes a cash prize,which is awarded to an outstanding junior music major who exhibits excellence in performance and high standards in personal character and academic citizenship. 

Janet Lagah-Bona, a junior Music Performance major at ASU, has been named the 2020 Presser Scholar for Alabama State University. Along with the honor comes a $4,000 grant that is to be used to assist her with preparing for graduate school auditions and for enrolling in a graduate music program to further her professional studies.  


The Washington, D.C. native is no stranger to academic honors and accolades, which include her being a University honor student, a finalist for the noteworthy James A. Hefner Piano Competition, a Sphinx Connect Fellowship Award recipient and being chosen in 2019 for the Eastman School of Music Summer Leadership Academy.   

"This prize is a huge blessing to me, and it's very cool, too," Lagah-Bona said from Alexandria, Va. "The grant money comes at an important time for me as I enter into my senior year at ASU in the fall, and will be going to graduate school auditions out of state. This will help ease my financial burden as I transition from the University to graduate school." 


According to Music Department faculty, Lagah-Bona is an accomplished pianist and is a promising composer who desires to obtain a graduate degree in music composition theory or music administration. Lagah-Bona is a high school graduate of the illustrious Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington, D.C. 

She studies at ASU in the piano studio of faculty member Dr. Adonis Gonzalez, himself an acclaimed pianist and composer, whom Janet has referred to as her "Piano-Dad." 

"Janet has a great passion and ability for theory and has a future as a composer if she so desires," Gonzalez said. "Each year that she has been with us at ASU, she surpasses herself with earned honors and scholarship." 

The chairwoman of the University's department of music, Dr. Carly Johnson, believes that Lagah-Bona displays the academic and musical accomplishments expected from an ASU Presser Scholar.   

"She has a very bright future ahead of her, both as an emerging advocate for the arts and as a creative intellectual in the field of music," Johnson said. 


"Alabama State University has prepared me for success through exposing me to incredible faculty and staff who place me in a community of like-minded musicians and who treat me just like family," Lagah-Bona said.