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Music maestro awarded BYU presidential citation

Honored for his significant civic and professional accomplishments, music maestro Eugene Jelesnik received the BYU Presidential Citation at the university's commencement ceremonies April 22.

The citation, which recognizes outstanding individuals and groups, was given to Mr. Jelesnik for his contribution as a musical force in Utah for more than half a century. He has been permanent conductor of the Salt Lake Philharmonic Orchestra for more than 40 years.A musician, composer and conductor, Mr. Jelesnik continues to lead his musicians in annual free pops concerts celebrating such events as LDS general conferences, Pioneer Day, Labor Day and Thanksgiving.

Mr. Jelesnik, a native of the Ukrainian town of Alexandrovsk, first came to Utah in the 1930s with his orchestra for a two-week engagement at the Hotel Utah. Then in 1945 he accepted a request to direct a live orchestra for one of Salt Lake City's radio stations.

With the arrival of television, he produced a popular weekly television program "Talent Showcase." The program ran for more than 30 years, and approximately 10,000 young Utahns, including the Osmonds, were given early public exposure.

"Eugene Jelesnik has done much for the enjoyment and morale of citizens of this nation and state," BYU Provost Bruce C. Hafen said, in awarding the citation.

"Brigham Young University is proud to honor Eugene Jelesnik with this presidential citation and medallion for his love of Utah and his selfless efforts in recognizing and developing the musical talent and appreciation of its citizens," he concluded.

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