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The American Prize
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The American Prize is honored to announce the winners, runners-up, citation recipients and honorable mentions of The American Prize in Conducting—chorus, in all  divisions, 2016-17. Congratulations!

All applicants finalist or higher receive written evaluations from a member of The American Prize judging panel.

Complete listings of finalists and semi-finalists in The American Prize competitions may be found elsewhere on this blog. Please use the chronological tool in the right-hand column to find specific results.

Please make us aware of any misprints: theamericanprize@gmail.com


The American Prize in Conducting—chorus, 2016-17,  professional division:

The American Prize winner:
Jeremiah Selvey
    Chorosynthesis Singers
    Seattle WA
Jeremiah Selvey
DR. JEREMIAH SELVEY currently serves as Visiting Director of Choral Activities of Connecticut College and Co-Artistic Director of Chorosynthesis Singers, a professional, project-based chamber ensemble in Seattle. He has performed throughout North America, New Zealand, Australia, and Europe and regularly teaches voice master classes and clinics choirs of all levels. Jeremiah’s compositions have been performed on four continents, and his research on choral expressivity has been presented in Asia, Europe, and throughout the North America. He is most recently published by The Choral Scholar and the Bulletin of the Council for Research in Music Education. A Southern California resident, Jeremiah has taught applied voice majors, group voice class, conducting, choral methods, theory, music history, aural skills, and diction. He holds advanced degrees from the University of Washington and Emory University. www.jeremiahselvey.com


2nd Place:
Brian A. Schmidt
    South Dakota Chorale  
    Sioux Falls SD
Brian A. Schmidt
Brian Schmidt is a choral conductor at Duke University in Durham, NC, where he serves as conductor of the Duke Vespers Ensemble and Duke Divinity School Choir, and conductor of the Duke Chapel Bach Cantata Series. With the Duke Vespers Ensemble, Schmidt leads the highly-auditioned chamber choir in a weekly candlelit Choral Vespers service, as well as concerts and recording projects specializing in early music. He is also Founder and Artistic Director of the South Dakota Chorale, a professional choral organization in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. His leadership has guided them to rapid growth as well as the release of two commercial albums and the signing of an international recording contract with Pentatone, a Dutch classical music label.


3rd Place:
Wendy K. Moy
    Chorosynthesis Singers
    Seatlle WA
Wendy K. Moy
Wendy K. Moy is the Co-Artistic Director of Chorosynthesis Singers and the Director of Choral Activities and Music Education at Connecticut College. She is frequently sought as a guest conductor and clinician for orchestral and choral ensembles at all levels. Dr. Moy continues to perform as a soprano soloist and is currently singing in the professional ensemble CONCORA. Dr. Moy has presented at national conferences on her research on the culture of singing communities and the factors that contribute to successful choral organizations. She serves on the Connecticut American Choral Directors Association Board and is the Co-Founder/President of Chorosynthesis, a national nonprofit organization whose mission is to transform the culture of American choral music through collaboration, sustainability, innovation, and excellence. Dr. Moy holds a BA in Music Education from Seattle Pacific University, a MME from Westminster Choir College, and a DMA in Choral Conducting from the University of Washington. www.wendymoy.com


The American Prize in Conducting—chorus, 2016-17,  college/university division:

The American Prize winner:
David Fryling   
    Hofstra Chamber Choir & Hofstra Chorale
    Hempstead NY
David Fryling
Dr. David Fryling (www.davidfryling.org) is Professor of Music and Director of Choral Studies at Hofstra University, where he conducts the select Chorale and Chamber Choir, teaches beginning through graduate-level studies in Choral Conducting and Literature, and supervises choral student teachers during their field placements. Recent professional engagements include various all-state and regional honor choirs, master classes, workshops, and adjudications in over a dozen states. From 2007 to 2013 he served as conductor of the World Youth Honors Choir and Festival Choir at the Interlochen Arts Camp, and since 2014 has been a guest conducting artist at the NYSSSA Choral program. He is the founding conductor and artistic director of eVoco Voice Collective, serves as president of the Eastern Division of ACDA, and was inducted in the fall of 2014 into the Long Island Music Hall of Fame as “Educator of Note.” 


2nd Place:
Catherine Sailer
    Univ. of Denver Lamont Chorale
    Denver CO
Catherine Sailer
Catherine Sailer is Director of Choral Studies at the University of Denver Lamont School of Music, and Associate Conductor of the Colorado Ballet Orchestra.  Conducting credits include the Santa Fe Symphony, Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic, Beijing Symphony, National Opera of China, Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music Orchestra, Central City Opera, Bravo! Vail Valley Festival, Oregon Bach Festival Chorus and Orchestra, Madrigal Vocale (Brazil), Rheinpfalz International Choir, and the Shanghai International Choral League.  She has collaborated as conductor or chorus master with singers William Warfield and Marilyn Horne and conductors Bramwell Tovey, Robert Spano, Ed Spanjaard, Eric Whitacre, Victor Yampolsky, Marius Szmolij, Stephen Alltop, David Amram, Tan Dun, David Fanshawe, Marin Alsop, Dallas Symphony Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Colorado Symphony, Aspen Festival Orchestra, and Cheyenne Symphony Orchestra.
Sailer was awarded Chorus America’s Robert Shaw Fellowship, First Place in ACDA’s conducting competition, and serves as state president for ACDA.


3rd Place (there was a tie):
Jaclyn Johnson
    University of Tennessee Chamber & Concert Choirs
    Knoxville TN
Jaclyn Johnson
Often described as an “energetic little firecracker” on stage, Dr. Jaclyn Johnson has made it her life goal to share her passion for music with ensembles and audiences around the world. Johnson is the current Associate Director of Choral Activities at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Before completing her doctoral degree in Choral Conducting at the University of Michigan, she had a thriving career as a high school educator for eight years. Ensembles under her direction received numerous honors and awards, including performances at the American Choral Directors Association National Conference (2011), Western Division Conference (2010), and Central Division Conference (2014). Her choirs have toured domestically and internationally to such destinations as San Francisco, New York, New Orleans, Canada, and Italy.
 

3rd Place (there was a tie):
Beverly Taylor
    UW-Madison Choral Union
    Madison WI 
Beverly Taylor
Beverly Taylor, Assistant Conductor of the Madison Symphony Orchestra and Director of the Madison Symphony Chorus, has been recognized by The Boston Globe as an artist who “has the crucial gift of inspiring people to give of their best, and beyond.” Taylor has served as Director of Choral Activities at the University of Wisconsin-Madison since 1995, where she directs the choral conducting program and leads its premiere ensembles. For seven years she was Music Director of the Back Bay Chorale, conducting concerts with the Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra and other distinguished collaborators. Past positions include Harvard University, Boston Bar Association Orchestra, and guest engagements with international orchestras and choruses. A graduate of the University of Delaware and Boston University, she has studied with Gustav Meier, Paul Vermel, Andrew Davis, Helmuth Rilling, Robert Shaw, Margaret Hillis, and Herbert Blomstedt. She has received fellowships from Chorus America and Aspen. www.conductorbeverlytaylor.com


JUDGES CITATION: "Championing the Music of Gerald Kemner"
Michael Robert Patch
    UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance: Conservatory Singers
    Kansas City MO
Michael Robert Patch
Michael Robert Patch, recently completed his DMA in Conducting from the UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance, where he studied with American Prize winner, Dr. Robert Bode.  Michael has held positions such as Artistic Director and Conductor, Music Minister, High School Music Teacher, and Professional Singer.  While at at the UMKC Conservatory, he was GTA and Graduate Director of the Conservatory Singers, and conducted the Opera Chorus, University Singers, and Canticum Novum.  He recently conducted a newly composed ballet and has commissioned new works, as well as arrangements of existing music.  He has sung with choirs of all shapes and sizes, including the Kansas City Chorale, Kansas City Symphony Chorus, Pacific Mozart Ensemble, and Oakland Symphony Chorus. Michael’s voice can be heard on a Grammy nominated recording of Rheinberger’s music, performed by the KC Chorale, and as a soloist and chorister for a recording of Elinor Remick Warren’s music, performed by the Pacific Mozart Ensemble.


HONORABLE MENTION: 
John Cuk
    Manhattanville College Choir & Women's Vocal Ensemble
    Purchase NY
John Cuk
John Cuk has a varied background as a musician and educator. As a conductor, he’s conducted choral and orchestral ensembles in Europe, South America and the United States. His groups have performed at such prestigious venues as Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, Alice Tully Hall, Kennedy Library, Boston, St. Peter's Basilica, Rome,  Música Sin Edad in Buenos Aires, Argentina and The International Youth Orchestra Festival in Lucca, Italy.?? Active as a musical theater and opera conductor has had positions with  Opera Estate in Rome Italy, Dell' Arte Opera in New York, New York, Buck Hill/Skytop Festival in Pennsylvania, Westchester Conservatory's Summer Vocal Music Academy in White Plains, New York, as well as Musical Director for countless musical theater productions both at the high school and college level.?? Guest conducting includes festivals for Western Connecticut, Suffolk, Dutchess and Westchester Counties in New York,  the Orchestra Sinfonica di Bacau, Romania in Italy and the National Chorale's Annual Messiah-Sing-In at Avery Fisher Hall. Active as a coach, accompanist and pianist, he performs frequently with singers and chamber musicians.

Cuk is the Director of Choirs at Manhattanville College in Purchase, NY where he teaches choral conducting and co-directs the opera scenes program. He is a native of New York and has degrees from Manhattanville College and The Manhattan School of Music as well as post graduate work at Westminster Choir College. http://www.johncuk.com/

 
The American Prize in Conducting—chorus, 2016-17,  community division:

The American Prize winner:
David Fryling   
    eVoco Mixed Ensemble & Women's Ensemble
    Lynbrook NY
David Fryling
Dr. David Fryling (www.davidfryling.org) is Professor of Music and Director of Choral Studies at Hofstra University, where he conducts the select Chorale and Chamber Choir, teaches beginning through graduate-level studies in Choral Conducting and Literature, and supervises choral student teachers during their field placements. Recent professional engagements include various all-state and regional honor choirs, master classes, workshops, and adjudications in over a dozen states. From 2007 to 2013 he served as conductor of the World Youth Honors Choir and Festival Choir at the Interlochen Arts Camp, and since 2014 has been a guest conducting artist at the NYSSSA Choral program. He is the founding conductor and artistic director of eVoco Voice Collective, serves as president of the Eastern Division of ACDA, and was inducted in the fall of 2014 into the Long Island Music Hall of Fame as “Educator of Note.”


2nd Place:
Douglas Buchanan
    Canticum Novum Chamber Chorus
    Baltimore MD
Douglas Buchanan
Douglas Buchanan (b. 1984) has been lauded for his “sense of creative imperative” (The Philadelphia Inquirer) and for creating music “filled with terrific orchestral color and weight, not to mention feeling” (The Baltimore Sun). An active conductor, composer, and educator noted for his “ability to get under the skin of [the music’s] core material” (The Scotsman), Buchanan teaches at the Peabody Conservatory and Dickinson College. As pianist and organist he has performed concerts throughout the country, including at the Fort Worth Museum of Modern Art and the National Cathedral. In addition to serving as director of the Maryland Choral Society and Organist and Choirmaster at St. David’s, Baltimore, he enjoys interspecies microtonal improvisation with his black lab, Grover. You are invited to visit www.dbconductor.com to learn more.


3rd Place:
Reginald M. Houze
    The Weddington UMC/First BC Worcester Choirs
    Charlotte NC
Reginald M. Houze
Dr. Reginald M. Houze has experience and education conducting ensembles of all types. Previously, Houze was conductor of The Wind Ensemble at Tarleton State University in Texas and served on the conducting faculties at Clemson University, the University of Southern Mississippi, and Anna Maria College. He has taught both instrumental and vocal music in the schools of Tennessee, Florida, and Mississippi. Dr. Houze holds music degrees from the University of Southern Mississippi and New York University. He holds the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in conducting from the University of South Carolina. He has done additional conducting study at the Eastman School of Music, the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and The Hartt School of Music. Houze made his conducting debut at Carnegie Hall with The Overton Wind Ensemble featuring Grammy-winning saxophonist Kirk Whalum. Currently, he is Director of Music and Arts at Weddington United Methodist Church in Charlotte, North Carolina.



The American Prize in Conducting—chorus, 2016-17,  school division:

The American Prize winner:
Philip Brown
    Hopkins High School Concert Choir
    Minnetonka MN
Philip Brown
Philip Brown is the director of choral activities at Hopkins High School and conductor of the Cantanti Singers with Angelica Cantanti Youth Choirs. He graduated summa cum laude from Bethany College (KS) and received his M.M. degree from Northern Arizona University. He has taught at the high school level in Colorado and Minnesota, coaching tennis and directing musicals in addition. Philip’s choral groups have performed with many college and professional choirs at festivals or special concert events. His choirs have received top awards at FAME Festivals, Heritage Festivals, and Festival Disney. His teaching has been recognized with awards given by ACDA-MN, Choral Director Magazine, and his alma maters. Philip is an active clinician and professionally affiliated with ACDA and NAfME.


2nd Place:
Amy Johnston Blosser
    Bexley Vocal Ensemble
    Bexley OH
Amy Johnston Blosser
Amy Johnston Blosser is the National Chair for Repertoire and Resources for ACDA.  As National Chair, Blosser has been active in planning National Conferences in Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami, Oklahoma City, Dallas and Salt Lake City.  Prior to this position she served as the National R&R Chair for Senior High School choirs. In her thirteenth year as Director at Bexley High School, Blosser conducts six choirs in grades 7-12. Under her direction, the Bexley High School Vocal Ensemble has performed at state conferences of OMEA and ACDA and for Central Division conferences in 2012 and 2016. Ms. Blosser was named Educator of the Year for Bexley City Schools in 2011. She was selected to serve as one of 14 Conducting Fellows for the International Conductors Exchange Program to Sweden in 2015. Amy Blosser is the Artistic Director of the Bexley Choral Society and the Director of Music at Bexley UMC.   


3rd Place (there was a tie):
Tatiana Kats
    Columbus International Children's Choir
    Columbus OH
Tatiana Kats
Tatiana Kats earned her Master degrees in choral conducting and piano pedagogy from the Ohio State University where she studied with Dr. Hilary Apfelstadt and Mr. James Gallagher. Mrs. Kats is the founder of Columbus Music and Art Academy, Columbus International Children’s Choir (CICC) and Central Ohio Singing Competition.  Since 2003, she has been serving as the Executive Director of the academy, Artistic Director of the choir, and Conductor of CICC’s top choirs. Mrs. Kats also holds a very successful piano studio. Her advanced students have been winners in many Ohio piano competitions. She was recognized by the National Music Certificate Program as "Founding Teacher ... instrumental in establishing a national standard for developing musicians in the United States of America".


3rd Place (there was a tie):
Patrick Ryan
    Great Falls High School Delphian Choir
    Great Falls MT
Patrick Ryan
Patrick Ryan is the lead choral director at Great Falls High School in Great Falls, Montana.  Patrick is currently President of the American Choral Directors Association Northwest Division.  In 2012 he directed the inaugural Korean International Music Education Association National Honor Choir in Seoul, South Korea.  His choirs have commissioned and premiered works by John Muehleisen and Timothy Takach, and have performed on two NAfME Northwest Conferences.


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The American Prize is honored to announce the winners, runners-up, citation recipients and honorable mentions of The American Prize in CHORAL PERFORMANCE, 2016-17, in all divisions. Congratulations!

All applicants finalist or higher receive written evaluations from a member of The American Prize judging panel; the competitions reserve the right to award additional citations for merit up until the final announcement of results for 2016-17 has been made.

Complete listings of finalists and semi-finalists in The American Prize competitions may be found elsewhere on this blog. Please use the chronological tool in the right-hand column to find specific results.

Please make us aware of any misprints: theamericanprize@gmail.com

The American Prize in Choral Performance—professional division

The American Prize winner:
South Dakota Chorale
    Brian A. Schmidt Sioux Falls SD
South Dakota Chorale
Based in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, the South Dakota Chorale is a collaborative network of musicians combining the talents of singers locally, regionally, and across the nation. “Bringing people together to produce inspirational world-class performances of choral arts that embrace professional artistry and enrich the cultural life of South Dakotans” is their mission, and they strive to reach this in all of their work.

In their five-year history they have developed educational collaborations with high school choirs, led master classes with pre-professional/collegiate singers, partnered with local arts series’ to build support and awareness for the arts, initiated a guest conductor residency, and released three commercial recordings in collaborations with Grammy award-winning producer, Blanton Alspaugh. In 2014, they joined PENTATONE, a Dutch classical music label specializing in high-end, surround sound recordings. www.southdakotachorale.com


2nd Place:
Chorosynthesis Singers
    Wendy K. Moy, Jeremiah Selvey   Seattle WA
Chorosynthesis Singers
CHOROSYNTHESIS SINGERS, a state-of-the-art project-based ensemble, exists to collaborate with professional-level musicians and composers in the creation and performance of music that connects the art with community. Their most recent concert featured a collaboration with 10 composers in performances of 10 premiere works on the theme of social justice. Based in Seattle, the personnel embody the best professional choral singers from the Pacific Northwest and across the country. Co-Artistic Directors Wendy K. Moy and Jeremiah D. Selvey, who received their Doctor of Musical Arts in Choral Conducting from the University of Washington, lead the ensemble. Prior concerts include a collaborative benefit concert of Brahms’s Requiem in collaboration with two academic institutions and two religious organizations. As part of the greater vision of Chorosynthesis, the ensemble serves as a practical example of applying the ideals of the organization, which are collaboration, innovation, sustainability, and excellence.  www.chorosynthesis.org/singers


3rd Place:
 Saint Louis Chamber Chorus
    Philip Barnes    St. Louis MO
 Saint Louis Chamber Chorus
The Saint Louis Chamber Chorus was founded and nurtured for its first twenty years by a recent import from Great Britain, Ronald Arnatt, now recognized as one of the Episcopal Church’s most influential musicians. During his tenure the SLCC introduced St. Louis audiences to numerous masterworks by Delius, Stravinsky, and Vaughan Williams. After Dr. Arnatt took up a position in Boston, the choir’s pioneering spirit was continued by two local academics, Allen Carl Larson and Stephen Curtis. In 1989, Philip Barnes was appointed the fourth artistic director in the choir’s history, and under his guidance the focus has shifted to a cappella literature, recordings, and the commissioning of new music. Over the past 25 years the SLCC has premiered numerous works from some of the leading choral composers around the world which includes R R Bennett, Judith Bingham, Bob Chilcott, Sydney Guillaume, Howard Helvey, Gabriel Jackson, and Ned Rorem. St. Louis Chamber Chorus website:  www.chamberchorus.org.



The American Prize in Choral Performance—community chorus division
The American Prize winner: 
Tallahassee Community Chorus
    Andre Thomas   Tallahassee FL
Tallahassee Community Chorus
The Tallahassee Community Chorus began in 1988 as a collaborative effort between the Florida State University School of Music and 37 community singers. The group has grown to more than 200 singers and has become one of the leading non-auditioned community choruses in the country. Much of the momentum for this growth and development has been the genius of the Artistic Director, Dr. André J. Thomas, whose energy, skill and musical talents are known and respected throughout the choral world. In addition, the Chorus continues to enjoy an excellent relationship with the Florida State University College of Music. The Chorus includes singers from all walks of life. Age is no restriction, as the Chorus boasts a range of members from high school students through senior citizens. The mission of the Chorus is to enjoy promoting choral music through excellence in performance, and to reach out into the schools and community.


2nd Place (there was a tie):
Pasadena Master Chorale
    Jeffrey Bernstein   Pasadena CA
Pasadena Master Chorale
Founded in 2009 by artistic and executive director Jeffrey Bernstein, the Pasadena Master Chorale is one of Pasadena's most vibrant arts organizations. An auditioned community choir with professional standards, PMC presents well-loved and affordable concerts of the highest quality to the greater Pasadena community. Recently acclaimed concerts by the chorale include "A Portrait of Benjamin Britten", and "The Voice of California", a program of music by local composers including two newly-commissioned works. The chorale has thrilled audiences with performances of Orff's Carmina Burana, Brahms's Ein Deutsches Requiem, a folksong program entitled "Songs of the World", and a Renaissance program entitled "The Golden Age". PMC also offers a robust education program, committed to engaging Pasadena's young choral singers and fostering their love of the choral art. PMC is the proud recipient of support from the Los Angeles County Arts Commission, the Pasadena Community Foundation, the Pasadena Showcase House for the Arts and the City of Pasadena. www.pasadenamasterchorale.org


2nd Place (there was a tie):
eVoco Mixed Ensemble
    David Fryling   Lynbrook NY
eVoco Mixed Ensemble
eVoco* Voice Collective (www.evoco.vc) summons singers of the highest musical, technical, and expressive abilities and invites listeners to experience the extraordinary power of the voice. Through the power of the empathetic imagination, we remind each other of our shared human experiences.

Passionate advocates for excellence in the vocal art, we present inspirational performances of the highest caliber through projects that include the Mixed Ensemble, the Women’s Ensemble, our Voice Recitals, and the Young Vocal Artist Award.

We firmly believe in the transformative and educational power of music, and we welcome everyone to observe our work together. All of our rehearsals are open to the public, and our hope is that our weekly work together will not only prepare us for each concert series, but also–and just as importantly–will serve as a continual learning space for students, educators, and music enthusiasts alike. *From the Latin evocare: to lure, to summon; to evoke


3rd Place
Choral Arts Ensemble of Portland
    David DeLyser   Portland OR
Choral Arts Ensemble of Portland
As one of the region's premiere choral ensembles beginning its 48th season, the Choral Arts Ensemble of Portland seeks to educate, enrich and entertain its audiences with exceptional performances of familiar and rarely heard music.  As Portland’s Choir, we exemplify everything that makes Portland great: fun and a little geeky, accessible and approachable, passionate about our art form, collaborative, friendly and welcoming.  We are singers who represent a variety of professional occupations and diverse singing experiences, but we have all joined for a simple reason – passion – for music, for our fellow singers and for our audiences. Through artistic excellence and creative collaboration, we are committed to creating inspiring concert experiences performed at the highest artistic level.  Find out more at http://www.portlandschoir.org/



The American Prize in Choral Performance—college/university chorus division

The American Prize winner:
The Wartburg Choir
    Lee Nelson   Waverly IA
The Wartburg Choir
Founded in 1937, The Wartburg Choir has received critical international acclaim for their versatility of sound and innovative programming. The Wartburg Choir has received invitations for special appearances in the United States and abroad, including the White House Holiday Concert Series and the National Cathedral’s Bethlehem Prayer Service, which was simulcast worldwide. Over the past 20 years, the choir has appeared in many prestigious concert halls including the Kennedy Center; Avery Fisher Hall of Lincoln Center; Carnegie Hall; Chicago’s Symphony Hall; and Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis. The Wartburg Choir has performed at two national and four divisional conventions of the American Choral Directors Association. Renowned composer Morten Lauridsen lauded the choir’s performance of his O Magnum Mysterium as being “in the top echelon of any performance of that piece by any choir that I have ever heard.” The choir has collaborated with numerous composers including Morten Lauridsen, Eriks Esenvalds, Ola Gjeilo, Jake Runestad, Stacey Gibbs and René Clausen.


2nd Place:
University of AZ Symphonic Choir
    Elizabeth Schauer   Tucson AZ
University of AZ Symphonic Choir
Symphonic Choir is the premier undergraduate ensemble at the University of Arizona, carrying on a sixty-five-year tradition of excellence in choral music and education. In addition to performing formal concerts on campus, on Tucson-area concert series, and on tours throughout the Southwest, the choir collaborates with university and professional ensembles, including on recent performances of Faure’s Requiem with University Community Chorus & Orchestra, Stravinsky Symphony of Psalms with Arizona Choir, Mendelssohn A Midsummer Night’s Dream with Arizona Symphony, Dvorak’s Stabat Mater with the City of Prague Philharmonic, and Mahler Symphony No. 2 with the Tucson Symphony Orchestra.  Symphonic Choir has been invited to perform on the concert programs of the 2014 and 2010 Western Divisional ACDA Conferences, the 2012 Pacific-Southwest Regional Conference of College Music Society, and the 2011 Annual Conference of Arizona Music Educators Association.  Students represent a broad variety of disciplines and hail from throughout the United States.


3rd Place:
University of Denver Lamont Chorale
    Catherine Sailer   Denver CO
University of Denver Lamont Chorale
Catherine Sailer is Director of Choral Studies at the University of Denver Lamont School of Music, and Associate Conductor of the Colorado Ballet Orchestra.  Conducting credits include the Santa Fe Symphony, Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic, Beijing Symphony, National Opera of China, Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music Orchestra, Central City Opera, Bravo! Vail Valley Festival, Oregon Bach Festival Chorus and Orchestra, Madrigal Vocale (Brazil), Rheinpfalz International Choir, and the Shanghai International Choral League.  She has collaborated as conductor or chorus master with singers William Warfield and Marilyn Horne and conductors Bramwell Tovey, Robert Spano, Ed Spanjaard, Eric Whitacre, Victor Yampolsky, Marius Szmolij, Stephen Alltop, David Amram, Tan Dun, David Fanshawe, Marin Alsop, Dallas Symphony Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Colorado Symphony, Aspen Festival Orchestra, and Cheyenne Symphony Orchestra.
Sailer was awarded Chorus America’s Robert Shaw Fellowship, First Place in ACDA’s conducting competition, and serves as state president for ACDA.


JUDGES CITATION: "Exceptional Programming and Distinctive Repertoire"
Rutgers University Voorhees Choir
    Elian Kujawinski   New Brunswick NJ
Rutgers University Voorhees Choir
The Voorhees Choir maintains a membership of 55 voices, representing all women of the university. The choir presents two major concerts each year and serves as the official college choir at Douglass Residential College events, such as the Yule Log, Sacred Path and commencement ceremonies. The Voorhees Choir has a long tradition of representing Rutgers University, from its beginnings as the choir of the New Jersey College for Women (NJC) to its years as the official choir of Douglass College to its important dual role as an ensemble in the Mason Gross School of the Arts and its continuing work as an institution of pride representing the Douglass Residential College (DRC). The Voorhees Choir is extremely appreciative of the support of the Dean of the Douglass Residential College and Douglass Campus, Jacquelyn Litt.


HONORABLE MENTION: 
Wichita State University Concert Chorale
    Michael Hanawalt   Wichita KS
Wichita State University Concert Chorale
The Wichita State University Concert Chorale is the premiere choral ensemble at Wichita State University.  The Chorale is a highly-selective, auditioned choir open to all WSU students, specializing in the performance of a wide variety of significant choral literature from the Renaissance through the twenty-first century. The Chorale combines annually with other WSU choirs to present the annual Candlelight Christmas Concert.  It also performs with the WSU Symphony Orchestra for the spring choral/orchestral work, past performances of which have included Durufle's Requiem and Bernstein's Chichester Psalms, under the direction of Robert Shaw.  The Chorale and other WSU choirs performed with internationally-acclaimed operatic artist and WSU alumnus Samuel Ramey in his appearance in Wichita in 2001.   The Chorale has a rich history of notable conductors, including Harold Decker, Harrison Boughton, René Clausen, Robert Glasmann, and currently, Michael Hanawalt.


HONORABLE MENTION: 
Pacific Lutheran University Choir of the West
    Richard Nance   Tacoma WA
Pacific Lutheran University Choir of the West
The Choir of the West is the premier choral ensemble at Pacific Lutheran University, located in Tacoma, Washington. The choir has toured to Europe, Scandinavia, Japan and China, and has appeared at several professional regional and national conferences. Most recently, the choir performed as one of the featured choirs at the 2016 National Collegiate Choral Organization Conference, held in Portland, Oregon, under the direction of headline clinician Simon Carrington. The choir gave a highly acclaimed performance at the 2013 ACDA National Conference in Dallas, Texas. Choir of the West has won gold awards at prestigious international competitions, including the 2011 Harmonie Festival in Lindenholzhausen, Germany and the 2015 Anton Bruckner Choir Competition held in Linz, Austria, where the choir was awarded the Anton Bruckner Prize. Choir of the West is comprised of undergraduate students from a variety of academic disciplines. For more information please visit the choir’s website: www.plu.edu/choir.


HONORABLE MENTION:  
Wheaton College Concert Choir
    John William Trotter   Wheaton IL
Wheaton College Concert Choir
The Wheaton College Concert Choir is made up of approximately fifty young women and men with a passion for choral music. Led by Dr. John William Trotter, the ensemble provides an ideal performance venue for experienced and motivated choral singers whose goal is to make music at a high level. It also provides an experience of great value for those intending to make music their career. The Wheaton College Concert Choir has frequently been honored with invitations to perform on concert series and at regional and national conventions, to lead worship in churches, and to perform with professional ensembles. They also perform in more unconventional situations, ranging from soup kitchens and furniture stores to public lectures and prisons. Taken together, these varied experiences enrich students’ understanding of the vocation of the musician. Recently, the Choir has also enjoyed exploring interdisciplinary collaborations and engaging in musical improvisation with audiences.


HONORABLE MENTION: 
The College of Wooster Chorus
    Lisa Wong   Wooster OH
The College of Wooster Chorus
Founded in 1964, the Wooster Chorus is comprised of students representing all academic areas within the College of Wooster’s liberal arts program. A finalist for The American Prize in Choral Performance in 2015 and 2016, the Chorus has been praised for its beautiful sound, high level of artistry, and engaging performances.  The Wooster Chorus presents several concerts both on and off-campus throughout the academic year, and embarks each spring on a weeklong domestic tour. Members of the chorus collaborate annually with The Cleveland Orchestra and Cleveland Orchestra Chorus at Severance Hall.  The Chorus was selected to perform at the 2016 Central Division Conference of the American Choral Directors Association, and also at the 2014 and 2016 statewide Professional Development Conferences of the Ohio Music Education Association. In recent years, the Chorus has premiered thirteen new works, including Jake Runestad’s Ner Ner.  (2015)   



The American Prize in Choral Performance—youth and high school chorus division

The American Prize winner:
Sprague High Concert Choir
    David Brown    Salem OR 
Sprague High Concert Choir
Charles A. Sprague High School, located in southwest Salem, is a four-year high school with an enrollment of 1,800 students.  The school is named for Charles A. Sprague, a former governor of Oregon and editor of the Oregon Statesman Newspaper in Salem.  The school opened in the fall of 1972 and is now one of six public high schools in the Salem-Keizer School District.  Oregon’s second largest school district, Salem-Keizer has long been recognized for its tradition of outstanding music programs.  The Sprague Concert Choir is made up of the most advanced sophomore, junior, and senior vocalists at the school.  Since its inception over 30 years ago, the choir has won numerous titles at state and regional festivals and has made multiple appearances at regional and national ACDA conventions.


2nd Place:
Bexley HS Vocal Ensemble
    Amy Johnston Blosser    Bexley OH 
Bexley HS Vocal Ensemble
Vocal Ensemble, the advanced choir at Bexley High School, is one of four choirs in the Choral Department. Since 2003, Vocal Ensemble has toured throughout the United States and Canada including major cities such as New York, Toronto, Chicago, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. They performed in Carnegie Hall in 2010, and will perform again in 2017.  They have travelled overseas to perform in the cathedrals of Venice, Salzburg, Vienna, Prague, Budapest, Krakow, London, Paris, and throughout Ireland.  Vocal Ensemble has been invited to perform for OCDA Professional Conferences in 2007, 2009, 2011 and 2014 as well as OMEA Professional Conferences in 2009, 2011, 2013 and 2016. They performed for the ACDA Central Division Conference in 2012 and 2016. Members have worked with numerous conductors and composers including Hilary Apfelstadt, Eric W. Barnum, David Childs, Rollo Dilworth, James Gallagher, Sydney Guillaume, Lynda Hasseler, Ronald Jenkins, Kristina MacMullen, James Mulholland and Timothy Takach.


3rd Place:
Delphian Choir
    Patrick Ryan    Great Falls MT 
Delphian Choir
The Delphian Choir is the most select of seven choirs at Great Falls High School, located in north central Montana.  The choir consists of 44 sophomores through seniors, who strive to create and share passion, creativity, integrity, and empathy with their audiences through unique programming of choral music.  Delphian has performed on more than a dozen regional and national conference programs since the choir's inception in 1959. Recent highlights of the Delphian Choir include the commissioning and world premiere of John Muehleisen's Consolation: Requiem for Newtown; performing at the Northwest NAfME Conference in 2015; frequent performances with the Great Falls Symphony; and being part of a commission consortium and premiere of Timothy Takach's seven-movement work, The Longest Nights. 


JUDGES CITATION: "Excellence in the Performance of Music Before 1800"
Brookline HS Camerata & Chamber Orchestra
    Michael Driscoll    Brookline MA 
Brookline HS Camerata & Chamber Orchestra
The Brookline High School Camerata is made up of 48 students, all of whom are enrolled at Brookline High School. The singers are selected by audition and rehearse two days per week before school and one evening per week. Each member of the Camerata is required to sing in Concert Choir or A Cappella Choir for two years. Sight-singing ability is a major requirement for entry into the Camerata. Repertoire for the group spans all areas of choral literature including works of master composers, spirituals, gospel, music from world cultures and contemporary popular music. The group frequently performs with the instrumental ensembles at Brookline High School. Michael Driscoll is in his thirteen year directing the choirs at Brookline High School. He has a Masters in choral conducting from New England Conservatory and a doctorate in choral conducting from Boston University.


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Maestro Vytautas Marijosius
The American Prize is proud to announce the winners, runners-up and honorable mentions of The American Prize in Orchestral Programming—Maestro Vytautas Marijosius Memorial Award, 2016-17. Awards were made in three divisions this year: college/university orchestras, community orchestras and youth orchestras. All the results are below.

Please make us aware of any misprints by emailing: theamericanprize@gmail.com

For nearly thirty five years Director of Orchestral Activities at the Hartt School of Music of the University of Hartford, Vytautas Marijosius programmed concerts that were alive in every sense—not programming for novelty’s sake, nor neglecting the great masters of the past—but always bringing to the awareness of his students and his audiences great composers of the current time and potential masters of the future. I believe he would be pleased in different ways with each of this year's honorees." —DK

For more about Maestro Marijosius, please visit the companion blog
here.


The American Prize in Orchestral Programming
Maestro Vytautas Marijosius Memorial Award
—College/University Orchestra Division 

The American Prize Winner:James Allen Anderson
    University of Delaware Symphony Orchestra
    Newark DE
James Allen Anderson
Hailed for his inventive programming and compelling interpretations, maestro James Allen Anderson continues to engage audiences with inspirational and entertaining performances worldwide. Trained as both a conductor and pianist, he studied with maestro David Effron at the Eastman School of Music and with maestro Tonu Kalam and pianist Michael Zenge at the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill. Additional studies include two seasons at Le Domain Forget under the tutelage of Pierre Hétu and Otto-Werner Mueller.

Since 2011 maestro Anderson has served as Director of Orchestral Activities at the University of Delaware. In previous positions Anderson held the post of Music Director of the Butte Symphony Association, cover conductor with the North Carolina Symphony, Director of Orchestral Activities at both Appalachian State University and the University of Montana. He is in demand as a guest conductor, having worked with ensembles in North and South America, Europe and Asia.


2nd Place:
David Rahbee
    University of Washington Symphony Orchestra
    Seattle WA
David Rahbee
David Alexander Rahbee is currently Senior Artist in Residence at the University of Washington School of Music in Seattle, where he is director of orchestral activities and teaches conducting. He also serves of faculty of the Pierre Monteux School and Music Festival as Conducting Associate. He is recipient of the American-Austrian Foundation's 2003 Karajan Fellowship for Young Conductors, the 2005 International Richard-Wagner-Verband Stipend, and the Acanthes Centre in Paris in 2007. He has recently worked with the Seattle Symphony, Orchesterakademie der Bochumer Symphoniker, the Seattle Modern Orchestra, and Orquesta Sinfónica de Loja. He participated in masterclasses with Kurt Masur, Sir Colin Davis, Jorma Panula, Zdenek Mácal, Peter Eötvös, and Zoltán Peskó. His principal conducting teachers were Charles Bruck and Michael Jinbo at the Monteux School. He holds degrees from Indiana University, New England Conservatory, and University of Montreal. He also studied at Universität für Musik und Darstellende Kunst, Vienna.
 

3rd Place:
Peter Askim
    The Next Festival of Emerging Artists
    The Raleigh Civic Symphony Orchestra
    Raleigh NC
Peter Askim
Active as a conductor, composer and bassist, Peter Askim is the Artistic Director of the Next Festival of Emerging Artists and the conductor of the Raleigh Civic Symphony and Chamber Orchestra, as well as Director of Orchestral Activities at North Carolina State University. He was formerly Music Director and Composer-in-Residence of the Idyllwild Arts Academy.

A dedicated champion of the music of our time, he has premiered numerous works, including works by composers Richard Danielpour, Nico Muhly, Christopher Theofanidis, Pierre Jalbert, Phil Kline, Rufus Reid, Chen Yi and Aaron Jay Kernis. He has collaborated with such artists as the Miró String Quartet, ETHEL Matt Haimovitz, Vijay Iyer and So Percussion.


HONORABLE MENTION:
Johannes Dietrich
    Lebanon Valley College Symphony Orchestra
   Annville PA
Johannes Dietrich
Johannes Dietrich, a native of Bozeman, Montana, joined the faculty of Lebanon Valley College in 1995.  As the Newton and Adelaide Burgner Professor in Instrumental Music, he directs the LVC Symphony Orchestra, teaches conducting, string methods, applied violin and viola, and coaches chamber music ensembles.

Dr. Dietrich has conducted festival, district, regional and All State orchestras from New Jersey to Montana. He made his opera-conducting debut with the Berks Opera Workshop, leading their production of Massenet’s Thais. His college orchestra has toured Austria, Italy, Ireland and the Czech Republic, with performances by special invitation at Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna, and the world-renowned Rudolfinum in Prague. He has served as President of the Pennsylvania/Delaware String Teachers Association, and received that organization’s “Outstanding Orchestra Director of the Year” award, as well as their “Outstanding String Teacher of the Year” award.


HONORABLE MENTION:
Jaemi Loeb
    Centre College Orchestra
    Danville KY
Jaemi Loeb
Jaemi Blair Loeb is the Director of Instrumental Ensembles at Centre College, where she is Music Director of both the Centre College Orchestra and Wind Ensemble. She is also Principal Guest Conductor of the Piccadilly Symphony Orchestra in Manchester, England and the Director of the International Conductors’ Festival - Danville. Jaemi’s work as a music director is always driven by the goal of building community within the ensemble and the audience. On the podium, she balances her musical vision with a collaborative mode of working to create exciting and emotional performances. To learn more, visit www.jaemiloeb.com.
 

The American Prize in Orchestral Programming
Maestro Vytautas Marijosius Memorial Award
—Community Orchestra Division 

The American Prize Winner:Anthony Spain
    Northwest Symphony Orchestra
    Seattle WA
Anthony Spain
Anthony Spain has been Music Director of the Northwest Symphony Orchestra (NWSO) since 1987. Dr. Spain has guest conducted orchestras throughout America and in Europe including the Seattle Symphony, and the Bath Philharmonia in Bath, England. He has been a cover conductor with the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, and recently guest conducted in Hong Kong and Honduras. A noted conductor of works with orchestra and choir, Dr. Spain has conducted several choirs in America and in Europe including the Orfeo International Orchestra with the choir of L’UNESCO (the cultural branch of the United Nations) in Paris, France. Dedicated to education, Dr. Spain is an active clinician and adjudicator. Spain graduated with a Doctorate Degree in Music from the University of Washington and has received numerous awards and honors including a Grammy nomination.


2nd Place:
Pia Liptak & Kathleen Suher
    Cordancia Chamber Orchestra
    Rochester NY
Pia Liptak & Kathleen Suher
CORDANCIA: Vibrant Music for a Vibrant Community
Founded by violinist Pia Liptak and oboist Kathleen Suher
Formed 2009; a not-for-profit since June 2010
www.cordancia.org

Kathleen and Pia serves as co-artistic directors of Cordancia as well as being members of the ensemble, respectively as principal oboist and concert-master. Pia Liptak earned her DMA in violin performance and literature from the Eastman School of Music. She is on the faculty of the Hochstein School of Music and Dance and performs as a soloist and chamber musician. She has recorded a number of CDs and been much involved in the contemporary music scene. Kathleen, a graduate of Syracuse University College of Law, is a real estate attorney in Rochester. She studied with Richard Killmer at Eastman and Anita Brandon and is currently performing in a number of musical ensembles, including serving as the principal oboist of the University of Rochester Symphony Orchestra.


3rd Place:
Donald L. Appert
    The Jewish Community Orchestra of Portland
    Portland OR
Donald L. Appert
Donald Appert has been Music Director/Conductor of the Jewish Community Orchestra in Portland, Oregon since 2012. He has guest conducted orchestras in Europe, Central America, Japan and Australia. Currently he is a Professor of Music and Head of the Music Department at Clark College in Vancouver, Washington. In addition he is the Music Director/Conductor of the Clark College Orchestra and of the Oregon Sinfonietta.  He received The American Prize in Orchestral Programming—Vytautas Marijosius Memorial Award in 2011, an Honorable Mention in 2012, 3rd Place in 2014, and 2nd Place in 2015. He was also Honored Artist of the American Prize in 2015. In 2014 he received the Clark County (WA) Arts Commission Lifetime Achievement in the Arts Award. He has received the ASCAPLUS Award numerous times. Videos of his conducting and his original compositions may be seen and heard via the Internet on his web site at www.maestrodonappert.com


The American Prize in Orchestral Programming
Maestro Vytautas Marijosius Memorial Award
—Youth Orchestra Division 

The American Prize Winner:Orlando Cela
    NC Governor's School Orchestra
    Winston-Salem NC
Orlando Cela
Recently appointed music director of the Arlington Philharmonic (MA), Orlando Cela’s experience includes launching the orchestral department at Ningbo University in China and conducting the inaugural concert of the Ningbo City Symphony Orchestra. In the US, his conducting positions include work with orchestras and choruses at Randolph College (VA), and UMass Dartmouth (MA). Guest conducting credits include the Marquette Symphony Orchestra (MI), the Northern Michigan State University Orchestra (MI), Brandeis New Music Ensemble (MA).  He is currently the music director and conductor of the orchestra of the Governor’s School of North Carolina, with which he has performed world and American premieres by composers like Salvatore Sciarrino, Chen Yi, Hector Parra, Rebecca Saunders, Alwynne Pritchard, and many others.


2nd Place:
Robert Boardman
   South Bend Youth Symphony
   South Bend, IN
Robert Boardman
Robert W. Boardman, a native of Ithaca, New York is currently Music Director and Conductor of the South Bend Youth Symphony Orchestras, and Artistic Director of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra's webcast, "Life from Orchestra Hall." He has assisted Marin Alsop at the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, and served as Associate Conductor for CAMI's worldwide tour of Howard Shore's "The Lord of the Rings Symphony." Boardman received the DMA of Orchestral Conducting from the University of Michigan in 2010 where he studied with Kenneth Kiesler. He has participated in dozens of workshops nationwide and been a participant in masterclasses with conductors Larry Rachleff, Lorin Maazel, Kurt Mazur, Gustav Meier, JoAnn Falletta, and many other fine pedagogues. 


Third Place:
Alyze Dreiling
    YPO Soloists Ensemble
    San Diego CA
Alyze Dreiling
Alyze Dreiling, www.alyzedreiling.com  is an award-winning conductor, and accomplished violinist and violist in San Diego. In addition to serving as the YPO Soloists Ensemble Artistic Director and Conductor since 2010, she conducts the San Diego Civic Youth Orchestra Symphonic Orchestra and has guest conducted the San Diego Master Chorale and Cabrillo Chamber Orchestra to name a few. She was also the founding Artistic Director and Conductor of Classics for Kids, a fully professional orchestra performing specialty youth concerts in the San Diego area. Ms. Dreiling’s performing violin credits include: soloist with the Detroit Symphony, Philharmonica Hungarica at the Vienna Summer Festival, Florida Chamber Orchestra, concertmaster of the Knoxville Symphony and Knoxville Chamber Orchestra. With composer, Myron Fink, she received a recording prize from Contemporary Recording Society for the production and release of a CD featuring Fink’s Violin Sonata #1 and subsequently the Violin Sonata #2


HONORABLE MENTION:
Farkhad Khudyev
    Youth Music Monterey
    Monterey CA
Farkhad Khudyev
Hailed for “ever-sensitive control and extraordinarily imaginative interpretation", Farkhad Khudyev has served as the Music Director of the New Jersey Intergenerational Orchestra, New Haven Chamber Orchestra, as well as the Associate Conductor of the Opera Hidden Valley and the Alternate Conductor for the Cleveland Orchestra. As a Guest Conductor, Mr. Khudyev has worked with the Monterey Symphony, Yale Symphony Orchestra, Yale Philharmonia, Greenwich Village Orchestra of New York City, Champaign-Urbana Symphony Orchestra, New Jersey Youth Symphony and the Taipei Chinese Orchestra. Currently, Mr. Khudyev serves as the Music Director of the Youth Music Monterey Orchestras. Farkhad studied at the State Music School of Ashgabat, Interlochen Arts Academy, Oberlin Conservatory and the Yale School of Music. He is the winner of the Grand Prize/Gold Medal of the 2007 National Fischoff Chamber Music Competition and the first American Conductor to receive the "Best Interpretation Prize" at the 2015 International Taipei Conducting Competition.


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The American Prize is honored to announce the winners, runners-up and honorable mentions of The American Prize in Conducting—orchestra—in the professional, college/university, community and youth/school divisions, 2016-17. Congratulations!

All applicants finalist or higher receive written evaluations from a member of The American Prize judging panel.

Complete listings of finalists and semi-finalists in The American Prize competitions may be found elsewhere on this blog. Please use the chronological tool in the right-hand column to find specific results.

Please make us aware of any misprints: theamericanprize@gmail.com


The American Prize in Conducting—orchestra, 2016-17,  professional division:

The American Prize winner:
Jason Lim
    Odysseus N. Texas Chamber Orchestra
    McKinney TX
Jason Lim
Recognized by the Denton-Record Chronicle as one of “2012’s Most Fascinating People,” the career of conductor Jason Lim is on the rise. Lim was born in Penang, Malaysia and began his formal training in viola performance when he won a scholarship to study at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts with Alice Waten. He commenced his studies at the Canberra (Australia) School of Music, and completed his bachelor’s degree with honors at the Australian Institute of Music in Sydney. Jason received his Masters degree in orchestral conducting from the University of North Texas.

Known for his fine technique in performances, Jason began his conducting studies in Australia: first as an apprentice with the Canberra Youth Orchestra, and later as an Assistant Conductor with the Ku Ring Gai Philharmonic Orchestra in Sydney, a position that was awarded in conjunction with the New South Wales Ministry of Arts Conducting Prize. Most recently, Mr. Lim has been of awards from the American Prize Competition: the 2011 Young Conductor Citation Award, third prize in the 2013 Conducting Competition and most recently second prize in the 2015 and 2014 American Prize Competition for professional conductors. In 2013 Jason made his European conducting debut with the Academic State Concert Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine in Kiev and in 2014 appeared as guest conductor with the Zabrze Philharmonic Orchestra in Poland and the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Currently, Jason is the Artistic Director and conductor of the Odysseus Chamber Orchestra, a group he founded in 2012. In 2014 the orchestra was awarded second prize in the Professional Orchestra division of the American Prize Competition and third prize in 2015. Thanks to Jason’s commitment to education, the group pioneered a unique mentorship program that gives talented high school students the opportunity to perform side-by-side with professional musicians. www.jasonlim-conductor.com
http://jasonlim-conductor.wix.com/jason


2nd Place:
Genevieve Leclair
    Boston Ballet Orchestra
    Boston MA
Genevieve Leclair
Canadian conductor Geneviève Leclair was appointed Music Director of Parkway Concert Orchestra in 2013 and Assistant Professor at Berklee College of Music in 2016. Equally at home in the symphony, ballet and opera worlds, she was Assistant Conductor for Boston Ballet from 2010 to 2016, where she conducted main stage productions on a regular basis. In 2016, she returned to the company as Guest Conductor and made her debut with The National Ballet of Canada. She had the honour of being the recipient of the 2010 Sir Ernest MacMillan Memorial Foundation Award in orchestral conducting.

In recent years, Ms. Leclair has had the opportunity to guest conduct various orchestras both in Canada and the United States, including Orchestre symphonique du Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean, McGill Chamber Orchestra, Symphony New Hampshire, Syracuse University Symphony Orchestra and New England Conservatory Chamber and Youth Philharmonic Orchestras. Her performances have been hailed as “impeccable” (Boston Phoenix), “ravishing” and of “exemplary pacing and reading” (Hugh Fraser) while her conducting style is praised for its “verve and precision”, “confident dynamics and tempos, crisp rhythms, and crystalline phrasing creat[ing] powerful forward momentum” (Carla DeFord).


3rd Place (there was a tie):
Paul Mauffray
    Hradec Kralove Philharmonic
    Czech Republic
Paul Mauffray
Paul Mauffray began his music studies at the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts and Louisiana State University. He won 2nd Prize in the Bartok Conducting Competition and has 20 years professional conducting experience with European orchestras and operas in Prague, Brno, Bratislava, Lyon, Salzburg, St. Petersburg, and Vienna. After studies in Germany and the Czech Republic, he earned his master's degree in conducting at Indiana University where he was engaged as Associate Instructor. He conducted at the Bucharest National Opera, Slovak National Opera, and appeared frequently as conductor with violin-soloist Tomas Vinklat from the Vienna Philharmonic. Mauffray has been a frequent guest conductor with the Hradec Kralove Philharmonic, Janacek Philharmonic, Bohuslav Martinu Philharmonic, and Schoenbrunn Palace Orchestra in Vienna.  In 2016 he recorded the opera “The Scarlet Letter” and conducted performances of “Rusalka” at the Mariinsky Theatre. He is currently reconstructing the 1894 opera "Tabasco" by George W. Chadwick. www.paulmauffray.com


3rd Place (there was a tie):
Walter Morales
    Westmoreland Symphony Orchestra
    Greensburg PA
Walter Morales
Walter Morales is the Music Director of the Edgewood Symphony Orchestra. His previous positions include Music Director of Undercroft Opera, Music Director of the Carnegie Mellon University Contemporary Ensemble, Head of Music of Opera Theater of Pittsburgh, Principal Guest Conductor of the Pittsburgh Philharmonic, Assistant Director of Orchestral Studies at Carnegie Mellon University and Assistant Conductor of the Carnegie Mellon Philharmonic. He has been a guest conductor with the National Symphony Orchestra of Costa Rica, Westmoreland Symphony Orchestra, Butler County Symphony Orchestra, McKeesport Symphony Orchestra, University of Costa Rica Symphony Orchestra, University of Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Duquesne University Opera & Orchestra, Pittsburgh Youth Chamber Orchestra and Rutgers Chamber Orchestra.  He has also served as cover conductor for the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. For more information please visit: www.waltermoralesmusic.com


The American Prize in Conducting—orchestra, 2016-17,  college/university division:

The American Prize winner:
Genevieve Leclair
    Syracuse University Symphony
    Syracuse NY
Genevieve Leclair
Canadian conductor Geneviève Leclair was appointed Music Director of Parkway Concert Orchestra in 2013 and Assistant Professor at Berklee College of Music in 2016. Equally at home in the symphony, ballet and opera worlds, she was Assistant Conductor for Boston Ballet from 2010 to 2016, where she conducted main stage productions on a regular basis. In 2016, she returned to the company as Guest Conductor and made her debut with The National Ballet of Canada. She had the honour of being the recipient of the 2010 Sir Ernest MacMillan Memorial Foundation Award in orchestral conducting.

In recent years, Ms. Leclair has had the opportunity to guest conduct various orchestras both in Canada and the United States, including Orchestre symphonique du Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean, McGill Chamber Orchestra, Symphony New Hampshire, Syracuse University Symphony Orchestra and New England Conservatory Chamber and Youth Philharmonic Orchestras. Her performances have been hailed as “impeccable” (Boston Phoenix), “ravishing” and of “exemplary pacing and reading” (Hugh Fraser) while her conducting style is praised for its “verve and precision”, “confident dynamics and tempos, crisp rhythms, and crystalline phrasing creat[ing] powerful forward momentum” (Carla DeFord).


2nd Place (there was a tie):
Chris Younghoon Kim     
Cornell Chamber Orchestra
    Ithaca NY
Chris Younghoon Kim
Cornell Chamber Orchestra under the direction of Chris Younghoon Kim, present multiple concerts during each academic school year.  The membership of the orchestra is formed from students of all colleges and departments across the university-wide community.  It is the only non-music major orchestra to win first place among collegiate orchestras the ASCAP award for Adventurous Programming of Contemporary music during the 2008-2009 season. It has won the Adventurous awards for 6 years in a row from 2008-2014. For the last seven seasons Cornell Orchestras have been jointly producing the Ithaca International conducting masterclasses with Ithaca College Symphony Orchestra. This performance is a live performance without edits from the College Orchestra Director's Association's National conference in Salt Lake City, UT, in January, 2016.


2nd Place (there was a tie):
Ricardo Averbach
    Miami U. Symphony Orchestra
    Oxford OH
Ricardo Averbach
Ricardo Averbach is a native of Brazil. Prior to his coming to Miami University in 2002, he was Music Director of the Echternach Festival Chamber Orchestra in Luxembourg, Music Director of the University of Pennsylvania Symphony Orchestra and Wind Ensemble in Philadelphia and Acting Music Director of the Orquestra Sinfônica Municipal de São Paulo in Brazil. After only three years under his leadership at Miami University, the symphony orchestra was selected in one single year and by competitive audition to three major conferences: MENC, ASTA and OMEA. In 2005 he organized the first international tour of the ensemble, creating the Russian-American Orchestra Institute, in collaboration with the St. Petersburg State Conservatory. His discography includes several world premiere recordings, which have sold more than half a million copies around the globe. Dr. Averbach conducts regularly in South and North America, Asia and Europe.


3rd Place:
Kevin Sutterlin     
University of Memphis Symphony Orchestra
    Memphis TN
Kevin Sutterlin    
Kevin Sütterlin has recently been appointed Director of Orchestral Activities at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota. Prior to that, Sütterlin served as Acting Music Director and Chief Assistant Conductor of the Orchestras and Acting Music Director of Opera at the University of Memphis. He received the school’s Creative Achievement Award and is an awardee of the Hirschmann Foundation scholarship. As Co-Music Director of Sinfonietta Memphis, he strives to present historically-informed performances of Viennese Classics in innovative ways.

He has taught and performed in many countries, including Austria, China, Germany, Italy, Romania, Slovenia, Switzerland. Sütterlin holds a Bachelor in Conducting from the Hochschule Luzern – Musik, Switzerland and a Master of Music in Orchestral Conducting from the University of Memphis, where he is also currently finishing his DMA in Orchestral Conducting. Kevin is grateful for the continuous guidance of his teachers Pu-Qi Jiang, Mark Ensley, Christoph Rehli, Douglas Bostock, and Michael Stern.


HONORABLE MENTION:
Jeffrey Klefstad
    All University Orchestra
    Carnegie Mellon University
    Pittsburgh PA
Jeffrey Klefstad
Jeffrey Klefstad is Music Director and conductor of the All University Orchestra at Carnegie Mellon University and assistant conductor for Resonance Works | Pittsburgh. While off the podium, Klefstad is board member, chair of the Community Engagement and Outreach Committee, and member of the artistic committee for Resonance Works | Pittsburgh. Previously Klefstad has been cover conductor for the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Akron Symphony Orchestra and The Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh. Additionally he has been Music Director for Undercroft Opera (Pittsburgh). Conducting teachers and mentors have included Diane Wittry, Kenneth Kiesler, Robert McCashin, and Bruce Houglum, respectively. In addition, he has worked with such influential conductors and composers as Kurt Masur, Keith Lockhart, Victor Yampolsky, Steve Reich, Jennifer Higdon, Robert Sierra, Victoria Bond, and Samuel Jones. Additionally, he has been coached by Paul Vermel, Jorge Mester, Peter Jaffee, and Donald Portnoy.


HONORABLE MENTION:
Jaemi Loeb
    Centre College Orchestra
    Danville KY
Jaemi Loeb
Jaemi Blair Loeb is the Director of Instrumental Ensembles at Centre College, where she is Music Director of both the Centre College Orchestra and Wind Ensemble. She is also Principal Guest Conductor of the Piccadilly Symphony Orchestra in Manchester, England and the Director of the International Conductors’ Festival - Danville. Jaemi’s work as a music director is always driven by the goal of building community within the ensemble and the audience. On the podium, she balances her musical vision with a collaborative mode of working to create exciting and emotional performances. To learn more, visit www.jaemiloeb.com.



The American Prize in Conducting—orchestra, 2016-17,  community division:

The American Prize winner:
Matthew Cody
    Oneota Valley Community Orchestra
    Decorah IA
Matthew Cody
Matthew Cody is a conductor and music educator based in Northeast Iowa.  Along with teaching instrumental music in the public school system, Matt is also the founder and conductor of the Oneota Valley Community Orchestra.  The OVCO is a full symphonic orchestra that serves communities in Northeast Iowa, Southeast Minnesota, and Southwest Wisconsin.

Matthew graduated from Simpson College with a Bachelor of Music specializing in music education.  In 2014 he earned his Master of Music degree from Colorado State University with music education and conducting specialties.  Additionally he was invited to be the Conducting Fellow for the 2011 season of the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Symphony and a guest conductor for the 2013 Iowa Bandmasters Conference and 2014 Iowa Band Conductors Forum. His principal conducting mentors include: Dr. Robert L Larsen, Founder Des Moines Metro Opera, Jason Weinberger, Music Director, Waterloo Cedar Falls Symphony, Wes Kenney, Music Director, Fort Collins Symphony.


2nd Place:
Lois Ferrari
    Austin Civic Orchestra
    Austin TX
Lois Ferrari
Lois Ferrari is Professor of Music at Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas and has been a member of the faculty since 1993. Dr. Ferrari conducts the SU Orchestra and Wind Ensemble, teaches conducting classes, and serves as host and clinician for the bi-annual SU Conductors' Institute. As ACO Music Director, Dr. Ferrari was named 1st Runner-Up for the 2012 American Prize in Community Orchestra Conducting. In 2014, Dr. Ferrari was honored to be named finalist for the same contest. In 2010 and 2016, Dr. Ferrari conducted all-state ensembles at the Washington State music educators conference.

An enthusiastic champion of new music, Dr. Ferrari founded the bi-annual ACO Composition Contest and is proud to have premiered more than twenty works during the course of her career. One such work was nominated by the Austin Critics Table for Best Symphonic Performance of 2009. In 2012, Ferrari and the ACO were commissioned by composer David Amram to present the Texas premiere of his “Symphonic Variations on a Song by Woody Guthrie.”

A graduate of the Eastman School of Music, where she received a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Conducting, Dr. Ferrari received a full doctoral fellowship and was appointed Assistant Conductor of the renowned Eastman Wind Ensemble. She also earned a Master of Music degree in Conducting and a Bachelor of Music degree with a double major in Performance and Music Education from the Ithaca College School of Music. Her principal teachers were Donald Hunsberger, Rodney Winther, David Effron, and Donald Neuen. http://loisferrari.wix.com/maestra-lois-ferrari


3rd Place:
Zachary D. McCoy
    Balmoral Chamber Orchestra
    Memphis TN
Zachary D. McCoy
A native of Tennessee, Zachary D. McCoy has studied conducting with Maestro Pu-Qi Jiang and percussion with Drs. Julie Hill and Frank Shaffer. In 2010, McCoy became the founding music director and conductor of the 7AM Marimba Choir. In 2011, he became the founding music director and conductor of the Balmoral Chamber Orchestra, an ensemble dedicated to the charitable service of a variety causes and organizations both domestically as well as internationally. As conductor of BCO, McCoy has premiered a number of compositions and arrangements by composers from around the world. As a soloist, McCoy has been featured as a concerto competition winner under the baton of Maestro Michael Gilbert. McCoy graduated summa cum laude from the University of Memphis with both a Bachelor of Music in performance and a Bachelor of Science in biochemistry. Currently and in addition to serving as the conductor of BCO, McCoy lives in San Francisco with his wife while teaching both music and science. In the fall of 2017, McCoy will attend the University of Tennessee College of Medicine as a medical student.

The American Prize in Conducting—orchestra, 2016-17,  youth & school division:

The American Prize winner:
Orlando Cela
    North Carolina Governor's School Orchestra
    Winston-Salem NC
Orlando Cela
Recently appointed music director of the Arlington Philharmonic (MA), Orlando Cela’s experience includes launching the orchestral department at Ningbo University in China and conducting the inaugural concert of the Ningbo City Symphony Orchestra. In the US, his conducting positions include work with orchestras and choruses at Randolph College (VA), and UMass Dartmouth (MA). Guest conducting credits include the Marquette Symphony Orchestra (MI), the Northern Michigan State University Orchestra (MI), Brandeis New Music Ensemble (MA).  He is currently the music director and conductor of the orchestra of the Governor’s School of North Carolina, with which he has performed world and American premieres by composers like Salvatore Sciarrino, Chen Yi, Hector Parra, Rebecca Saunders, Alwynne Pritchard, and many others.


2nd Place:
Michael Webster
    Houston Youth Symphony
    Houston TX
Michael Webster
A multifaceted musician, Dr. Michael Webster is known as clarinetist, conductor, composer, arranger and educator. Professor of music at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music, he has been artistic director of Houston Youth Symphony since 1997. He led the Symphony at the inauguration of Houston Mayor Lee Brown, at Carnegie Hall, and at the 2002 National Youth Orchestra Festival in Sarasota, Florida, as one of six orchestras selected from applicants nationwide. Rarely featuring an orchestra, NPR’s national radio show “From the Top” invited HYS to perform in September 2012.

Dr. Webster served as assistant conductor of the Asian Youth Orchestra under Yehudi Menuhin, music director of the Wellesley Symphony Orchestra, and director of the Michigan Youth Symphony Orchestra. He has held faculty positions in clarinet and conducting at the University of Michigan, New England Conservatory, Boston University, and Eastman School of Music, where he had earned his three degrees.


3rd Place:
Carolyn Watson
    Interlochen Arts Academy Orchestra
    Interlochen MI
Carolyn Watson
Winner of the 2015 American Prize in Orchestral Performance and Runner-up for the American Prize in Conducting, Australian conductor Carolyn Watson is Director of Orchestral Studies at Texas State University. From 2013-15 she held the position of Conductor of the Interlochen Arts Academy Orchestra, having also conducted the World Youth Symphony Orchestra and Detroit Symphony Youth Orchestra. Prior to moving to the US Carolyn enjoyed a successful tenure as the inaugural Conductor-in-Residence at Sydney's Conservatorium High School from 2011-2013. A Fellow of the American Academy of Conducting at the Aspen Music Festival, Carolyn was a major prizewinner at the 2012 Emmerich Kálmán International Operetta Conducting Competition in Budapest. She is the recipient of the Brian Stacey Award for Emerging Australian Conductors, Charles Mackerras Conducting Prize, Nelly Apt Scholarship and Opera Foundation Australia’s Bayreuth Opera Award and Berlin New Music Opera Award. Dr. Watson holds a PhD in Performance (Conducting) from the University of Sydney where the subject of her doctoral thesis was Gesture as Communication: The Art of Carlos Kleiber. www.carolyn-watson.com


HONORABLE MENTION:
Ryan Murray
    Modesto Symphony Youth Orchestra
    Modesto CA
Ryan Murray
Ryan Murray’s dynamic conducting, engaging persona and deeply held passion for the arts have allowed him to steadily build a robust career since his professional debut at the age of just 22. Ryan was a winner of the Vienna Philharmonic’s Ansbacher Fellowship for Young Conductors and previously studied at the Eastman School of Music's Summer Conducting Institute featuring the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra; he has participated in the Aurora Conducting Seminar with Kurt Masur, as well as the Lucerne Festival Academy Conducting Masterclass. Ryan is currently the Music Director of Townsend Opera, the Associate Conductor for the Modesto Symphony Orchestra, Music Director for the Modesto Symphony Youth Orchestra and Resident Conductor of the Music in the Mountains Summer Festival. Ryan previously served as a Conductor for the BASOTI, and the Opera Academy of California. Visit www.ryanjmurray.com for news and upcoming engagements.


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Congratulations!
1 month ago | |
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  The American Prize is honored to announce the winners, runners-up and honorable mention of The American Prize in ORCHESTRAL PERFORMANCE, 2016-17, in all divisions. Congratulations!

All applicants finalist or higher receive written evaluations from a member of The American Prize judging panel; the competitions reserve the right to award additional citations for merit up until the final announcement of results for 2016-17 has been made.

Complete listings of finalists and semi-finalists in The American Prize competitions may be found elsewhere on this blog. Please use the chronological tool in the right-hand column to find specific results.

Please make us aware of any misprints: theamericanprize@gmail.com
  
The American Prize in Orchestral Performance, 2017—professional division

The American Prize winner:
River Oaks Chamber Orchestra
    Alecia Lawyer, artistic director    Houston TX
River Oaks Chamber Orchestra
The River Oaks Chamber Orchestra (ROCO) is a forty-piece professional chamber orchestra that was founded in 2005 by Alecia Lawyer. A Juilliard-trained musician with an eclectic background as a performer, recording artist, adjunct professor and radio host, Ms. Lawyer had a vision to reimagine the orchestral experience for both audience and musicians. The result is ROCO: an orchestra of all-star musicians, distinguished conductors and contemporary composers who come together from all over the world to present unexpected classics, original compositions and delightful performances that dissolve the barriers between audience and orchestra. www.roco.org


2nd Place:
Michigan Philharmonic
    Nan Washburn, music director    Plymouth MI
Michigan Philharmonic
The Michigan Philharmonic, one of the most innovative and dynamic professional orchestras in Southeast Michigan, was recently awarded the prestigious Knight Foundation Arts Challenge Grant and received 2nd and 3rd Place honors from The American Prize, professional orchestra division. Nan Washburn, Music Director and Conductor since 1999, was the TAP Professional Conducting Winner in 2013 and has won 19 ASCAP Awards for Adventuresome Programming of Contemporary Music from the League of American Orchestras. Michigan Phil is bringing its events into an ever-expanding roster of Michigan communities, including Plymouth, Canton, Birmingham-Bloomfield, Brighton, Downtown Detroit, and many others. The organization is committed to reaching out to a broad and diverse array of audiences. Currently in its 70th Season, the orchestra plays a full season of concerts throughout the year including pops, outdoor, Bollywood and Fusion Festivals. The Philharmonic also has an extensive education program that includes the Michigan Philharmonic Youth Orchestra.


3rd Place:
Odysseus North Texas Chamber Orchestra
    Jason Lim, music director    McKinney TX
Odysseus North Texas Chamber Orchestra
Founded in Denton in 2012, Odysseus North Texas Chamber Orchestra consists of  professional classical musicians from the DFW area. In May 2012, Odysseus launched a successful inaugural performance featuring local soloists, performed with Christopher Deane, Professor of Percussion at the University of North Texas and gave the world premiere of Breathe by Brad Robin, a work commissioned by Artistic Director, Jason Lim. Innovative in its programs under the direction of Jason Lim, OCO collaborated with the Denton City Contemporary Ballet  staging a full ballet performance of Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf and in 2014 staged the premiere performance of the full production of Igor Stravinsky’s A Soldier’s Tale. In 2014 OCO collaborated with world renowned double bassist, Jeff  Bradetich featuring the Tango music of Astor Piazzolla. In its short history, the Odysseus Chamber Orchestra has gained a growing national reputation as an emerging ensemble, winning third prize in the 2015 American Prize Competition for professional orchestras, 2nd prize in the 2014 and 3rd prize the year before. OCO has supported local service clubs like the Denton Breakfast Kiwanis Club, the Robson Ranch Kiwanis Club, sponsoring events such as the Eliminate Project Cruise and the Passing of the Banner Dinner. The outreach programs of Odysseus has expanded in the last two year, providing free chamber music series concerts, free amenity concerts in neighborhoods, educational school performances and collaborating with the Arts and Music Guild to organize the Summer Music Intensives.  Furthermore, OCO pioneered the Mentorship Program created by Artistic Director Jason Lim. This program provides high school orchestra students the opportunity to rehearse and perform side-by-side with members of OCO.  In 2014, OCO relocated from Denton and began planting new roots to become the resident professional orchestra of McKinney. www.odysseusorchestra.com



The American Prize in Orchestral Performance, 2016-17—college/university division

The American Prize winner:
Baylor Symphony Orchestra
    Stephen Heyde, conductor    Waco TX
Baylor Symphony Orchestra
Founded in 1946, the Baylor Symphony has had only two resident conductors, Daniel Sternberg and, since 1984, Stephen Heyde. In a typical year 95 students from two dozen states and several foreign countries are selected to perform in the ensemble. The orchestra has performed at the Piccolo Spoleto Festival, national conventions of the American String Teachers Association and the College Orchestra Directors Association and multiple times at the Texas Music Educators Convention. In 2003 the Symphony was featured in a PBS Special that aired nationally to an estimated audience of six million viewers. The orchestra has performed with many distinguished performers including Josef Gingold and Robert Shaw among many others and taken international tours of Costa Rica in 2004 and Belgium in 2010. The Baylor Symphony also presents annual concerts for 6000 school children, an unbroken tradition of 70 years and won The American Prize in 2014 and 2015.


2nd Place:
Peabody Symphony Orchestra
    Hajime Teri Murai, conductor    Baltimore MD
Peabody Symphony Orchestra
The Peabody Symphony Orchestra is the senior of the two full symphonic orchestras at the Peabody Conservatory of Music.  The members of the orchestra are primarily upper division and graduate students.  The Peabody Symphony Orchestra performs five to six symphonic concerts and a major opera production each season. Programming for the orchestra is designed to provide its members with a rich and diverse performance experience, centered around the standard repertoire, but including contemporary music, American works, and premiere performances.  Peabody orchestras have regularly won ASCAP Awards for Adventurous Programming.  The Peabody Symphony Orchestra has been praised by the Baltimore Sun and provides its audiences with committed, energetic, and heartfelt performances.


3rd Place:
Cornell Chamber Orchestra
    Chris Younghoon Kim, conductor   Ithaca NY
Cornell Chamber Orchestra
Cornell Chamber Orchestra under the direction of Chris Younghoon Kim, present multiple concerts during each academic school year.  The membership of the orchestra is formed from students of all colleges and departments across the university-wide community.  It is the only non-music major orchestra to win first place among collegiate orchestras the ASCAP award for Adventurous Programming of Contemporary music during the 2008-2009 season. It has won the Adventurous awards for 6 years in a row from 2008-2014. For the last seven seasons Cornell Orchestras have been jointly producing the Ithaca International conducting masterclasses with Ithaca College Symphony Orchestra.



The American Prize in Orchestral Performance, 2016-17—community orchestra division

The American Prize winner:
Texas Medical Center Orchestra
    Libi Lebel, conductor    Houston TX
Texas Medical Center Orchestra
Established in November 2000, Texas Medical Center Orchestra (TMCO) is one of very few community orchestras in the United States and the world with its origin in the health professions. It includes physicians, dentists, nurses, medical students, biomedical scientists, social workers and other allied health professionals who are dedicated to making music. Part of the orchestra’s mission is to provide health care professionals a creative outlet; offer affordable concerts to a diverse public audience; and bring public attention and support for, medically related and/or educational charities. Russian-born conductor Libi Lebel, founder and artistic director of TMCO, has a strong and growing reputation in the music world. Ms. Lebel has been listed as one of the 50 most influential women in Houston, (population over 2 million). She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Julliard School of Music and Westminster Choir College, in piano performance and conducting. Conducting appearances in New Jersey, New York, Texas, Russia and Romania have been met with high praise. In 2013, conductor Lebel led the TMCO in a well-received program at Carnegie Hall. As to her passion about music, Ms. Lebel says: “What inspires me is to make music come alive. To feel the love, pride, joy, sadness. To help it unfold in the most convincing and compelling way. With it, we connect to the very essence of our humanity, we then come into contact with that part of ourselves that expresses our most profound creativity. I am so lucky to have music in my life.”   


2nd Place (there was a tie):
Austin Civic Orchestra
    Lois Ferrari, conductor    Austin TX
Austin Civic Orchestra
Among the oldest community orchestras in the country, the Austin Civic Orchestra was founded in 1977 as a small group of string players which has since grown and evolved into the full 80-piece symphonic orchestra it is today. The ACO is committed to bringing high quality classical music to Austin area communities and to supporting young musicians in particular. To this end, the Orchestra offers free admittance to all students under the age of 18. In addition, the ACO sponsors the annual Pearl Amster Chamber Music Festival and co-sponsors (with the University of Texas) the annual Texas Rising Stars Concerto Contest. A champion of new music, ACO Music Director Lois Ferrari founded the Composition Contest in 2005. The ACO's illustrious list of guest artists include: Anton Nel, Lauren Lane, David Amram, David Whitwell, Peter Bay, and Hai Zheng. The ACO is proud to announce that all of its 2015-16 season concerts were underwritten by donors.
http://www.austincivicorchestra.org


2nd Place (there was a tie):
Dudley House Orchestra
    Aaron Kuan, conductor    Cambridge MA
Dudley House Orchestra
The Dudley House Orchestra is affiliated with the Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences in Cambridge, MA. It's mission is to provide artistic enrichment by providing opportunities for qualified students, scholars, and community members to rehearse together and perform in public concerts. The orchestra aims to perform at a high level of artistic excellence while maintaining a rehearsal environment amenable to full-time students, scholars and professionals and making every reasonable effort to include musicians of varying levels of artistic experience. During the academic year, the orchestra presents a fall concert in Paine Hall and a spring concert in Sanders Theatre as part the Harvard Arts First Festival.


3rd Place:
Midwest Chamber Ensemble
    Steve Nelson Lewis Jr., conductor Prairie Village KS
Midwest Chamber Ensemble
The Midwest Chamber Ensemble is a Kansas City-based organization dedicated to the performance of chamber orchestra and chamber ensemble music. Ensemble members are primarily young professional musicians and exceptional music students. The Midwest Chamber Ensemble prepares its members for future career opportunities by creating a professional environment and providing audiences with quality performances. Joseph Kern is the Composer-in-Residence with the Midwest Chamber Ensemble.  Prior to college, he was surrounded by rural and small town living, church activities, American Rust Belt history, and traveling the northeast United States; these things have and continue to influence his musical life. Steve N. Lewis Jr. is the Music Director of the Midwest Chamber Ensemble where he conducts orchestra concerts and performs chamber music.  He has conducted the Missouri Symphony, the Wilson Symphony (NC), Classical Revolution-Kansas City, OvreArts (PA) and the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory Orchestra and Chamber Orchestra. www.midwestchamberensemble.org



The American Prize in Orchestral Performance, 2016-17—youth orchestra division 

The American Prize winner:
Houston Youth Symphony
    Michael Webster, conductor   Houston TX

Houston Youth Symphony
Celebrating its 70th season, Houston Youth Symphony (HYS) is the recipient of national acclaim including the 2015 first prize winner of the Mark of Excellence Award from The Foundation for Music Education and the 2015 American Prize in Orchestral Performance – Youth Orchestra Division. Each season approximately 350 musicians between the ages of seven and 19 come from across the greater Houston area to perform in one of four HYS orchestras. In addition to the core orchestra program, HYS offers advanced musicians a chamber music training program and an annual concerto competition. In the community, HYS provides free private music lessons for talented youth in select economically disadvantaged communities through the Melody Program. In January 2015, HYS launched the Coda Music Program, an after-school effort modeled after El Sistema that brings graduated, intensive string instruction to two elementary schools using classical music and group instruction to build community and social transformation.


2nd Place:
Interlochen Arts Academy Orchestra
    Carolyn Watson, conductor   Interlochen MI

Interlochen Arts Academy Orchestra
Winner of the 2015 American Prize in Orchestral Performance and Runner-up for the American Prize in Conducting, Australian conductor Carolyn Watson is Director of Orchestral Studies at Texas State University. From 2013-15 she held the position of Conductor of the Interlochen Arts Academy Orchestra, having also conducted the World Youth Symphony Orchestra and Detroit Symphony Youth Orchestra. Prior to moving to the US Carolyn enjoyed a successful tenure as the inaugural Conductor-in-Residence at Sydney's Conservatorium High School from 2011-2013. A Fellow of the American Academy of Conducting at the Aspen Music Festival, Carolyn was a major prizewinner at the 2012 Emmerich Kálmán International Operetta Conducting Competition in Budapest. She is the recipient of the Brian Stacey Award for Emerging Australian Conductors, Charles Mackerras Conducting Prize, Nelly Apt Scholarship and Opera Foundation Australia’s Bayreuth Opera Award and Berlin New Music Opera Award. Dr. Watson holds a PhD in Performance (Conducting) from the University of Sydney where the subject of her doctoral thesis was Gesture as Communication: The Art of Carlos Kleiber. www.carolyn-watson.com



The American Prize in Orchestral Performance, 2016-17—high school orchestra division

The American Prize winner:
Plano West Chamber Orchestra
    Ryan Ross, director   Plano TX
Plano West Chamber Orchestra
The Plano West Orchestra is proud to be recognized as one of the most accomplished orchestra programs in America. Plano West is a grade 11 and 12 campus in Plano, TX, a Dallas suburb. The orchestra program currently serves shy of 200 students in four orchestras. Since its inception, Plano West has been recognized as the Texas String Honor Orchestra six times, most recently in 2016. Nationally, it has been recognized as an invited orchestra at the Midwest Clinic and been named a National Winner in the Mark of Excellence National Orchestra Honors.  The program as a whole routinely earns sweepstakes awards at the annual UIL competition.  The program is led by Director of Orchestras, Ryan Ross.  And for many years, Associate Director Amy Gross has been a key player in helping the program grow and thrive.


2nd Place: 
Arlington HS Philharmonia
    Jon Handman, director    LeGrangeville NY
Arlington HS Philharmonia
Arlington High School's Philharmonia is the most advanced of five orchestras and has been selected to perform at the 2015 NY State School Boards Convention, the 2014 NYSSMA Winter Conference and was the Grand Champion of the ASTA National Orchestra Festival in March 2012. The program consists of two ninth grade string orchestra and three symphonic orchestras for students in grades 10-12, of which Ms. Elizabeth Handman and  Mr. Jonathan Handman are the directors.  In total, the program has over 250 string students and 70 wind/percussion members that join the strings every other day as their second ensemble in addition to the band program that they are members of.  Arlington Central School District’s High School Principal is Mr. Paul Fanuele and Music Coordinator is Mr. Richard Guillen.


3rd Place:
Allen HS Symphony Orchestra
    David DeVoto, director    Allen TX

Allen HS Symphony Orchestra
The Allen ISD Orchestra program began in 1997 at the 6th grade level with approximately 50 students. By 2002, the 30 member Allen High School orchestra began performing in their first concerts and festivals and earned their first “sweepstakes” UIL award.  Since 2002, the HS orchestra program grew to 300+ students, placed in the finals of the Texas Honor Orchestra Competition in 2004, 2006, 2007,  2015, and 2016 and was accepted to the Midwest Clinic in 2006.  Today, there are over 1,300 orchestra students in Allen ISD: seventeen elementary orchestras, three middle school orchestra programs with 4 or 5 orchestras each, a freshman center orchestra program with a full orchestra and four string orchestras, and the high school orchestra program with a full orchestra and six string orchestras. Students in the AISD orchestra program participate in UIL Region XXV Solo & Concert Contests and the Texas Music Educators Association All-State Orchestras and Bands.


Honorable Mention:
Reagan Chamber Orchestra
    Sixto Elizondo IV, director   San Antonio TX
Reagan Chamber Orchestra
The Ronald Reagan orchestra program comprises of seven performing ensembles with a total enrollment of 245. The musicians in the Chamber Orchestra serve as the string section of the RRSO. The Reagan Orchestra performs six major concerts a year, including a young people’s concert which serves 1700 elementary and middle school students in the Reagan Cluster.  Members of the orchestra also serve the greater Stone Oak community by performing at events, nursing homes and in our cluster schools. The Reagan Orchestra has a long standing tradition of excellence in performance and service, and this tradition has continued under the direction of their Director, Sixto Elizondo IV.


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Congratulations!
2 months ago | |
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  The American Prize is honored to announce the winners,  runners-up and citation recipients of The American Prize in OPERA Performance, 2016-17. Congratulations!

All applicants finalist or higher receive written evaluations from a member of The American Prize judging panel.

Complete listings of finalists and semi-finalists in The American Prize competitions may be found elsewhere on this blog. Please use the chronological tool in the right-hand column to find specific results.

Please make us aware of any misprints: theamericanprize@gmail.com
 

The American Prize in OPERA Performance, 2016-17

The American Prize winner:
University of Michigan Opera
    Kathleen Kelly    Ann Arbor MI
    Ravel—L'heure espagnole / Puccini—Gianni Schicchi
University of Michigan Opera—Gianni Schicchi
The Opera Program at the University of Michigan is a cornerstone program in the School of Music, Theatre, and Dance. Students develop skills in an environment that oversees careful skill building yet encourages adventurous risk. Here they find world-class coaching in music, languages, and stagecraft. University Productions, a unique collaboration of faculty, staff, and students, designs and executes all scenery, costumes, properties, and lighting. Two mainstage productions and two workshop productions each year provide myriad performances opportunities for both undergraduates and graduates. Last but not least, the incomparable academic resources of the University of Michigan are at the program’s disposal.


2nd Place (there was a tie):
University of South Dakota Opera
    Tracelyn Gesteland    Vermillion SD
    Copland—The Tender Land
University of South Dakota Opera—The Tender Land
The University of South Dakota Opera offers training and performance opportunities for students interested in the art of opera.  Every semester, students have the opportunity to study and perform operatic literature from the common practice period as well as contemporary lyric theater.  Annually, USD Opera presents a main stage opera in addition to children’s touring outreach productions.  In 2014, USD Opera was honored to have been selected as a Finalist for The American Prize in Opera Performance.  In 2013, USD Opera was awarded Second Place for The American Prize in Opera Performance, and in 2012, won Third Place in division 3 of the National Opera Association’s Opera Production Competition.  USD Opera was also honored to perform children’s opera excerpts by invitation at the NOA convention in 2011.


2nd Place (there was a tie):
Messiah College Opera
    Damian Savarino    Mechanicsburg PA
    Copland—The Tender Land
Messiah College Opera—The Tender Land
The Messiah College Opera Workshop recently collaborated with the Department of Theatre and Dance at Messiah College to present Aaron Copland’s opera, The Tender Land the first ever student opera production in the college’s 100+ year history.  Previous offerings by the Opera Workshop ensemble have been Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi, Menotti’s The Medium and The Old Maid and the Thief, Gilbert and Sullivan’s Trial By Jury, as well as opera scenes programs with scenes representing various time periods, composers, and languages.  The Messiah College Opera Workshop was founded and currently directed (music and stage direction) by Dr. Damian Savarino.  Dr. Savarino’s production of The Medium won 1st Prize in the 2013-2014 National Opera Association Opera Production Competition.  www.damiansavarino.com


3rd Place:
Conservatory Opera of Music (SUNY—Purchase)—The Crucible    Jacque Trussel    Purchase NY
    Ward—The Crucible
Conservatory Opera of Music (SUNY—Purchase)—The Crucible
The Purchase Opera, performing arm of The Opera Performance/Vocal Studies Area in the Conservatory of Music/S.U.N.Y., has received critical acclaim, collecting eleven National Opera Association - Best Opera of the Year awards, including the American East Coast premiere of Lee Hoiby’s The Tempest. Working with the composer the company later recorded one of the only existing recordings of the piece (Albany Records). The company also presented the World Premiere of Raphael Lucas’ Confession, winning National Opera Association’s International competition for Best Chamber Opera, 2011/12 (also recorded for Albany Records). This past March (2016) they presented Robert Ward’s The Crucible, which will be recorded in September 2016.
                         
FINALIST—CITATION: "Exceptional Production Values"

Bob Jones University Opera    Darren P. Lawson    Greenville SC
    Verdi—Aida
Bob Jones University Opera—Aida
The Bob Jones University Opera Association was founded in 1942 as part of the university’s commitment to liberal arts training for all of its students, who are provided free tickets to the productions.  It has become a national award-winning organization that mounts major operatic works, including Aida, Mefistofele, Samson et Dalila, Tosca, Andrea Chenier, L’Elisir d’Amore, Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Il Trovatore, Rigoletto, La Cenerentola, and others.  Opera productions are presented regularly, with guest artists featured in the principal roles along with student and faculty soloists. Supporting roles and chorus parts are taken by students who show requisite ability.  http://www.bju.edu/events/fine-arts/concert-opera-drama/archive/


FINALIST—CITATION: "Ensemble Excellence"

FSU Student Opera Society—The Mikado
    Justin John Moniz    Tallahassee FL
    Gilbert & Sullivan—The Mikado
FSU Student Opera Society—The Mikado
The Student Opera Society at Florida State University mission is to serve the diverse student body within the College of Music and beyond by providing unique performance and professional development opportunities in opera. The productions chosen are aimed at complementing Florida State Opera’s mainstage programming while also being relevant and meaningful to the development of student singers. Additionally, workshops, fundraisers, socials, and other enrichment events are hosted to encourage the enjoyment and appreciation of opera among the greater Florida State University community.

FINALIST—CITATION: "Exceptional Commitment to New Music"

Texas State University Opera
    Samuel Mungo    San Marcos TX
    Mollicone—Lady Bird, First Lady of the Land

Texas State University Opera—Lady Bird, First Lady of the Land
The Award Winning Texas State Opera Theatre is dedicated to training the whole Opera performer. Voice, Acting, Dance and Theater Tech professionals training strictly in their fields join Director Samuel Mungo, Conductor Carolyn Watson and Collaborative Artist Kristin Roach to give Texas State possibly the most comprehensive undergraduate opera program in the country. 2 full Productions, Scenes Programs, Masterclasses with names like Jill Grove, Margaret Lattimore, Nicholas Carthy, and Margo Garrett, and access to professional summer programs, draw students from across the country. Recent productions include Don Giovanni, Candide, Turn of the Screw and Dialogues of the Carmelites. In May of 2016 TSOT produced the World Premiere of Lady Bird: First Lady of the Land, composed by Henry Mollicone with libretto by Sheldon Harnick.


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Congratulations!
2 months ago | |
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  The American Prize is honored to announce the winner and runners-up of The American Prize in DIRECTING, 2016-17. Congratulations!

All applicants finalist or higher receive written evaluations from a member of The American Prize judging panel.

Complete listings of finalists and semi-finalists in The American Prize competitions may be found elsewhere on this blog. Please use the chronological tool in the right-hand column to find specific results.

Please make us aware of any misprints: theamericanprize@gmail.com


The American Prize in DIRECTING, 2016-17.

The American Prize winner:
Jacque Trussel
    Purchase Opera—SUNY Purchase
    Purchase NY
Jacque Trussel
Jacque Trussel, directed throughout his internationally renowned career as a tenor, winning acclaim for productions of Merry Widow (Indiana), Tales of Hoffman and Koenigskinder (Sarasota Opera) Salome (Opera Nantes) and Don Giovanni (Univ. Illinois, Urbana/Champaign). In 1999 he become the Head of Opera Performance/Vocal Studies and Stage Director of Purchase Opera at the Conservatory of Music/S.U.NY. He was named Stage Director of the Year by Classical Singer Magazine/2005 and has led the Purchase Opera to eleven National Opera Association awards for Best Opera Production of the Year and received glowing reviews by the New York Times and Opera News.  The Award winning productions included the American East Coast premiere of Lee Hoiby’s The Tempest (in which he was the original Caliban), and the World premiere of Raphael Lucas’ Confession for which he co-authored the libretto. Confession was later named Best Chamber Opera of the Year by the NOA.


2nd Place (there was a tie):
Darren P. Lawson
    Bob Jones University
    Greenville, SC
Verdi: Aida
Darren P. Lawson
Dr. Darren P. Lawson is dean of the School of Fine Arts and Communication at Bob Jones University in Greenville, SC.  He has a BA in Rhetoric and Public Address from Bob Jones University, an MA in Platform Arts from Bob Jones University, and PhD in Communication Studies from the University of Kansas.  He is a member of the University Classic Players and has portrayed such roles as Cyrano in Cyrano de Bergerac, Leontes in The Winter’s Tale, Henry in King Henry IV, Duke of Buckingham in Richard III: The Terrible Reign, Bottom the Weaver in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Macduff in Macbeth, Jaques in As You Like It, Feste in Twelfth Night, and many others.  He also serves as one of the stage directors for the Bob Jones University Opera Association with productions including Aida, Samson et Dalila, Andrea Chenier, Mefistofele, L’Elisir d’Amore, Rigoletto, Il Trovatore, and Simeon. http://www.bju.edu/events/fine-arts/concert-opera-drama/archive/


2nd Place (there was a tie):
Samuel Mungo
    Texas State University
    San Marcos TX
Mollicone: Lady Bird, First Lady of the Land
Samuel Mungo
Dr. Samuel Mungo has directed professionally across the country and around the world. His honors include Classical Performance of the Year for Rigoletto in San Antonio, and Opera Production of the Year from the National Opera Association.  Professional directing credits include Die Entführung aus dem Serail for Florida Grand Opera, Suor Angelica for Opera Plovdiv, Gianni Schicchi at Stara Zagora Opera, Il Trovatore for San Antonio Opera, Pirates of Penzance for Colorado Light Opera.

As Director of Opera Studies at Texas State University, he has created perhaps the most comprehensive undergraduate opera training program in the country. Recently he has produced Die Fledermaus, Don Giovanni, The Student Prince, The Turn of the Screw and Candide.  He conceived and produced the World Premiere of Mollicone’s Lady Bird in May.

He received his Doctorate from the University of Colorado at Boulder, and his Masters in Vocal Performance from the New England Conservatory.


3rd Place:
Justin John Moniz
    Florida State University Student Opera Society
    Tallahassee FL
Gilbert & Sullivan: The Mikado
Justin John Moniz
Justin John Moniz is a director, singer, actor, and teacher in high demand. He is currently a member of the faculty at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, where he teaches courses in opera and performing techniques. Moniz has previously directed productions and scenes programs for the Oberlin Conservatory, Florida State University, Cleveland Opera Theatre, and the Hawaii Performing Arts Festival, where he currently serves as Assistant Artistic Director. His ongoing research on redefining singer training in the 21st century has been presented at the National Opera Association, and is slated for publication this fall. As a critically acclaimed singer/actor, he has previously sung roles with Opera Grand Rapids, Utah Festival Opera, Sarasota Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Opera Company of Middlebury, and DreamCatcher Theatre/Adrienne Arsht Center, among many others. This fall, Moniz joins the voice faculty at Millikin University, where he will also serve as Voice Area Coordinator. For more information, please visit: www.justinjohnmoniz.com.





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Congratulations!
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The Ziegfeld star, Marilyn Miller
The American Prize is honored to announce the winners,  runners-up and citation recipients of The American Prize in MUSIC THEATER and THEATER Performance, 2016-17. Congratulations!

All applicants finalist or higher receive written evaluations from a member of The American Prize judging panel.

Complete listings of finalists and semi-finalists in The American Prize competitions may be found elsewhere on this blog. Please use the chronological tool in the right-hand column to find specific results.

Please make us aware of any misprints: theamericanprize@gmail.com


The American Prize in MUSIC THEATER and THEATER Performance, 2016-17.
"Each in their own way very fine productions..."

The American Prize winner:
AZ State University Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts
    Brian DeMaris
    Tempe AZ
Sondheim—Company
AZ State University Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts
Established in 1964, ASU's flagship Lyric Opera Theatre program is distinctive in that it combines training in both opera and musical theatre. Serving approximately 100 undergraduate and graduate opera and musical theatre majors from the School of Music, as well as students from the School of Film, Dance and Theatre, LOT is committed to preparing outstanding operatic and musical theatre performers for professional careers in the 21st Century.

LOT currently produces five fully staged and costumed opera and musical theatre productions each year in its own 450–seat Evelyn Smith Music Theater, all supported with full orchestras from ASU's nationally renowned instrumental ensemble program. It boasts a significant team of faculty directors, conductors, designers, voice teachers, coaches and support staff, along with regular guest artists and other faculty from the School of Music and the School of Film, Dance and Theatre. The program also features formal collaborations and professional performance and study/cover opportunities with Arizona Opera and the Phoenix Theatre.


2nd Place:
Belmont University
    Nancy Allen
    Nashville TN
Berlin, et al—White Christmas
Belmont University
Belmont University has been producing excellence in Musical Theatre for almost 20 years.  Located in the heart of Nashville, Belmont is a premier training ground for talented students who wish to experience a rigorous conservatory style education in a liberal arts atmosphere.  Belmont students graduate to become top tier talent in the theatre industry and are employed in Broadway shows, Off Broadway shows, in National Tours and in excellent equity theatre around the country. To learn more about this incredible university, please visit www.belmont.edu/music.


3rd Place:
Bob Jones University
    Darren P. Lawson
    Greenville SC
Shakespeare—Richard III
Bob Jones University
The Bob Jones University Classic Players was founded in 1929 as part of its commitment to liberal arts training for all of its students, who are provided free tickets to the productions.  It has grown into one of the outstanding college Shakespearean repertoire groups in the world. Membership is open to students who show the requisite ability in public tryouts. Faculty and staff also participate as cast members.  Major productions are presented each year, including such great plays as Hamlet, Julius Caesar, Macbeth, The Merchant of Venice, Twelfth Night, As You Like It, Richard III, and other plays covering the great majority of the Shakespearean repertoire. In addition to the Shakespearean plays, the Classic Players have also mounted other great classics including Cyrano de Bergerac, Pride and Prejudice, and Great Expectations. http://www.bju.edu/events/fine-arts/concert-opera-drama/archive/
                         

FINALIST—CITATION: "Exceptional energy and wonderful special effects"

Top Billing Entertainment
    Kristina Keener Ivy
    Glendora CA
Baum, et al—The Wizard of Oz
Top Billing Entertainment
Top Billing Entertainment Performance Academy is a 501(c)3 nonprofit, "no cuts" group where each performer is treated with respect, given professional instruction, and given the opportunity for a featured solo. In January 2015, Top Billing opened a 4,000 square foot location in Glendora, CA where they now offer group and private classes in singing, dancing, acting, on-camera acting, fitness and instruments. In 2014 Top Billing won #1 Best Musical Theater Production and #2 Musical Theater Director in the American Prize Competition, Best Dance School in the San Gabriel Valley Tribune's Readers Choice Awards, and has received 39 National Youth Arts Nominations with 10 wins. We are successful because we believe each performer is vital and should be treated as if they have top billing.


Kristina Keener Ivy
Kristina Keener Ivy is the Executive Director and founder of Top Billing Entertainment Performance Academy. She has performed with various jazz bands, as a member of various church worship teams, on three film soundtracks, and in numerous musical theatre productions. In January 2015, Top Billing opened a 4,000 square foot location in Glendora, CA where they now offer group classes in singing, dancing, acting, on-camera acting, fitness and instruments. In 2014 Top Billing won Best Musical Theater Production and #2 Musical Theater Director in the American Prize National Competition, Best Dance School in the San Gabriel Valley Tribune's Readers Choice Awards, and has received 23 National Youth Arts Nominations with six wins. She would like to thank Jesus for all the good gifts around us, her husband, David, for his unending love and patience, and her family, friends, and especially her students for their continued support.


FINALIST—CITATION: "Youthful Exuberance and Educational Excellence in Theater Performance"

Royal Oak Middle School
    Nicole Pedroche
    Covina CA
Brown, et al—13, The Musical
Royal Oak Middle School
Royal Oak Middle school, located in Covina, California, has an incredible history in Theater Art excellence and community. It should be noted that though ROMS is competing in the high school division, we are a public middle school theater troupe in the truest sense. The entire cast and technical crew is comprised of only 7th and 8th grade students. Students pay zero fees to participate, instead funding the program through fantastic ticket sales and small refreshment fundraisers. The program in fiercely loved by the community and has produced several successful actors, writers, film producers, theater educators and other industry types. Students are also expected to learn technical theater and handle costume pulls, scenic work, set changes, stage management, audio engineering, lighting, front of house business, and program writing. This is the fourth ROMS musical for the new program director, Nicole Pedroche. romsdrama.weebly.com




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The American Prize is honored to announce the winners, runners-up and honorable mentions of The American Prize in Conducting—opera/music theater divisions, 2016-17. Congratulations!

All applicants finalist or higher receive written evaluations from a member of The American Prize judging panel.

Complete listings of finalists and semi-finalists in The American Prize competitions may be found elsewhere on this blog. Please use the chronological tool in the right-hand column to find specific results.

Please make us aware of any misprints: theamericanprize@gmail.com


The American Prize in Conducting—opera/music theater, 2016-17,  professional division:

The American Prize winner:
Ryan Murray
    Fresno Grand Opera
    Fresno CA
    A Streetcar Named Desire (Previn)
Ryan Murray
The newly appointed Artistic Director of Townsend Opera, Ryan Murray’s dynamic conducting, engaging persona and deeply held passion for the arts have allowed him to steadily build a robust career since his professional debut at the age of just 22. Ryan is a past winner of the Vienna Philharmonic’s Ansbacher Fellowship for Young Conductors and previously studied at the Eastman School of Music's Summer Conducting Institute featuring the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra; he has attended the Aurora Conducting Seminar with Kurt Masur, as well as the Lucerne Festival Academy Conducting Masterclass. Ryan is currently the Associate Conductor for the Modesto Symphony Orchestra, Music Director for the Modesto Symphony Youth Orchestra and Resident Conductor of the Music in the Mountains Summer Festival. As part of a unique artistic partnership, Ryan has served as the Music Director of Fresno Grand Opera's main stage productions of contemporary American operatic works for the past two seasons. Ryan also previously served as a conductor for BASOTI, and the Opera Academy of California. Visit www.ryanjmurray.com for news and upcoming engagements.


2nd Place:
Walter Morales
    Pittsburgh Festival Opera
    Pittsburgh PA
    Figaro (redux)
Walter Morales
Walter Morales is the Music Director of the Edgewood Symphony Orchestra. His previous positions include Music Director of Undercroft Opera, Music Director of the Carnegie Mellon University Contemporary Ensemble, Head of Music of Opera Theater of Pittsburgh, Principal Guest Conductor of the Pittsburgh Philharmonic, Assistant Director of Orchestral Studies at Carnegie Mellon University and Assistant Conductor of the Carnegie Mellon Philharmonic. He has been a guest conductor with the National Symphony Orchestra of Costa Rica, Westmoreland Symphony Orchestra, Butler County Symphony Orchestra, McKeesport Symphony Orchestra, University of Costa Rica Symphony Orchestra, University of Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Duquesne University Opera & Orchestra, Pittsburgh Youth Chamber Orchestra and Rutgers Chamber Orchestra.  He has also served as cover conductor for the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. For more information please visit: www.waltermoralesmusic.com


3rd Place:
Warren Puffer Jones
    Arbor Opera Theater
    Ann Arbor MI
    La Traviata
Warren Puffer Jones
Warren Puffer Jones is in his tenth year as Music Director of Arbor Opera Theater. For his performance of The Sound of Music with Arbor Opera Theater he received the 2014 Wilde Award for best Music Director in the state of Michigan. In 2012 he was the winner of the 4x4 Prize, a national competition for conducting new music.

Mr. Jones is also the Music Director of TACTUS, a professional chamber orchestra and vocal ensemble in Oklahoma City. He has led TACTUS in groundbreaking performances that re-envision the concert experience, pairing thousand-year-old music with brand new compositions. Mr. Jones did his undergraduate work at Yale University and received a Master's degree in choral conducting from Indiana University, with further study at the Conductor's Institute at Bard. He received a DMA in conducting from the University of Michigan, where he studied with Kenneth Kiesler.
www.warrenpufferjones.com


The American Prize in Conducting—opera/music theater, 2016-17,  college/university division:

The American Prize winner:
Joshua Horsch
    University of Colorado-Boulder
    Eklund Opera Program
    Boulder CO
    The Tender Land
Joshua Horsch
Joshua Horsch is a conductor, coach, and pianist equally comfortable in opera, orchestra, and recital settings.  Joshua’s upcoming engagements include work with Tri-Cities Opera, North Carolina Opera, and Opera Columbus.  During the 2016-2017 season at Pensacola Opera, Joshua served as Music Director/Conductor for Glory Denied, Assistant Conductor for Aida and Dead Man Walking, and Music Director/Coach/Pianist for the Artist in Residence program.  Joshua’s recent positions include Assistant Conductor/Pianist/Vocal Coach for Opera Saratoga’s 2015, 2016, and 2017 seasons, Assistant Conductor/Rehearsal Pianist for Fort Worth Opera, and Assistant/Cover Conductor for the Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra.  Additionally, Joshua has served as Music Director/Conductor for Copland’s The Tender Land at the University of Colorado Boulder, Music Director/Conductor of the University of Colorado Boulder Campus Orchestra, Conductor/Pianist for the CU New Opera Workshop, Conductor for the Colorado New Music Ensemble, Assistant Chorus Master for the Colorado Music Festival, Conductor/Pianist for the Newport Music Festival, and Staff Conductor for the Boston Opera Collaborative. Joshua’s guest and workshop conducting includes work with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, the Omaha Symphony, the Oregon Bach Festival Orchestra and Chorus, the Bohuslav Martinu Philharmonic, Lyatoshinsky Chamber Orchestra, Orquestra Filharmonica de Chihuahua, Boulder Bach Festival, PENDULUM New Music Ensemble, Greater Boulder Youth Orchestras, and the Cabrillo Festival Orchestra.  Joshua holds degrees in conducting and piano from the University of Colorado Boulder, Penn State University, and Ithaca College.


2nd Place:
Michael W. Moore
    Bob Jones University
    Greenville SC
    La Cenerentola
Michael W. Moore
Conductor Michael W. Moore is in his fifth season at the helm of the Bob Jones University Symphony Orchestra in Greenville, SC. Under his baton, the BJUSO received Honorable Mention in the 2015 American Prize for Orchestral Performance--college/university division. In his recent opera conducting debut (Rossini’s La Cenerentola), Moore garnered praise for his “tight performance,” “clear and spirited” reading, and “polished sound” (Greenville News, 3/10/16). Steven White (assistant conductor, Metropolitan Opera) noted “from beginning to end [Moore showed] a genuine comfort level with the style and demands of the music... a result of obvious preparation along with natural instinct… Always clear, always expressive… He breathed and moved with [the singers], leading and following at the same time with the kind of coordination that is the sine qua non of good opera conducting.” Moore holds degrees in music education and instrumental conducting and studied with William Moody (USC-Columbia).


3rd Place:
Chad Hutchinson
    University of Minnesota
    Minneapolis MN
    Susannah
Chad Hutchinson
Chad Hutchinson is the Assistant Conductor of the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra and Music Director of the South Dakota Symphony Youth Orchestra.  He is conducting 5 concerts for the SDSO this season including two Pops Concerts, Link Up, a new partnership with the Sioux Falls Public Schools, and will lead three youth symphonies in the SDSYO program.

Away from the symphony, Mr. Hutchinson is a James Sample Fellow and DMA candidate in orchestral conducting at the University of Minnesota.  A student of Mark Russell Smith, he conducts three campus orchestras and assists with the University Symphony Orchestra and Opera Theater programs.  Prior to his time in Minnesota, he served as director of Northwestern College's(IA) Chamber Orchestra and Women's Choir, was the Coordinator/Music Director for the Siouxland Youth Orchestras and taught in the public schools for nine years.   Hutchinson resides in Sioux Falls with his wife Karen and their two daughters.  


The American Prize in Conducting—opera/music theater, 2016-17,  community division:

The American Prize winner:
Dale Kruse
    Project Opera
    Minneapolis MN
    Memory Boy (Reynaldo Moya)
Dale Kruse
Dale Kruse resides in Hopkins, MN and holds degrees from Luther College (B.A.), Drake University (M.M.) and the University of Minnesota (D.M.A.). Prior to joining the voice faculty at St. Olaf College, he conducted the Augsburg College Cedar Singers Men's Choir, taught choral music at Armstrong High School and Wayzata High School and served on the voice faculty of Gustavus Adolphus College.  Since 2004, he has been the Music Director for the Minnesota Opera: Project Opera education program, Summer Camp and Children's Chorus Master.  He is currently serving as Past-President/Membership Chair of the Minnesota NATS Chapter.  With students, he has travelled twice to England, Scotland (American High School Theatre Festival) and Wales with Music Theater and Opera productions.


2nd Place:
Ezra Donner
    University of Michigan Gilbert and Sullivan Society
    Ann Arbor MI
    H.M.S. Pinafore
Ezra Donner
Ezra Donner is an American composer, conductor, pianist, and educator. Based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, he holds a Doctor of Music Degree from Indiana University and a Bachelor of Music Degree with High Honors from the University of Michigan. He has served as Music Director with the University of Michigan Gilbert and Sullivan Society since 2015. EzraDonner.com


3rd Place:
Eric Peterson
    Savoynet Performing Group
    Harrogate UK
    The Pirates of Penzance
Eric Peterson
Eric Peterson is a theater conductor based in New York City, music-directing musicals and operettas with the Blue Hill Troupe in Manhattan, Troupers Light Opera in Connecticut and the Savoynet Performing Group at the annual International Gilbert & Sullivan festival in England. He is a graduate of William & Mary and Peabody Conservatory, where he studied horn. For many years, he was a band director for LGBT community bands: his final concert with NYC's Big Apple Corps was declared “Maestro Eric Peterson Day” in the borough of Manhattan. He was a 2013 American Prize opera conducting finalist, and received a special judge's citation for excellence in conducting Gilbert & Sullivan. He is currently the concerts and choral music director with the Blue Hill Troupe.



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The American Prize is honored to announce the winner and runner-up of  The American Prize in Arts Marketing, 2016-17.  Congratulations!

The American Prize in Arts Marketing recognizes and rewards the best marketing campaigns by performing arts organizations in America, based on submitted applications from professional or community groups. The contest seeks evidence of campaigns that combine inspiration and creativity with demonstrable success, regardless of the budget available.

All finalists receive written evaluations from a member of The American Prize judging panel.

Complete listings of finalists and semi-finalists in The American Prize competitions may be found elsewhere on this blog.

Please make us aware of any misprints: theamericanprize@gmail.com

The American Prize in Arts Marketing, 2016-17.
The American Prize winner:
The Endicott Repertory Dance Ensemble
    Cynthia Roberts, Nikki Sao Pedro Welch
    Beverly MA
for ARMATIONS 

CYNTHIA ROBERTS is a visual artist born and raised in New York, currently living and working north of Boston and in Detroit. Her work is grounded in a studio practice of painting and drawing and includes extended painting in the form of animation, video, and live painting collaborations with dance companies and musicians. In 2012, Roberts was a laureate of the Regards Croisés//Criss Cross: NY//Le Havre residency and production grant, with support of the French Institute, the City of Le Havre, and Triangle Arts Association in New York. She was an artist in residence in the city of Le Havre, France for the fall of 2012. Roberts obtained a B.A. at Brown University in Providence, RI and an M.F.A. in Painting at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY; she is currently an Associate Professor of Studio Art at Endicott College. Her work can be found online at: www.cynthiaroberts.us and http://cynthiaroberts.virb.com


NIKKI SAO PEDRO-WELCH obtained an MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts from Goddard College, a M.ED in Arts and Learning from Endicott College, and a BA degree in Dance from Point Park University. She is the Coordinator of Dance, head coach of the Endicott Dance Team, and professor of multiple courses in the dance program at Endicott College. She has choreographed over seven original productions for Endicott including the most recent, Armations: Activating Adaptation, “a movement, visual, and sonic superworld”(2015). Her professional work has been shown at NACHMO of Boston, Dumbo Dance in NYC in 2015, outside in Salem MA, and Dance in the Fells (Medford, MA). Nikki has taught and choreographed work for the American College Dance Association, and has been a professional dancer Danny Swain Dance Company, The Boston Celtics Dance Team, Peter DiMuro/Public Display of Motion, Quicksilver Dance, and Monkeyhouse. Dancing for these companies, Nikki has performed in many festivals including Montreal Fringe (Canada), Dumbo Dance (Brooklyn NY), NACHMO (Boston, MA) and Cool New York (Brooklyn, NY) among many professional dance venues. Her professional website is: www.bodyforceunderground.com



2nd Place:
Tallahassee Community Chorus
   Jan Smith, Gabriela Mendizabal, and Lara Larsson 
   Tallahassee FL 
for Season Promotion

The Tallahassee Community Chorus is the only mixed ensemble of its size (200+ voices) and quality in the North Florida “Big Bend” region that does not require its singers to audition.  Established in 1988, the Chorus’ unique structure encompasses singers of all ages, ethnic groups and levels of musical ability, from teens to octogenarians.  Singers and the community are provided the opportunity to learn and experience choral music in all genres under the baton of world-renowned choral conductor and teacher Dr. André J. Thomas.  The Chorus performs three concerts per season, generally with full orchestra.  Two concerts feature choral masterworks of great composers, classical to modern, while the third is the “Unity” concert, which, through song, celebrates the great diversity of our community or focuses on an issue that unites the community.  In addition, the Chorus features a different local nonprofit organization at each concert.


3rd Place (there was a tie):
Distinguished Concerts International New York
    Iris Derke, Andrea Macy & Staff
    New York NY
for Calling All Dawns
Distinguished Concerts International New York (DCINY) is the leading producer of dynamically charged musical excellence. With its unforgettable concert experiences in renowned venues, empowering educational programs, and its global community of artists and audiences, DCINY changes lives through the power of performance.


3rd Place (there was a tie):
River Oaks Chamber Orchestra
    Alecia Lawyer
    Houston TX
for Tenth Anniversary Season

The River Oaks Chamber Orchestra (ROCO) is a forty-piece professional chamber orchestra that was founded in 2005 by Alecia Lawyer. A Juilliard-trained musician with an eclectic background as a performer, recording artist, adjunct professor and radio host, Ms. Lawyer had a vision to reimagine the orchestral experience for both audience and musicians. The result is ROCO: an orchestra of all-star musicians, distinguished conductors and contemporary composers who come together from all over the world to present unexpected classics, original compositions and delightful performances that dissolve the barriers between audience and orchestra. www.roco.org


Alecia Lawyer
Named by Musical America as one of classical music’s Top 30 Influencers for 2015, Alecia Lawyer is the Founder, Artistic Director and Principal Oboist of the River Oaks Chamber Orchestra. ROCO, with its 40 dynamic, engaging and virtuosic professional musicians from around the nation and guest conductors from around the world, is “the Most Fun You Can Have with Serious Music!” ROCO performances are broadcast regularly to a nationwide audience on American Public Media’s Performance Today.

Ms. Lawyer was named a finalist for Texas Musician of the Year (along with Willie Nelson) and was listed as one of Houston’s Top 50 Most Influential Women. She has received numerous awards, including the Gutsy Gal Award from Houston Woman Magazine, the Sigma Alpha Iota Musician of the Year, and the Outstanding Chamber Orchestra Founder from the Houston Chronicle. She regularly presents her Entrepreneurial model and dynamic ideas to conservatories, universities and music festivals around the US such as Juilliard, Yale, SMU, Round Top and Texas Music Festival, using ROCO as a case study for community-specific orchestral building. Business and social groups in the Greater Houston area engage her to speak on numerous topics related to the creation, innovation, marketing and development of the arts. A member of the Houston Committee on Foreign Relations and a participant in the Aspen Leadership Seminar at the Aspen Institute, Alecia continues to weave musicians and audience together with the language of music through innovative programming and collaboration with ROCO.




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