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The American Prize
292 Entries
The American Prize is honored to announce the winner and runners-up in the high school/youth choir division of The American Prize in Choral Performance, 2014. Congratulations!  

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 Choral Performance
—high school/youth choir division

The American Prize winner:
Young Women's Chorus of San Francisco
Susan McMane, director
San Francisco  CA


Young Women's Chorus of San Francisco
The Young Women’s Choral Projects of San Francisco (YWCP) was founded in 2012 with a mission to transform the lives of young women through exceptional artistry in choral performance and bring the expressive power of their music to the community, the nation, and the world.
YWCP consists of three ensembles whose members range in age from seven to eighteen and who represent the socio-economic diversity of the Bay Area. Singers rehearse twice weekly, and the advanced Young Women’s Chorus presents a six-concert season in the Bay Area, and annually tours nationally or internationally. With a repertoire that spans early music to contemporary compositions, YWC has already received accolades in Italy, on the SF Opera stage, and with the Kronos Quartet, whose founder David Harrington stated, “this is an incredible group of young musicians whose passion, and commitment to excellence are so clearly at the heart of every note they sing.”  
Among judges' comments: "...    warm, rich, open resonance throughout range…"


2nd Place:
THE DELPHIAN CHOIR
Great Falls High School   
Patrick Ryan, director
Great Falls  MT


THE DELPHIAN CHOIR
The Delphian Choir is one of seven choral ensembles at Great Falls High School, in Great Falls, Montana.  The group consists of forty sophomores through seniors, and membership is by audition.  Delphian is dedicated to building quality of character in its members through experiences in music.

Among judges' comments: "…. wonderful maturity, connectivity, and sensitivity…evident in this submission."


3rd Place:
ACCIDENTALS
Longmeadow High School
Kayla Werlin, director
Longmeadow  MA

ACCIDENTALS
Founded in 2004, The Accidentals are a 31-voice select women’s ensemble from Longmeadow High School. The group includes students in grades 9-12, and all singers in the group participate in one or more of LHS’ curricular musical ensembles, instrumental or vocal. The Accidentals rehearse one evening a week for two hours. In addition to performances at Longmeadow High School, The Accidentals have performed for the Massachusetts Music Educators’ Association, the Eastern Division of the National Association for Music Education, and the Women’s Fund of Western Massachusetts. Outside appearances have also included performances at Harvard University, Mt. Holyoke College and Carnegie Hall.

Among judges' comments: "…good sense of ensemble within rubato passages, great blend on vowels!"

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The American Prize is honored to announce the winner and runners-up in the community chorus division of The American Prize in Choral Performance, 2014. Congratulations!  

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 Choral Performance
—community chorus division

The American Prize winner:
CHORAL ARTS INITIATIVE
Brandon Elliott, music director
Orange County  CA

CHORAL ARTS INITIATIVE
The Choral Arts Initiative believes that fostering and embracing the music of emerging composers is critical to our choral art form, and that passion and sincerity should be at the forefront of all musical endeavors.  Currently ranked as one of Orange County’s (California) “Best Choirs” according to CBS Los Angeles, Choral Arts Initiative has garnered both local and national attention.  Founded in 2013 by conductor Brandon Elliott, the ensemble is comprised of passionate and talented choral artists from throughout Southern California.  The organization has commissioned choral works, and has premiered over a dozen pieces by emerging choral composers since its inaugural performance in June 2013.  In addition to its dedication to offering stunning performances of choral music to the community, Choral Arts Initiative also offers a wide palate of education and community outreach programs to foster creativity, and to empower the next generation of music contributors and consumers.

Among judges' comments: "I found myself wishing I could be a part of this musical family."


2nd Place:
BALTIMORE CHORAL ARTS SOCIETY
Tom Hall, music director
Baltimore  MD

BALTIMORE CHORAL ARTS SOCIETY
Now in its 48th season, the Baltimore Choral Arts Society is one of Maryland's premier cultural institutions.  The Symphonic Chorus, Full Chorus, Orchestra, and Chamber Chorus perform throughout the mid-Atlantic region, in Washington, D.C., New York, and in Europe.

Choral Arts is featured in an annual television special that won an Emmy Award in 2006.  The chorus was also featured in a PBS documentary called Jews and Christians: A Journey of Faith, broadcast nationwide, and on NPR’s Special Coverage. The ensemble has also been featured nationally on The First Art, Performance Today, and VOX.  In Europe, it was featured on Radio Suisse Romande.

Choral Arts has four recordings in current release, including Christmas from America’s First Cathedral on Gothic and The Gates of Justice on NAXOS.  Choral Arts has appeared with the National Symphony, and it makes regular appearances with the Baltimore Symphony.

Among judges' comments: "Dynamics.  Lyric articulation.  Blended vowels.  Balanced parts.  Musical excellence."


3rd Place:
CHORAL ARTS
Robert Bode, music director
Seattle  WA

CHORAL ARTS
Seattle-based Choral Arts is a thirty-member auditioned choral ensemble led by Artistic Director/Conductor, Robert Bode dedicated to performing high-quality choral music, commissioning and recording new works by American composers, and offering innovative education programs.

For twenty-one years Choral Arts has distinguished itself as a significant contributor to the art of choral music and has consistently achieved artistic excellence in its music and programs. In drawing singers exclusively from the Seattle region, Choral Arts has maintained its community-based roots while reaching a level of excellence in musicianship and performance that has earned them national recognition and critical acclaim. In 2010 Choral Arts was awarded the Margaret Hillis Award for Choral Excellence and the American Prize for best choral performance (community division), and placed second in the 2013 American Prize for choral performance (community division). Choral Arts currently has five CD released under the Gothic record label.

“Above all, we hope to bring people together through the unmatched power of singing, to express those things that define and particularize us, and to celebrate all that we share.”  - Robert Bode, Artistic Director

Among judges' comments: "...exquisite phrasing and dynamic control…"

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The American Prize is honored to announce the winner and runners-up in the college/university division of The American Prize in Choral Performance, 2014. Congratulations!  

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 Choral Performance
—college/university division

The American Prize winner:
UNIVERSITY of NORTH DAKOTA CONCERT CHOIR
Joshua Bronfman, director
Grand Forks  ND

UNIVERSITY of NORTH DAKOTA CONCERT CHOIR
The University of North Dakota Concert Choir is a nationally recognized choral ensemble consisting of the most talented vocalists at the University of North Dakota. Founded by Dr. James Fudge, the Concert Choir has been representing UND throughout the United States and around the world since 1961. In 2012, the UND Concert Choir was selected to perform at the North Dakota and North Central American Choral Directors Association conferences, receiving standing ovations at both. In 2014, the Concert Choir will travel to Cuba where they will perform with the National Choir of Cuba and Coro Exaudi. The UND Concert Choir is directed by Dr. Joshua Bronfman.

Among judges' comments: "The Concert Choir’s consistency and ability to so perfectly maneuver a series of complex cluster-chords with such grace and poise is a testament to their musicianship."

2nd Place:
USC THORNTON CHAMBER SINGERS
Jo-Michael Scheibe, director
Los Angeles  CA


USC THORNTON CHAMBER SINGERS
The USC Thornton Chamber Singers are one of twenty-four choirs invited to the 2014 World Symposium on Choral Music in Seoul, Korea. They will also represent the American continent at the 12th Annual International China Choral Festival in Beijing. This year, they performed at the Western Division Convention of ACDA in Santa Barbara, California and sang with Sir Elton John at the 2013 Emmy Awards. Previously, Chamber Singers has sung with Barry Manilow, The Rolling Stones, and Andrea Bocelli. They performed Mozart’s Requiem with Helmuth Rilling and the LA Chamber Orchestra. Recent performance highlights include: choir-in-residence for the New Zealand Choral Federation Conference “ChoralConnect” in Wellington; the West Coast premiere of Heinz Werner Henze’s Muses of Sicily with Robert Reynolds; Bach’s Mass in B Minor with Maestro Rilling; USC Visions and Voices with Dale Warland; The Tonight Show with Jay Leno; and with Jennifer Hudson at a Shoah Foundation Gala.

Among judges' comments: "The warmth and consistent balance throughout the selections invited the listener to immerse in each song, as the musical elements were so refined."


3rd Place (there was a tie):
WESTMINSTER KANTOREI
Amanda Quist, director
Princeton  NJ

WESTMINSTER KANTOREI
Founded in 2004, Westminster Kantorei is an auditioned chamber choir from Westminster Choir College specializing in early music. The ensemble, which is composed of approximately 24 undergraduate and graduate students, performs regularly with some of America’s leading specialists in early music including collaborations with violinists Owen Dalby and Nancy Wilson, and British vocal ensemble Tenebrae.

The ensemble was selected to appear at the ACDA Eastern Division Conference this spring in Baltimore, MD, and will present Monteverdi’s Vespers of 1610 later this year.  Last season included a workshop with Tenebrae, a collaboration with La Spirita (viola da gamba consort), and an invitation to perform for the American Handel Festival at Princeton University. Recent seasons have included performances of major works by Handel, Byrd and Bach, including his St. Matthew Passion at Avery Fisher Hall, with the Westminster Choir and the New York Philharmonic, conducted by Kurt Masur."

Among judges' comments: "What is remarkable about this recording is the finely-measured and delicate balance of voices, and the mastery of stylistic performance practice."


3rd Place (there was a tie):
GEORGIA STATE UNIVERSITY UNIVERSITY SINGERS
Deanna Joseph, director
Atlanta  GA
GEORGIA STATE UNIVERSITY UNIVERSITY SINGERS
The Georgia State University University Singers is the School of Music’s premier vocal ensemble conducted by Dr. Deanna Joseph. Selected by competitive audition, the choir is comprised of music majors and non-majors, undergraduate and graduate students and represents the diverse population of Georgia State University. In May of 2013, the University Singers competed in La Florilège Vocal de Tours where they placed second overall in the mixed choir category and Dr. Joseph was honored with the Prix du chef de chour.  Additional recent honors include performing Walton's Belshazzar's Feast under the baton of Simon Halsey, an invited performance at the Georgia Music Educator's Association annual conference, a performance with Andrea Bocelli during his 2013 tour, and Carmina Burana with the Atlanta Ballet. The University Singers have toured throughout much of the United States, including Carnegie Hall on two occasions, and seven international tours with stops in France, Belgium, Italy, Yugoslavia, Finland, Russian, Estonia, Canada and Great Britain.

Among judges' comments: "a marvelous recording of twentieth and twenty-first century choral pieces."


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The American Prize is honored to announce the winner and runners-up in the community company division of The American Prize in Opera Performance, 2014. Congratulations!  

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 Opera Performance
—community division

The American Prize winner:
LOWELL HOUSE OPERA 
for "A Midsummer Night's Dream"
Lidiya Yankovskaya, music director
Cambridge  MA

Lowell House Opera
Established in 1938, the Lowell House Opera is the longest continually performing opera company in New England, featuring students, professionals, and community members from both Harvard and the greater Boston area. Each year, the Lowell House Dining Hall is home to a fully-staged opera production with costumes, set, and lighting, accompanied by a full orchestra comprised entirely of volunteer musicians. The hall functions as an intimate performance venue with superb acoustics, enabling audience members to experience professional-quality opera up close. Lowell House Opera offers educational opportunities on many levels and is dedicated to developing skills and providing professional experience for young artists. Singers learn and perform their roles in the original language and explore the literary basis and historical context for the work. Experienced directors and production staff lead workshops and other opportunities, such as a week of master classes and performances in St. Petersburg, Russia in May 2014 with the Educational Bridge Project. For undergraduates in particular, the opera offers a unique opportunity to work with more experienced artists who have devoted their professional lives to opera, music, and theater.

Among judges' comments: "...a fine aural and visual account of a musically and theatrically challenging work...there is some magic here..."


2nd Place:
UNDERCROFT OPERA for "Carmen"
Mary Beth Sederburg, director
Pittsburgh  PA


Undercroft Opera
With the motto “Everybody deserves an 'Operatunity'!” Undercroft Opera has been able to serve literally hundreds of Pittsburgh area performers since its inaugural production of Mozart's Cosi fan tutte in 2006. Since then, the company has presented diverse and challenging works including beloved classic operas such as La Boheme, The Marriage of Figaro and La Traviata, unique one-acts and chamber operas like Il Tabarro, Suor Angelica and The Medium, and innovative projects such as updated versions of The Elixir of Love and The Tales of Hoffmann and a concert version of Don Carlo. Building on the successes of recent productions of Rossini's The Barber of Seville and Bizet's Carmen, Undercroft will be presenting The Magic Flute May of 2014. The Magic Flute will be fully staged and accompanied by the Undercroft Orchestra. Undercroft Opera hopes to continue to serve the community through this and many more future productions.

Among judges' comments: "...full of spirit, with plenty of drama and telling theatrical moments..."

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The American Prize is honored to announce the winner and runners-up in the college/university company division of The American Prize in Opera Performance, 2014. Congratulations!  

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 Opera Performance
—college/university division

The American Prize winner:
SAM HOUSTON STATE UNIVERSITY for "Dido and Aeneas"
Rebecca Renfro Grimes, director
Huntsville  TX
Sam Houston State University

SHSU Opera is a 25-member collegiate performing group comprised entirely of undergraduate singers.  The focus of this ensemble is to provide performance training for young musicians who wish to pursue opera studies after their undergraduate career.  SHSU Opera’s performance schedule includes one scenes program, one full production, and one summer intensive each year.  In addition, this group represents the SHSU School of Music in various outreach events for the university.  SHSU Opera was selected as a finalist in the National Opera Association Scenes Competition in 2011, 2012 and 2013.  This ensemble was also the second prize winner in the 2012 NOA Opera Production competition, for their production of Opera Incognito, an opera scenes program that integrated Film Noir into the opera performance.  SHSU Opera performs under the artistic direction of Rebecca Renfro Grimes.

Among judges' comments: "This is an absolutely wonderful production with a terrific set, superb instrumental playing, beautiful singing, and skillful stage direction."


2nd Place:
OPERA THEATRE of YALE COLLEGE 
for "The Marriage of Figaro"
Beau Gabriel, director
New Haven  CT


Opera Theatre of Yale College
Founded in 1992, the Opera Theatre of Yale College is dedicated to offering Yale’s aspiring artists the chance to perform opera. Our entirely student-run organization affords students the opportunity to get hands-on experience in arts management and teamwork.  Under the leadership of Ashby Cogan '14 and Beau Gabriel '14 the company has expanded the scale of its productions, incorporating artists from across the Yale community, and focusing particularly on historically-informed productions. 

Among judges' comments: "...the singing from this young cast was quite good; music was prepared well..."


3rd Place:
UNIVERSITY of PUGET SOUND OPERA THEATRE 
for "The Pirates of Penzance"
Dawn Padula, director
Tacoma  WA

University of Puget Sound Opera Theatre
The University of Puget Sound Opera Theatre is the operatic ensemble vehicle of the University of Puget Sound School of Music.  Puget Sound is a four-year liberal arts university with approximately 2,600 students.  The ensemble features not only vocal performance majors, but also general music majors, music education majors, music business majors, music minors, as well as non-majors.  The ensemble rotates its offerings annually between an opera scenes program with piano, a full opera production with orchestra and a musical theatre collaboration with our Theatre Arts department.  The repertoire for the yearly offering is chosen dependent upon the current student population.  The idea is to showcase the students that are currently in our program, and to give all interested students stage experience (often, our productions mark our students’ stage debut).  Most full productions are double-cast to give several students performance opportunities.

Among judges' comments: "What a rollicking good time these young singers had in this entertaining production! "

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The American Prize is honored to announce the winner and runners-up in the professional company division of The American Prize in Opera Performance, 2014. Congratulations!  

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 Opera Performance
—professional division

The American Prize winner:
JUVENTAS NEW MUSIC ENSEMBLE for "The Magic Mirror"
Lidiya Yankovskaya, music director
Boston  MA

Juventas New Music Ensemble
Dubbed a five time "Classical Music Pick" by the Boston Globe, Juventas New Music Ensemble voices the musical culture of the present by featuring repertoire of composers age 35 and under. From lyrical melodies to recorded sounds from outer space, our performances showcase the most engaging music of today's generation. Based in Boston, Massachusetts, the ensemble has seven core musicians augmented with guest artists to form a wide array of instrumentations—both traditional and non-traditional. Since its founding in 2005, Juventas has showcased works by over 150 composers in more than 90 exhilarating performances and has held residencies at The Boston Conservatory (2006-2009), Middlebury College (2010, 2011), and Harvard University (2011, 2012).  Juventas has also collaborated on several recording projects with Parma Records and with individual composers. This season, Juventas will produce a full album of new music by young composers with the support of New Dynamic Records.            

Among judges' comments: "One attends an operatic performance for various reasons: beautiful singing, musical instrumental performances, stunning...stage direction which clearly defines the drama, etc.  All of these elements and more, were in abundance with this production of The Magic Mirror. "


2nd Place:
RESONANCE WORKS for "Macbeth"
Maria Sensi Sellner, music director
Pittsburgh  PA


Resonance Works
RESONANCE WORKS crafts performance projects that explore the confluence of music, space, artist, and audience. Inspired by Pittsburgh’s industrial and economic reinvention, we are committed to empowering musicians and reimagining the alchemical possibilities of performance.  Founded in 2013 by conductor Maria Sensi Sellner, Resonance Works' projects are designed around a dual concept: to feature professional artists and to celebrate locations in the Pittsburgh region - melding music with place.  In a time where excellent professional singers and instrumentalists continue to audition and audition for fewer and fewer jobs, Resonance Works endeavors to change the conversation.  We are approaching amazing and often underutilized professional artists and creating projects that will bring their talents to new audiences and connect them with a broader network of colleagues.  At the same time, we are rediscovering spaces in the Pittsburgh region and asking “what music will resonate here?”  By bringing professional musical performances into a variety of spaces, we aim to simultaneously reach a broader audience and explore a more intimate bond between artists and community.  

Among judges' comments: "Singing from the principals was musical, expressive, and dramatic."


3rd Place:
OPERA FORT COLLINS for
"The Daughter of the Regiment"
Vicki Fogel Mykles, director
Fort Collins  CO
Opera Fort Collins
Founded in 1979, OFC exists to entertain, enrich and educate through the professional presentation of opera and community engagement programs. We offer productions of the highest quality and performance standards within the genre. Until 1991, OFC presented a single annual production. An active support guild was established in 1999. By 2004, OFC increased annual productions to three, added active apprentice artist and master class programs for university grad students, and expanded its educational outreach to regional schools and civic groups. The auditioned chorus was established in 2010 for regional volunteers. We hold four performance-based fundraisers per year. OFC is recognized for excellence in training and launching emerging artists, employing regional and national performing arts professionals, providing regional music education, offering volunteer opportunities, creating entrance points for new audiences, and maintaining a consistently high level of artistic excellence. OFC is a respected regional opera company with national recognition and international reach.  

Among judges' comments: " a fine production...the orchestra played beautifully...voices seem to project without difficulties. "

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The American Prize is honored to announce the winner and runners-up in the community division of The American Prize in Wind Ensemble/Concert Band Performance, 2014. Congratulations!  

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 Wind Ensemble/Concert Band Performance
—community division

The American Prize winner:
SOUTHERN TIER CONCERT BAND
Robin Linaberry, director
Binghamton  NY
Southern Tier Concert Band
The Southern Tier Concert Band, formed in 1994, consists of professional and avocational local musicians.  Mr. Robin Linaberry, the lead conductor, is assisted by associate conductors Mr. Barry Peters, Mr. Art Carichner and Mrs. Robin DeSantis.  We have two goals - to enable accomplished adult musicians to perform band compositions in an exceptional ensemble and to provide a positive example for music students.   The STCB performs primarily in local schools in a collaborative “Banding Together” format.  Each concert sees the STCB performing several pieces on its own, followed by the performance of several pieces by a joined ensemble of school and STCB musicians.  In addition to performing challenging music in a risk-free context, the students get to experience the full sound of a complete ensemble, they get to work with accomplished musicians in a performance and they get to see how adults keep music performance in their lives.

Among judges' comments: "dexterity and brilliance...and the adventuresome presentation of new and challenging works..."


2nd Place:
HOT SPRINGS CONCERT BAND
Craig V. Hamilton, director
Hot Springs National Park  AR

Hot Springs Concert Band
Established in 1975, the Hot Springs Concert Band has grown from twenty local residents into an 80-member band – the largest community band in Arkansas – and the only one rehearsing and/or performing year round. Its members come from seventeen communities in Central Arkansas, some driving 70 miles each way to rehearsals and performances.

The HSCB performs four indoor and eight outdoor concerts annually; audience sizes range from 650 (indoor and formal) to 1,500 (outdoor and informal in Hot Springs National Park) for these concerts.  Each 90-minute concert has a theme, and the music is selected accordingly. The HSCB earned the coveted Hot Springs’ “Tourism Organization of the Year” award.

The HSCB has commissioned three pieces, performed at two U.S. Naturalization ceremonies, played for Hot Springs National Park’s 175th anniversary, and hosted three national band conventions; it also sponsors a bi-annual national composition competition and an annual student scholarship program.

Among judges' comments: "...polished and tight in sound and presentation of their works..."


3rd Place:
The Los Alamos Community Winds
Ted Vives, conductor
Los Alamos  NM
Los Alamos Community Winds
The Los Alamos Community Winds is a wind ensemble made up of members of the Los Alamos, NM community. We comprise both amateur and professional musicians of all ages and backgrounds from middle and high school students to retirees in our area. The first performances of a concert band in Los Alamos were noted in newsletters from 1946. Activities over the years have included many weekly summer concerts as well as performing at various civic functions such as the 4th of July fireworks celebrations.

Among our goals are:
1. To provide the Los Alamos community with a quality performing ensemble specializing in the best literature for the concert band and wind ensemble.
2. To promote public awareness of the importance of music.
3. To instill and sustain the American heritage of concert band music.
4. To provide student musicians with a good representation and model of ensemble performance.

Among judges' comments: "...brilliance in programming serious works alongside lighter fare and allowing such musical juxtaposition to keep the audience's ears alert and entertained at all times..."

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The American Prize is honored to announce the winner and runners-up in the high school division of The American Prize in Wind Ensemble/Concert Band Performance, 2014. Congratulations!  

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 Wind Ensemble/Concert Band Performance
—high school division

The American Prize winner:
FREDERICK FENNELL WIND ENSEMBLE
Teren Shaffer, conductor
Santa Ana  CA
Frederick Fennell Wind Ensemble
The Frederick Fennell Wind Studies Program was created in 2003 by a generous contribution in honor of legendary conductor Frederick Fennell. The program offers a comprehensive wind studies education that allows students to enroll in masterclasses, work with an inspiring caliber of guest artists, and attend festivals. The program also provides students with the opportunity to perform in large ensembles, as well as chamber ensembles. The Frederick Fennell Wind Studies Program provides a focused, high-level, quality education to instrumental music students. The Wind Ensemble, conducted by Teren Shaffer, is recognized for high achievement throughout the country. Regularly earning unanimous superior ratings at festivals, the ensemble won second place in 2012 for The American Prize. In 2013, the group was featured as the only high school band to represent the state in a performance at the California All-State Music Educators Conference, and in 2014 was selected as one of 16 ensembles from across the country to perform at the National Concert Band Festival in Indianapolis.

Among judges' comments: "such a sound can be compared not only to the first-tier collegiate wind ensembles in this country, but also premiere wind ensembles and concert bands of international
reputation..."



2nd Place:
NORTH HILLS HIGH SCHOOL WIND ENSEMBLE
Len Lavalle, conductor
Pittsburgh  PA

North Hills High School Wind Ensemble
The North Hills Wind Ensemble has a long and storied history. The ensemble has been featured at conventions around the country including the Midwest Convention (six times), the Concert Band National Convention, the MENC All-Eastern Convention (eight times) and PMEA State Convention (eleven times). Guest soloists and conductors have included William Revelli, Arthur Fieldler, Arnald Gabriel, Allen Vizzutti, Urbie Green, Fred Hemke, and Louis Bellison among many others. The North Hills School District has adopted the band’s motto of “Pride, Tradition and Excellence”.

Among judges' comments: "a very polished, energetic sound and a very persuasive way of presenting each work..."


3rd Place:
CLEAR CREEK WIND ENSEMBLE
Stephen Meyer, conductor
League City  TX
Clear Creek Wind Ensemble
Clear Creek High School is located in League City, Texas, just south of Houston near the NASA Johnson Space Center. The Clear Creek Wind Ensemble is the top-performing group of three curricular concert ensembles and has had a long tradition of excellence in music performance and artistry, earning exclusively superior ratings at UIL Concert and Sight-Reading Contest for over twenty years. In 2012, the Wind Ensemble was a National Winner in the National Wind Band Honors competition. Members of this ensemble study privately and participate in the All-Region, All-Area, and All-State bands as well as Solo and Ensemble contest each year."

Among judges' comments: "...a cadre of top-notch musicians..."

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The American Prize is honored to announce the winner and runners-up in the college/university division of The American Prize in Wind Ensemble/Concert Band Performance, 2014. Congratulations!  

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 Wind Ensemble/Concert Band Performance
—college/university division

The American Prize winner:
UNIVERSITY of SOUTH CAROLINA WIND ENSEMBLE
Scott Weiss, music director
Columbia  SC
University of South Carolina Wind Ensemble
The USC Wind Ensemble is the premier wind band at the University of South Carolina. In addition to its annual concert season in the Koger Center for the Arts in Columbia, recent activities of the ensemble include a 2012 tour of the People’s Republic of China that consisted of 7 sold-out performances in 6 cities. In addition the ensemble was featured at the 2014 American Bandmasters Association National Conference, the 2013 College Band Directors National Association National Conference, and the 2012 South Carolina Music Educators Association Conference. Passionately committed to new music, the ensemble has commissioned and premiered dozens of new works by many of today’s leading composers, and the group recently received a grant to record the world premiere recordings of new works by Joseph Schwantner, William Bolcom and Scott Lindroth for the Naxos label in 2015.

Among judges' comments: "this is a first-class performance that I will be visiting again and again."


2nd Place:
ILLINOIS STATE UNIVERSITY WIND SYMPHONY
Daniel Belongia, music director
Normal  IL

Illinois State University Wind Symphony
The Illinois State University Wind Symphony is a select group of the finest instrumentalists at Illinois State University, performing representative works from the wind band literature. In addition to campus programs, the Wind Symphony tours regularly. The Wind Symphony has been a featured performing ensemble at the American Bandmasters Association Convention, the Illinois Music Educators Association Conference, the College Band Directors National Association Convention in 1992, 2001, 2005 and 2014, and the 2005 Midwest International Band and Orchestra Clinic. The Wind Symphony is proud to have enjoyed close relationships with the finest composers writing for wind bands, including David Maslanka, Michael Colgrass, Karel Husa, and many others.

Among judges' comments: "...the players trust their director and place their hands in his skillful care..."


3rd Place:
ITHACA COLLEGE WIND ENSEMBLE
Stephen Peterson, music director
Ithaca  NY
Ithaca College Wind Ensemble
The Ithaca College Wind Ensemble was founded in 1981 and is the premier wind band at the School of Music. Following in the rich tradition of Patrick Conway and Walter Beeler, the ensemble, conducted by Stephen Peterson, presents some eight concerts annually both on and off campus, including such venues as Lincoln Center. Through a demanding schedule of concerts, tours, and recordings, the ensemble has developed a broad reputation for performing excellence, innovative programming, and commitment to new music. Concert programs include a wide variety of music including wind band classics, chamber works from a variety of historic periods, new commissions, and those newer works that serve to expand the evolving repertoire for the wind ensemble. Within the past several years, the wind ensemble has been invited to perform at the national conventions of the country’s two most distinguished band organizations; The American Bandmaster’s Association and the College Band Directors National Association.

Guest conductors and composers from around the globe who have worked with the ensemble include Samuel Adler, David Amran, Frank Battisti, Warren Benson, Michael Colburn, Michael Colgrass, John Corigliano, Viet Cuong, Richard Danielpour, Michael Daugherty, David Dzubay, Lukas Foss, Arnald Gabriel, John Harbison, Karel Husa, Libby Larsen, Timothy Mahr, John Mackey, David Maslanka, Ron Nelson, Larry Rachleff, Timothy Reynish, H. Robert Reynolds, Gunther Schuller, Joseph Schwanter, Roberto Sierra, Carl St. Clair,  Richard Strange, Steven Stucky, Frank Ticheli, John Whitwell, and Dana Wilson.

Membership in the 48-member ensemble is determined by audition in the fall of each academic year. The wind and percussion players in the Wind Ensemble are among the most talented in the School of Music.

Among judges' comments: "The Milhaud was polished and brilliant, and was indeed a highlight for this band."

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21 days ago | |
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The American Prize is honored to announce the winners and runners-up in the high school orchestra division of The American Prize in Orchestral Performance, 2014. Congratulations!  

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 Orchestral Performance
—high school orchestra division

The American Prize winner:
ALLEN HIGH SCHOOL ORCHESTRA
David DeVoto, conductor
Allen  TX
Allen High School 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.  In the next 12 years, the AHS orchestra program grew to 300+ students, placed in the finals of the Texas Honor Orchestra Competition in 2004, 2006, and 2007, and was accepted to the Midwest Clinic in 2006.  Today, there are over 1,100 orchestra students in Allen ISD: seventeen elementary orchestras, three middle school orchestra programs with four 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 five string orchestras. The Allen High School Symphony Full Orchestra consists of the top two string orchestras and members from the AHS Wind Ensemble.

Among judges' comments: "The sound and style is breathtaking; fantastic performance!"


2nd Place:
JASPER HIGH SCHOOL LEGACY ORCHESTRA
Ryan Ross, conductor
Plano  TX

Jasper High School Legacy Orchestra
The Jasper High School Orchestra is proud to be one of the most accomplished orchestra programs in Texas. Jasper is a grade 9 and 10 campus in Plano, TX, a Dallas suburb. Their orchestra currently serves over 200 students in five orchestras. Since its inception in 1996, Jasper’s top string ensemble, Legacy Orchestra, has repeatedly ranked as one of the top five string orchestras in Texas, competing alongside high schools that fill their orchestras with 9th through 12th graders, and in 2013 they were named the winner of The American Prize in Orchestral Performance (HS Division).  That same year, the Jasper Symphony was also named the 2014 TMEA Honor Full Orchestra of Texas.  Jasper feeds Plano West Senior High School and pulls from Rice and Robinson Middle Schools. Today, the Jasper Orchestra program is led by Ryan Ross and Assistant Director Brad Davis.  The string program is proud to frequently collaborate with band directors Jackie Digby and Charlie Hendrix.

Among judges' comments: "...exciting, mature performances of several difficult repertoire pieces..."


3rd Place:
ARLINGTON HIGH SCHOOL PHILHARMONIA
Jonathan Handman, conductor
Lagrangeville  NY
Arlington High School Philharmonia
Arlington High School's Philharmonia is the most advanced of five orchestras in the school 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, Mr. Jonathan Handman and Mr. John Harper are the directors.  In total, the program has over 250 string students and 75 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.

Among judges' comments: "Your exciting performances...show off your considerable technical ability and sonority."

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22 days ago | |
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