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The American Prize
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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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  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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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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The American Prize is honored to announce the winners, runners-up and honorable mentions of The American Prize in Conducting—band/wind ensemble 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—band/wind ensemble, 2016-17,  college/university division:

The American Prize winner:
Andrew Pease  
    Arizona State Univ. Wind Bands           
    Tempe AZ
Andrew Pease
Andrew D. Pease began his career helping to put bands back on the map in New York City, where he led the Columbia University Wind Ensemble and the community band Columbia Summer Winds.  He has degrees from Dartmouth College, Columbia University, Hofstra University, and a DMA in wind conducting at Arizona State University, where his teachers included Gary Hill, Wayne Bailey, Timothy Russell, and William Reber.  While at ASU, he conducted all levels of instrumental ensembles and led composer clinics with John Mackey and Michael Markowski. Also in Phoenix, he founded the professional Sun Valley Chamber Winds.  Dr. Pease is the newly-appointed Director of Bands at Hartwick College in Oneonta, NY.  Dr. Pease runs two websites dedicated to the music of the wind band.  Wind Band Literature attracts a global audience. The Wind Band Symphony Archive is a living record of wind band symphonies.


2nd Place:
Chee Weng Yim  
    Frost Wind Ensemble                   
    Coral Gables FL
Chee Weng Yim
Chee Weng Yim is currently enrolled in the Doctor of Musical Arts in Instrumental Conducting at the University of Miami Frost School of Music where he is a student of Robert M. Carnochan.  A native of Singapore, Chee Weng earned the Master of Music in Instrumental Conducting degree from the Georgia State University, under the instruction from Robert J. Ambrose.
Chee Weng has worked with prominent conductors both at home and in the United States. Professionally, Chee Weng has been invited to conduct in Taiwan, Osaka, Japan, Johor Bahru, Malaysia, and local bands in Singapore.  He pioneered the SALON concert series (currently in its fifth installment), which performed chamber music for winds, at the Georgia State University.


3rd Place (there was a tie):
Cormac Cannon
    University of SC Symphonic Winds               
    Columbia SC
Cormac Cannon
Cormac Cannon is Associate Professor of Music and Associate Director of Bands at the University of South Carolina, where he conducts the Symphonic Winds, teaches conducting, and guides all aspects of the athletic band program. Previously, Cannon served for six years on the music faculty at Michigan State University. Cannon earned the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in conducting at the University of Texas at Austin, the Master of Music degree in wind conducting from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, and the Bachelor of Music degree in percussion performance and music education from the University of Iowa. From 2001-2005 Cannon served as director of bands at Williamsburg High School in Williamsburg, Iowa, and from 2006-2007 was music director and conductor of the Cincinnati Youth Wind Ensemble. His primary conducting teachers include Jerry Junkin, Rodney Winther, and Kevin Sedatole.


3rd Place (there was a tie):
Kevin Michael Holzman  
    The Eastman Wind Ensemble & Wind Orchestra     
    Rochester NY
Kevin Michael Holzman
Kevin Michael Holzman recently completed his Doctor of Musical Arts degree coursework in conducting at the Eastman School of Music studying with Dr. Mark Scatterday, director of the Eastman Wind Ensemble. As the Frederick Fennell Conducting Fellow and 2016 recipient of the Walter Hagen Prize for Excellence in Conducting, he serves as Associate Conductor of the world-renowned Eastman Wind Ensemble and Eastman Wind Orchestra. Kevin is the first wind conducting student at Eastman to be invited to conduct rehearsals for the Eastman Philharmonia, as well as the first to serve as cover conductor for the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra. In addition, he has on multiple occasions conducted OSSIA New Music, the Graduate Chamber Orchestra, and the Graduate Composer’s Sinfonietta, including multiple world premieres. Kevin was recently invited to serve as the associate conductor of an upcoming tour to Europe with the Eastman Harmonie. He recently collaborated with prominent composers David Maslanka and Bert Appermont for the “Celebration of the Symphony” concert with the Eastman Wind Ensemble, which included the North American premiere of Appermont’s Symphony No. 2.


FINALIST / HONORABLE MENTION:
Jaclyn Hartenberger  
    Hodgson Wind Symphony  (UGA)    
    Athens GA
Jaclyn Hartenberger
Jaclyn Hartenberger serves as the Associate Director of Bands and Assistant Professor of Music at the University of Georgia. In addition to serving as the conductor for the Wind Symphony, she teaches undergraduate and graduate conducting. Dr. Hartenberger received a Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts in Conducting from The University of Texas at Austin, under the tutelage of Jerry F. Junkin. Prior to her graduate degree work she served as a middle school and high school band director in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex for distinguished music programs. Dr. Hartenberger received her Bachelor of Music Education degree from the University of North Texas, where she performed and recorded with the prestigious UNT Wind Symphony. Dr. Hartenberger has served as a visiting conductor in concert with the West Point Band in New York; the University of Missouri Wind Ensemble in St. Louis, Missouri; and most recently traveled to Brazil serving as visiting professor and wind band conductor for the Festival International de Inverno da USFM. 


FINALIST / HONORABLE MENTION:
Shawn Smith  
    UNC Charlotte Wind Ensemble           
    Charlotte NC
Shawn Smith
Dr. Shawn Smith is Director of Bands at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. In high demand as a band and orchestra conductor, Smith has been invited to conduct throughout the United States and internationally.

Smith has conducted professional ensembles including the Corpus Christi Symphony, and members of the Charlotte Symphony and conducts regularly throughout Brazil including guest conducting engagements with one of the finest professional bands in South America, the State Symphonic Band of São Paulo. Equally at home with opera and musical theater productions, Smith has conducted pit orchestras for the Marriage of Figaro and Les Misérables.  His performances have been heard numerous times on American Public Media’s "Performance Today," the most popular classical music radio program in the United States. 

Smith has presented clinics and speeches at the Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic in Chicago and at conferences in the United States, Europe and South America.


FINALIST / HONORABLE MENTION:
Mark Tse       
    U.of Washington Concert Band      
    Seattle WA
Mark Tse
Mark Tse is pursuing his doctoral studies in conducting with Timothy Salzman at the University of Washington in Seattle where he regularly conducts the UW Concert Band and is an assistant conductor to the UW Wind Ensemble. He recently won 2nd place with the American Prize competition in the area of college/university wind band with footage from his masters program.

Tse completed his masters in conducting with Charles Peltz at the New England Conservatory. While there, he has premiered new works and conducted with NEC’s Wind Ensemble and Symphonic Winds.

Tse has been invited to participate as a conducting fellow with scholarship at many symposiums including the Wintergreen Conductors' Summit, the Bard Conductors' Institute, and the Hartt Instrumental Conducting Clinic.

In addition to wind ensembles, Tse also conducts orchestras, musical pit bands and jazz ensembles.


HONORABLE MENTION:
Brett A. Richardson
    University of the Incarnate Word Wind Ensemble
     San Antonio TX
Brett A. Richardson

Dr. Brett A. Richardson serves as the Coordinator of Music Education/Director of Bands, Instrumental Area Coordinator, and an Assistant Professor of Music at the University of the Incarnate Word where he teaches courses within the music education curriculum, conducts the Wind Ensemble, directs the Marching Cardinals, and administers all facets of the UIW Band program. In the 2015-16 school year, he will begin serving as a representative in the Faculty Senate for the College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences. Richardson holds the Doctor of Music degree in Wind Conducting from the world-renowned Indiana University Jacobs School of Music where he was a student of Prof. Stephen W. Pratt. He also holds a Master of Music with emphasis in Wind Conducting from Texas A&M University-Commerce under Dr. Bradley N. Kent and a Bachelor of Music Education from Stephen F. Austin State University with Texas State Board of Education Certification in Secondary Music under Prof. Fred J. Allen. Prior to his appointment at UIW, Dr. Richardson proudly served as an Associate Instructor with the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music Department of Bands/Wind Conducting and as the Resident Conductor for the Southern Indiana Wind Ensemble, a community wind band based in Bloomington, Indiana. Previously, he served as the Assistant Director of Bands and Instructor of Music at his alma mater, Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas.




The American Prize in Conducting—band/wind ensemble, 2016-17, community/school division: 
The American Prize winner:
Brian Hughes       
    Quad City Wind Ensemble          
    Davenport IA
Brian Hughes
The winner of the 2015 American Prize in Band Conducting and lauded by Iowa Public Radio as a “major figure in Iowa arts,” Brian Hughes is an active conductor at home and abroad.  Since his 1993 European debut with the Northern Iowa Chamber Winds in Eger, Hungary, he has conducted concerts in the Czech Republic, Poland, Romania, and Russia.  In 1995, he founded the Tri-State Wind Symphony (Dubuque) and has led it through twenty-one seasons of substantive growth. Brian is also the Music Director of the Quad City Wind Ensemble (Davenport).

He holds degrees in music education and conducting from Olivet College (MI), the University of Northern Iowa, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Brian lives in Dubuque with his precocious teenage daughter, Caitlyn. When not on the podium, Hughes can be found in various coffee shops or in his own kitchen—glass in hand--with his favorite utensil: his wok.


2nd Place:
Michael Knight   
    St. Norbert Community Band          
    De Pere WI
Michael Knight
Michael Knight joined the St. Norbert College music faculty during the fall of 2010.  In addition to serving as conductor of the St. Norbert Community Band, his duties include conducting the Wind Ensemble, Concert Band and teaching courses in conducting and instrumental music education.  Dr. Knight previously held the position of Associate Director of Bands at the University of Missouri, where his responsibilities included directing the 290-member Marching Mizzou, conducting the Symphonic Band, and teaching courses in conducting and marching band techniques. He also served as conductor of the Southeast Iowa Concert Band based at Iowa Wesleyan College in Mt. Pleasant, IA. Prior to his collegiate teaching career, Dr. Knight taught public school music in Missouri.


3rd Place:
Mark Tse       U. of Washington Wind Ensemble           
    Seattle WA
Mark Tse
Mark Tse is pursuing his doctoral studies in conducting with Timothy Salzman at the University of Washington in Seattle where he regularly conducts the UW Concert Band and is an assistant conductor to the UW Wind Ensemble. He recently won 2nd place with the American Prize competition in the area of college/university wind band with footage from his masters program.

Tse completed his masters in conducting with Charles Peltz at the New England Conservatory. While there, he has premiered new works and conducted with NEC’s Wind Ensemble and Symphonic Winds.

Tse has been invited to participate as a conducting fellow with scholarship at many symposiums including the Wintergreen Conductors' Summit, the Bard Conductors' Institute, and the Hartt Instrumental Conducting Clinic.

In addition to wind ensembles, Tse also conducts orchestras, musical pit bands and jazz ensembles.

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The American Prize is honored to announce the winners, runners-up and honorable mentions of The American Prize in Band/Wind Ensemble 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 Band/Wind Ensemble Performance, 2016, college/university division:

The American Prize winner:
Illinois Wesleyan University Wind Ensemble
    Lev Ivanov    Bloomington IL
Illinois Wesleyan University Wind Ensemble
Founded in 1979, the Wind Ensemble is comprised of the top wind and percussion students at the university and performs the finest wind band literature. The ensemble has worked with and sponsored commissions from Pulitzer Prize winning composers such as William Bolcom, John Corigliano, Karel Husa, Jennifer Higdon, Michael Schelle, and Joseph Schwantner. In addition, the Ensemble has also had the opportunity to work with the renowned Dutch composer Louis Andreissen. The IWU Wind Ensemble annual Solo Competition allows student winners to perform as a soloist with the Ensemble. The Ensemble performs several concerts throughout the year and tours regularly. The group has appeared at the College Band Directors National Association Conference, and the Illinois Music Educators Association Conference.


2nd Place:
Hodgson Wind Symphony—UGA
    Jaclyn Hartenberger    Athens GA
Hodgson Wind Symphony—UGA
As one of the University of Georgia's large wind bands, the Wind Symphony has performed extensively throughout the Southeast, including concerts at regional conferences of the College Band Directors National Association and the annual Georgia Music Educators Association In-Service Conferences. The Wind Symphony meets year-round, performing the finest standard and new repertoire for wind band at several concerts each season in the UGA Performing Arts Center. The Wind Symphony regularly features outstanding guest artists and performs collaborative concerts with Georgia High School Bands. Membership is determined by blind audition and includes undergraduate music majors, music minors, and gifted non-majors who are preparing for careers in performance, music education, or a life-long involvement with music.


3rd Place:
Capital University Symphonic Winds
    Jeffrey D. Gershman    Columbus OH
Capital University Symphonic Winds
The Capital University Symphonic Winds, under the direction of Jeffrey D. Gershman, is the premier wind band in the Conservatory of Music. The Symphonic Winds perform programs that draw from the cornerstones of the wind literature, the finest contemporary works, and the rich and varied repertoire composed for chamber winds.  The ensemble frequently hosts nationally recognized guest soloists, guest composers, and guest conductors and its recording with the Boston Brass, “Heroes and Legends,” is available nationally through Summit Records.

Outside of their campus concerts, the ensemble has toured throughout the United States and abroad and has earned frequent invitations to perform at professional conferences. Recent appearances have included the College Band Directors National Association Regional Conference, the Ohio Music Education Association Professional Development Conference, and a week-long tour of Taiwan.



The American Prize in Band/Wind Ensemble Performance, 2016-17, community division: 
The American Prize winner:
The Valley Winds
    Brian Messier    Amherst MA
The Valley Winds
The Valley Winds is an artistically driven ensemble with an emphasis on being relevant to the people of Western Massachusetts: concerts designed to be accessible and enjoyable by all potential audience members; pay as you can admission; and the use of multiple performance venues in order to share our music with various populations throughout the Pioneer Valley. The Valley Winds is comprised of brass, woodwind, and percussion players from the Pioneer Valley and beyond. The majority of the players are public school music teachers and/or private studio teachers, working hard to educate the next generation of musicians and music lovers in the Pioneer Valley. Not a single member of The Valley Winds receives payment, including the director or guest performers. The Valley Winds has just completed their second season. For information about upcoming events please visit our website at www.thevalleywinds.org, and like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/pioneervalleywinds.


2nd Place:
Eastern Wind Symphony
    Todd Nichols    Princeton NJ
Eastern Wind Symphony
The Eastern Wind Symphony membership consists of musicians from the New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania area.  More than half of the members are music educators who teach in the public school system. In addition, numerous members are freelance musicians, manage businesses, work in the sciences, or raise families.  Whatever their vocation, all members of The Eastern Wind Symphony are accomplished and talented musicians who volunteer their time and enjoy performing the most highly regarded wind symphony repertoire in a high-caliber ensemble.  Their reward is musical enjoyment at its highest level: music for music’s sake! The Eastern Wind Symphony is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization.  All members perform for the love of music, and no member is compensated for their participation. For more information about the symphony please visit www.easternwindsymphony.org.


3rd Place (there was a tie):
Quad City Wind Ensemble
    Brian Hughes Davenport IA
Quad City Wind Ensemble
In February 1987, Dr. Charles B. DCamp, then Director of Bands at St. Ambrose University, inaugurated the QCWE. Today it is one of the premier ensembles of its kind in the country, winning the 2012 Community Division of The American Prize in Band/Wind Ensemble Performance.  In May 2014, the ensemble made its sixth appearance at the prestigious Iowa Bandmasters Association Conference.

Current Music Director Brian Hughes assumed leadership of the ensemble in Fall 2007 and is the ensemble’s first non-resident conductor. Repertoire presented by the ensemble runs the gamut of the wind medium, from historical to contemporary.  To celebrate its 25th Anniversary season, the QCWE commissioned Roy Magnuson’s To have seen the worst…but expect the best…  In this, our thirtieth season, the QCWE has offered an exciting mix of compositions.  Our Winter Concert – “Ars Nova” – included all music of the new millennium and a premiere performance of Kenyon Wilson’s Five.


3rd Place (there was a tie):
St. Norbert Community Band
    Michael Knight    De Pere WI
St. Norbert Community Band
Founded in 1991 by Fred Schmidt, the St. Norbert Community Band was formed in order to provide an opportunity for outstanding musicians from Northeastern Wisconsin to experience the finest available band literature.  Membership in the band is comprised of friends, alumni, and faculty of St. Norbert College in De Pere, WI.   Michael Knight was appointed conductor of the band in 2010.  The ensemble presents two concerts per year and performs a wide variety of literature including marches, orchestral transcriptions, and contemporary works for wind band.  The band has been selected to perform at the Wisconsin State Music Conference on three occasions and has been featured at the National Convention of the Association of Concert Bands twice.
The American Prize in Band/Wind Ensemble Performance, 2016-17, high school division: 
The American Prize winner:
Belchertown HS Wind Ensemble
    Brian Messier    Belchertown MA
Belchertown HS Wind Ensemble
The Belchertown High School Wind Ensemble is comprised of 9th - 12th grade students, admitted by audition. The ensemble meets after school on Monday and Wednesday afternoons from 2:15 – 3:00. The Belchertown High School Wind Ensemble has been a Gold Medal recipient at the Massachusetts Instrumental and Choral Conductor Association's festival each of the past several years. In 2016 all three Belchertown High School Bands were awarded a superior rating against a national standard at the Dixie Classic Festival at the University of Buffalo, and in 2014, the Belchertown Band program received two adjudicator's awards, the best band group award, and the overall program award at the Heritage Festival in Chicago.


2nd Place:
North Hills HS Wind Ensemble
    Leonard Lavelle   Pittsburgh PA
North Hills HS 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 (twelve times). The bands were awarded the Sudler Flag of Honor from the John Philip Sousa Foundation as part of the inaugural group in 1983. 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”.


The ensemble has maintained a commission series since 1965, making it the longest-running series of its kind in the country. Works from the series have been recorded by the Tokyo Kosei Wind Orchestra, D.C. service bands, University of North Texas Wind Symphony, and college ensembles throughout the country. They have also been featured in the educational series, "Teaching Music Through Performance in Band".

Thank you to our previous directors, Mr. James Caruso (1946-1960), Mr. Warren Mercer (1961-1992), Ms. Areta Kalogeras (marching band, 1989-2008) and Mr. David Matthews (1992-2011). More about the band program at North Hills is available at www.nhipa.org.


3rd Place:
Peabody Preparatory Wind Orchestra
    Elijah Wirth    Baltimore MD
Peabody Preparatory Wind Orchestra
Open to advanced wind, brass and percussion players, the Peabody Preparatory Wind Orchestra is the elite wind ensemble in Peabody’s Preparatory division.  This ensemble performs collegiate and professional repertoire in a challenging, nurturing and educational environment.  Wind Orchestra students frequently collaborate with Peabody Conservatory students and receive coachings from Preparatory and Conservatory faculty.  Enrollment is limited to one or two players on a part, which insures personal attention from the conductor and other faculty members.  Membership is drawn from the Baltimore Metro Area, Washington D.C. Metro Area, Southern Pennsylvania and Delaware.  This ensemble is meant to be a supplement to the student’s school band program and requires that the student be a member of their school music program if one exists.  The group performs a large array of music, from well known classical and contemporary band works to jazz and modern styles as well.


4th Place—HONORABLE MENTION:
Youth Wind Ensemble of Westchester
    Bradley Morrison    Ossining NY

Youth Wind Ensemble of Westchester
Youth Wind Ensemble of Westchester, founded in 2010 and based in Ossining, New York, is an ensemble for highly motivated high school students interested in playing music from the Wind Ensemble/Concert Band literature. The ensemble is comprised of Woodwind, Brass, and Percussion students from throughout Westchester County. Our students come from over a dozen different public and private high schools throughout the region. We have performed at various festivals and received superior and 1st place ratings.


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2016 CONDUCTORS, DIRECTORS, ENSEMBLES, ARTS MARKETING:
We expect WINNERS will be announced this month in virtually all remaining contests, starting with the first announcement coming later this week.

Here is the procedure for announcing winners:

1. After judges have weighed-in with rankings in the various categories, we contact the winner(s) by email and ask them to accept their prize designation(s).

2. Once we hear back positively from a winner, we post to facebook and also tweet when we will announce the winners and runners-up in that category. The announcement will be made on our blog and will include photos and bios of the winners and runners-up, and notification of any special Citations or Honorable Mentions.

3. After all the winners have been announced in all categories, we assemble and send packets of awards, evaluations and certificates to the addresses we have on file.

4. Personalized press releases will be sent to the media contacts of all winners. A copy of the press release will be sent to those individuals.

Please be patient while we make these announcements: Sometimes we are waiting to hear from an individual on our judging panel, or for an acceptance. We will announce winners as soon as we possibly can.


2016 COMPOSERS, ERNST BACON CONTESTANTS:
Certificate and award packets are being prepared now. All will be sent by the end of the month. If your address has changed since you made your original application and you have NOT already sent your new address to the office, please do so now by email theamericanprize@gmail.com

Composers who requested the return of scores will receive them with their certificate packages.

This week, will also be posting QUICKLINKS to all 2016 winners previously announced, so results are easy for everyone to find.


2017 CONTESTANTS:
This week we will begin to confirm applications for 2017 received thus far.

2017 CONTEST DEADLINES:
All 2017 contests are now updated on the website www.theamericanprize.org.

The 2017 DEADLINE for composers, vocalists, pianists, chamber ensembles and solo instrumentalists in Tuesday, March 28, 2017. Extensions for those who need more time to complete their materials are available by request. Email us at theamericanprize@gmail.com

The preliminary 2017 DEADLINE for conductors, ensembles, stage directors and arts marketers, and for the ERNST BACON MEMORIAL AWARD for the PERFORMANCE of AMERICAN MUSIC is Tuesday, April 18, 2017, with final deadlines in May.

Please email with questions: theamericanprize@gmail.com
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The American Prize is pleased to announce FINALIST orchestras for 2016 in all divisions. Congratulations!

To know the exact date when winners will be announced, please like our Facebook page or follow us on Twitter #AmericanPrize, where that information will be published first.

If you are not a finalist this year, please remember that the contests are not yet over. The American Prize reserves the right to award Honorable Mentions and Citations for Special Achievement to any contestant, regardless of final placement.

Citations and Honorable Mentions are usually awarded at the same time as winners and runners-up, but can be presented at any time up to the last winners' announcement.

Please make us aware of any misprints in the listings below by emailing: theamericanprize@gmail.com

We encourage finalists to make the most of their selection by announcing it on social media, and including a link to this announcement on their website or blog. (See sample, below.)

FINALISTS: The American Prize in Orchestral Performance—professional division

Distinguished Concerts Orchestra
    Jonathan Griffith   New York NY

River Oaks Chamber Orchestra
    Anna Harris    Houston TX

Odysseus N. Texas Chamber Orchestra
    Jason Lim    McKinney TX

Michigan Philharmonic
    Nan Washburn    Plymouth MI

 
FINALISTS: The American Prize in Orchestral Performance—college/university division
The college-university division of The American Prize in Orchestral Performance has always been one of the most competitive, but no more so than this year, when many of these fine orchestras tackled especially difficult repertoire and performed it so very well. Regardless of the final outcome, I send every warm wish to each of these ensembles and their fine conductors for exceptional work.—DK

University of Delaware Symphony Orchestra
    James Allen Anderson    Newark DE

Miami University Symphony Orchestra
    Ricardo Averbach Oxford OH

 West Texas A&M Orchestra
    Mark Bartley    Canyon TX

College of William & Mary Symphony Orchestra
    David Grandis    Williamsburg VA

Baylor Symphony Orchestra
    Stephen Heyde    Waco TX

IL Wesleyan Symphony Orchestra
    Lev Ivanov    Bloomington IL

Cornell Chamber Orchestra
    Chris Younghoon Kim   Ithaca NY

Peabody Symphony Orchestra
    Hajime Teri Murai    Baltimore MD


FINALISTS: The American Prize in Orchestral Performance—community orchestra division

Clark College Orchestra
    Donald L. Appert    Vancouver WA

Texas Medical Center Orchestra
    Patricia Brown    Houston TX

Austin Civic Orchestra
    Lois Ferrari    Austin TX

Williamson County Symphony Orchestra
    Thomas Rainey    Round Rock TX

Dudley House Orchestra
    Aaron Kuan    Cambridge MA

Midwest Chamber Ensemble
    Steve Nelson Lewis Jr.    Prairie Village KS

Waynesboro Symphony Orchestra
    Charles Salembier    Waynesboro VA

The Parthenon Chamber Orchestra
    David P. Sartor    Nashville TN

Tucson Repertory Orchestra
    Toru Tagawa    Tucson AZ


FINALISTS: The American Prize in Orchestral Performance—youth orchestra division 

Houston Youth Symphony
    Michael Webster   Houston TX

Interlochen Arts Academy Orchestra
    Carolyn Watson  Interlochen MI


FINALISTS: The American Prize in Orchestral Performance—high school orchestra division
"Extraordinary high school orchestras, every one."—DK

Allen HS Symphony Orchestra
    David DeVoto    Allen TX

Reagan Chamber Orchestra
    Sixto Elizondo IV   San Antonio TX

Arlington HS Philharmonia
    Jon Handman    LeGrangeville NY

Interlake HS Chamber Orchestra
    Shira Katsman    Bellevue WA

Klein Oak Chamber Orchestra
    Tanner Ledford    Spring TX

Plano West Chamber Orchestra
    Ryan Ross    Plano TX

Canyon del Oro High School
    Toru Tagawa    Oro Valley AZ

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We encourage finalists to make the most of their selection by announcing it on social media, and including a link to this announcement on their website or blog.

Here is a sample announcement:

"Great News! (Ensemble) just been selected as a finalist in the (blank) division of The American Prize national non-profit competitions in the performing arts. Here's the link: (copy link here). The American Prize will be announcing winners in my division soon. You can learn more about this prestigious national competition here: www.theamericanprize.org or follow the news on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-American-Prize-celebrating-American-excellence-in-the-arts/214320622728 or Twitter: https://twitter.com/americanprize "

Please feel free to modify or expand this announcement to suit your needs.

Congratulations to all finalists.


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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 Composition, 2016, Chamber Music, in all divisions. Congratulations!

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.

QUICKNOTES: Although The American Prize does not usually provide written evaluations to semi-finalists, some semi-finalist composers will receive in their certificate packets short comments, suggestions or overall impressions made during the judging. We hope they will prove valuable. All finalists receive written evaluations from a member of The American Prize judging panel.

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

The American Prize in Composition—Chamber (professional division)

The American Prize winner:
Justin N. Dello Joio    New York NY
    Due Per Due—for violoncello and piano
    The March of Folly—music for piano trio
Justin N. Dello Joio
New York born composer, Justin Dello Joio, is the seventh generation of composer in the Dello Joio family. Currently the Faculty Composer in Residence for New York University, he has been described by distinguished composer John Corigliano  "Justin Dello Joio is a born composer. A real musician with a sparkling craft who has something urgent to say in his works, and the ability to say it. In an age when so much contemporary composition seems dictated by its technologically sophisticated means, it is wonderful to hear music that is composed completely by ear, mind and heart. His knowledge and mastery give his work a distinction that many other writers lack…he is a wonderful composer whose music has lasting power - A real creative artist!”  Composer Witold Lutoslawski described Dello Joio as“ an extremely talented and gifted composer”. Ned Rorem wore of his work, “ Of the hundreds of composers I know he is perhaps the most natural. He writes what he wants, not what the current market presumably demands… His music speaks.”

Dello Joio was honored with the American Academy of Arts and Letters highest award, The Award in Music, after previously receivingThe Lakond Award, and The Charles Ives Scholarship from the Academy. Dello Joio has received the John Guggenheim Fellowship and was honored as Composer of the Year by the Classical Recording Foundation in 2007. He has received awards and grants from The New York Foundation for the Arts, The National Endowment for the Arts, CAPS  Grant, The New York State Council on the Arts,  3 Meet the Composer Grants, The Presser Foundation, The Lado Award, The Alexander Gretchaninoff Award (String Quartet #1), The Marion Freschl Award.
JustinDelloJoio.com


2nd Place:
Andrew List    Boston MA
    String Quarter No.5 "Time Cycles"
Andrew List
Andrew List (Professor of Composition at Berklee College of Music, Boston, MA) composes music in many different genres, including orchestral works, string quartet, vocal, choral music, opera, music for children, solo works, and a variety of chamber ensembles. He is a graduate of New England Conservatory of Music, with B.A. and    M.A. degrees in music composition. He received his doctorate in music composition from Boston University, where he studied with Bernard Rands, Samuel Headrick, and Nicholas Maw. Mr. List has also studied privately with Richard Danielpour.

Recent performances include a collaboration with Mass Audubon on world premiere of “On The Wing, A Celebration of Birds in Music and Spoken Word and Journey Through the Eternal Forest for Flute, Oboe and String Orchestra commissioned by the Boston Classical Orchestra in celebration of their 35th season with BSO principals Elizabeth Rowe, flute and John Ferrillo, oboe. Other recent commissions include String Quartet No 5: "Time Cycles" a composition inspired by poet T.S. Eliot's monumental work Four Quartets was commissioned by the Arneis Quartet, and “Journey Toward the Eternal Flame” commissioned by The Boston Woodwind Society was premiered by Boston Symphony principal wind players John Ferrillo, oboe, and Richard Svoboda, bassoon with pianist Damien Francoeur-Krzyzek. www.andrewlist.com


3rd Place:
Lansing D. McLoskey    Miami FL
    Rite—for 2 pianos, 2 percussion
Lansing D. McLoskey
Lansing McLoskey has been described as "a major talent and a deep thinker with a great ear" by the American Composers Orchestra, "an engaging, gifted composer writing smart, compelling and fascinating music" by Gramophone Magazine, and "a distinctive voice in American music.” His music has been performed in sixteen countries on six continents, and has won more than two-dozen national and international awards, including two from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Among his many commissions are those from the Fromm Foundation, N.E.A., Meet The Composer, Pew Charitable Trusts, and the International Joint Wind Quintet Project. Recent commissions include a Barlow Commission for a 60-minute oratorio for The Crossing; ensemberlino vocale (Berlin); the New Spectrum Foundation for violinist Miranda Cuckson;  Ensemble Berlin PianoPercussion; TAWA Sax(Peru); Axiom Brass; the SilverDuo; and oboist ToniMarie Marchioni. McLoskey’s music is released on Albany Records, WergoSchallplatten, Capstone, Tantara, BeauportClassics,and published by Theodore Presser, ACA, Subito, Mostly Marimba,and Odhecaton-Z Music. 
www.lansingmcloskey.com


JUDGE'S CITATION: "Unique Nexus of Acoustics, Electronics and Audience Interaction"
Matthew Burtner    Charlottesville VA
The Ceiling Floats Away—for ensemble, poetry and audience interaction software
Matthew Burtner
Matthew Burtner is an Alaskan-born composer and sound artist specializing in concert music, environmental sound art and interactive media. First Prize Winner of the Musica Nova International Electroacoustic Music Competition, an NEA Art Works Grant Winner, an IDEA Award Winner, and a recipient of the Howard Brown Foundation Fellowship, Burtner has also received honors and awards from Bourges (France), Gaudeamus (Netherlands), Darmstadt (Germany) and The Russolo (Italy) international competitions. His music has been performed in major festivals and venues throughout the world, and commissioned by ensembles such as Integrales (Germany), NOISE (USA), Trio Ascolto (Germany), Peak FreQuency (USA), MiN (Norway), Musikene (Spain), Spiza (Greece), CrossSound (Alaska), and others. He is a Professor in the Department of Music at the University of Virginia and Founder of the environmental arts non-profit organization, EcoSono (http://www.ecosono.org, http://www.matthewburtner.com)

   
JUDGE'S CITATION: "Creating a Unique, Sustained Sound World"
Daniel M. Cavanagh    Arlington TX
    Waves—for trumpet ensemble and drumset

Daniel M. Cavanagh
Pianist and Composer Dan Cavanagh is an Associate Professor of Music and the Director of Music Industry Studies at the University of Texas at Arlington. As a pianist, he has performed throughout the Americas and Europe, and his compositions can be heard on a wide variety of recordings, including one by his trio, The Heart of the Geyser. He is the recipient of several composition awards in both the jazz and classical genres, and has been commissioned by a wide variety of groups throughout North America and Europe. More at www.dancavanagh.com.


JUDGE'S CITATION: "Sonata of the Year"
Kenneth Froelich    Fresno CA
    Sonata for Clarinet & Piano
Kenneth Froelich
Described as "energetic, exciting, and rhythmically dynamic," composer KENNETH D. FROELICH’s (b. 1977) music has been performed internationally in Europe, Asia, and North and South America. He has been honored with awards from ASCAP, NACUSA, Meet the Composer, the Percussive Arts Society, and the American Composers Forum, and his music has been presented by Pacific Serenades, CMASH, the American Composers Orchestra, Duo46, Earplay, the Empyrean Ensemble, the California E.A.R Unit, the Jolles Duo, and the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, among others. Kenneth received his DM and MM degrees from Indiana University, and received his BM degree summa cum laude from USC in 1999. Kenneth is currently an Associate Professor of Music Composition at California State University, Fresno.

 
JUDGE'S CITATION: "Creating a Unique, Sustained Sound World"
Kotoka Suzuki    Chicago IL
    In Praise of Shadows—Three Paper Players and Electronics


Kotoka Suzuki
Kotoka Suzuki is a composer focusing on both multimedia and instrumental practices. She has produced several large-scale multimedia, often in collaboration with artists and scholars from other disciplines. Her work conceives of sounds as physical form to be manipulated through the sculptural practice of composition.  Her work has been featured internationally by performers such as Arditti Quartet, Pacifica Quartet, Nouvel Ensemble Moderne, Continuum, and Mendelssohn Chamber Orchestra (Leipzig), at numerous venues and festivals such as Ultraschall, World Music Days, The Stone, ZKM Media Museum, and MATA.  Among the awards she has received include DAAD Artist in Resident-Berlin, Bourges Multimedia Prize, Norton Stevens and North Shore fellowship from the MacDowell Colony, Robert Fleming Prize from Canada Council for the Arts, Howard Foundation Fellowship, and Musica Nova Honor Prize.  Suzuki is an associate composer at the Canadian Music Centre since 2001 and currently an Assistant Professor of Music at Arizona State University. http://www.kotokasuzuki.com   

JUDGE'S CITATION: "Exceptional Theatrical Sense in a Unique Monodrama"
William Vollinger    Woodcliff Lake NJ
    Stalin and the Little Girl (an icon)—for unaccompanied voice

William Vollinger
William Vollinger’s music is described as “3D: different, direct and deep”, performed by the Gregg Smith Singers and NY Vocal Arts Ensemble, whose performance of “Three Songs About the Resurrection” won first prize at the Geneva International Competition. He’s published by Abingdon, API, Heritage, Kjos, Lawson-Gould, and Laurendale. Five works were editor's choices in the Pepper Catalogue. Recent premieres included Jackson State Symphony, San Francisco Choral Artists, Ridgewood Concert Band, Palisades Virtuosi, and Hamilton-Fairfield Symphony. “An Empty Swing” was nominated for the Orchestral American Prize and “Raspberry Man” for Chamber in 2015. Hartshorn Recordings is releasing an album of his works in 2016.


FINALIST—HONORABLE MENTION:
Sy Brandon    Cottonwood AZ
    Shenanigans—for SATB saxophone quartet
    Badinerie—for clarinet and piano
    Three Moods—for brass quintet

Sy Brandon
Dr. Sy Brandon holds the rank of professor emeritus of music from Millersville University, Millersville, PA. First prize awards for his compositions include WITF-FM's 25th Anniversary Composition Contest, Franklin and Marshall College’s Wind Ensemble Composition Contest, the Quadre Composition Contest, and the New England String Ensemble Composition Competition. The Czech National Symphony Orchestra, the Philharmonia Bulgarica, and the Kiev Philharmonic have recorded his music. Featured performances of his music include the United States Army, Navy, and Air Force Bands, and NPR’s Performance Today. He was commissioned by the Arizona Commission on the Arts to compose a band composition celebrating Arizona’s statehood centennial and was recently selected as the recipient of the 2018 Thor Johnson Memorial Commission sponsored by the Delta Omicron Foundation. His website is
http://cooppress.net


FINALIST—HONORABLE MENTION:
Thomas Childs    Traverse City MI
    tritonicity
    chachi ka—for four amplified voices and two percussion

Thomas Childs
Thomas Childs is a composer interested in the collision of popular and classical music. In his music, he seeks to find a balance of accessibility and complexity to interest a broad spectrum of listeners. His diverse experiences range from studio and live work to solo compositions for hardanger fiddle to chamber and orchestral works. The inflections of world music, jazz and pop in his work create music that is hopefully as fun for you to listen to as it is for him to write. Dr. Childs’ works have been performed from Pittsburgh to Paris. He has had pieces played by the Grammy-winning group eighth blackbird, Alia Musica and read by the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. Dr. Childs also enjoys multi-discipline collaboration. His works can be heard at www.juxtacomposed.com.


FINALIST—HONORABLE MENTION:
Ethan Cypress    Oneonta NY
    Toy Suite—for saxophone quartet

Ethan Cypress
Ethan Cypress grew up in Oneonta NY. He completed his undergraduate degree in Trombone Performance at the Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam in May of 2015. Now he is a freelance cruise musician. To learn more about his work, please visit www.EthanCypress.com.
 


FINALIST—HONORABLE MENTION:
Dante De Silva    Tarzana CA
    A Year of Strife—for soprano, harp and electronics

Dante De Silva
Dante De Silva (www.dantedesilva.com) is a Los Angeles-based composer and musician. His music has been described as “haunting” (Classical Sonoma) and “beautiful” (Los Angeles Times) to “sparkling” (San Francisco Classical Voice) and “fun” (Sequenza21).

He has received commissions from Grammy-winning pianist Gloria Cheng, Opera Parallele, the Verdehr Trio, the B Band, and the Humboldt State University Percussion Ensemble, among others. In addition to his commissions, performers of his work include Talea Ensemble, Pacific Serenades, pianist Ryan MacEvoy McCullough, What’s Next, and Composers Inc..

Dante holds a Ph.D. in composition from UCLA, where his primary teachers were David Lefkowitz and Paul Reale, an M.A. in composition from UC Santa Cruz with David Cope and Paul Nauert, and a B.A. in music with an emphasis in piano performance, where he studied with Brian Post (composition), Eugene Novotney (percussion, composition), and Deborah Clasquin (piano). 


FINALIST—HONORABLE MENTION:
Timothy Lee Miller    Mahwah NJ
    224 slices of pi—for flute, cello, piano & percussion

Timothy Lee Miller
Timothy Lee Miller is an American composer, arranger and publisher writing contemporary concert music for chamber ensembles, orchestra, wind ensemble, and voice, as well as jazz music. He has earned degrees from the University of Tennessee, the University of Miami and Vermont College of Fine Arts. His principle composition teachers have been John Anthony Lennon, James Progris, Tamar Diesendruck, Jonathan Bailey Holland, Andy Jaffe, John Fitz Rogers and Roger Zahab. He has received numerous commissions and awards, including several ASCAP awards. His works have been performed throughout the US and in Europe. His music is recorded on ERMMedia, PARMA Records Navona and Ansonica labels, and Phoenix Classics. He lives in Mahwah, New Jersey with his wife and son, and his music is available through his website at www.timothymillermusic.com.


FINALIST—HONORABLE MENTION:
Ian Ng    New York NY
    Think Twice—Three Little Musical Games—for violin and viola

Ian Ng
Ian Ng is a New York City - based composer.  He graduated from New York University with a Master Degree in Music Composition.  His music has been described by The New York Times as "invigorating" with "intricate rhythms".

He won the American Prize, ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Award, and Robert Avalon International Music Composition Competition for his Grand Jeté on a Violin, which had its premiere as a ballet choreographed by Marcelo Gomes, principal dancer of the American Ballet Theatre, in 2012 at Lincoln Center.  Sponsored by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, his ballet Igual debuted at the Fire Island Dance Festival in 2014, featuring dancers from Complexions Contemporary Ballet.  As a NYU resident composer, his orchestral composition, Cité en l’air, premiered in 2012 at Symphony Space. With the support of NYC Department of Cultural Affairs and New York State Council on the Arts, he will be presenting his first chamber opera in the Spring of 2017. website: ianthecomposer.com

FINALIST—HONORABLE MENTION:
Mark Petering    Kenosha WI
    Concerto for Clarinet and String Orchestra (string quartet)

Mark Petering
Mark Petering has received numerous awards from organizations such as ASCAP, SCI, and the National Guild of Community Schools of the Arts.  He is the winner of the Swan Composer Prize for wind ensemble and winner of the Music Festival of the Hamptons Composition Competition for orchestra.   The premiere of his Hamptons’ work Train & Tower after Sibelius made music history as Lukas Foss, the composer, and the Atlantic Chamber Orchestra coordinated the performance with a moving Long Island Rail Road locomotive controlled by the composer.  The event was covered by the BBC, NPR, and The New York Times. He is also the recipient of numerous commissions as well as being honored as a participant in the 2005 Aspen Music Festival, studying with George Tsontakis.

Currently, Petering is Associate Professor of Music at Carthage College, one hour north of Chicago.  He received his Ph.D. in composition at the University of Minnesota where he studied with Judith Lang Zaimont. Please visit
markpetering.com for scores and audio - also available at imslp.org.


FINALIST—HONORABLE MENTION:
Greg A. Steinke    Depoe Bay OR
    Expressions—on the paintings of Edvard Munch—for string quartet

Greg A. Steinke
Dr. Greg A Steinke, former Joseph Naumes Endowed Chair of Music/Art and Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies, Marylhurst University; Associate Director, Ernest Bloch Music Festival (‘93–97) and Director, Composers Symposium (‘90–97) (Newport, OR); National Chairman of the Society of Composers, Inc. (1988–97); President of NACUSA (2012–). Composer of chamber and symphonic music and author with published/recorded works and performances across the U. S. and internationally and oboist specializing in contemporary music. Recent honors: 2009 Oregon Individual Artist Fellowship. Co-winner – ’10 of 5th NACUSA Texas Composition Competition for From ARMGART for Soprano and Piano. Finalist – RAM 2010 call for scores (saxophone quartet) IN MEMORIAM: SACAGAWEA. Winner of Delta Omicron International Music Fraternity Composition Competition, ‘12. Second Place winner of Robert Avalon International Competition for Composers – ’12. Finalist (Orchestra - Professional Division) in the America Prize in Composition Competition for 2012 for All in a Moment's Time for Viola and Orchestra, a 27' work. OMTA Composer of the year 2012–13. A winner 2012 Bassoon Chamber Music Composition Competition winner (SUSPENDED for Bassoon & Strings); Winner of Con Vivo’s Composers Competition ( NATIVE AMERICAN NOTES (Image Music VI) for String Quartet) Finalist (Chamber Music - Professional Division) in the America Prize in Composition Competition for 2013 for Expressions II for 2 Saxophones, 2 Percussion and Piano, a 25' work. Was a finalist (Chamber Music - Professional Division) in the America Prize in Composition  Competition for 2014 for Suspended for Bassoon and String Quartet,  a 19’ work. Was finalist (Chamber Music - Professional Division) in the America Prize in Composition  Competition for 2015 for Random Blackouts I for Baritone and Piano 4 Hands,  a 15’ work. Was a semi-finalist (Orchestra Music - Professional Division) in the America Prize in Composition  Competition for 2015 for All in a Moment’s Time for Viola and Orchestra, a 28’ work. Web site:  http://www.gregasteinke.com


FINALIST—HONORABLE MENTION:
Judith Lang Zaimont    Maricopa AZ
    ZONES—Trio for Violin, 'Cello and Piano


Judith Lang Zaimont
Judith Lang Zaimont’s music: performed world-wide and acclaimed for immediacy, dynamism and emotion. Her style features the spirit of rhapsody, sudden shifts in texture, high emotion and nuanced coloring. 100+ works include many prize-winners including: 4 symphonies, chamber opera, music for wind ensemble, chorus and solo voice, works for individual instruments plus a wide variety of chamber music. / Performed by: Philadelphia Orchestra, Baltimore and Mississippi Symphonies, Camerata Bern, Berlin and Czech Radio Symphonies, Kremlin Chamber Orchestra, etc). 24 current CDs (Naxos, MSR, Harmonia Mundi, Navona, Albany) - includes 2010 Orchestra music (Kirk Trevor: Slovak Philharmonic), 2011 Chamber music (Eternal Evolution: Fanfare 2011 Want List, Navona); 2; 2012  Piano solo(Naxos, MSR: Fanfare 2012 Want List). / Recent works include CONCERTO for Piano and Wind Orchestra (awarded  a 2012 American 3rd Prize in Orchestral Composition), JoyDance in Spring 2012 commission by Camerata Bern, and PURE, COOL (Water) - Symphony no. 4 (2014 Sorel Commissioned Composer - Niels Muus, Janacek Philharmonic).  / Works on repertoire lists for major international performance contests in voice, conducting, piano (Cliburn ’01, San Antonio, ’03,  Kapell ’12, APA, 2017);  two of her pieces are on Century Lists./ Guggenheim Fellowship, awards from both National Endowments (NEA: composition /NEH: scholarship),  / 2015 First Prize for chamber music (The American Prize), 2014 Sorel Commissioned Composer (PURE, COOL (Water) - Symphony no. 4 ),  2012The American Prize in Orchestral Composition (one of 3), two 2012 First Prizes for chamber music, 2005 Bush Foundation Fellowship, and  2003 Aaron Copland Award. / Significant orch. prizes: First Prize- Gold Medal Gottschalk Centenary International; First Prize Statue of Liberty Centennial; and First Prize- International McCollin Competition (Symphony No. 1)./Also Co-Director of Maricopa ARTS Council, and Co-Founder, Maricopa Music Circle chamber orchestra, a distinguished educator - professor appointments for 3 decades at US universities, and a skilled writer. www.jzaimont.com 

HONORABLE MENTION:
Aaron Alter    Carlsbad CA
    Homage to Josquin

Aaron Alter
A native of Chicago, Aaron Alter received his Bachelor of Music degree from Northwestern University. He received his Master of Fine Arts Degree from Princeton University, where he studied with Milton Babbitt and James K. Randall. He has written works for solo instruments, chamber ensembles, orchestra as well as electronic works. Aaron’s recent works display influences that span the range of Medieval European music all the way to Jazz and Rock.  Aaron refers to these recent works as his “New Beginning”, as it is an exploration of a new style and energy that defies categorization. Aaron resides in Carlsbad, California and also serves the City of Carlsbad as the Chair of the Carlsbad Arts Commission. Website:
www.aaronalter.com
 

HONORABLE MENTION:
Samuel Beebe    Philadelphia PA
    Rocking Chair Child

Samuel Beebe
The dramatic possibilities of music and a desire to collaborate have led Samuel Beebe (b. 1986) to pursue opportunities in film, theatre, and opera. Rocking Chair Child, a song cycle for soprano, tenor, string quartet, and piano on poetry of Sonia Sanchez, was commissioned and premiered by Castle of our Skins. Riding on a Train at Rush Hour, his choral opera commissioned by Boston Choral Ensemble, was a semi-finalist for a 2015 American Prize. Bully Dance, for soprano and electric chamber ensemble, won a 2015 ArtsImpluse award. He holds a MM in Composition from Boston University and a BS in Music Technology from Northeastern University. Notable instructors include Ketty Nez, Dennis H. Miller, Rodney Lister, Ronald Bruce Smith, Howard Frazin, Joshua Fineberg, and Peggy Seeger.


HONORABLE MENTION:
William P. Gorton    Decatur IL
    Epiphany, Light My Light

William P. Gorton
William Gorton is Assistant Professor of Voice and Opera at Millikin University in Decatur, IL, where he teaches studio voice, and serves as coach and conductor for the opera program. Dr. Gorton has had a diverse career as singer, voice teacher, composer, and conductor. The Founding Artistic Director of the Central Virginia Masterworks Chorale, he has also served as Assistant Chorus Master for the Phoenix Symphony Chorus. Dr. Gorton acquired his DMA in Choral Conducting at Arizona State University, where he directed the Early Music Chamber Choir, Women’s Chorus, and served as Assistant Conductor of the Symphonic Chorale, Choral Union, and Concert Choir. His hymn, “O God in Whom We Live,” can be found in Worship and Song, a United Methodist hymnal, and his anthem, “The Lord is My Shepherd,” can be found at World Library Publications. William also serves as Director of Music Ministries at FCC in Bloomington, IL. 


The American Prize in Composition—Chamber (student division)

"Taken as a whole, these are hardly 'students'—except in the sense that we all always are—these are exceptional composers, regardless of their age or degree status, deserving of praise for the variety and excellence of their achievements."—DK

The American Prize winner:
Lara Poe    Chestnut Hill MA
    Divergence—for string quartet

Lara Poe
Finnish-American composer Lara Poe, currently based in London, has had performances in the US and Europe, with performers such as the JACK quartet, Aija Reke, the Liminka Music Weeks string orchestra, the Tampere Filharmonia and the New England Conservatory Preparatory School Piano Seminar students. She is currently studying with Kenneth Hesketh at the Royal College of Music, London, as an RCM Award Holder supported by the Doctor Knobel Fund in the MMus degree program.

Poe received a Bachelor of Music degree from Boston University in 2016 where she studied composition with Alex Mincek, Joshua Fineberg, Martin Amlin, Ketty Nez, Richard Cornell, and with Kenneth Hesketh, while studying abroad at the Royal College of Music. Before Boston University, she studied at New England Conservatory Preparatory School with Rodney Lister as well. While pursuing composition, Lara has also studied piano, with Nigel Clayton (RCM), Linda Jiorle-Nagy, Edna Stern, Sergey Schepkin, Bertica Shulman-Cramer, Melanie Almiron and Vanessa Morris.

At Boston University, Poe received the Wainwright and Department of Theory and Composition awards, and was also nominated for Pi Kappa Lambda. She has been a finalist for the BMI student composition competition, and has been a finalist for the Morton Gould Young Composer Awards twice. She was also a co-winner of the UMass Lowell Chapter, National Music Conference, and has received an Honorable Mention in the Ithaca Women’s Works composition competition as well.  Poe’s current projects include a violin concerto for Aija Reke and the Hancock Cantata orchestra, which will be premiered in Lexington, near Boston, MA. She is also working on a variety of smaller chamber music projects and a couple of solo pieces for colleagues at the RCM.

2nd Place (there was a tie):
Yihan Chen    Planifield IN
    spirits-river: a piano sonata

Yihan Chen
Chen Yihan was born in Changzhou, China. He is a recipient of the ASCAP Foundation Morton Gould Young Composer Award as well as the IU Jacobs School of Music Dean’s Prize. His “Solemn Rites - Daqu for Orchestra No. 1” was performed by the Symphony Orchestra of the National Opera House in Beijing, China in October, 2015. His work for SATB choir “Shui Guang Lian Yan” (Ripples Glisten Away...) was included in “Half Moon Rising”, an anthology of Chinese choral music published by Edition Peters, and was premiered by Cantoría Hong Kong in the Hong Kong City Hall in 2015.

Chen Yihan is currently pursuing bachelor’s degrees in music composition and piano performance at Jacobs School of Music, studying composition with Claude Baker and piano with Arnaldo Cohen. His principle composition teachers also include Sven-David Sandström, Don Freund, P.Q. Phan, and Aaron Travers.

2nd Place (there was a tie):
Ian Evans Guthrie    Fort Worth TX
    Journey Through Cascadia—for mezzo-soprano and piano

Ian Evans Guthrie
Ian Guthrie blends Western concert music with various world musics. He recently received 3rd prize in the National MTNA Composers Competition and has received other prizes and recognition from the Society of Composers, ASCAP, the Webster Young Composers Competition, and the WSMTA Young Composers competition. In addition, many of his works have been performed publicly around the nation from groups such as fEARnoMUSIC, Portland’s Metropolitan Youth Symphony, the Northwest Symphony Orchestra, the Moore Philharmonic Orchestra, March Music Moderne, the Atlantic Music Festival, the Charlotte New Music Festival, the Clear Creek Music Festival, the Oregon Bach Festival, and the 2014 Pierrot Lunaire Project. His latest commissioned works include Farallonier for alto saxophone and The Conqueror Worm for mixed chorus. He has served on various committees, including the Society of Composers, Inc., where he is the 2015-16 Region VI Student Representative.

3rd Place:
Daniel Despins    Wilmington DE
    Medusa—for wind quintet

Daniel Despins
Daniel Despins (b. 1994) is a composer of contemporary classical music flavored with many different styles, including jazz, rock, folk, and traditional music, with strong influences from neo-Romantic music of the 20th and 21st centuries. He has written for choral, instrumental, and chamber ensembles, as well as duets and smaller works for solo voices and instruments. He currently resides in Newark, Delaware, where he studies music composition at the University of Delaware under the guidance of Dr. Jennifer Barker. His works have been performed both throughout the university’s campus and in communities throughout New Castle County. His music can be found online at http://soundcloud.com/daniel-despins.

JUDGE'S CITATION: "Creating a Unique, Sustained Sound World"
Joshua Hey    Philadelphia PA
    fissu/|rupT/t|eaR—for electric guitar

Joshua Hey
Joshua Hey is a Philadelphia-based composer pursuing a Ph.D. as an Andrew W. Mellon fellow at the University of Pennsylvania. He has worked with the PRISM Quartet, Omaha Symphony, Daedalus Quartet, Uusinta Ensemble (FIN), Eastman Sinfonietta, LAPS (BEL), Icon Arts ensemble (ROU), University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) Orchestra, UMKC Chorale and Nicholas Isherwood, among others. Additional studies include workshops and festivals such as June in Buffalo (USA), Etchings (FRA), Ars Musica (BEL), American Conservatory in Fontainebleau (FRA), Composit (ITA) and the “New Music New Media” Britten-Pears Young Artist Programme (GBR). For the 2014-15 academic year, he was a visiting scholar at the Sibelius Academy and University of Helsinki with a Jane and Aatos Erkko fellowship from the the American-Scandinavian Foundation.


FINALIST—HONORABLE MENTION:
Dana Kaufman   Miami FL  
    Halcyon Disquiet—for flute, bass clarinet, alto saxophone, electric guitar and violin
Dana Kaufman
The works of Dana Kaufman (b. 1989) have been heard throughout North America, and in Estonia, the Czech Republic and Italy. The recipient of numerous awards, Ms. Kaufman’s music has been featured at Estonian Music Days, Centro Musica Contemporanea di Milano, Charlotte New Music Festival, Ravinia Festival, Music Institute of Chicago, Peoria Civic Center, Jordan Hall, North American Jewish Choral Festival and 2015 Women Composers Festival of Hartford; it has been performed/recorded by groups including Great Noise Ensemble, Atlantic Music Festival Contemporary Ensemble, a very small consortium, Firebird Ensemble, Wet Ink Ensemble and So Percussion. After returning from Estonia as an ethnomusicology/composition Fulbright Fellow, Ms. Kaufman completed her MM in Composition at New England Conservatory (Academic Honors; Pi Kappa Lambda nominee). She is currently pursuing her DMA at University of Miami Frost School of Music, where she is the first Frost School of Music student to be a Dean’s Fellow. 
danakaufmanmusic.com


FINALIST—HONORABLE MENTION:
Joungmin Lee    Columbus OH
    Vexatious—for string quartet

Joungmin Lee
Joungmin Lee’s music has been performed in the US, Europe, Canada, and Asia. He is a Gold & Silver Medal Winner of Global Music Awards for his string quartet ‘Vexatious’ and electro-acoustic piece ‘Heterogeneous’. They have been published by ABLAZE Records on Hong Kong New Music Ensemble Live from Prague Vol. 1 and Electronic Masters Vol. 5 disc which includes his award-winning work. Moreover, the ‘Vexatious’ will be also published by Editro Sconfinarte and 31st volume of the SCI CD Series as a winner. Also, he is a special invited guest to present a lecture presentation at the 2017 SCI Region IV Student Conference at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro School of Music. Lee's work has been recognized by numerous competitions and “Call for Scores”, including Salvatore Martirano Memorial Composition Award in US, Florence String Quartet Competition in Italy, Valencia International Performance Academy & Festival in Spain, IV Rieti Elettroacustica Festival in France, the Soundstreams Emerging Composer Workshop in Canada, Hong Kong New Music Ensemble in Prague & Macau, Chang-Ak Contemporary Music Society Composition Competition in Korea, SIME International Electroacoustic Music Competition in France, SEAMUS in US, Musinfo Opus-centrum in France, Bozzini_Lab Montreal Workshop in Canada, Cicada Consort in US, National Student Electronic Music Event('16, '17) in US, Radio Transmission Art Pieces (New York 90.7-FM) in US, Busan International Modern Dance Festival in Korea, and SCI Region Conferences, among many others. Additionally, Joungmin's music has been featured by the JACK Quartet, PARMA Recordings LLC, Ascanio Quartet, Transient Canvas, the Midwest Composers Symposium, UI Dance and International Writing Program Collaboration, University of Iowa Center for New Music, Louisiana State University SoM Recital Hall, St. Cloud State University Listening Room - PAC 158, University of Kansas Murphy Hall, The University of Oklahoma Catlett Music Center, University of Alabama Moody Concert Hall and Recital Hall, Otterbein University Snapshot Conference, University of Texas at Arlington Irons Recital Hall, and Seoul Arts Center. Currently he is pursuing the DMA composition at The Ohio State University with Dr. Thomas Wells. He holds degrees from New York University (M.Mus in music technology). Joungmin has studied with David Gompper, Josh Levine, Bryan Haaheim, Hyunsook Choi, and Dafna Naphtali, in addition to private studies Elainie Lillios.


FINALIST—HONORABLE MENTION:
Sangwon Lee    Champaign IL
    String Quartet No. 1
Sangwon Lee
Sangwon Lee, born in Korea, holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Keimyung University in Korea and received his Master of Music degree from New England Conservatory in Boston. Sangwon is currently pursuing his Doctorate Music Arts at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign where he took classes in advanced studio techniques with Professor Scott A. Wyatt. Lee has won numerous international awards and honors for his compositions including EACA International Composition Competition (Japan), JURGENSON International Composition Competition (Russia), Frederic Mompou International Award (Spain), “2 Agosto” International Composition Competition (Italy), Destellos International Electroacoustic Music Composition Competition 2016 (Argentina), etc. His works have been performed and broadcasted in Canada, France, Italy, Spain, Japan, Belgium, Brazil, U.S. and South Korea. He has been invited as one of the presenting composers from 2016 Contemporanea Nuova Musica in Udine (Italy), the Matera Intermedia Festival 2016 – digital art festival (Italy), MUSLAB 2016 International Festival of Electroacoustic Music (Brazil), NSEME 2017 (the National Student Electronic Music Event), and the SEAMUS (the Society of Electro-Acoustic Music in the United States) 2017 National Conference.


FINALIST—HONORABLE MENTION:
Christopher Lowry    Antioch TN    
    Romanza—for four violas
    Livewire!—for flute, clarinet, and horn
Christopher Lowry
Nashville native Christopher Lowry is emerging as one of the leading violists and most performed composers of his generation. His music has been performed by the Nashville Symphony, Nashville Philharmonic, Imperial Symphony, Austin Peay State University Symphony, Middle TN State University Symphony, Vanderbilt Wind Symphony, Blair Chamber Choir, “The President’s Own” US Marine Band, members of the Taipei Symphony and Seoul Philharmonic, New York All-State String Orchestra, Plainview Old-Bethpage JFK High School String Orchestra, and many youth orchestras from around the country. Lowry has won awards in the Alabama Symphony Call for Scores, BandWidth Music Festival Call for Scores, Missouri Composers Orchestra Project Competition, World Projects Composition Competition, NAfME Composition Competition, Frank Van Der Stucken Award, Nashville Philharmonic Composition Competition, Anton Stadler International Basset Clarinet Composition Competition, among others. Lowry holds a BM degree from Vanderbilt University’s Blair School of Music and a MM degree from LSU, where he is currently working towards his DMA.


FINALIST—HONORABLE MENTION:
Aaron Mencher    Johns Creek GA
    Fast-Forward—for the Deviant Septet

Aaron Mencher
Aaron Mencher is a composer that has done a variety of work ranging from contemporary classical music to film scores to incidental music. In February, the Deviant Septet recorded his piece Fast-Forward. Also, he recently finished scoring the film Maggephah directed by Brad McGaughey.

Aaron’s New for Wind Ensemble won the 2015 NAfME Student Composers Competition. This piece was premiered by the All-National Concert Band. It is now distributed through Murphy Music Press. In The Forest won the 2014 Third Millennium Ensemble Prize Pre-College Division. Until 2015, he was the composer for The Dancing Goat Theater for many shows including A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Twelfth Night. He is currently attending University of Missouri on a full tuition music composition scholarship where he is studying under Stephen Freund and William Lackey. More information about Aaron and his music can be found at
menchermusic.com


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