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The American Prize is pleased to announce SEMI-FINALIST pianists for 2015 in the CONCERTO division. Congratulations! To know the exact date when finalists will be announced, please like our Facebook page or follow us on Twitter #AmericanPrize, where that information will be published first.

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

The American Prize in Piano Performance, 2015
—concerto division


Aleksandra Kasman    Vestavia Hills AL
   Prokofiev—Piano Concerto No. 1
  
Susan Merdinger    Highland Park IL
   Gershwin—Rhapsody in Blue

Bill John Newbrough    Houghton NY
   Beethoven—Choral Fantasy

Yoon-Wha Roh    North Reading MA
   Tchaikovsky—Piano Concerto No. 1

Christopher Son Richardson    Danville CA
   Beethoven—Piano Concerto No. 1

Garnet Ungar    Boonville IN
   Brahms—Piano Concerto No. 2

***

We invite semi-finalists to make the most of their selection by announcing it on their facebook page, tweeting the news, and including a link to this announcement on their website or blog.

Here is a sample announcement:

"Great News! I've just been selected as a semi-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 finalists in my division late in July. 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 semi-finalists.





1 month ago | |
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The American Prize is pleased to announce SEMI-FINALIST chamber music ensembles for 2015. Congratulations! To know the exact date when finalists will be announced, please like our Facebook page or follow us on Twitter #AmericanPrize, where that information will be published first.

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

The American Prize in Chamber Music Performance, 2015:

Semi-finalists are listed by ensemble name, contact person, city and state.

Duo Striata 
   Timothy Archbold    Glen Ellyn, IL

Balletik Duo
   Laurel Black   Athens, GA

Mira Walker and Sebastian Black, duo-pianists
   Mindy Black    Birmingham, AL

Mortyakoya/Bogdan Piano Duo
   Valentin M. Bogdan    Columbus, MS

Volta Piano Trio
   Jennifer Caine    Seattle, WA

Roberta Carpenter/Sharon Goodrum Duo
   Roberta Carpenter    Hartland, WI

I the Siren 
   Darci Gamerl    Omaha, NE

The Prairie Song Project
   Katharine Goeldner    Richfield, MN

Kontras Quartet 
   Francois Henkins    Evanston, IL

Rosco String Quartet 
   Jakob Hofer    Salt Lake City, UT

Chapman Duo
   Nickolas Kaynor    Melrose, MA

Duo Davvero 
   Hyan Jung Kim    Boston, MA

Merdinger-Greene Piano Duo
   Susan Merdinger    Highland Park, IL

The New Consort
   Brian Mummert    Baltimore, MD

Synaesthesia Saxophone Quartet
   Todd  Oxford    Austin, TX

Ivy Street Ensemble
   Catherine Peterson    Denver, CO

***

Semi-finalists: make the most of your selection by announcing it on your facebook page, tweet the news, and include a link to this announcement on your website or blog.

Here is a sample announcement:

"Great News! I've just been selected as a SEMI-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 FINALISTS in my division late in July. 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 semi-finalists!

1 month ago | |
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Below, please find links to all 2014 CONDUCTOR and ENSEMBLE winners and runners-up. Each link accesses an earlier blog post which includes an individual or ensemble bio, photo, and short evaluation comment. We congratulate all our 2014 laureates.

For winners in earlier years, or to discover COMPOSER, PIANO, CLASSICAL VOCALIST and CHAMBER MUSIC ensemble winners, please follow this link:
http://www.theamericanprize.org/winners2014.html


2014 CONDUCTOR & ENSEMBLE LAUREATES

ORCHESTRAS

professional orchestras
http://theamericanprize.blogspot.com/2014/10/professional-orchestra-winner-runners-up.html

college/university orchestras
http://theamericanprize.blogspot.com/2014/10/orchestra-winners-collegeuniversity.html

community orchestras
http://theamericanprize.blogspot.com/2014/10/community-orchestra-winner-runners-up.html

youth orchestras
http://theamericanprize.blogspot.com/2014/10/orchestra-winners-youth-orchestra.html

high school orchestras
http://theamericanprize.blogspot.com/2014/10/orchestra-winners-high-school-division.html

BANDS

college/university bands
http://theamericanprize.blogspot.com/2014/10/band-winners-collegeuniversity.html

high school bands
http://theamericanprize.blogspot.com/2014/10/band-winners-high-school-division.html

community bands
http://theamericanprize.blogspot.com/2014/10/band-winners-community-division.html

OPERA COMPANIES

professional opera companies
http://theamericanprize.blogspot.com/2014/10/opera-companies-professional-division.html

college/university opera companies
http://theamericanprize.blogspot.com/2014/10/opera-companies-collegeuniversity.html

community opera companies
http://theamericanprize.blogspot.com/2014/10/opera-companies-community-division.html

CHORUSES

college/university choruses
http://theamericanprize.blogspot.com/2014/10/chorus-winner-runners-up.html

community choruses
http://theamericanprize.blogspot.com/2014/10/chorus-winner-runners-up-community.html

high school and youth choirs
http://theamericanprize.blogspot.com/2014/10/chorus-winner-runners-up-high-schol.html

MUSICAL THEATER:

http://theamericanprize.blogspot.com/2014/10/musical-theater-winners-runners-up.html

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CONDUCTING

orchestral conducting—professional orchestras
http://theamericanprize.blogspot.com/2014/10/conductor-winners-runners-up.html

orchestral conducting—college/university orchestras
http://theamericanprize.blogspot.com/2014/10/conductor-winners-runners-up_27.html

orchestral conducting—community orchestras
http://theamericanprize.blogspot.com/2014/10/conductor-winner-runners-up-community.html

orchestral conducting—youth and high school orchestras
http://theamericanprize.blogspot.com/2014/10/conductor-winners-runners-up-youthhigh.html

orchestral programming—professional orchestras
http://theamericanprize.blogspot.com/2014/10/collegiate-division-vytautas-marijosius.html

orchestral programming—community orchestras
http://theamericanprize.blogspot.com/2014/10/community-divsion-vytautas-marijosius.html

choral conducting—community & youth choruses
http://theamericanprize.blogspot.com/2014/10/conductor-winner-runners-up_15.html

choral conducting—college/university choruses
http://theamericanprize.blogspot.com/2014/10/conductor-winner-runners-up.html

band/wind ensemble conducting
http://theamericanprize.blogspot.com/2014/10/conductor-winner-runners-up-band.html

opera conducting
http://theamericanprize.blogspot.com/2014/10/conductor-winner-runners-up-opera.html

STAGE DIRECTORS

http://theamericanprize.blogspot.com/2014/10/stage-director-winner-runners-up.html



2 months ago | |
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An amazing night at Orchestra Hall, Symphony Center, Chicago, Sunday, April 26, 2015: eight winners of The American Prize Chicago Musical Theater Award (from left: Kate Ryan, Justin John Moniz, Elizabeth Kling, DelShawn Taylor, Karen Archbold, Tania Coambs, Christian Ketter and Dan Richardson), following the shouting, whistling, rhythmic-clapping standing ovation for "Something Wonderful: The Music of Rodgers and Hammerstein" with the Chicago Bar Association Symphony Orchestra and Chorus and the Elgin Master Chorale, all under the direction of TAP chief judge David Katz.
3 months ago | |
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The American Prize-winning soloists Tania Coambs, Kate Ryan, Justin Moniz, and DelShawn Taylor entertain with "Do Re Mi"
Will "SOMETHING WONDERFUL" sell out at Orchestra Hall / Symphony Center, Chicago on April 26th?
It certainly should!
 
If the reaction of the sold-out crowd at Elgin, Illinois' Blizzard Theater a couple of weeks ago—where the Chicago Bar Association Symphony Orchestra & Chorus, the Elgin Master Chorale and soloists performed "Something Wonderful: the music of Rodgers and Hammerstein" under the baton of TAP chief judge David Katz—is any indication, the Chicago audience for SOMETHING WONDERFUL on Sunday, April 26th at Orchestra Hall, Chicago, is going to have a terrific time!

The huge Elgin audience was tumultuous from the first note of the "Carousel Waltz" to the last chord of the "Oklahoma" encore an hour and a half later: they stood, and cheered, and sung along, and even did the hand gestures in "Do, Re, Mi!"

The eight soloists featured in the concerts are all winners of The American Prize in Voice Chicago Musical Theater Award. They are sopranos Tania Coambs and Elizabeth Kling (cover); mezzos Kate Ryan and Karen Archbold (cover); tenors Justin Moniz and Christian Ketter (cover); and baritones DelShawn Taylor and Dan Richardson (cover.)

Click here to purchase tickets.

Here are some photos from the Elgin concert, to give you an idea.
David Katz conducts the "Something Wonderful" Wall of Sound!
Soloists Elizabeth Kling & Karen Archbold join in "You'll Never Walk Alone."

Soloists Dan Richardson & Christian Ketter join in "You'll Never Walk Alone."
DelShawn Taylor convinces everyone "It's a Grand Night for Singing."

Justin Moniz tells Kate how he'd be "If I Loved You."

Kate Ryan sings the concert title song, "Something Wonderful."

Tania Coambs is happy "Getting to Know You."

CBASO low strings, brass and percussion.
CBASO winds with members of the CBA Chorus and the Elgin Master Chorale.

All photos courtesy of Mark Bergeron.
3 months ago | |
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The American Prize is pleased to announce the solo quartet and four cover artists for "SOMETHING WONDERFUL—the music of Rodgers and Hammerstein," 2015 winners of the Chicago Musical Theater Award.


The winning vocal quartet and cover artists will participate in two performances of SOMETHING WONDERFUL, presented by The Chicago Bar Association Symphony Orchestra and the CBA Chorus, David Katz, conductor, in partnership with the Elgin Master Chorale, Sunday, March 22, 2015 at 3:30 pm in the Blizzard Theater at Elgin Community College, Elgin, IL, and again on Sunday, April 26, 2015 at 7:30 pm at Symphony Center/Orchestra Hall, Chicago.

PURCHASE Elgin tickets here.
PURCHASE Chicago tickets here.

The FOUR WINNERS of the Chicago Musical Theater Award, 2015 are:
TANIA ARAZI COAMBS, soprano
Born in Cumaná, Venezuela, Tania Arazi Coambs is a passionate and versatile performer, stage director, and writer.  Recognized for her “searing and intense acting and singing”, she has appeared internationally at the Shaw Theatre in London; St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome; the Urbania City Theater in Italy; the Errol Hill Theater in Bridgetown, Barbados; Muson Centre in Lagos, Nigeria; and with the Amadeus Opern Ensemble in Salzburg, Austria.  She has also performed with the Allerton Music Barn Festival, Opera Venezuela, the Pittsburgh Savoyards, Station Theatre, Illinois Opera Theater, and with the Danville Symphony Orchestra.  Previous roles include Aldonza in The Man of La Mancha, Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro, Gretel in Hansel und Gretel, Aline in The Sorcerer, Lauretta in Gianni Schicchi, Linfea in La Calisto, Arsena in Der Zigeunerbaron, Edith in The Pirates of Penzance, Annie in The Game of Love, Wren in A Body of Water, Nurse Ruth Kelley in Harvey, and Mrs. Webb in Our Town, as well as originating the role of Dr. Vivian Watson in an international tour to Barbados, England, and Nigeria of the play Preemptive.

With her strong interest in Spanish music and art song, as well as in jazz, French cabaret, and tango music, she has performed in concerts around the Midwest with groups such as the George Turner Trio, Tango Espejo, Tempest Performers, as well as presented recitals at the Mid-America Guitar Festival, the Southern Illinois Music Festival, and Krannert Center for the Performing Arts.
Tania’s recent directing projects include The Tender Land, Trouble in Tahiti, and Signor Deluso at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, as well as workshopping and directing scenes from her own opera, Catatumbo, based on her own libretto and composed by Griffin Candey at the University of Illinois.  Other previous directing projects include productions of Stop Kiss, Roméo et Juliette, Feeding the Moonfish, The Informer, Brundibár, A Canoe on the Lake, and co-director of Don Giovanni.  Tania currently serves at the Director of Opera/Music Theater at Indiana University of Pennsylvania and is a doctoral candidate in Vocal Performance and Literature at the University of Illinois.


KATE RYAN, mezzo-soprano
Mezzo-Soprano Kate Ryan is a versatile singer/actress who returns to Chicago after ten years in California. This December, she debuted as the mezzo-soprano soloist with the Waukegan Symphony Orchestra and Chorus for Handel's Messiah, and performed as a soloist with choir and orchestra at several sold-out performances of DePaul University’s Christmas at DePaul. Kate works as a singer/pianist for Howl at the Moon Chicago’s Howl2Go Program, and has performed for Chicago Dueling Piano’s, and in regular cabaret at Davenport’s Piano Bar. Recent musical theater credits include A Christmas Carol, at San Jose Repertory Theater, Hairspray at Coastal Rep and Cabrillo Stage, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels with Broadway by the Bay, The Light in the Piazza with Palo Alto Players, and the title role in the National Tour of Strega Nona the Musical. Ms. Ryan has served as an Adjunct Professor of Voice and Musical Theatre at Santa Clara University, and has worked on the Bay Area’s biggest stages as an actor and musical director. Kate was a print and commercial model for Marla Dell Talent in San Francisco, and has performed on tour as a backup vocalist for Ben Folds. She currently studies voice with international and Metropolitan Opera performing artist Jane Bunnell. Kate is a proud graduate of The Boston Conservatory, and a member of Actor’s Equity Association. Kate would like to extend her gratitude to Maestro Katz, the members of the chorus and orchestra, and the American Prize for this incredible opportunity. www.katesingingryan.com



JUSTIN JOHN MONIZ, tenor
American tenor Justin John Moniz has earned great acclaim for his “comic chops and huge voice”. Lauded by the South Florida Classical Review as a "superb high tenor" and a "vocal standout", his "refined" work has also been praised by the Miami Herald and Cape Cod Times. His unique style and versatility has afforded him an active career in concert, opera, and musical theatre. Mr. Moniz began the 2014/15 season with his debut as Gastone in La traviata, with the Opera Company of Middlebury, where he also covered the role of Alfredo. He returned for a second season with Sarasota Opera in   Pagliacci and The Hobbit, where he “turned Old Bilbo (Moniz) into an unforgettable creation bound to turn youthful audiences into future opera lovers” (The Observer). Moniz made a triumphant return to Miami this winter, where he joined the Civic Chorale of Greater Miami in Handel’s Messiah, and made his company debut in DreamCatcher Theatre’s production of Into the Woods at the Adrienne Arsht Center, in the roles of Cinderella's Prince and The Wolf. Mr. Moniz garnered critical acclaim for his “rich tenor” (The Miami Hurricane), “commanding stage presence” (TalkinBroadway.com) and “comic chops and huge voice” (The Miami Herald). He most recently made his role and company debut as Nanki-Poo in Gulfshore Opera's production of The Mikado. In previous seasons, Moniz has appeared with Sarasota Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Opera New Jersey, Center Stage Opera (CA), Orchestra Miami, and the Utah Festival Opera & Musical Theatre, where he made a triumphant debut as Cassio in Otello, with less than ten minutes notice. Mr. Moniz holds degrees from the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami and the Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam, where he was recently selected as the recipient of the 2015 Rising Star Award. He is a proud member of the American Guild of Musical Artists (AGMA) and the Actors’ Equity Association (AEA). For more information: www.justinjohnmoniz.com


DELSHAWN TAYLOR, baritone

Delshawn Taylor is a junior at Indiana University South Bend where is he studying Psychology with a Spanish minor. He has musically directed and accompanied over 10 musical productions. He has performed lead operatic roles such as Chevalier de la Force in Dialogue of the Carmelites (Opera Notre Dame), Dr. Falke in Die Fledermaus Tartuffe (UE Opera), The Pig in Jonathan Dove’s The Enchanted Pig, and currently learning the role of Gianni Schicchi in Gianni Schicchi (St. Mary’s Opera). He was a Top 5 Finalist in Michiana’s Rising Star and placed second in LaPorte Symphony Orchestra’s Hoosier Star Vocal Competition in the fall of 2014. As a young musician, Delshawn has been mentored by Maestro Tsung Yeh of the South Bend Symphony, Maestro Thomas Wilkins of the Omaha Symphony Orchestra, and Dr. Marvin Curtis, Dean of the Ernestine Ranclin School of the Arts. He has served as Director of Music at Zoar United Church of Christ and currently serves as the Music Director at Sacred Heart Parish. As an aspiring choral composer, Delshawn is on the rise to success with growing commissions. He will be premiering his own setting of The Songs of Solomon for soprano, baritone, tenor, women’s chorus and chamber orchestra in February of 2016 and setting of seven poems by Emily Dickinson for voice and piano. To give back to his community, Delshawn recently started a thriving children’s choir at the Boys & Girls Club. He is the founder of Music for the Soul, an organization that annually unites an entire musical community across two states to raises money in a benefit concert for The Memorial Children’s Hospital and is dedicated to encouraging young singers from elementary to high school, that their voice can make a difference. Delshawn will compete in the second round of Classical Singer Magazine Musical Theatre Competition this May in Chicago. He is studies privately with Ms. Paula Harris.

 ***

Winners of the Chicago Musical Theateer Award (cover) for "SOMETHING WONDERFUL" will participate in the finales of the concerts in both locations and are available to assist if needed.

ELIZABETH KLING, soprano
Praised for her “delightful” (The Boston Globe) and “delicately compassionate” (Times Herald Record) singing, soprano Elizabeth Kling is recognized as a dynamic and versatile performer.  In her Carnegie Hall début, she created the title role of Lucy by Tom Cipullo, and her performance was acclaimed as “excellent” (The Big City). Other roles include Gretel (Hansel and Gretel), Jessie (Mahagonny Songspiel), Áljana (A Little Princess), and Hope (Anything Goes). Elizabeth has been a guest artist in song recitals at the University of Colorado, Metropolitan State University of Denver, and Cal Poly Pomona.  She is a 2015 finalist in the G. Gershwin International Competition.  Elizabeth holds a DMA from The City University of New York Graduate Center and a MM from New England Conservatory.  She is Assistant Professor of Music Theatre at Auburn University. www.elizabethkling.com


KAREN ARCHBOLD, mezzo-soprano
Karen Archbold is poised to launch an exciting career as a promising young singer.  She studied at the Hochschule für Künste in Bremen, Germany.  She currently appears as a part of the Duo Striata, a cello and voice ensemble focusing on new music.  Karen has been a member of the Washington Chorus, the Chicago Chorale, the Bremen Kammerchor, and the Symphonic Chorus at the Hochschule für Künste in Bremen.  Karen has appeared as Miss Jessel in The Turn of the Screw, Buttercup in HMS Pinafore as Buttercup and as Berthe in the Barber of Seville.  She has also participated in the opera choruses of Die Zauberflöte and L’Enfant Sortilege at the Kennedy Center.  Karen’s solo appearances include Alto Soloist in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, Soloist in John Rutter’s Magnificat, Mezzo soloist in Lili Boulanger’s Psalm Profundis, Alto soloist in the Verdi Requiem, and the Mahler Kindertotenlieder with the MasterWorks Festival Orchestras.



CHRISTIAN KETTER, tenor
Tenor, Christian Ketter, recently made his Carnegie Hall debut with Marilyn Horne’s festival: “The Song Continues." 2013: Tenor soloist, Bruckner Te Deum, Chicago Bar Symphony and Orchestra; DuBois’ Les sept paroles du Christ; Saint-Saëns’ Oratorio de Noël. Willy Loman: Rizzer’s Death of a Salesman, Chicago Cultural Center. 2011: Mr. Ketter performed under Carlisle Floyd in a concert of Floyd's operatic works. Evita (Che) Southwest Michigan Symphony Orchestra; Tosca (Cavaradossi) Calumet City Chamber-Ensemble; Herrmann’s Wuthering Heights (Edgar) in its televised Chicago premiere; ShowBoat (Ravenal). 2010: At Ravinia, Mr. Ketter gave a recital benefitting the Misericordia Foundation.

2013: International-Finalist: Lotte Lenya Competition. Friedrich Schorr/The American Prize winner; National-Winner: Chicago Oratorio Award;  2nd National-Winner: Hal Leonard Art Song; The American Prize in Art Song; Shirley Rabb-Winston Grand Prize. For release summer 2014: Recording, "Beloved", a collection of classical arrangements spanning many languages, styles, and genres with violinist, Cara Schlecker and pianist, Myron Silberstein. For more information visit: www.christianketter.com


DAN RICHARDSON, bass-baritone
Bass-baritone Dan Richardson is known for his "clean, clear, declarative" tone and "lovely core sound and earnest musicianship." Recently, Mr. Richardson appeared as Elijah with Choral Union in Mendelssohn's Elijah, Figaro in Le nozze di Figaro with the Salt Creek Chamber Orchestra, as Papageno with Candid Concert Opera, and performed with the New Millennium Orchestra as Death in Viktor Ullmann's the Emperor of Atlantis on the Pritzker Pavilion Stage at Millennium Park.
He has also performed with the Florentine Opera, Opera Omaha, Opera Louisiane, Des Moines Metro Opera, the Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre, Sarasota Opera, and the Lyric Opera of Chicago, where he performed the role of Don Bartolo for their “Opera in the Neighborhoods” production of Rossini's The Barber of Seville. As a concert soloist Mr. Richardson has performed with the Fox Valley Orchestra, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, The Virginia Consort, the Milwaukee Ballet, Music by the Lake, and the Grant Park Chorus.

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Congratulations to these fine artists.
4 months ago | |
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YES—The opera/operetta and art song/oratorio contests are separate competitions, judged independently, requiring two application forms and two fees, but all materials may be sent (or emailed) together (or separately) as you wish, by the extended deadline of March 10th. Only the Chicago Musical Theater Award requires video and has an earlier deadline of February 17th. The opera and/or art song contests may be audio or video, as is your preference.

YES—you may submit materials at two separate times, if you wish. You can send recordings (or links) for the Chicago Musical Theater Award (including applications and fees) by the February 17th deadline for the musical theater award and send the rest of the recordings (for the art song and/or opera contests) later. Just be sure everything else you are submitting is postmarked by the extended deadline of March 10th.

YES—you may mix formats. The audition materials for the Chicago Musical Theater Award must be video (on disc or by sending online links) but the recordings for the other contests (opera/operetta, art song) need not be. They can be audio recordings.

REMEMBER—the Chicago Musical Theater Award is an additional opportunity for those who live within driving range of Chicago or can make their own travel and housing arrangements. It is judged separately from the other contests, and is not a required part of the competitions. If you wish to apply for the opera/operetta and/or art song/oratorio prizes and not for the music theater award, you can certainly do so.

MORE questions? Happy to help. Write to us at theamericanprize@gmail.com
6 months ago | |
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The American Prize has recognized four members of its national panel of judges for five years of continuing service to the organization. "We are grateful for the time, expertise and enthusiasm these four musicians have displayed since the competitions were founded," said David Katz, chief judge of the national nonprofit competitions. "Their belief in The American Prize idea, unbiased evaluations and thoughtful commentary to applicants is part of the reason The American Prize is recognized as a unique and valuable resource for performing artists across the country."

The four judges below received certificates for their years of continuing service:

Leonard Atherton?
Muncie, IN
?


Leonard Atherton (instrumental performance, conducting) joined the Ball State University School of Music Faculty in 1982. Now retired, he is Music Director Emeritus of the Muncie Symphony Orchestra and former director of the Ball State Symphony Orchestra and conducting teacher. Atherton has held music director positions among which are the Niagara Symphony Orchestra, the Greater Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra and the Young Artists Choral Program of the Boston University Tanglewood Institute, the National Symphony Orchestra of Bolivia and the University of Pennsylvania Choruses. He has appeared with the Minnesota Orchestra, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. Atherton has conducted in Japan, Mexico, Thailand, Taiwan, Canada and England. Leonard Atherton served as the Cover Conductor for the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and honored as a Sagamore of the Wabash, Indiana's civilian award, for his service in music to the State. He is a member of the Mentoring Committee of the Conductors Guild and has just handed over the position of Treasurer of the College Orchestra Directors Association.


?Allen Cohen?
Madison, NJ

Allen Cohen (instrumental performance, conducting, composition) received a doctorate in composition from the City University of New York, where he studied with Thea Musgrave, Bruce Saylor, and David Del Tredici. Currently Professor at Fairleigh Dickinson University, he has taught at Hunter College, New York University, and Manhattanville College. He has received a Meet the Composer residency grant and many ASCAP Plus awards. Five of his compositions have been released on commercial compact discs. He has written incidental scores for films and off-Broadway plays, arranged dance music for five Broadway musicals, conducted on Broadway and elsewhere, and performed extensively as a pianist. He is the author of Howard Hanson in Theory and Practice (Praeger/Greenwood) and the popular children's book That's So Funny I Forgot to Laugh! (Scholastic), and co-author of Writing Musical Theater (Palgrave Macmillan). He has also written critical introductions to new editions of orchestral scores by Dvorak, Gounod, Janacek, and Liadov, published by Repertoire Explorer in Munich. Website: www.allenlcohen.com


???David B. Gardner?
Winfield, KS
?
David B. Gardner (choral performance, conducting) (DMA, The University of Arizona) is Director of Choirs at Southwestern College in Winfield, Kansas. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including a second-place finish in the graduate division of the 2001 American Choral Directors Association National Student Conducting Awards Competition. Dr. Gardner's Carnegie Hall conducting debut was in March of 2005, and he appeared there most recently in March of 2010 under the auspices of Distinguished Concerts International, New York. In 2008, the Southwestern College choir sang under his direction during Easter Sunday Mass at the Basilica of St. Mark in Venice. In 2002, he was selected to lead the Grammy Award winning Oregon Bach Festival Choir and Orchestra under the tutelage of Maestro Helmuth Rilling in the Oregon Bach Festival Masterclass in Conducting. Dr. Gardner is the President-Elect for the Kansas chapter of the American Choral Directors Association, and is a charter member of the National Collegiate Choral Organization.


??Julia Vasquez?
Missoula, MT
?
Julia Vasquez (instrumental performance, conducting), of Missoula, Montana, has played flute and piccolo in the Missoula Symphony since 1986. Earlier she was piccoloist in Orchestra Iowa and taught at Cornell College. In 2000, she won the Convention Performers Competition and performed Gunther Schuller's Concerto at the National Flute Association's Columbus convention. She was also a winner in this competition in 2007. Vasquez played in the Professional Flute Choir at conventions in Los Angeles and Boston, and was a guest soloist at the National Organ Convention in Chicago in 2006. Most recently, she was guest soloist at two concerts for the Pacific NW Composer's Conference in April 2014. Vasquez has performed extensively as a recitalist and soloist. She teaches flute privately and is principal flutist with the Missoula Children's Community Theatre. She received flute performance degrees from the New England Conservatory of Music and Northern Illinois University.

***

Thanks and congratulations!


6 months ago | |
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Two college/university choruses are the first ensembles to be selected as Honored Artists of The American Prize by the national nonprofit competitions. "Honored Artists" are individuals or organizations who have proven themselves to be of “sustained excellence" over a number of seasons as contestants in the competitions.

Earlier this fall, Maestro David Katz, chief judge of The American Prize, expressed a hope for the competitions "to do more" to advance the art. The creation of the Honored Artist designation is one way the competition seeks to bring additional recognition to laureates it deems especially worthy

The two choruses selected as Honored Artists of The American Prize for 2014 are:

University of South Dakota Chamber Singers
David Holdhusen, director
Vermillion, SD
and
"Re-choired Element" Chamber Choir of Linn-Benton Community College
James Reddan, director
Albany, OR

“In many ways, these two choral groups epitomize the mission of The American Prize to recognize and reward excellence in the performing arts, wherever and whenever in America it is found,” said Katz. “The University of South Dakota Chamber Singers and Linn-Benton "Re-choired Element" Chamber Choir have displayed continuing artistry in the contests over several seasons.

"The lesson is obvious: gifted students, lead by an inspiring teacher, supported by an enlightened administration and an enthusiastic community, equates to excellence, whether in Albany, Oregon and Vermillion, South Dakota. As The American Prize has shown time and again, it is clearly who you are and what you do that matters. We are delighted to bring added attention to these fine ensembles, and congratulate their members and directors on a continuing job well done."

USD Chamber Singers, David Holdhusen, director
The Chamber Singers is the premiere vocal ensemble at the University of South Dakota. It is comprised of graduate and undergraduate students selected through audition from the entire university student body. Known to critics for “creating a choral concert of stunning beauty and musical understanding,” its repertoire, which is primarily a cappella, includes music from the Renaissance to the present in a wide variety of styles. The ensemble presents formal concerts on campus each semester and its annual tour has taken the group throughout the United States and Europe. They have performed for state and regional conventions of the American Choral Directors Association and the Music Educators National Conference and have appeared on the public radio program “Going Beyond Words.” The Chamber Singers have been selected as a finalists for the The American Prize in Choral Performance (College and University Division) each of the last four years.

Dr. Holdhusen was the recipient of the SD-ACDA Encore Award for excellence and achievement in the field of choral music and the prestigious Belbas-Larson Award for Excellence in Teaching, the highest honor USD bestows on its educators.  He is in demand as a guest conductor, adjudicator, and clinician throughout the region.  He is a member of the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA), the College Music Society, the National Collegiate Choral Organization (NCCO) and the National Association for Music Education (NAfME).  Dr. Holdhusen has had research published in national journals and presented clinics and interest sessions throughout the country.   He has been elected to leadership positions in various organizations, including a term as President for the South Dakota Chapter of ACDA.  His book, “Commitment to Musical Excellence” is published by Cambridge Scholars Publishing.  Choirs under his direction have been invited to perform at state and regional festivals and conventions, have won first place and grand champion awards in music festivals throughout the country, and on four consecutive occasions been named a finalist for the The American Prize in Choral Performance.

Honored Artists will be highlighted in a separate section on The American Prize website and on the competition’s Facebook pages, will receive expanded listings on The American Prize blog, will be featured in individualized press releases sent to local, regional and national media, and receive a special, framed certificate. Honored Artists also receive an application fee waiver for a future competition.

CRITERIA for SELECTION: The American Prize Honored Artists must meet these criteria:

    •    May be nominated by any member of The American Prize national judging panel.
    •    Will have reached finalist status or higher and/or received an Honorable Mention or Special Judge's Certificate in at least three different competition years, which need not be consecutive.
    •    Will have won The American Prize (first place) no more than one time.
    •    Will have consistently received exceptional evaluations in their chosen area of endeavor.
    •    Will be honored during a season in which they are an active participant.
    •    Accept the designation.
    •    There is no minimum or maximum number that will be awarded each season.

Abraham R. Katz

"Honored Artists of The American Prize" are given in memory of David Katz’s father, Abraham R. Katz, a gifted amateur musician, who died in 1999.
7 months ago | |
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Two college/university choruses are the first ensembles to be selected as Honored Artists of The American Prize by the national nonprofit competitions. "Honored Artists" are individuals or organizations who have proven themselves to be of “sustained excellence" over a number of seasons as contestants in the competitions.

Earlier this fall, Maestro David Katz, chief judge of The American Prize, expressed a hope for the competitions "to do more" to advance the art. The creation of the Honored Artist designation is one way the contest seeks to bring additional recognition to laureates it deems especially worthy.

The two choruses selected as Honored Artists of The American Prize for 2014 are:

University of South Dakota Chamber Singers
David Holdhusen, director
Vermillion, SD
and
"Re-choired Element" Chamber Choir of Linn-Benton Community College
James Reddan, director
Albany, OR

“In many ways, these two choral groups epitomize the mission of The American Prize to recognize and reward excellence in the performing arts, wherever and whenever in America it is found,” said Katz. “The University of South Dakota Chamber Singers and Linn-Benton "Re-choired Element" Chamber Choir have displayed continuing artistry in the contests over several seasons.

"The lesson is obvious: gifted students, lead by an inspiring teacher, supported by an enlightened administration and an enthusiastic community, equates to excellence, whether in Albany, Oregon and Vermillion, South Dakota. As The American Prize has shown time and again, it is clearly who you are and what you do that matters. We are delighted to bring added attention to these fine ensembles, and congratulate their members and directors on a continuing job well done."

Linn-Benton "Re-choired Element" Chamber Choir, James Reddan, director
The “Re-Choired Element” Chamber Choir is the vocal chamber ensemble at Linn-Benton Community College.  These 32 singers are selected based on audition and perform works from across the choral repertoire.

This ensemble has represented LBCC in several festivals—locally, domestically, and internationally—with many invitations to perform around the state including the Oregon State Senate, the Oregon School Boards Association Conference, Northwest Music Educators Convention, and the Oregon Music Educators Convention.  In 2010, the ensemble received 2nd place in The American Prize for Choral Performance.  In 2012,  the ensemble performed as part of the 2012 Summer Olympic festivities in London, UK. In 2014, the ensemble toured Finland, Estonia, and Latvia performing for full houses in Helsinki, Tallinn, and Riga. In Riga, the ensemble won 1st Place in the Open Competition – Mixed Chamber Choir Category and 2nd place in the Musica Sacra A cappella division at the 8th World Choir Games. They have performed under the batons of noted conductors Eric Whitacre and Eric Dale Knapp. The ensemble has been featured on two CD's including "Music is My Refuge" and "Ear Candy."

The "Re-choired Element" Chamber Choir won second place and a received a special citation in the 2010 competition of The American Prize and has been a finalist in the college/university choral division each of the last three years.

Honored Artists will be highlighted in a separate section on The American Prize website and on the competition’s Facebook pages, will receive expanded listings on The American Prize blog, will be featured in individualized press releases sent to local, regional and national media, and receive a special, framed certificate. Honored Artists also receive an application fee waiver for a future competition.

CRITERIA for SELECTION: The American Prize Honored Artists must meet these criteria:

    •    May be nominated by any member of The American Prize national judging panel.
    •    Will have reached finalist status or higher and/or received an Honorable Mention or Special Judge's Certificate in at least three different competition years, which need not be consecutive.
    •    Will have won The American Prize (first place) no more than one time.
    •    Will have consistently received exceptional evaluations in their chosen area of endeavor.
    •    Will be honored during a season in which they are an active participant.
    •    Accept the designation.
    •    There is no minimum or maximum number that will be awarded each season.

Abraham R. Katz

"Honored Artists of The American Prize" are given in memory of David Katz’s father, Abraham R. Katz, a gifted amateur musician, who died in 1999.
7 months ago | |
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