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The American Prize
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David Avshalomov, of Santa Monica, CA, is one of five American composers chosen as the first Honored Artists of The American Prize, the national nonprofit competitions in the performing arts.  Honored Artists are individuals who have proven themselves to be musicians of  “sustained excellence" over a number of seasons as contestants in the competitions.

The American Prize competitions are unique in scope and structure, designed to recognize and reward the best performing artists, ensembles and composers in the United States, based on submitted recordings. The American Prize is presented annually in many areas of the performing arts and has awarded nearly $35,000 in prize money since its founding in 2009.

Additional information about the competitions may be found on the website: www.theamericanprize.org.

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 five composers selected as Honored Artists of The American Prize for 2014 are:

Lee Actor, Monte Sereno CA
Second Place—Music for Orchestra, 2011
Finalist, 2012
Finalist, 2013
Finalist, 2014

David Avshalomov, Santa Monica CA
Special Judges' Citation—Orchestral Music, 2012
Finalist, 2013
Third Place—Music for Band, 2014

Jesse Ayers, Canton OH

Winner—Orchestral Music, 2011
Finalist, 2013
Finalist, 2014

Nancy Bloomer Deussen, Mountain View CA

Finalist, 2012
Second Place—Chamber Music, 2013
Finalist, 2014

David Sartor, Hermitage TN
Third Place—Music for Chorus, 2012
Third Place—Chamber Music, 2013
Finalist, 2014

“The American Prize has auditioned many works by these five composers over several seasons,” Katz said, “Each of the five exhibits a unique voice, a substantial catalog, multiple performances and serious intent. Each deserves every opportunity to be heard. We are delighted to bring added attention to their considerable gifts.”
David Avshalomov is a distinguished third-generation classical composer and orchestral conductor, and an accomplished vocalist. He was born in New York City in 1946, grew up in Oregon, and has long lived in Santa Monica, California. He represents a musical lineage whose story stretches from the Caucasus to Siberia, through China, to the US.

As a composer grounded in the traditions of Western classical music, David Avshalomov creates his works in an accessible modern romantic, neo-tonal style that balances a rich lyric gift with a characteristic rhythmic vitality and pungent harmonies. The forms he crafts are conservative and developmental, his compositional voice distinctive. The influences on his style include the great 20th-century European and American tonal composers, and both his late father Jacob and his paternal grandfather, Aaron Avshalomoff. In Avshalomov’s words, “Melody is the thread of my daily life. I still find new paths through traditional musical forms, and fresh expression based in folk idioms and drawing on old melodic, rhythmic, and harmonic roots. As a longtime outdoorsman, mountain man, and lover of nature and wilderness I am more and more impelled to write music that is about healing the Earth and social justice.”

He has composed original works for solo voice, choruses, orchestra, band, chamber ensembles, and solo instruments, in forms ranging from songs and incidental pieces to full-length oratorio. Recently he has written a lot of choral and band music; he is now focusing on his opera, “The Pearl”. He has had commissions from numerous ensembles, including the San Jose Chamber Orchestra, Mission Chamber Orchestra, Musica Bella Orchestra of NY, Western Plains Wind Consortium (20 bands), Avshalomov Bandwagon Consortium (26 bands), LA Flute Orchestra, LA Clarinet Orchestra, Odyssea Chorus of Lisbon, Anglican Chorale of Southern California, Camerata Singers of Long Beach, and Westwood United Methodist Church (LA). He has also been Resident Composer with the Anglican Chorale of S. California, Torrance Civic Chorale, and Cantori Domino of Santa Monica.

His compositions have been performed professionally across the U.S. and in Europe and Russia, and are recorded on the Albany and Naxos labels. He has earned grants from Meet the Composer, the American Music Center, the American Composer’s Forum, and the Durfee Foundation. His works have won prizes from the Aspen Festival, the Korg Competition, the Santa Monica Debut Concert series, American Prize 2014 for Band Composition (3rd Place), a Special Citation from the American Prize for Orchestral Composition 2012; Dual Finalist, American Prize 2013/Choral and Orchestral Composition, Polifonia (Lithuania) International Sacred Choral Music Competition 2013 (Second Prize) , an ACDA Silver Platter Award 2012 for Outstanding Choral Repertoire; Choral Work of Exceptional Merit 2013, PROJECT : ENCORE of Schola Cantorum on Hudson; TheC7Prize, Canada 2014 (2 choral works), Sul Ross State University, TX, Wind Ensemble Composition Contest 2013, Hillcrest Wind Ensemble (San Diego) Composition Contest 2013 (Second Prize), and three Vox Nova–Fifteen Minutes of Fame awards 2014.

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:
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.

    "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.
    4 months ago | |
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    Lee Actor, of Monte Sereno, CA, is one of five American composers chosen as the first Honored Artists of The American Prize, the national nonprofit competitions in the performing arts.  Honored Artists are individuals who have proven themselves to be musicians of  “sustained excellence" over a number of seasons as contestants in the competitions.

    The American Prize competitions are unique in scope and structure, designed to recognize and reward the best performing artists, ensembles and composers in the United States, based on submitted recordings. The American Prize is presented annually in many areas of the performing arts and has awarded nearly $35,000 in prize money since its founding in 2009.

    Additional information about the competitions may be found on the website: www.theamericanprize.org.

    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 five composers selected as Honored Artists of The American Prize for 2014 are:

    Lee Actor, Monte Sereno CA
    Second Place—Music for Orchestra, 2011
    Finalist, 2012
    Finalist, 2013
    Finalist, 2014

    David Avshalomov, Santa Monica CA
    Special Judges' Citation—Orchestral Music, 2012
    Finalist, 2013
    Third Place—Music for Band, 2014

    Jesse Ayers, Canton OH

    Winner—Orchestral Music, 2011
    Finalist, 2013
    Finalist, 2014

    Nancy Bloomer Deussen, Mountain View CA

    Finalist, 2012
    Second Place—Chamber Music, 2013
    Finalist, 2014

    David Sartor, Hermitage TN
    Third Place—Music for Chorus, 2012
    Third Place—Chamber Music, 2013
    Finalist, 2014

    “The American Prize has auditioned many works by these five composers over several seasons,” Katz said, “Each of the five exhibits a unique voice, a substantial catalog, multiple performances and serious intent. Each deserves every opportunity to be heard. We are delighted to bring added attention to their considerable gifts.”
    Composer and conductor Lee Actor (http://www.leeactor.com) has received numerous commissions, and has won many awards for his compositions, which are characterized by their dramatic impact and emotional expressivity.  In the past 10+ years, he has created an extensive catalog of works for large ensembles, which have been performed by more than 60 orchestras and bands in the U.S. and around the world.  He has studied composition with Donald Sur, Brent Heisinger, Charles Jones, and Andrew Imbrie, and conducting with Angelo Frascarelli, David Epstein and Higo Harada.  Actor has been Composer-in-Residence of the Palo Alto Philharmonic since 2002, following his appointment as Assistant Conductor in 2001.
    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:
    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.



    "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.
    4 months ago | |
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    David Sartor of Hermitage, TN, is one of five American composers chosen as the first Honored Artists of The American Prize, the national nonprofit competitions in the performing arts.  Honored Artists are individuals who have proven themselves to be musicians of  “sustained excellence" over a number of seasons as contestants in the competitions.

    The American Prize competitions are unique in scope and structure, designed to recognize and reward the best performing artists, ensembles and composers in the United States, based on submitted recordings. The American Prize is presented annually in many areas of the performing arts and has awarded nearly $35,000 in prize money since its founding in 2009.

    Additional information about the competitions may be found on the website: www.theamericanprize.org.

    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 five composers selected as Honored Artists of The American Prize for 2014 are:

    Lee Actor, Monte Sereno CA
    Second Place—Music for Orchestra, 2011
    Finalist, 2012
    Finalist, 2013
    Finalist, 2014

    David Avshalomov, Santa Monica CA
    Special Judges' Citation—Orchestral Music, 2012
    Finalist, 2013
    Third Place—Music for Band, 2014

    Jesse Ayers, Canton OH

    Winner—Orchestral Music, 2011
    Finalist, 2013
    Finalist, 2014

    Nancy Bloomer Deussen, Mountain View CA

    Finalist, 2012
    Second Place—Chamber Music, 2013
    Finalist, 2014

    David Sartor, Hermitage TN
    Third Place—Music for Chorus, 2012
    Third Place—Chamber Music, 2013
    Finalist, 2014

    “The American Prize has auditioned many works by these five composers over several seasons,” Katz said, “Each of the five exhibits a unique voice, a substantial catalog, multiple performances and serious intent. Each deserves every opportunity to be heard. We are delighted to bring added attention to their considerable gifts.”



    David P. Sartor is Adjunct Professor of Composition at Trevecca Nazarene University and Music Director of the Parthenon Chamber Orchestra.  He received his education at the Blair School of Music, the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory, and the University of Tennessee, studying composition with John Anthony Lennon and David Van Vactor and conducting with Donald Neuen, Karen Lynne Deal, and in master classes with Kenneth Schermerhorn and .John Morris Russell.  The recipient of commissions from a variety of ensembles, his instrumental and vocal works are performed nationally and internationally and have been featured at the Tanglewood, Aspen and Sewanee Music Festivals, the International Double Bass Festival, the Percussive Arts Society International Convention, the International Music Festival in San Jose Costa Rica, The World's Largest Organ Concert, and at Carnegie Hall, with broadcast performances on National Public Radio and local affiliates.

    Sartor has received the prestigious Ostwald Award from the American Bandmasters Association, the National Fine Arts Award, and more than three dozen awards from New Music for Young Ensembles, Meet The Composer, Delta Omicron and ASCAP, among others.  A popular guest composer, conductor and lecturer, his engagements include the Washington National Cathedral, Illinois State University, Middle Tennessee State University, the Nexus Chamber Orchestra and California State University, sponsored by New York City’s Meet The Composer Foundation.

    In 2009, Sartor was inducted as a National Patron of Delta Omicron International Music Fraternity in recognition of his accomplishments as a composer and conductor.  His works are recorded on the ERM label and are published by E.C. Schirmer, Shawnee Press, and Metamorphic Music. A graduate of film scoring workshops with Steven Scott Smalley, Richard Glasser & Aaron Zigman, he has also scored a number of widely-distributed video documentaries and features.

    Sartor resides in Middle Tennessee with his wife, the author Nancy Sartor.

    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:
    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.



    "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.
    4 months ago | |
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    Nancy Bloomer Deussen, of Mountain View, CA, is one of five American composers chosen as the first Honored Artists of The American Prize, the national nonprofit competitions in the performing arts.  Honored Artists are individuals who have proven themselves to be musicians of  “sustained excellence" over a number of seasons as contestants in the competitions.

    The American Prize competitions are unique in scope and structure, designed to recognize and reward the best performing artists, ensembles and composers in the United States, based on submitted recordings. The American Prize is presented annually in many areas of the performing arts and has awarded nearly $35,000 in prize money since its founding in 2009.

    Additional information about the competitions may be found on the website: www.theamericanprize.org.

    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 five composers selected as Honored Artists of The American Prize for 2014 are:

    Lee Actor, Monte Sereno CA
    Second Place—Music for Orchestra, 2011
    Finalist, 2012
    Finalist, 2013
    Finalist, 2014

    David Avshalomov, Santa Monica CA
    Special Judges' Citation—Orchestral Music, 2012
    Finalist, 2013
    Third Place—Music for Band, 2014

    Jesse Ayers, Canton OH

    Winner—Orchestral Music, 2011
    Finalist, 2013
    Finalist, 2014

    Nancy Bloomer Deussen, Mountain View CA

    Finalist, 2012
    Second Place—Chamber Music, 2013
    Finalist, 2014

    David Sartor, Hermitage TN
    Third Place—Music for Chorus, 2012
    Third Place—Chamber Music, 2013
    Finalist, 2014

    “The American Prize has auditioned many works by these five composers over several seasons,” Katz said, “Each of the five exhibits a unique voice, a substantial catalog, multiple performances and serious intent. Each deserves every opportunity to be heard. We are delighted to bring added attention to their considerable gifts.”


    Nancy Bloomer Deussen is a leader in the movement for more melodic, tonally oriented contemporary music and is co-founder of the San Francisco chapter of the National Association of Composers, USA. Her original works have been performed in the USA, Canada, Europe, UK, China, Australia, Iran and Indonesia and she has received many grants and commissions both locally and nationally from numerous performers, ensembles and foundations. She earned a BM and MM degree from Manhattan School of Music and another BM in Music Education from the USC School of Music. Her teachers of composition were: Vittorio Giannini, Ingolf Dahl, Lukas Foss and Wilson Coker.

    The concert season (2012-13) brought orchestra performances of her works: “Central Coast Concerto” by The New Millenium Chamber Orchestra, “Peninsula Suite” by the Twilite Orchestra of Jakarta, Indonesia , Orchestra da Camera of San Anselmo, CA and New Score Chamber Orchestra of Oviedo, FL., The World Premiere of “The Transit of Venus” by The Mission Chamber Orchestra of San Jose, “American Hymn” by the Knox-Galesburg Symphony of Galesburg, IL, “A Field in Pennsylvania” by the Dayton Philharmonic and numerous other performances of chamber works, choral works and solo works. In addition she was second place winner of The American Prize 2013 in Composition for Chamber Works for her Woodwind Quintet. For more information see www.nancybloomerdeussen.com

    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:
    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.

    "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.
    4 months ago | |
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    Jesse Ayers, of Canton, OH, is one of five American composers chosen as the first Honored Artists of The American Prize, the national nonprofit competitions in the performing arts.  Honored Artists are individuals who have proven themselves to be musicians of  “sustained excellence" over a number of seasons as contestants in the competitions.

    The American Prize competitions are unique in scope and structure, designed to recognize and reward the best performing artists, ensembles and composers in the United States, based on submitted recordings. The American Prize is presented annually in many areas of the performing arts and has awarded nearly $35,000 in prize money since its founding in 2009.

    Additional information about the competitions may be found on the website: www.theamericanprize.org.

    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 five composers selected as Honored Artists of The American Prize for 2014 are:

    Lee Actor, Monte Sereno CA
    Second Place—Music for Orchestra, 2011
    Finalist, 2012
    Finalist, 2013
    Finalist, 2014

    David Avshalomov, Santa Monica CA
    Special Judges' Citation—Orchestral Music, 2012
    Finalist, 2013
    Third Place—Music for Band, 2014

    Jesse Ayers, Canton OH

    Winner—Orchestral Music, 2011
    Finalist, 2013
    Finalist, 2014

    Nancy Bloomer Deussen, Mountain View CA

    Finalist, 2012
    Second Place—Chamber Music, 2013
    Finalist, 2014

    David Sartor, Hermitage TN
    Third Place—Music for Chorus, 2012
    Third Place—Chamber Music, 2013
    Finalist, 2014

    “The American Prize has auditioned many works by these five composers over several seasons,” Katz said, “Each of the five exhibits a unique voice, a substantial catalog, multiple performances and serious intent. Each deserves every opportunity to be heard. We are delighted to bring added attention to their considerable gifts.”



    JESSE AYERS is a 2014 recipient of an Ohio Arts Council Individual Artist Excellence Award, the winner of the 2013 Boston Metro Opera Concert Award, the winner of the 2011 American Prize for Orchestral Composition, a co-winner of the 2011 Dayton Ballet “New Music for New Dance,” and a 2010 recipient of a MacDowell Fellowship. Recent commissions include those from the Indiana Bandmasters Association, the Ohio Private College Instrumental Conductors Association, and the Wisconsin Lutheran National Honors Band. His music has been performed in more than 100 U.S. cities and eight foreign countries.  Much of his music is scored for large "surround-sound" forces and explores the intersection of the spiritual and natural worlds and the redemptive intervention of a very real God in the affairs of the human race. Since 1997, Ayers has taught at Malone University, and has been awarded the university’s Distinguished Faculty Award.
    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:
    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.


    "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.
    4 months ago | |
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    Five American composers have been chosen as the first Honored Artists of The American Prize, the national nonprofit competitions in the performing arts.  Honored Artists are individuals who have proven themselves to be musicians of “sustained excellence" over a number of seasons as contestants in the competitions.

    The American Prize competitions are unique in scope and structure, designed to recognize and reward the best performing artists, ensembles and composers in the United States, based on submitted recordings. The American Prize is presented annually in many areas of the performing arts and has awarded nearly $35,000 in prize money since its founding in 2009.

    Additional information about the competitions may be found on the website: www.theamericanprize.org.

    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 five composers selected as Honored Artists of The American Prize for 2014 are:

    Lee Actor, Monte Sereno CA
    Lee Actor
    Second Place—Music for Orchestra, 2011
    Finalist, 2012
    Finalist, 2013
    Finalist, 2014


    David Avshalomov, Santa Monica CA
    David Avshalomov
    Special Judges' Citation—Orchestral Music, 2012
    Finalist, 2013
    Third Place—Music for Band, 2014


    Jesse Ayers, Canton OH
    Jesse Ayers
    Winner—Orchestral Music, 2011
    Finalist, 2013
    Finalist, 2014


    Nancy Bloomer Deussen, Mountain View CA
    Nancy Bloomer Deussen
    Finalist, 2012
    Second Place—Chamber Music, 2013
    Finalist, 2014


    David Sartor, Hermitage TN
    David Sartor
    Third Place—Music for Chorus, 2012
    Third Place—Chamber Music, 2013
    Finalist, 2014


    ***

    “The American Prize has auditioned many works by these five composers over several seasons,” Katz said, “Each of the five exhibits a unique voice, a substantial catalog, multiple performances and serious intent. Each deserves every opportunity to be heard. We are delighted to bring added attention to their considerable gifts.”

    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: 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.
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    Late this summer, Maestro David Katz, chief judge of The American Prize, expressed a hope for the competitions "to do more" to advance the art, in part by bringing additional recognition to its competition laureates, past, present and future. 

    Here is the first of several new initiatives to do just that. More will be announced in the coming weeks.

    ***

    "HONORED ARTISTS 
    of The American Prize"

    Annually, beginning next month, The American Prize will bestow on a number of its laureates the designation "HONORED ARTIST of The American Prize." Honored Artists are individuals (or ensembles) who have proved themselves to be of "sustained excellence" over a number of seasons as contestants in the competitions.

    The Honored Artist designation, created to recognize solo artists and ensembles who may not have won first place but have consistently scored very highly in The American Prize competitions, is another way TAP seeks to bring attention to laureates deemed especially worthy.

    Those selected for the honor will be highlighted in a separate section on The American Prize website and on Facebook, 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. Although Honored Artist status carries with it no monetary award as yet, honorees will receive a application fee waiver for a future competition.

    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.
    • There is no separate application.
    "Honored Artists of The American Prize" are given in memory of David's father, Abraham R. Katz, a gifted amateur musician, who died in 1999.

    5 months ago | |
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    The American Prize is honored to announce the winner and runners-up of The American Prize in Conducting—professional orchestra division. Congratulations! All finalists receive written evaluations from a member of The American Prize judging panel.

    Complete listings of other winners, finalists and semi-finalists in The American Prize competitions may be found elsewhere on this blog. Use the archive navigation tool in the right-hand column.

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

    The American Prize in Conducting
    —professional orchestra division

    The American Prize winner:
    JONATHAN GRIFFITH, founder, music director
    Distinguished Concerts Orchestra
    New York, NY
    JONATHAN GRIFFITH
    An acclaimed conductor, educator and lecturer, Jonathan Griffith has led performances across North America, South America, Europe, and Asia. Griffith is co- founder and artistic director of Distinguished Concerts International New York (DCINY), which has brought together, under Griffith’s artistic leadership, thousands of musicians and choral singers in concert at prestigious venues across the United States, including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and Disney Hall. The founder and music director of the Distinguished Concerts Orchestra, Griffith also oversees DCINY’s mentoring program for conductors.  Maestro Griffith’s additional conducting credits include the Mormon Tabernacle Choir in Salt Lake City; Manhattan Philharmonic, and New England Symphonic Ensemble, both at Carnegie Hall; The European Symphony Orchestra in Spain; Bohuslava Martin Philharmonia and Philharmonia Chorus, Virtuosi Pregensis Chamber Orchestra, Karlovy Vary Symphony Orchestra, and Dvorák Chamber Orchestra, in the Czech Republic; and the Bialystok State Philharmonic in Poland, as well as numerous regional orchestras and choruses across the United States.

    Among judges' comments: "energetic, committed, and eminently practical."


    2nd Place:
    JASON LIM, music director
    Odysseus Chamber Orchestra
    McKinney & Frisco, TX
    JASON LIM
    Third Prize winner of the 2013 American Prize Conducting Competition and Recipient of the 2011 American Prize "Young Conductor Citation Award,” Jason Lim was born in Penang, Malaysia received his formal training in viola performance at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts. Jason Lim served as assistant conductor with the Ku Ring Gai Philharmonic Orchestra in Sydney, Australia. Jason added to his awards and achievements, winning the 1995 New South Wales Ministry of Arts Conducting Prize in Sydney, Australia and named Denton's most Fascinating people of 2012 by the Denton Record Chronicle. During his tenure as Music Director of the NOVA Ensemble, Jason led the NOVA Ensemble in its first commercial recording in 2000. Under the auspices of the “Equilibrum” label, conducting the world premier performance of Brian Bavelander’s Distant Visions for orchestra and pre-recorded tape. Jason is currently the Artistic Director of the Odysseus Chamber Orchestra. In 2013 Jason appeared as guest conductor with the Academic State Concert Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine and in 2014 with the Zabrze Philharmonic Orchestra in Poland.

    Among judges' comments: "Always in the music, calm and clear, achieving tight ensemble and spirited performances in unusual repertoire."


    3rd Place:
    REONA ITO, founder, music director
    The Reona Ito Chamber Orchestra and Chorus
    New York, NY
    REONA ITO
    Mr. Reona Ito was born into a musical family of three generations of conductors in Fukuoka, Japan. He is currently serving as music director for Zagreb Sinfonietta (Croatia) and the Reona Ito Chamber Orchestra & Chorus (New York City). Also he was music director of Japanese American Association of NY Chorus (2007-14), where he tried to be a cultural bridge between US and Japan through music. Mr. Ito holds a Bachelor of Arts in international affairs and also in music at the George Washington University.  After composition and conducting study at The Juilliard School, he received a diploma in orchestral conducting from Mannes College of Music and a Master of Arts in orchestral conducting from the Aaron Copland School of Music, Queens College. He has conducted his orchestra at famous venues including Carnegie Hall (twice), Lincoln Center, and the Euphrasian Basilica, one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Croatia.

    Among judges' comments: "A conductor of passion and skill...with hopes for his future musical endeavors."


    HONORABLE MENTION:
    PAUL MAUFFRAY, conductor
    Hradec Kralove Philharmonic
    Czech Republic
    PAUL MAUFFRAY
    Conductor Paul Mauffray began his music studies at the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts and Louisiana State University. He was awarded 2nd Prize in the 2007 Bartok Conducting Competition and has 20 years of professional conducting experience with European orchestras and operas in Prague, Brno, Bratislava, Lyon, Salzburg, and Vienna. After studying musicology in Germany and in the Czech Republic, he earned his master's degree in orchestral conducting at Indiana University where he was engaged as Associate Instructor. Recently he conducted at the Bucharest National Opera, Slovak National Opera, Mariinsky Theater in Saint Petersburg, and appeared frequently as conductor with violin-soloist Tomas Vinklat from the Vienna Philharmonic. Paul Mauffray has also been a frequent guest conductor with the Hradec Kralove Philharmonic, Janacek Philharmonic, Bohuslav Martinu Philharmonic Zlin, and with the Schoenbrunn Palace Orchestra in Vienna.  He is currently reconstructing and performing the 1894 opera "Tabasco" by George W. Chadwick.

    Among judges' comments: "Good knowledge of scores...intensity in abundance..."


    ***
    Congratulations!
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    The American Prize is honored to announce the winner and runners-up of The American Prize in Conducting—college/university orchestra division. Congratulations! All finalists receive written evaluations from a member of The American Prize judging panel.

    Complete listings of other winners, finalists and semi-finalists in The American Prize competitions may be found elsewhere on this blog. Use the archive navigation tool in the right-hand column.

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

    The American Prize in Conducting
    —college/university orchestra division

    The American Prize winner:
    CHRIS YOUNGHOON KIM, music director
    Cornell Orchestras
    Ithaca, NY
    CHRIS YOUNGHOON KIM
    Passionate about working with young musicians and music education, Chris  Younghooon Kim is the Director of Orchestras at Cornell University and is an active adjudicator, guest clinician, and masterclass teacher. The  League of American Orchestras and ASCAP have awarded the first place award for Adventurous Programming of Contemporary Music to the Cornell Orchestras among all collegiate orchestras in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2014. With the Cornell Orchestras he has led international tours and joint collaborations with the Royal Irish Academy of Music, and Conservatorio de Musica de Puerto Rico. Before coming to Cornell, Chris was active in the new music scene in Boston conducting the Firebird Ensemble and the Kalistos Chamber Orchestra. Since 1997 he has been the Artistic Director of the new music ensemble Brave New Works in Ann Arbor, Michigan, one of America’s most innovative and progressive ensembles. He has appeared with orchestras in the United States and abroad, including ensembles such as the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, Delta Festival Ballet, Symphoria, based in Syracuse, NY, Divertimento Ensemble of Milan, Italy. He has also appeared in music festivals such as, Kinhaven Music Center, Skaneateles Music Festival, International Bartok Festival in Szaombarthely, Hungary, among others. He is an active promoter of music of our time, and has collaborated with dozens of composers, and commissioned and premiered numerous new works. He was recently chosen to be one of three young conductors to appear at the Ensemble Moderne Academy in Innsbruck, Austria being mentored by members of Ensemble Moderne at the 2012 Klangspuren new music festival. He has also been chosen as the first wave of conductors to take part in the College Orchestra Directors Association’s Ibermusicas initiative in 2014, and will guest conduct Orquesta Sinfónica del Neuquén, Patagonia, Argentina.
    Among judges' comments: "just about the ideal tempo, spirit and energy. (Tchaikovsky 4th)"


    2nd Place:
    JASON HONG, conductor
    University of Texas Symphony Orchestra
    Austin, TX
    JASON HONG
    Born in Los Angeles (4/27/1989) to parents who escaped North Vi?t Nam on a fishing boat, Jason Hong works as Assistant Conductor for Peter Bay and the Austin Symphony Orchestra, and Music Director/Conductor for the University of Texas University Orchestra. Recipient of the Bruno Walter Foundation Scholarship, Jason has lead members of the Chicago, Atlanta, Baltimore, Oregon, Sarasota, Indianapolis, Arkansas, Jacksonville, Eugene, Grand Rapids, Colorado, and Phoenix Symphonies, Hong Kong Philharmonic, and Chicago Lyric Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, Florida, and Minnesota Orchestras in performance. He has collaborated with Gloria Cheng, Gil Shaham, Leon Fleisher, David Kim, and Cho-Liang Lin. Graduating UCLA cum laude, he was the youngest full participant in workshops with Marin Alsop, James Ross, David Effron, David Loebel, and Neal Stulberg. He is on full scholarship as one of two students of Gerhardt Zimmermann at the University of Texas, Austin - Butler School of Music. www.ConductorJasonHong.com

    Among judges' comments: "Music is felt. Dramatic...obviously knows the score well. "

     
    3rd Place (there was a tie):
    JOEL NEVES, music director
    Keweenaw Symphony Orchestra
    Houghton, MI
    JOEL NEVES
    Joel Neves is Music Director of the Keweenaw Symphony Orchestra at Michigan Technological University. He has elevated the Keweenaw Symphony Orchestra through captivating performances that entertain and inspire.  Joel energetically champions community collaboration, creating the KSO Chamber Music Series, the Keweenaw Honors String Festival for K-12 string musicians, and commissioning new works by Upper Pensinsula composers. Joel’s recent professional conducting engagements include the Pine Mountain Music Festival’s “Finnharmonic Orchestra” and the Kentucky Music Educators Association All-Collegiate Orchestra.  He makes his professional South American conducting debut in 2015 leading the Orquesta Sinfónica de Entre Ríos in Argentina. Neves was assistant conductor of the Orchestra of Southern Utah for three years.  He has also conducted the Orquestra de Cadaqués (Barcelona), Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra, and Bard Festival Orchestra. Joel received his master’s degree from Brigham Young University and his doctor of musical arts in orchestral & opera conducting from Arizona State University.

    Among judges' comments: "Debussy displays good style, is nicely balanced. Very fine knowledge of score."


    3rd Place (there was a tie):
    TIFFANY CHANG, music director
    New England Repertory Orchestra
    Boston, MA

    TIFFANY CHANG
    Dr. Tiffany Chang holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Orchestral Conducting from Boston University. She previously received several degrees in music education, cello performance, composition, and music theory from Oberlin Conservatory. Dr. Chang is currently the founder and conductor of the New England Repertory Orchestra, Music Director for the North End Music and Performing Arts Center's Opera Project, and staff conductor for the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestras. She additionally holds the position of Assistant Professor at the Berklee College of Music and serves as the Assistant to the Director of Orchestral Activities at Boston University. During her time at Boston University, she has also served as Assistant Conductor for the Tanglewood Institute’s Young Artists Orchestra and the Opera Institute. Dr. Chang studied conducting with David Hoose and Bridget-Michaele Reischl. Her notable awards include the Kahn Career Entry Award, Pi Kappa Lambda Prize for Musicianship, and Theodore Presser Scholarship.

    Among judges' comments: ",,,very musical, feeling, clear...Elgar is lovingly presented."


    ***
    Congratulations!
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    The American Prize is honored to announce the winner and runners-up of The American Prize in Conducting—opera division. Congratulations! All finalists receive written evaluations from a member of The American Prize judging panel.

    Complete listings of other winners, finalists and semi-finalists in The American Prize competitions may be found elsewhere on this blog. Use the archive navigation tool in the right-hand column.

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

    The American Prize in Conducting
    —opera division

    The American Prize winner:
    MARIA SENSI SELLNER, music director
    Resonance Works / Pittsburgh
    Pittsburgh, PA
    MARIA SENSI SELLNER
    Maria Sensi Sellner is recognized for her versatility as a conductor of opera, orchestras, and choruses. Praised for leading with “flexible assurance” (The Cleveland Plain Dealer) and “authority” (Pittsburgh Tribune Review), Ms. Sellner’s performances have been described as “sterling” (The Boston Globe), “adept” (Schenectady Daily Gazette), and “nothing short of incredible” (Berkshire on Stage).  Back to back winner of the American Prize in Opera Conducting, she is the founder and Artistic Director of Resonance Works | Pittsburgh, Director of the Akron Symphony Chorus, and Associate Conductor of the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh (chorus of choice of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra). She has conducted productions for Hubbard Hall Opera Theater, the Boston Opera Collaborative, Opera Theater of Pittsburgh, the Solon Center for the Arts, and the Carnegie Mellon University School of Music.  She has guest conducted the Akron Symphony Orchestra, the Edgewood Symphony, and the Carnegie Mellon Philharmonic, and recently served on the faculty at Carnegie Mellon University as Interim Director of Choirs.  

    Among judges' comments: "mighty impressive...excellent work. Beat always mirrors the energy and feeling of what is to come."


    2nd Place:
    LIDIYA YANKOVSKAYA, music director
    Lowell House Opera, Harvard University
    Cambridge, MA
    LIDIYA YANKOVSKAYA
    Lidiya Yankovskaya serves as Artistic Director of Juventas New Music Ensemble (a fully-professional instrumental ensemble most recently in residency at The Boston Conservatory), and as Music Director of Harvard’s Lowell House Opera, Commonwealth Lyric Theater, and the Development Series for Center for Contemporary Opera in NYC. Recent productions include Britten’s Midsummer Night’s Dream and Rimsky-Korsakov’s Snegurochka with Lowell House Opera, Rachmaninoff’s Aleko with Commonwealth Lyric Theater (winner of National Opera Association Prize, Professional Category), and the world premiere of Line Tjorhoj’s Orations, with Center for Contemporary Opera.  She has also served as Assistant Conductor with Gotham Chamber Opera and as Assistant Conductor/Chorus Master for Opera Boston.  Upcoming projects include the world premiere of The Little Blue One with Juventas New Music Ensemble, Delibes’ Lakmé with Lowell House Opera, and Gianni Schicchi and Le Nozze di Figaro with Hubbard Hall Opera Theater.  Additionally, she is thrilled to spend the summer  as one of three fellows at the Castleton Festival, under the tutelage of Maestro Lorin Maazel.  In addition to her work as a conductor, Lidiya is a pianist, singer and coach, most recently serving as pianist for Opera Boston’s Education Tours and as the Russian Diction Coach for Boston Symphony Orchestra/Tanglewood Festival Chorus.  www.LidiyaYankovskaya.com

    Among judges' comments: "...impressive production of a difficult score...beat is energetic, welcoming... judicious tempos, high level of knowledge of material..."

     
    3rd Place:
    KIRA OMELCHENKO, guest conductor
    Bulgarian State Opera Company
    Tampa, FL 
    KIRA OMELCHENKO
    Dr. Kira Omelchenko is assistant professor of music and the director of the Orchestra and Strings Program at Florida Southern College. Prior to Florida Southern College, she served as the director of Orchestra and Strings Studies at the University of Tampa. She is the recent recipient of the ASTA String grant, as well as the UT Alumni, Dana, and the David Delo Research Professor Grants. A finalist for the American Prize in Conducting, Dr. Omelchenko specializes in orchestral conducting, operatic conducting, and violin performance and instruction. She has conducted at several All-County Orchestra Festivals, as well as worked with Middle School and High School students at Orchestra Summer Music Camps at the University of Tampa and the University of Iowa. She is in great demand as a guest conductor, lecturer, clinician, and adjudicator. Dr. Omelchenko has served as the music director of St. Ambrose University Community Symphony Orchestra in Davenport. She was also the assistant conductor to opera production at the University of Iowa, the University of New Mexico, as well as the International Opera Lyric Academy in Viterbo, Italy. Dr. Omelchenko has also been a conducting fellow with the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Symphony and was the recipient of the 2012 Sigma Alpha Iota Conducting Scholarship.

    International conducting fellowships include studies in Vienna, Rotterdam and Amsterdam conservatories in the Netherlands, and Bulgaria. As guest conductor, she has conducted at the Seasons Music Festival Orchestra in Yakima, Washington and with the Bulgarian State Opera in Burgas. A native of Kansas, Dr. Omelchenko holds a doctoral degree in music from the University of Iowa and degrees from the University of New Mexico and Knox College.

    Among judges' comments: "good posture, clear beat, makes the big moments 'work.' Expects— and adjusts—to get what she wants."

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