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The American Prize
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David Katz
David Katz, founder and chief judge of The American Prize national nonprofit competitions in the performing arts, has been selected as one of Musical America's "Professionals of the Year—a Key Influencer" for 2016.

"The Musical America 'Professionals of the Year' are the performing arts industry's best-known and most prestigious innovators and market shakers. For over 100 years, Musical America Worldwide has been the voice of the performing arts industry."

DIANE WITTRY
Bravo, Maestro Katz! And congratulations, as well, to recent TAP laureate, Diane Wittry, music  director of the Allentown (PA) Symphony Orchestra, who was also honored.

Read the full story here:
http://www.musicalamerica.com/news/?categoryid=7
6 months ago | |
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The American Prize is honored to announce the winners, runners-up, honorable mentions and citations recipients in the choral music divisions of The American Prize in Composition, 2015. Congratulations, and thank you for such a stimulating contest, full of exceptional chorus music in a broad variety of styles and for various uses.

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 Composition, 2015—choral music (professional division):

The American Prize winner:
Travis Alford    West Newton MA
   O Fragile Human, Speak... 
Travis Alford
Travis Alford (b. 1983) is a composer, trumpeter, and improviser whose music has been heard across the United States and abroad. He has received recognition for his work by the League of Composers/ISCM, ASCAP, the American Composers Alliance, the Atlantic Center for the Arts, and the Brandeis Office of the Arts. As a trumpeter, Travis has performed with the New England Philharmonic, the Boston New Music Initiative, the Equilibrium Concert Series, New Music Brandeis, the Park Street Brass, and the Northeast Italian Band.

Travis currently teaches at Johnston Community College in Smithfield, NC, and has held previous positions at MIT, Brandeis University, and Gordon College. He holds degrees from Brandeis (PhD, Music Composition and Theory, '14), the New England Conservatory (MM '08), and East Carolina University (BM '05). He lives in Clayton, NC with his wife Lauren, son Owen, and their dog Toby.


2nd Place (there was a tie):
Stephen R. Bernstein    West Hills CA
   To Speed Them All 
Stephen R. Bernstein
Steven Bernstein is a five-time Emmy-winning composer for films and television whose commercial music spans genres from horror to cartoons. His music can be heard in the television series Animaniacs, Pinky and the Brain and Baby Looney Tunes to name a few. Most recently, he scored the grisly horror films “Pernicious” and “Blood Lake: Attack of the Killer Lampreys”.

Steven has also written extensively for the concert hall. He has had several commissions for large-scale works, both choral and orchestral, and for various chamber ensembles. Two movements for his suite for two violins were premiered in the Oregon Bach Festival in 2013.

As an accomplished conductor and orchestrator, he has worked on numerous motion pictures, TV productions and popular video games. His orchestrations can be heard in such films as Skyfall, The Amazing Spiderman, The Perfect Storm and many others. Visit resinousmusic.com for more information.


2nd Place (there was a tie):
David Feurzeig    Huntington VT
   Songs of Love and Protest on Traditional Texts 
David Feurzeig
The music of David Feurzeig has been performed throughout the US and in New Zealand, Asia, and Europe. He was twice a featured guest of the International Composer’s Festival in Bangkok. His Songs of Love and Protest were sung by the Dresden Chamber Chorus for the city’s 800th jubilee in the fabled Semper Opera House. He has been awarded the Silver Medal of the Royal Academy of Arts (London), a Beebe fellowship, and grants from the American Composers Federation and Meet the Composer. A pianist as well, he specializes in eclectic lecture-recitals featuring music from the classics to stride piano, jazz, and new music. He is a professor of composition and theory at the University of Vermont, where he has fulfilled commissions for the Vermont Symphony Orchestra, the Vermont Contemporary Music Ensemble, and the Bella Voce Women’s Choir.


3rd Place: 
Shawn Crouch    Miami Beach FL
   Paradise 
Shawn Crouch
Gramophone Magazine calls Shawn Crouch a "gifted composer" and Anthony Tommasini of the New York Times describes Shawn Crouch's work as music of "gnarling atonal energy". The Miami Herald called his Road From Hiroshima; A Requiem a "staggering achievement, an imaginative, powerful and deeply moving work" making the Miami Herald and Sun Sentinel's 2005 Classical Music Standouts. Shawn has received awards and accolades from such prestigious institutions as the American Academy of Arts and Letters, ASCAP, Yale University, Meet the Composer and the Percussive Arts Society. He is the inaugural recipient of the Dale Warland Singers Commissioning Award given by Chorus America and the American Composers Forum.

Shawn Crouch has been a Fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center as well as a composition fellow at the Norfolk Music Festival.  Mr. Crouch received his B.Mus. in composition from the New England Conservatory, and his M.Mus. in composition from the Yale School of Music.



The American Prize in Composition, 2015—choral music (professional division):
HONORABLE MENTIONS


Jeffrey Bernstein    Altadena CA
   Pablo Neruda In Love
Jeffrey Bernstein
Jeffrey Bernstein is a California-based composer, conductor, pianist and educator. He is founding director of the Pasadena Master Chorale and artistic director of the Los Angeles Daiku. Known for his ability to inspire performers and audiences alike, Bernstein builds musical bridges between people. He has led choirs on fourteen tours of four continents and traveled extensively as a guest conductor, directing choirs and orchestras in Europe, Japan and throughout this country. Recently premiered works include Dreams of Japan with the Tokushima Symphony, Fukushima Requiem with the Los Angeles Daiku Orchestra, and The Human Journey, commissioned and premiered by the L.A. Choral Lab. Bernstein has released two albums of improvised piano music, PianoJournals (2012) and Clear Mind Calm Water (2015). He holds music degrees from Harv


Jeffrey Cobb    Traverse City MI
   Absalom
Jeffrey Cobb
Jeffrey Cobb lives and works in Traverse City, Michigan where he is the Director of Music Programs and Choirs at Northwestern Michigan College. Jeffrey is a regularly commissioned composer and his pieces have won several awards including honors from the Ithaca Choir Composition Contest, the New York Virtuoso Singers Choral Composition Contest, the Measure for Measure Choral Competition Contest, the Vanguard Premieres Choral Composition Contest, the Summit Chorale’s Composition Contest, the Outside the Bachs International Choral Music Competition, the C7Prize, and the Composition Competition of the Chiayi City (Taiwan) International Band Festival. His choral works are published through G. Schirmer, Santa Barbara Music, Walton Music, Colla Voce, and Roger Dean Publishing. Jeffrey is also a sought after composer and arranger in other genres. His music can be heard on several television series, radio spots, and in television advertisements. To hear a sample of his works, please visit www.jeffreycobb.com.


Christina Brice Dolanc    Erie PA 
   Silence, the New Moon
Christina Brice Dolanc
The choral music of Christina Brice Dolanc, violinist, vocalist, and composer, has been described as “neo-impressionistic” and “emotionally enchanting.” With a BM and MM in violin performance, Christina is a symphony performer, lesson instructor, and string quartet coordinator, in northern California for 12 years, and now recently relocated to northwestern Pennsylvania. Her extensive choral training, which includes study throughout college and 8 years in semi-professional vocal ensembles, combined with her career as a violinist paints her choral writing with a unique aesthetic. Christina began composing for choral ensemble in 2012 and has since been greeted with 7 premieres, 4 commissions, winning the Mary Bussman Emerging Female Composer Competition (Twin Cities Women’s Choir, Minneapolis, MN), awarded as “Recommended Work” for the C7Prize and semi-finalist for The American Prize, work featured in workshop by Musica Intima (Vancouver, BC), and commission for larger-scale work by the Erie Chamber Orchestra (PA), for strings and vocal ensemble. www.cbricedolanccomposer.com

Danny Gray    Briarcliff Manor NY
   Under the Night Sky 
Danny Gray
Danny Gray is an internationally awarded composer of film scores and concert music, with a love for multimedia collaboration and musical storytelling.

He has contributed music to over 300 episodes of major network television - including programs such as NBC Dateline, 20/20, NY Med and Good Morning America.  His film scores have been heard at South by Southwest, FanTasia, and various other regional and international festivals.  In 2013 he composed the score to the short comedy film Hell No, which became a viral internet sensation garnering over 5 million views in 5 days.

In concert and theatrical music, Danny has written incidental music for productions by Virtual Arts TV, and as composer-in-residence for The Theatre Project in NYC.  He was a recipient of the Manhattan Choral Ensemble's 2015 New Music for New York commission, and winner of the Australian Boys Choir 2014 Composition Competition.

Danny is a graduate of the Purchase College Conservatory of Music, and has studied film scoring at New York University and the University of Southern California.
For more information, visit Danny’s website, www.dannygraymusic.com.


Elise Letourneau    Orleans ON
   Sanctus Benedictus, Psaume 23
Elise Letourneau
Elise Letourneau is an accomplished performer, arranger, educator, and award-winning composer. She is the founding music director of Capital Vox Jazz Choir, which has been heralded as Canada's first community jazz choir. Elise also established and directs Vox Eclectica Women's Chamber Choir. With her background in classical, jazz, and contemporary styles, Elise brings a varied palette of sound and experience to her music. An associate composer of the Canadian Music Centre, her music has been sung by the Vancouver Chamber Choir, Canada's National Youth Choir, the Toronto Children's Chorus, the Cantiamo Children’s Choir, and others. She has performed with many internationally acclaimed musicians including Sheila Jordan, Oliver Lake, Janet Lawson, Bob Dorough, Paula Cole, Dan Haerle, and others. Elise received her music training at Humber College and Berklee College of Music. Her catalogue includes new music for voice, choir, piano, string quartet, and winds; as well as hundreds of custom choral arrangements. Please visit www.eliseletourneau.com for more information.


John Orfe    Peoria IL
   Fire 
John Orfe
John Orfe has fulfilled commissions for the Sacrum Profanum International Festival, Duo Montagnard, Dez Cordas, Alarm Will Sound, the NOVUS Trombone Quartet, Ludovico, the Music Institute of Chicago, the Evansville Philharmonic Orchestra, the Lila Muni Gamelan Ensemble, and choral groups across the US. His recognitions include a Jacob K. Javits Fellowship, a Tanglewood Music Center Fellowship, a Charles Ives Scholarship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the William Schuman and Boudleaux Bryant Prizes from BMI, and thirteen Standard Awards and the Morton Gould Award from ASCAP. His works for solo, chamber, choral and orchestral ensembles have been performed in Russia, Denmark, Canada, Germany, the Baltics, the Balkans, Italy, the United Kingdom, Australia, Thailand and throughout the US, earning praise from The New York Times, LAWeekly, San Francisco Chronicle, Boston Globe, Die Welt, and Hamburger Abendblatt. As a pianist he has earned critical acclaim for his interpretations of five centuries of keyboard repertoire ranging from the canonic to the arcane. Dr. Orfe is Assistant Professor of Music at Bradley University and has taught at Dickinson College and Yale University.



Eric Sawyer    Amherst MA 
   Anterooms
Eric Sawyer
The music of Eric Sawyer receives frequent performances on both coasts, including at New York’s Weill and Merkin concert halls and at Tanglewood, as well as in England, France, and China.  Sawyer’s opera Our American Cousin was premiered in 2008 by the Boston Modern Orchestra Project and released on the BMOP/sound label.  A second opera, The Garden of Martyrs, received its premiere from the Springfield Symphony in September 2013. A third, The Scarlet Professor, will be performed in workshop in June 2015.  Other recent works including Fantasy Concerto: Concord Conversations, composed for the piano trio Triple Helix and the Concord Orchestra. A chamber collection String Works and the cantata The Humble Heart are available on CD from Albany Records.  Mr. Sawyer has received the Joseph Bearns Prize, awards from the Tanglewood Music Center and the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He is on the music faculty at Amherst College. website: www.ericsawyer.net


Katherine Saxon   Santa Barbara CA
   Kubla Khan
Katherine Saxon
Katherine Saxon was born in Santa Monica, California and recently completed her Ph.D. in Music at the University of California, Santa Barbara, studying with Joel Feigin. While at UCSB she founded New Century Voices, an ensemble that workshops and performs music written by students. Katherine also holds a BA from Williams College where she studied composition with Ileana Perez-Velazquez and voice with Brad Wells and a Masters of Music from the University of Oregon where she studied with Robert Kyr and David Crumb. Her work Speed and Perfection received first prize in the San Francisco Choral Artists’ 2012 New Voices Competition. Navona Records released East of the Sun/ West of the Moon and Vox Dilect Mei on the album Polarities: exploring the contemporary expanse in March 2014. This winter she spent five weeks at the Banff Centre in Alberta working on her science fiction opera, The Cradle of Dreams. katherinesaxon.com


Ken Walicki    Fullerton CA
   just like a dream experience
Ken Walicki
Ken Walicki is widely recognized and acknowledged for his dramatic, engaging music. He has received grants and commissions from ACF, the NEA, the Jerome Foundation, the Kronos Quartet, ETHEL, the New Century Saxophone Quartet, the Soldier String Quartet, the Mary Flagler Cary Trust, and Meet the Composer.  He is composer-in-residence for the Divan Consort. As a Fulbright scholar, he studied with Karlheinz Stockhausen, and Helmut Lachenmann, and in master classes with Copland, Barber, and William Schumann. Walicki has collaborated with artists from the classical, pop, theater, film, and dance worlds.  He was the founder and composer of the Ken Valitsky Ensemble.  He was the first composer to have turntables as a regular instrument in a ensemble. Walicki was on the faculty at NYU, and Istanbul Technical University.  He is director of composition at Cal State, Fullerton.  His music is available on Knitting Factory Works, C.R.I., CRS Artists, and Channel Records.


The American Prize in Composition, 2015—choral music (professional division):
SPECIAL JUDGES' CITATIONS

Kathleen McGuire, Andy Payne and Jonathon Welch   Parkville, Australia
   Street Requiem 
"Dignifying the Homeless Through Song"
Kathleen McGuire
Australian-born Kathleen McGuire DMA became a US citizen in 2010. She composed Street Requiem in 2014 in collaboration with Australian composers Jonathon Welch AM and Andy Payne as a response to increased violence and a loss of safety on our streets. The cantata, which has been premiered in Australia - and in the US with soloist Frederica von Stade - was featured on NPR. McGuire has conducted in many countries in such venues as Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center and the Sydney Opera House. In 2010 she founded Singers of the Street (SOS) in San Francisco – a choir of people at risk of homelessness. Recognising her contributions, “Kathleen McGuire Day” was designated twice by San Francisco. In 2013 she returned to Australia, assuming positions as Director of Music at Queen’s College – The University of Melbourne and co-Artistic Director of the School of Hard Knocks. www.schoolofhardknocks.org.au


Otter Dreaming   Decorah IA
   selected works
"Charming Music for Singing and Playing Together"


Otter Dreaming
Otter Dreaming was born in Iowa in 1957. As a child, he took piano lessons and relished the countryside. He lives with his husband and three-year-old daughter in a small, rural community where he gardens, gives piano lessons, performs and composes.


The American Prize in Composition, 2015—choral music (student division):

The American Prize winner:
KYLE RANDALL selected works
San Francisco CA
KYLE RANDALL
Kyle Randall is an internationally-performed composer, with premieres across the world from Carnegie Hall to La Schola Cantorum in Paris and Harvard's Memorial Hall, and he has received commissions from renowned groups such as the Harvard Glee Club and the Juventas New Music Ensemble. In his music, Kyle strives for vividness and sincerity, and he enjoys writing in a wide variety of styles. Listeners have commented on his directness and clarity of expression, and appreciate his willingness to draw on the past as well as the present in his writing. Born and raised in New Hampshire, Kyle received a B.A. from Harvard, where he studied composition with Chaya Czernowin, Hans Tutschku, Richard Beaudoin, and Trevor Baca, and he is currently pursuing a Master's in composition from San Francisco Conservatory, studying with David Garner. In his spare time, he likes to read, cook, hike, and ski. www.kylerandall.com


2nd Place:
KEITH ALLEGRETTI "Three Nocturnes"
Santa Fe NM
KEITH ALLEGRETTI
A native of Santa Fe, New Mexico, Keith Allegretti is a composer and pianist who enjoys working comfortably in many genres, including chamber, orchestral, vocal, and electronic music, and even musical theater. His music has been performed in Santa Fe, Houston, Berlin, Ann Arbor, New York and elsewhere by professional and amateur ensembles, including Santa Fe New Music, Quartetto Indaco, the Rice University Chorale, the University of Michigan Symphony Orchestra, Circuit Bridges, the Santa Fe Community Orchestra, and the American Creators Ensemble. He holds degrees in composition from Rice University and the University of Michigan. For more information, please visit www.keithallegretti.com.


3rd Place:
JULIA SEEHOLZER selected works
Santa Monica CA
JULIA SEEHOLZER
Julia Seeholzer (b. 1990) takes much of her compositional influence from color – intervalic relationships conjure specific hues, which in turn dictate a piece’s direction. She is currently finishing her Master’s degree in composition at Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music, where she studies with Joel Hoffman. Julia received her B.M. in composition from Berklee College of Music, where she graduated summa cum laude.

Julia’s pieces have been played by the ensembles including the Esterhazy String Quartet, Kalistos Chamber Orchestra, Trio d’Esprit, and members of the LA Philharmonic. She has presented work in master classes with John Corigliano, Robert Carl, Craig Hella Johnson, and others. In 2011, she attended Yale’s New Music Workshop as a composition fellow to study with Martin Bresnick. Julia has had works commissioned by groups such as the Tenuto Chamber Singers, WomenSing, and the University of Chicago's Camerata. To learn more about Julia, please visit her website at www.juliaseeholzer.com.

The American Prize in Composition—Chorus 
(student division)
SPECIAL JUDGES CITATION: "Career Encouragement Certificate"

DANIEL KNAGGS
selected works
Jackson MI
DANIEL KNAGGS
Daniel J. Knaggs, native of southeast Michigan, is a concert composer working in a wide range of media and styles. He has lived in France, Mexico, and Nicaragua and many aspects of these diverse cultures and languages find their way into his music.

Daniel’s music is heard in concert halls, churches, and radio broadcasts in both Europe and the Americas. In the last three years, his compositions have secured performances throughout the UK, France, Switzerland, Poland, Italy, Lithuania, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Mexico, and USA.

Daniel completed his master’s degree in music composition at Bowling Green State University in 2009 and graduated in 2007 from the University of Michigan with bachelor’s degrees in voice performance and Spanish. His composition teachers include Bright Sheng, Marilyn Shrude, Karim Al-Zand, Pierre Jalbert, and Arthur Gottschalk. Daniel was a full-time high school Spanish teacher for three years (2009-2012) and is now pursuing a doctorate in music composition at Rice University Shepherd School of Music.


HONORABLE MENTION: 
ANDREY STOLYAROV i won't even stop
Verona NJ 
ANDREY STOLYAROV
Andrey Stolyarov (b. 1990) is a composer, conductor, and singer, currently beginning his Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Composition at The Hartt School in West Hartford, CT. Andrey’s recent achievements in composition include a residency at the Unitarian Society of Hartford and multiple national and international premieres. His piece Ebb & Flow won first prize at the 2014 ISAM Festival Joseph Dorfman International Composition Competition in Ochsenhausen, Germany. Additionally, Andrey was a finalist in the 2014 ASCAP Morton Gould competition and the Khorikos ensemble’s ORTUS competition. Andrey is currently the Director of Music at West Avon Congregational Church in Avon, CT, and is a graduate music theory teaching fellow at The Hartt School. He is an active professional choral singer in the Hartford and New Haven areas, currently performing with the CONCORA ensemble based out of New Britain, CT. www.andreystolyarov.com 


***
Congratulations to all 2015 composition laureates.
6 months ago | |
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The American Prize is pleased to announce FINALIST choruses for 2015 in all categories. 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.

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

FINALISTS: The American Prize in Choral Performance—professional division

Robert Simpson   Houston Chamber Choir 
    Houston, TX 

Jean-Sebastien Vallee    Inspiravi 
    Los Angeles, CA 


FINALISTS: The American Prize in Choral Performance—community chorus division
Martin Benvenuto   Peninsula Womens Chorus 
    Palo Alto, CA 

Ryan Brandau    Princeton Pro Musica 
    Princeton, NJ

Linda L. Tedford    Susquehanna Chorale   
    Hershey, PA 

Loren W. Ponten    Opus 7 Vocal Ensemble 
    Seattle, WA 

Jean-Sebastien Vallee    Mountainside Master Chorale 
    Pamona, CA 

Steven Szalaj    Voices In Harmony 
    Crystal Lake, IL 

Mark Shapiro    Cantori New York 
    New York, NY 


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

David Holdhusen    USD Chamber Singers 
    Vermillion, SD 

Anthony J. Maglione    William Jewell College Concert
    Choir   Liberty, MO 

Peggy Dettwiler    Mansfield Univ. Concert Choir 
    Mansfield, PA 

Ethan Sperry    The Portland State Chamber Choir 
    Portland, OR 

Jo-Michael Scheibe    USC Thornton Chamber Singers 
    Los Angeles, CA 

Trent R. Brown   Chamber Choir of Bower School of Music 
    Fort Myers, FL 

Giselle Wyers    University of Washington Chorale 
    Seattle, WA 

Lisa Wong    The College of Wooster Chorus 
    Wooster, OH 


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

(Several fine choirs in this category suffered from auditions of poor recording quality and were not advanced to the finals. Excessive reverb, distortion at louder dynamics, tape hiss and other reproduction issues made evaluation difficult. Choruses not advanced are encouraged to apply in another contest year with auditions of better technical quality.)

Robyn Lana    Cincinnati Children's Choir 
    Cincinnati, OH 

Debbie Aurelius-Muir    Olympia HS Concert Choir 
    Stanford, IL 

Timothy  Powell    The Davidson Chorale 
    Augusta, GA 

Karyn Joaquino    The Brearley B-Naturals 
    New York, NY 

***
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 the division next month. 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.
6 months ago | |
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The American Prize is pleased to announce 2015 FINALIST conductors in choral 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.

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

FINALISTS: The American Prize in Conducting—professional chorus division

Robert Simpson
    Houston Chamber Choir    Houston, TX

Jean-Sebastien Vallee
    Inspiravi    Los Angeles, CA

Timothy Mount
    San Luis Obispo Mozart Festival and Vedantic Arts
    Ensemble    San Luis Obispo, CA and New York, NY

FINALISTS: The American Prize in Conducting—college/university chorus division

Hingrid Kujawinski
    Voorhees Choir    New Brunswick, NJ

Zebulon M. Highben
    Muskingum Concert Choir & Chamber Singers
    New Concord, OH

Andrew Minear
    Andrew Minear's DMA Recital Choir    East Lansing, MI

Kevin M. Geraldi
    UNCG Symphony Orchestra and Choirs
    Greensboro, NC

Cory Alexander
    UF Women's Chorale & Mens's Glee Club
    Gainesville, FL

Eliezer Yanson
    Jr. Combined Choirs of Bob Jones University
    Greenville, SC


FINALISTS: The American Prize in Conducting—school and community chorus division

Kyle J. Weary
    Barbara Ingram School for the Arts    Hagerstown, MD

Timothy Michael Powell
    The Davidson Chorale    Augusta, GA

Frank Martignetti
    Mystic River Chorale    Mystic, CT

Matthew Phelps
    West End UMC Chancel Choir    Nashville, TN

Emily Isaacson
    Oratorio Chorale    Brunswick, ME

***

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! I've 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 next month. 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.



6 months ago | |
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The American Prize is pleased to announce FINALISTS in arts marketing for 2015. This is a new competition. 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.

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

FINALISTS: The American Prize in Arts Marketing

Mitchell Hutchings    Houghton Lyric Theater—Opera and Music Theater Ensemble   
    Houghton, NY  

Iris Derke    General Director and Co-Founder  DCINY, and the DCINY team
    New York, NY


***

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 the division next month. 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 pleased to announce FINALIST opera ensembles for 2015. 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.

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

FINALISTS: The American Prize in Opera Performance

David Holley    Univ. of North Carolina—Greensboro 
    Greensboro, NC
for Galileo Galilei (Glass) 

Maria Sensi Sellner    Resonance Works Pittsburgh 
    Pittsburgh, PA
for Elixir of Love

Brooke Lamell   Opera Theatre of Yale College 
    New Haven, CT
for Hansel & Gretel

Tania Arazi Coambs    Indiana University of Pennsylvania 
    Indiana, PA
for The Tender Land

Rebecca Renfro Grimes    Sam Houston State University 
    Huntsville, TX
for L'enfant et les sortileges

Brian DeMaris    Mill City Summer Opera 
    Ithaca, NY
for Tosca

Mary Beth Sederburg    Undercroft Opera 
    Pittsburgh, PA
for The Magic Flute

***

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 the division next month. 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.
6 months ago | |
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The American Prize is pleased to announce 2015 FINALIST conductors in the opera/music theater division. 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.

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

FINALISTS: The American Prize in Conducting—opera/music theater division

Walter Morales
    Undercroft Opera     Pittsburgh, PA
    for Die Fledermaus

Jun Kim
    University of Wisconsin Milwaukee    Milwaukee, WI
    for Suor Angelica

Michael Sakir
    Northwestern University Bienen School of Music
    Evanston, IL
    for Dead Man Walking (Heggie)

Brian DeMaris
    Mill City Summer Opera    Ithaca, NY
    for Tosca

***

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:

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The American Prize is pleased to announce FINALIST musical theater ensembles for 2015. 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.

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

FINALISTS: The American Prize in Theater & Musical Theater Performance

Kristina Keener Ivy    Top Billing Entertainment Performance Academy   Glendora, CA  
    for Beauty and the Beast

Kyle J. Weary    Barbara Ingram School for the Arts   Hagerstown, MD  
    for Shrek

Nancy Allen    Belmont University Musical Theatre   Nashville, TN  
    for Oklahoma!

Nicole Pedroche    Royal Oak Middle School   
    Covina, CA  
    for The Drowsy Chaperone

***

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 the division next month. 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 "

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Congratulations to all finalists.


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The American Prize is pleased to announce FINALIST stage directors for 2015. 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.

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


FINALISTS: The American Prize in Stage Direction

David Ward—Univ. of AZ Fred Fox School of Music Opera Theater   Tucson, AZ
    for The Medium/Old Maid and the Thief

Sarah Hutchings—Houghton Lyric Theater   
Houghton, NY
    for The Elixir of Love
 
Tracelyn Gesteland—University of South Dakota Opera   Vermillion, SD
    for Too Many Sopranos (Penhorwood)

George Cederquist—Pittsburgh Opera   Pittsburgh, PA 
    for Dark Sisters (Muhly)

Tania Arazi Coambs—Indiana University of Pennsylvania   Indiana, PA
    for The Tender Land

Stephen Carr—Eastman School of Music   Rochester, NY
    for Dialogues of the Carmelites

Daniel B. Ellis—Theatre in the Round   
Minneapolis, MN  
    for The Beaux' Stratagem


***

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! I've 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 next month. 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 "

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The American Prize is honored to announce the winners, runners-up, honorable mentions and citations recipients in the chamber music division of The American Prize in Composition, 2015. Congratulations!

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

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

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

The American Prize in Composition, 2015—chamber music (professional division):

For the first time in its history, The American Prize has had a tie for first place in a competition. The American Prize in Composition (chamber music—professional division) is awarded to two distinguished creators, each for a string quartet. We congratulate these exceptional artists and hope the awarding of The Prize will help stimulate more performances of their music and additional recognition for their exceptional artistry. In alphabetical order:

The American Prize winner:
DAVID GARNER   San Francisco CA
for String Quartet No. 2
DAVID GARNER
Composer David Garner (b. 1954) is well known and often performed in the San Francisco Bay Area.  His body of work reflects his historical knowledge, theatrical flair, and genre-defying technique. Critics call his works "alluring," "brilliant," "simple yet subtle," "beautiful," "imaginative," and "a heady and touching revelation."  As Janos Gereben of the San Francisco Classical Voice states: “Bottom line: It's the kind of new music you want to hear again.”

Recent critically-acclaimed premieres include "Vilna Poems", for soprano, clarinet, cello and piano (released on the Pentatone Classics CD, "The Hours Begin to Sing"), and String Quartet No. 2, premiered by the Han Quartet for the San Francisco-Shanghai International Chamber Music Festival. Looking forward, Garner composing a full-length opera for Opera Parallèle’s  2016-2017 season. Set in 1880's San Francisco Barbary Coast, with libretto by Mark Hernandez, it promises to be a vital and compelling new work. Website: www.davidgarner.us



The American Prize winner:
JUDITH LANG ZAIMONT   Maricopa AZ
for String Quartet 'The Figure'
JUDITH LANG ZAIMONT
Internationally recognized throughout the US., Europe and Asia as a distinguished composer.  Composer of 120 works spanning all genres. Pieces awarded Gold Medal-First Prizes  in international composition competitions, Guggenheim Fellowship, awards from both National Endowments (in Music  // in Humanities), 2003 Aaron Copland Award, 2012 honors in Orchestral Composition (The American Prize), and top prizes chamber music (Third Millennium; Tempus Continuum). Recently designated 2014  Commissioned Composer by The Sorel Organization: 50-minute fourth symphony, Pure, Cool  (Water), which received its world premiere by the Janacek Philharmonic in Vienna in November 2014, and is being recorded by that orchestra in spring 2015. Actively commissioned.  Music used as competition repertoire for international contests in piano, conducting and voice. Two dozen CDs currently available  (Naxos, MSR Classics, Navona, Leonarda, Albany).  Two works on Century Lists (Chamber Music America, International Piano magazine ). Publisher: Subito Music. Also a distinguished educator, skilled writer and editor, and active juror for  national competitions.  www.jzaimont.com


2nd place: 
SAHBA AMINIKIA   San Francisco CA
for Tar o Pood (Warp and Weft)
SAHBA AMINIKIA
Born in 1981 in Tehran, Iran, Aminikia studied music composition in Russia at the St. Petersburg State Conservatory under Boris Ivanovich Tishchenko, a post-graduate student of Dimitri Shostakovich. In his homeland, Aminikia studied under renowned Iranian composer, Mehran Rouhani, a former student of Michael Tippet and Iranian pianists, Nikan Milani, Safa Shahidi and Gagik Babayan.

He received his Bachelor of Music and his Master of Music with honors from San Francisco Conservatory of Music under Dan Becker, David Garner and David Conte where he was the proud recipient of Phyllis Wattis Foundation scholarship. He has also received lessons from Conrad Susa, Richard Danielpour, John Corigliano, Oswaldo Golijov and John Adams. He is the recipient of many various commissions from ensembles such as Kronos Quartet, Symphony Parnassus, San Francisco Conservatory of Music New Music Ensemble, Mobius Trio, Delphi Trio, Areon Flutes, and Living Earth Show.



3rd Place (there was a tie):
DANIEL MCCARTHY   Akron OH
for Visions of the Anointed
DANIEL MCCARTHY
Daniel McCarthy’s music has been described as "Sassy, foreboding, refreshing and kicky--it's called style" (USA Today).  Numerous recordings of his music appear on Albany, Centaur, d'Note Classics, Gasparo, and Klavier Records and 117 publications with C. Alan Publications.

Among awards for his music are The "Doc Severinsen International Composition Prize, The Harvey Phillips Excellence Award, New Generations Commissioning Project, The Sackler Award, The International New Music Consortium Prize, (New York University), Belgrade ppIANISSIMO Composition Prize, and a Life-Time Achievement Proclamation The State of Michigan Legislature.

Daniel is Professor and Chair of Composition and Theory at the University of Akron School of Music where he holds the Distinguished University Research Award.  He previously held the Theodore Dreiser Research/Creativity Award at the Indiana State University School of Music and served as Visiting Scholar at The University of Michigan, The Ohio University School of Music, and DePauw University. website:  danielmccarthy.net


3rd Place (there was a tie):
FILIPPO SANTORO   New Haven CT
for Duplum

FILIPPO SANTORO
Filippo Santoro is an Italian composer who studied with composers Luciano Pelosi, Boris Porena and Stephen Dembski and draws inspiration from the teaching of Franco Donatoni. Santoro was born in Rome and received a Master’s Degree in composition as well as diplomas in piano performance and chamber music from the Conservatory of Santa Cecilia in Rome. He graduated from University of Bologna with a Master’s Degree in music and semiotics and from State University of New York, Binghamton with a Master’s Degree in composition. He holds a Doctorate of Musical Arts in composition at the University of Wisconsin where he was the recipient of the UW-Madison University Fellowship. His work Arioso Mistico for soprano and orchestra was the winner of the 2010 UW-Madison Concerto Competition.  His most recent music takes inspiration from nature and the way biological forms grow and develop. Recent commissions and premieres of his music include the UW-Madison Symphony Orchestra, Clocks in Motion percussion ensemble, UW-Madison Contemporary Chamber Ensemble, the Boston duo based Transient Canvas, the ensemble Lakeshore Rush and solo virtuosos such as Marc Vallon, Kostas Tiliakos and Doug Lindsey. He has been an artist in residence at the Kimmel Nelson Center for the Arts. Filippo continues to work with ensembles and performers who are engaged in his musical language and he is keen to explore and promote new avenues for composer and audience interaction through technology.  www.filipposantorocomposer.com


The American Prize in Composition, 2015—chamber music (professional division):
HONORABLE MENTIONS

MATTHEW H. FIELDS   Ann Arbor MI
for Progeny of Memory
MATTHEW H. FIELDS
Matthew H. Fields focuses on the potential for non-verbal aspects of sound to fascinate, delight, and evoke wonder. The winner of the League-ISCM Composers Competition, Colorado State Music Teachers Association Composers Commission, Minnesota Orchestra Composers Institute and Reading Sessions, and various other honors, Fields follows Borodin's path by working for a hospital by day and composing by night. Born 1961 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Fields grew up Deerfield, Illinois, and earned degrees from Oberlin College, Oberlin Conservatory, Stanford University, and University of Michigan. Many of his works are recorded on the Centaur Records label. Fields is represented by Price Rubin and Partners, www.pricerubin.com/classical/index.php?summarynumber=576 Matthew H. Fields on the Web: www.MatthewFields.NET


STEFANIE LUBKOWSKI   Cambridge MA
for This is the Light of Autumn
STEFANIE LUBKOWSKI
Stefanie Lubkowski studied flute, organ, and piano as a child before concentrating on the classical guitar. Early explorations with her mother’s Wurlitzer organ and in her high school’s electronic music studio nurtured Stefanie’s interest in creating sound worlds guided by harmony, punctuated by melody, and inspired by poetry and prose. She went on to study Music and Technology and Guitar Performance at Connecticut College and received her masters from New England Conservatory where her primary teachers were Lee Hyla and Pozzi Escot.

Stefanie has written for orchestra, voice, various chamber ensembles, and electronic media, including commissions from Auros Group for New Music, Ashleigh Gordon, Anthology, New Gallery Concert Series, Alea III, and The Fourth Wall Ensemble. She received her doctorate in composition from Boston University in 2014, where her teachers included Ketty Nez and Sam Headrick. Stefanie currently teaches at Brown University. To hear more of her music at www.stefanielubkowski.com.


KAMYAR MOHAJER   Santa Clara CA
for String Quartet
KAMYAR MOHAJER
With significant new works, the composer Kamyar Mohajer’s passion for music has resurfaced.  As a Silicon Valley tech executive, with a background in music and law, Mohajer resumed his pursuit of his true calling in 2007. Mohajer combines the influences of his Persian homeland with a unique approach to harmony, counterpoint and poly-tonality.   He has studied with the celebrated Iranian-American composer Behzad Ranjbaran, as well as with award-winning west coast composer Giancarlo Aquilanti.  Mohajer earned a BFA in music from York University in Toronto.

Mohajer’s compositions include his Symphony No. 1, Bliss for orchestra (2014), half a dozen solo piano works, and many chamber works including a string trio commissioned by Ensemble Epomeo to be premiered in 2015.  In May 2015, his string quartet and 5 Songs (Based on Poetry of Hafez) is performed at Stanford University by the Ives Quartet, pianist Laura Dahl, and mezzo soprano Buffy Baggott. www.kamyarmohajer.com


REBECCA OSWALD   Eugene OR
for Theseus and the Minotaur 
REBECCA OSWALD
Rebecca Oswald is an awardwinning composer and pianist. She has written art songs, music for solo piano, various choral and chamber ensembles, string, chamber, and full orchestra, chorus with orchestra, a clarinet concerto, and the music for two CD-ROM games. Oswald’s discography includes two albums of original solo piano music (“Whereas” and “October Wind”), plus several chamber works and two orchestral works. She was a finalist for The American Prize 2014 in chamber composition and choral composition.

Oswald grew up in Oklahoma, Colorado, and Texas. She earned a BMus summa cum laude in music theory and composition (with piano as principal instrument and voice minor) from Westminster Choir College of Rider University (1998), and an MM in music composition from the University of Oregon School of Music (2001) where she was named Outstanding Graduate Student Composer of 2001. Today she calls Oregon home. For more information please visit www.rebeccaoswald.com.


JORGE ELIAS VARIEGO   Knoxville TN
for Walls 
JORGE ELIAS VARIEGO
Jorge Variego was born in Rosario, Argentina. He has a doctorate degree in music composition from the University of Florida, a masters of music degree in composition and clarinet performance form Carnegie Mellon University, where he attended as a Fulbright scholar, and a JD equivalent from the National University of Rosario. He is currently Lecturer in Music Theory and Composition at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Previously, he pursued research at the Institute of Sonology, and served as music faculty at Valley City State University and at the University of Florida. He participated in many international music festivals such as MATA, SEAMUS, EMS, Holland Festival, Sonoimágenes, and can be heard on many CDs, including his most recent solo CD's Necessity (Albany-2010) and Regress (CMMAS-2013), and in a recent album by SCI Pendulum (PARMA Records 2014). In June 2013, he was resident artist at the Visby Centre for Composers, in Sweden.
More information: www.jorgevariego.com


NICK VASALLO   Eastvale CA
for When the War Began
NICK VASALLO
Award-winning composer, sound designer, teacher, vocalist and guitarist, Nick Vasallo is “a composer on a mission and one possessed of a distinctive voice” - Michael Quinn, 2012 (The Classical Review). His music exhibits “strokes of genius that blend the density of heavy metal with the harmonics of gamelan, the polyrhythms of taiko, and atonality” – François Couture, 2012 (Monsieur Délire). “…creating new sonic alloys never heard before. Vasallo’s work is a fresh music that may help usher in a new audience for classical music.” - Daniel L. Muñoz, 2014 (I Care If You Listen)

Director of Music Industry Studies at Diablo Valley College and Artistic Director for Composers, Inc., Vasallo has taught college-level courses in Music Theory, Composition, Digital Audio, Electronic Music, Music Appreciation, Form & Analysis, Counterpoint, Instrumentation, Music Industry, History of Rock & Roll, and Songwriting in addition to his work as a composer and performing artist. He has previously taught at Cal Poly Pomona, CSU East Bay, UC Santa Cruz, Gavilan College, and Los Medanos College. Vasallo currently composes, does lead vocals and plays bass for the modern extreme metal band Oblivion. His music is published by Santa Barbara Music Publishers and released by Innova Recordings and Unique Leader.


The American Prize in Composition, 2015—chamber music (professional division):
SPECIAL JUDGES' CITATION: 
"Most Entertaining Work of the 2015 Contest Year"

DANTE DESILVA  Tarzana CA
for Mr. Distinguished
DANTE DESILVA
Dante De Silva, a southern California native, studied composition at Humboldt State University, UC Santa Cruz, and UCLA, where his principal teachers were David Lefkowitz, Paul Reale, David Cope, Paul Nauert, J. Brian Post. He also studied piano with Deborah Clasquin and percussion with Eugene Novotney at Humboldt State University.

His compositions have been performed by such wonderful performers as Opera Parallèle, Gloria Cheng, the Talea Ensemble, What’s Next Ensemble, Phyllis Chen, Ryan MacEvoy McCullough, Arizona Women in Tune, Composer’s Inc., as well many others. He was the composer-in-residence with the Definiens Project (2005-2007) and the Tonoi Ensemble (2006-2007).

Upcoming premieres include Grunge Factory for The B Band, Teasdale Poems for Lucy Hazel Fitz Gibbon, and Drive-Thru Etudes, Book 2 for Ryan MacEvoy McCullough. He currently lives in Los Angeles with his wife, two sons, and a cat. For more information, go to www.dantedesilva.com.



The American Prize in Composition—Chamber Music (student division)

The American Prize winner:
Derek David    Boston MA
    String Quartet No. 1, Viola Sonata
Derek David
Praised by composer John Adams for his “masterful demonstration of technique” in his viola sonata, composer Derek David is emerging as an exciting new musical talent of contemporary concert music. Adams also went on to say that he was “dazzled by [David’s] capabilities and musicality.”

As a composer, Derek has been the recipient of the EAMA prize, Morton Gould ASCAP Award, and has received composition fellowships from the EAMA and Aspen Music Festivals. As an educator, Derek has been teaching keyboard harmony at The New England Conservatory of Music since and has held an interim faculty position at the Boston Conservatory in the fall semester of 2014 where he taught theory, musicianship, and keyboard harmony. Mr. David is a current teaching fellow at Harvard University where he teaches music theory.

He currently resides in Boston, Massachusetts where he is completing his Doctor of Music degree in composition at the New England Conservatory of Music in the studio of Michael Gandolfi. For more information and a full biography, please visit www.derekdavid.com


2nd Place:
Bin Li    New York NY
    What I Have Forgotten
Bin Li
Bin Li (b. 1987, Fuzhou, China) is an emerging composer based in New York City. His music has been performed internationally in festivals and venues such as the Aspen Music Festival, Avanti! XXIX Suvisoitto (Finland), Palais Montcalm (Quebec), Neuen Synagoge (Berlin), Yogyakarta Contemporary Music Festival (Indonesia), the Buskirk-Chumley Theatre, Midwest Composers Symposium and SoundCrawl. Bin has won prizes from SCI/ASCAP Commissioning Competition, Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra Composition Competition, International Society of Bassists Composition Competition and Cortona Prize.
?
Bin holds degrees from the Jacobs School of Music and the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University. His principle teachers at IU were P.Q. Phan, David Dzubay, Claude Baker and Jeffrey Hass (Electronic).  Additional studies include Samuel Adler in Berlin (2012), George Tsontakis at Aspen Festival (2012), Georg Friedrich Haas and Fred Lerdahl in France (2013), and Jukka Tiensuu and Jouni Kaipainen at Sävellyspaja in Finland (2014). For more information, please visit www.bindavidli.com


3rd Place:
Trevor Bumgarner    New York NY
   Everything Went Quiet
Trevor Bumgarner
From North Carolina, Trevor Bumgarner is a bassoonist who first began composing during college. He is currently in the Masters of Music Composition program at the Juilliard School studying with Robert Beaser. His first composition received the Emerging Composer mention, the first of three consecutive awards including honorable mention, from the Tribeca New Music Young Composers Competition. Trevor won the 2013 Edging the Cut competition and was an American Prize semi-finalist. He has had performances or recordings by groups such as the Cassatt Quartet, Dark in the Song, and members of the International Contemporary Ensemble. Trevor has had performances at several conferences including the Society of Composers Student National Conference and the NASA region IV conference. Trevor Bumgarner graduated from UNC-Greensboro summa cum laude with a BM in Composition and Bassoon Performance studying with Mark Engebretson, Alejandro Rutty, and Michael Burns. Website: www.LooseCanonMusic.net


The American Prize in Composition—Chamber Music (student division)
HONORABLE MENTIONS: 

Jean Patrick Besingrand    Pittsburgh PA
    Et le vent murmura le nom de Sarah
Jean Patrick Besingrand
Jean-Patrick Besingrand was born in France in 1985. He has a Master’s degree in Musicology from the University of Bordeaux, and graduated with high honors in Analysis, Harmony, Counterpoint, Fugue, Composition, and Soundpainting from the Bordeaux Conservatory under the tutelage of Patrice DeFaccio, Laurent Soulié, Jean-Louis Agobet, and Etienne Rolin. Currently, he is enrolled in Carnegie Mellon University’s Advanced Certificate in Composition program under the supervision of Leonardo Balada. He is also working on his doctoral thesis at the Sorbonne in Paris. Jean-Patrick has participated in several festivals and masterclasses,  and has received recognition from composition competitions around the world.

His music has been performed by the Mivos Quartet, the Carnegie Mellon Philharmonic, the Carnegie Mellon Contemporary Ensemble, the Very Small Consortium Ensemble, the Aurae Duo, and by the soloists Thomas Piercy, Vilian Ivantchev, Elsa Seger, and Andrew White.
His music is published by Questions de Tempéraments.


Cody Brookshire    Gainesville GA
   PRISM
Cody Brookshire
Cody Brookshire's music has been performed at events and venues such as the 2015 N_SEME at Bowling Green State University, the OME Marathon Concert in Phoenix, Arizona, the New York City Electroacoustic Music Festival at the Abrons Art Center, the Ammerman Center for Arts and Technology Symposium in Connecticut, and the Guangzhou Grand Theater in China. He has written music for So Percussion, the Athens Guitar Duo, the University of Georgia Bands, and the University of North Georgia String Orchestra. Awards include 1st place in the 2014 SCL Competition with his guitar trio, Shrapnel, and he was a semi-finalist for the 2013 American Prize in Composition with Slumbers Kiss Your Golden Eyes for flute, viola, and harp. Two of his electronic compositions have been digitally released: Harmonic Meditation, No. 1 appears on the 2014 SEAMUS Electroacoustic Miniatures album Transients, and M3TA11UR6Y appears on Sonic Flux released by the EMPiRES label.


Daniel Despins    Wilmington DE
    Off to War, Lads
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 classical 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. 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.


Zachary Ploeger    Pipestone MN
    Galactic Voyage
Zachary Ploeger
Trumpeter and Composer, Zachary Ploeger is a promising up and coming musician. As a senior in high school, Zach began to experiment in composition, having his first piece for band played only months later. Zach now studies trumpet performance and composition at Western Michigan University, one of the nations premier public schools of music. Zachary’s primary teachers at Western are Scott Thornberg, trumpet, and Dr. Richard Adams, composition.

As a composer, Zach writes a wide range of works. His pieces are frequently played on recitals and composers concerts at Western Michigan University and in the surrounding Midwest area. Zach was recently named a Minnesota Public Radio Finalist in their young composers contest. Zach is also a published composer, having his pieces on the websites of both J.W. Pepper and Sons, as well as Sheet Music Plus. He also maintains a website where all of his pieces can be viewed, ordered, or heard. Zach has studied composition with Dr. Richard Adams and Dr. Lisa Coons and is a member of both The Society of Composers and ASCAP. www.zacharyploeger.com


Weijun Chen    Buffalo NY
    Canoe
Weijun Chen
Weijun Chen (b. 1990) is a Chinese-American composer of contemporary concert music. His music has been performed and read by ensembles such as Eastman Wind Ensemble, Arditti Quartet (UK), TALEA Ensemble, Momenta Quartet, Uusinta Ensemble (Finland), Deviant Septet, Freya String Quartet, Cuong Vu Trio, Ensemble Son (Sweden), and Either/OR, among others. A Presidential Fellow, Weijun is currently pursuing his PhD at the State University of New York at Buffalo, where he studies composition with David Felder. He has studied composition with Ricardo Zohn-Muldoon, Lisa Bielawa, David Liptak, Carlos Sanchez-Gutierrez, and Robert Morris. Weijun holds two BMs from the Eastman School of Music in both composition and music theory (Highest Distinction), as well as an Arts Leadership Certificate. For more information, please visit http://www.weijunchen.com.


Hangrui Zhang    Cincinnati OH
    A Wild Runaway
Hangrui Zhang
Hangrui Zhang (b.1989) is a Chinese student composer. Now, he is studying in College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) as a third-year undergraduate student. Hangrui entered the world of music much later than most of his contemporaries. At the age of 20, he found his interest in music, and began his study as a beginner. During that time, he studied music very independently, and often involving self-teaching. After two-year music study and one-year English study, in the year of 2012, he began his first formal music study in CCM. His composition teachers include Jian Feng, Mara Helmuth, Douglas Knehans and Michael Fiday. His music has been performed by such groups as the Eurydice Quartet, the Donald Sinta Quartet, the CCM Chamber Players, and by performers at the College-Conservatory of Music.


The American Prize in Composition—Chamber Music (student division)
YOUNG ARTIST CERTIFICATES: 

Christopher Couling    South Lyon MI
    Apres un Reve
Christopher Couling
Christopher Couling attends South Lyon High School in South Lyon, MI. He hopes to continue composing music throughout his life, and is an avid supporter of melody. Chris can be contacted a coulingmusic@gmail.com.


Brandon Rafal Epstein    Dix Hills NY
    Code-switch

Brandon Rafal Epstein
·       Music Education:
-The Juilliard School, Private music composition student of Dr. Kyle Blaha, 2009-present.
-Piano (lessons and recitals), student of Robin Helfner: 2006-present.
-Viola (lessons and recitals), student of Siobhan Hohf: 2008-present.
·       Orchestra:
-Gemini Youth Orchestra, Symphony (viola): 2014-present.
-Gemini Youth Orchestra, Philharmonia (viola): 2012-2014.
-Half Hollow Hills Cross Campus Chamber Orchestra (viola): 2013-present.
-Half Hollow Hills Symphony Orchestra (viola): 2014-present.
·       Tri-M Music Honor Society: 2013-present.
·       Performance History:
-Concerts at Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center, Gemini Youth Symphony Orchestra (2015), Gemini Youth Philharmonia Orchestra (2013, 2014).
·       Award History:
-Finalist in ASCAP Foundation Morton Gould Young Composers Award in 2014
-First Place Award and Overall Best Orchestra Award in Music in the Parks 2013 and 2014 Competitions.


Julia Riew    St.Louis MO
    Laughing Lake 
Julia Riew
Julia Riew, 15, is a sophomore at John Burroughs School.  She started playing the violin at age four and studies with Joo Kim at the Community Music School of Webster University (CMS).  Julia began composing at age 8 and recently has composed an orchestral piece as well as a quartet piece, both of which were performed during concerts at her school. Furthermore, Julia loves songwriting and has written over a dozen songs as well her first musical this year.

Julia currently sits as concertmaster of the John Burroughs Senior Orchestra. Julia has also played in the Saint Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra and four orchestras at CMS. She is honored to be the recipient of three merit scholarships at the CMS.  During her free time, Julia enjoys singing, acting, playing the guitar and ukulele.  She also enjoys reading to preschool aged children in the Ready Readers Program.


Ben Vining    Flagstaff AZ
    Starry Night Over The Rhone
Ben Vining
Ben Vining is a young composer living in Flagstaff, Arizona. A high school senior aged 16, The American Prize in Chamber Music Composition is one of Mr. Vining's first major awards, for his set of impressions for string quartet inspired by the van Gogh painting "Starry Night Over The Rhone".

Mr. Vining enjoys writing concert music and performing as a cellist, but his ultimate goal is to write and stage opera.

In the fall, Ben will be attending Arizona State University to study music theory and composition.


***

Congratulations to all 2015 composition laureates.
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