Thursday, June 21, 2018

WINNERS: opera companies, 2017-18


The American Prize is honored to announce the winners, runners-up and citation recipients of The American Prize in Opera Performance, 2017-18. Congratulations!

Complete listings of finalists and semi-finalists in The American Prize competitions may be found elsewhere on this blog. Please use the chronological tool in the right-hand column to find specific results.

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

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


The American Prize in Opera Performance, 2017-18—professional division

The American Prize winner:  
Queen City Opera 
Isaac Selya
Cincinnati OH
Siegfried

Queen City Opera
Queen City Opera was founded in 2012 to advance the careers of emerging singers, instrumentalists, designers, and conductors by giving them valuable professional engagements in high-quality productions. In recognition of their high artistic quality and work to transform neighborhoods through the arts, the company was profiled in August 2014 in the Business section of the Cincinnati Enquirer. In collaboration with the Wagner Society of Cincinnati, QCO is currently producing Wagner’s epic Ring Cycle, presented one act at a time. Their performance of Siegfried as part of this venture was the first complete performance of the work in the state of Ohio since the “touring Rings” over a century ago. For more information or to see recordings of any of our past productions, visit QueenCityOpera.Org.
 
 

2nd Place:
Resonance Works/Pittsburgh
Maria Sensi Sellner
Pittsburgh PA
Falstaff

Resonance Works/ Pittsburgh
Entering our fifth season, Resonance Works is a multi-modal professional performing arts company which presents a varied season of artist-driven programming blurring the lines across traditional classical music genres. We create our seasons to showcase outstanding professional artists from Pittsburgh and beyond, in performances that include fully staged opera, orchestral music, chamber music, choral music, and musical theater, often with compelling collaborators. Our growing community of artists are true creative partners and our work has quickly become an important part of the professional arts ecosystem in Pittsburgh. Our Resonance Chamber Orchestra, choruses, and opera casts have attracted top musicians through innovative programming, and by maintaining the highest professional musical standards. In 2017, Resonance Works presented the American premiere of Sir James MacMillan’s Gloria in coordination with his residency with the Pittsburgh Symphony, and next season will feature several Pittsburgh premieres by David Lang, Jake Heggie, and the first Pittsburgh performances of Dvořák’s Rusalka. www.resonanceworks.org
 
 

The American Prize in Opera Performance, 2017-18—college/university division

The American Prize winner:
Lawrence University
Copeland Woodruff
Appleton WI
The Beggar's Opera (Gay/Britten) 

Hydrogen Jukebox (Glass)
Lawrence University—The Beggar's Opera (Gay/Britten)

Lawrence University—Hydrogen Jukebox (Glass)
Lawrence University and Conservatory of Music is an all-undergraduate, liberal arts institution. The opera studies division is dedicated to training the young singing actor in all the elements for success: musical styles, acting, text/languages, and modern as well as traditional theatrical techniques. Recent productions have garnered national attention, because of their well-crafted and dedicated musical and dramatic performances. Offering performance opportunities as varied as improvised micro-operas, scenes programs, main stage operas, and re-imagined recital formats, LU is preparing the 21st-Century singing artist to meet the challenges of today’s market. Opera studies faculty: Copeland Woodruff and Andrew Crooks. Voice faculty: Kenneth Bozeman, Joanne Bozeman, Steven Paul Spears, Karen Leigh-Post, John Holiday, and John Gates.


2nd Place (there was a tie):
Arizona State University Lyric Opera Theatre
Brian DeMaris
Tempe AZ
H.M.S. Pinafore

Arizona State University Lyric Opera Theatre
ASU's Lyric Opera Theatre program is distinctive in that it combines training in both opera and musical theatre. Serving approximately 100 undergraduate and graduate opera and musical theatre majors from the ASU School of Music, and open to all students throughout the university, LOT is committed to preparing outstanding opera and musical theatre artists for professional careers in the 21st century. The program features formal collaborations and professional performance and study/cover opportunities with Arizona Opera and the Phoenix Theatre. The quality and scope of our program is demonstrated by our professionally active faculty, as well as the success of our alumni who are performing in major opera houses, on Broadway, television and film, in national touring companies, regional theaters, and teaching in university programs throughout the United States and the world.
 
 

2nd Place (there was a tie):
Bob Jones University
Darren P. Lawson
Greenville SC
C. Stanley Eby, conductor
Il Trovatore

Bob Jones University
The Bob Jones University Opera Association was founded in 1942 as part of the university’s commitment to liberal arts training for all of its students, who are provided free tickets to the productions.  It has become a national award-winning organization that mounts major operatic works, including Aida, Mefistofele, Samson et Dalila, Tosca, Andrea Chenier, L’Elisir d’Amore, Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Il Trovatore, Rigoletto, La Cenerentola, and others.  Opera productions are presented regularly, with guest artists featured in the principal roles along with student and faculty soloists. Supporting roles and chorus parts are taken by students who show requisite ability.  http://www.bju.edu/events/fine-arts/concert-opera-drama/archive/

 

3rd Place:
The Crane School of Music, SUNY—Potsdam
Kirk A. Severtson
Potsdam NY
The Tender Land

The Crane School of Music, SUNY—Potsdam
The award-winning Crane Opera Ensemble is a significant source for opera and music theatre in the North Country region of New York State. The ensemble is unique as it integrates the College mission of teaching, scholarship and public service, into its fully staged production each semester. The Crane Opera Ensemble has won the American Prize in Opera Performance in 2011 and 2012, as well as numerous awards from National Opera Association’s Collegiate Production Competition. We are proud that over 5,000 North Country school children have experienced opera performances and post-performance activities through our outreach program, most for the very first time. The Crane Opera Ensemble is the host organization for the Domenic J. Pellicciotti Opera Composition Competition, which recently awarded Tom Cipullo a commission and production award for his forthcoming work Mayo, which will be premiered by the Crane Opera Ensemble in November 2018.  https://www.potsdam.edu/academics/Crane/opera
 
 

Finalist Honorable Mention:
Opera Theatre of Yale College
Emma Clarkson
New Haven CT
The Cunning Little Vixen

Opera Theatre of Yale College
Founded in 1992, the Opera Theatre of Yale College is Yale’s undergraduate opera company, dedicated to offering Yale’s student artists the chance to produce and perform opera. OTYC was led in the 2016-17 season by Artistic Director Elias Brown ’17 and Managing Director Emma Clarkson ’17. Our 25th anniversary season in 2016-17 included Kurt Weill’s Down in the Valley in the fall and Bach’s “Coffee Cantata,” performed in an original English translation in a local coffee shop. Learn more about OTYC at http://www.operatheatreofyalecollege.org/.
 

Finalist Honorable Mention:
University of NC at Greensboro
David Holley
Greensboro NC
Amahl and the Night Visitors

University of NC at Greensboro
The UNCG Opera Theatre, led by David Holley, is highly acclaimed and the recipient of a number of awards. Seven productions have won First Place in the National Opera Association Opera Production Competition since 1993, including Susannah, Little Women, Orpheus in the Underworld, The Consul, Dialogues of the Carmelites, Amahl and the Night Visitors, and Don Giovanni, and five production have placed Second: Galileo Galilei, L’Enfant et les sortilèges, La vida breve, Albert Herring and Gianni Schicchi.  Amahl and the Night Visitors also won Third Place.  Recent productions have been finalists in the American Prize Competition: Galileo Galilei (2015) and Dialogues of the Carmelites (2016). The UNCG Opera Theatre commissioned renowned American composer Libby Larsen to write an opera based on William Inge’s play, Picnic, with a libretto written by David Holley.  Picnic was premiered in April of 2009.  For more information, visit http://opera.uncg.edu.
 
 

Finalist Honorable Mention:
University of Wisconsin—Madison
David Ronis
Madison WI
Falstaff

University of Wisconsin—Madison
UW-Madison University Opera is a cultural service of the Mead Witter School of Music at the University of Wisconsin-Madison whose mission is to provide comprehensive operatic training and performance opportunities for students and operatic programming to the community.  Since 1992, we have presented an annual season of two fully staged operas, as well as evenings of opera scenes.  Three of our recent productions - Le nozze di Figaro, Albert Herring, and Transformations - won awards in the 2015 and 2016 National Opera Association Opera Production Competition.  Other productions have included Falstaff, The Magic Flute, The Turn of the Screw, Ariodante and Beatrice et Benedict.  Many alumni of the program are currently enjoying significant opera careers, performing at major houses in the U.S. and abroad. http://www.music.wisc.edu/opera/
 
 

Honorable Mention:  
University of South Dakota
Vermillion SD 

Tracelyn Gesteland
David Holdhusen, conductor
The Marriage of Figaro

University of South Dakota
The University of South Dakota Opera offers training and performance opportunities for students interested in the art of opera.  Every semester, students have the opportunity to study and perform operatic literature from the common practice period as well as contemporary lyric theater.  Annually, USD Opera presents a main stage opera in addition to children’s touring outreach productions.  In 2016 and 2013, USD Opera was awarded Second Place for The American Prize in Opera Performance, and in 2012, won Third Place in division 3 of the National Opera Association’s Opera Production Competition.  USD Opera was also honored to perform children’s opera excerpts by invitation at the NOA national convention in 2011.


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Congratulations!

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

WINNING CONDUCTORS: chorus, 2017-18


The American Prize is honored to announce the winners, runners-up and citation recipients of The American Prize in Conducting, Choral Division, 2017-18. Congratulations!

Complete listings of finalists and semi-finalists in The American Prize competitions may be found elsewhere on this blog. Please use the chronological tool in the right-hand column to find specific results.

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

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


The American Prize in Conducting,  College/University Chorus Division, 2017-18

The American Prize winner:  
David Mann
Michigan State University Chamber Choir
East Lansing MI

David Mann
David Mann is currently studying for his master’s degree in Choral Conducting at Michigan State University with David Rayl, Jonathan Reed, and Sandra Snow. At MSU, David is the assistant director of the State Singers, Men’s Glee Club, and MSU Choral Union. In his first year at MSU, David has prepared choirs for performances of Handel’s Messiah, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, and Orff’s Carmina Burana. Since moving to East Lansing in August 2016, David has served as Choral Director at St. Thomas Aquinas Church.

David Mann holds a bachelor’s degree in Music Education from James Madison University where he studied conducting with Bryce Hayes, Jo-Anne van der Vat-Chromy, and Patrick Walders. Following his undergraduate degree, David taught for three years at Patriot High School in Nokesville, VA and conducted the adult choirs at Our Savior’s Way Lutheran Church.


2nd Place and Special Judges' Citation: 
"Outstanding Commitment to New Music"
Catherine Sailer
University of Denver Lamont Chorale
Denver CO

Catherine Sailer
Catherine Sailer is Director of Choral Studies at the University of Denver, conducts the Lamont Chorale, Lamont Women's Chorus, and the Evans Choir. She is also the Associate Conductor of the Colorado Ballet Orchestra. She was awarded the Robert Shaw Fellowship in 2005 and won first place at the ACDA Conducting Competition. Sailer has prepared many choruses, such as with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Colorado Symphony Orchestra, and for the Aspen Music Festival.

She received her conducting doctorate with honors from Northwestern University and her bachelor and master's degrees from the University of Denver. Sailer is an active clinician for choir and orchestra and her collegiate ensembles have appeared at CMEA and Southwest ACDA divisional conferences. She is President of Colorado ACDA and was selected to represent the division on the International Choral Exchange Program to Shanghai, China.


3rd Place (there was a tie): 
Lynda R. Hasseler
Capital University Chapel Choir
Columbus OH

Lynda R. Hasseler
Lynda Hasseler, D.M.A. is Professor of Music, Director of Choral Activities, and acting Head of the Voice Area in the Conservatory of Music at Capital University in Columbus, Ohio, where she directs the Chapel Choir, Choral Union, and vocal chamber ensemble, Philomel; and teaches choral methods and conducting. Nurturing Capital University’s rich choral legacy, the choirs under her direction have received numerous invitations to perform for multiple music regional and national conferences and festivals, have been awarded gold medals in world choral competitions and have toured nationally and internationally. She is co-editor of the Capital University Choral Series published by Beckenhorst Press, and has served as a choral clinician and guest conductor, regionally, nationally and internationally. Also a singer, Dr. Hasseler has performed, toured and recorded nationally and internationally with professional choral ensembles including the Robert Shaw Festival Chorus and the Oregon Bach Festival Chorus.


3rd Place (there was a tie): 
Ingrid Lestrud
Holy Cross College Choir
Worcester MA 

Ingrid Lestrud
Dr. Ingrid Lestrud enjoys an active career as a conductor and educator. Equally at home with orchestras and choirs, she has recently served as the Director of Choirs for the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA. Other recent positions include Assistant Conductor to Symphony Nova in Boston, MA; Director of Orchestras at Hope College in Holland, MI; Director of Choirs and Voice Department Chair at the Merit School of Music in Chicago. Prior to her conducting studies, Dr. Lestrud earned a Bachelor’s degree in vocal performance from Lawrence University. She holds her formal conducting degrees from Southern Methodist University where she studied with Paul Phillips, and Northwestern University where she studied with Victor Yampolsky.
 


The American Prize in Conducting,  Community Chorus Division, 2017-18

The American Prize winner:  
Allan Laino
University of Maryland Summer Chorus and Festival Orchestra
College Park MD

Allan Laino
Allan Laino maintains an active career in the DC metro area as an educator, conductor, singer, and composer. He has prepared choral ensembles for Britten’s War Requiem with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and Marin Alsop, Broadway Standing Ovations! with the BSO Pops and Jack Everly, Holiday Pops concerts with National Symphony Orchestra Pops and Steve Reineke, the Piedmont Symphony Orchestra, and the Josh Groban Live National Tour. As Co-Conductor of the Sunday Night Singers in 2012, he earned First Prize at the World Choir Games in the Mixed Chamber Choir Champions Division. He currently serves as Director of the University Singers at the Benjamin T. Rome School of Music, Drama, and Art at The Catholic University of America, Director of Music and Liturgy at St. Michael Poplar Springs Roman Catholic Church, Associate Director of the Reston Chorale, and the College/University Resources & Repertoire Chair for ACDA's MD/DC Chapter. His new piece, The New Colossus for 8-part mixed choir dedicated to refugees and immigrants, was recently premiered by The Bridge Ensemble.


2nd Place:
Chris David Westover
Bethel College Philharmonia & Oratorio Chorus
North Newton KS

Chris David Westover
Chris David Westover, D.M.A., is Assistant Professor of Music and conducts the Wind Ensemble at Denison University. Previously, he led wind ensembles, orchestras, and operatic performances at Bethel College, University of Oklahoma, and SMU. He is in demand as a conductor, having led ensembles in the US and China. His research focuses on the sources of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. Recently, he presented his research at Hong Kong Baptist University.

Dr. Westover commands a diverse repertoire including the core and contemporary repertoire of the orchestra and wind ensemble. An advocate for new music, he was a staff conductor for the TUTTI Festival and 4x4 Prizes and has commissioned and premiered many works. In 2010, Westover led the critically acclaimed Dallas premiere of Daniel Roumain’s “Darwin’s Meditation for the People of Lincoln” during the inaugural season of the Winspear Opera House. The Dallas Morning News said the performance “often shift[ed] between majesty and melancholy.”    


3rd Place (there was a tie):
Kevin Dibble
Chamber Singers of Iowa City
Iowa City IA

Kevin Dibble
Kevin Dibble is a Graduate Teaching Assistant in Choral Conducting, pursuing his Doctorate of Musical Arts in Choral Conducting and Pedagogy at the University of Iowa. In addition to his conducting at the University of Iowa, Kevin also teaches the undergraduate Choral Conducting and Literature course. Prior to his time at the University of Iowa, Kevin served on the music faculties at Houghton College, Ursinus College, and Cairn University.
 Recent professional engagements include various regional honor choirs, high school clinics, and conducting the National Sacred Honor Band. Kevin also serves the American Choral Directors Association as the Repertoire Reviews column editor for the Choral Journal.


3rd Place (there was a tie):
Emily Isaacson
Oratorio Chorale
Brunswick M

Emily Isaacson
Dr. Emily Isaacson is recognized for her captivating and commanding musicianship. Her performances have been heralded as “one of the most moving musical events of the decade” (Portland Press Herald), and “awesome in the most literal sense of the word” (Times Record). Considered a dynamic emerging leader, Isaacson is Artistic Director of the Oratorio Chorale, a symphonic chorus and professional orchestra in southern, Maine, and the Associate Artistic Director of the Portland Bach Festival, a professional festival celebrating the music of J.S. Bach and the culture of Portland, Maine.  Isaacson is known for forging a magnetic rapport with audience members, and creating inspiring musical experiences in both familiar and progressive formats that help listeners bridge the musical traditions of the past with the cultural gems of today.  Emily lives in Portland with her husband, three-year old daughter and one-year old son. www.eisaacson.com


The American Prize in Conducting,  High School Chorus Division, 2017-18

The American Prize winner:  
Andrew Dibble
Indian Springs School Concert Choir
Pelham AL

Andrew Dibble
Conductor Andrew Dibble currently serves as the Director of Choral Music at Indian Springs School in Birmingham, AL. At Springs, Andrew leads four choral ensembles, and conducts a yearly Concert Choir tour and biannual international tour with the Chamber Choir.

Prior to moving to Birmingham, Andrew conducted numerous choral ensembles in the Baltimore-D.C. area as the director of the Maryland Chamber Artists, the Assistant Conductor for the Maryland Choral Society, and the choir director at the Community College of Baltimore County.

In 2015 Andrew was selected as one of six to work with Dr. Andrew Megill at the Montreal Choral Institute and in 2017 was selected as one of twelve conductors to study with grammy award winning artists Craig Hella Johnson at his Choral Conducting Symposium..

Andrew holds a masters degree in Choral Conducting from Houghton College and lives in Indian Springs, Alabama with his wife, Amy.


2nd Place:
Jacob Cook
Youth Performing Arts School Chamber Choir
Louisville KY

Jacob Cook
Jacob Cook is the Director of Vocal Music Studies at the Youth Performing Arts School where he conducts choral ensembles, teaches vocal development, and teaches electives in pedagogy and opera. His ensembles have participated in the American Choral Director’s Association Southern Division Conference, the Kentucky Music Educators Association conference, and the Intercollegiate Men’s Choruses National Conference. Mr. Cook serves in leadership roles as the Music Department Chair for the Youth Performing Arts School and the Youth Coordinator for the Kentucky Chapter of the American Choral Director’s Association. He is a graduate of East Tennessee State University with a Bachelor’s of Music and holds a Master’s of Music from the University of Kentucky.



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Congratulations!

Friday, June 15, 2018

WINNERS: choral ensembles, 2017-18


The American Prize is honored to announce the winners, runners-up and citation recipients of The American Prize in Choral Performance, 2017-18. Congratulations!

Complete listings of finalists and semi-finalists in The American Prize competitions may be found elsewhere on this blog. Please use the chronological tool in the right-hand column to find specific results.

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

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


The American Prize in Choral Performance, 2017-18—professional division

The American Prize winner:   
   Schola Cincinnati 
   Jason Harris 
   Cincinnati OH
Schola Cincinnati
Formed in 2017, Schola Cincinnati is a professional vocal ensemble dedicated to providing the greater Cincinnati area with passionate high quality performances of sacred and secular choral repertoire spanning the entirety of the Renaissance. The local musicians who comprise our ensemble envision our role as that of curator: the venue is our museum, the program our exhibition, and the composers the artists. We are charged with presenting these works of art in the most flattering light possible and allow our audiences to be transported to the timeless and unique soundscape of fourteenth-, fifteenth-, and sixteenth-century western art music. It is our goal to not only entertain our audiences, but to educate through pre-concert lectures, school outreach programs, and by strengthening ties with other Cincinnati area arts organizations through frequent collaborations and exchanges. Visit us at www.scholacincinnati.org.


2nd Place & Special Judges' Citation: "Extraordinary Commitment to New Music"
   Chorosynthesis Singers 
   Wendy K. Moy & Jeremiah Selvey
   Seattle WA
Chorosynthesis Singers
CHOROSYNTHESIS SINGERS, a professional, project-based 12-voice choir, exists to involve world-class performers and composers in the creation and performance of music that connects the art with community, specifically through the lens of social consciousness. The ensemble performs in world-class venues, partners with other organizations as artists-in-residence and concert series guests, and annually provides new music reading sessions. Recently, the group started an online database of socially conscious choral music and internationally released through Centaur Records, Inc. “Empowering Silenced Voices,” an album of new, socially conscious choral music. Based on their inaugural performance, they were awarded 2nd place for The American Prize 2016 in the Ensemble (Professional Choruses) Division. The Singers are co-directed by artist-educators Wendy Moy (Director of Choral Activities, Connecticut College) and Jeremiah Selvey (Choral/Vocal Music Professor, Santa Monica College), who took 3rd and 1st places respectively for The American Prize 2016 in the Conducting (Professional Choruses) Division. www.chorosynthesis.org


The American Prize in Choral Performance, 2017-18—college/university division

The American Prize winner:
   University of Denver Lamont Chorale   
   Catherine Sailer 
   Denver CO
University of Denver Lamont Chorale  
The University of Denver Lamont Chorale is the premier choir at the University of Denver, and includes music majors and non-music majors from across the school.  The choir passionately pursues artistic excellence in choral performance and sings diverse repertoire.  Through the Chorale's dedication to performing music of living composers, it has enjoyed collaborations with Tan Dun, Morten Lauridsen, Eric Whitacre, Tim Takach, Ken Lampl,  and many more established and emerging composers and conductors.  The Lamont Chorale has performed for the Colorado Music Educator's Association Conference, and the Regional conference of the American Choral Director's Association.


2nd Place:
   Portland State Chamber Choir   
   Ethan Sperry 
   Portland OR
Portland State Chamber Choir
Hailed by Fanfare Magazine as "one of the most interesting choral groups in the United States," The Portland State Chamber Choir has performed at many prestigious venues, touring internationally and making multiple appearances at ACDA and NAfME Conferences. In 2013 the Chamber Choir competed at the Seghizzi International Competition for Choral Singing in Gorizia, Italy where they earned 15 separate awards and became the first American Choir ever to win the Grand Prize in the competition’s 55-year history. The Chamber Choir has recorded on the Albany Label and Hildegard Labels and their latest CD, "Into Unknown Worlds" was a finalist for the 2015 American Prize and the 2015 CARA Award for Best Classical Album and is the only student album ever to earn a place on Stereophile Magazine’s list of “Recordings to Die For.” They are very excited to be making their first tour to Asia this Summer!

  
3rd Place (there was a tie):
   BJU Choirs & Symphony with Rivertree Singers
   Warren Cook & Michael W. Moore, conductors
   Darren P. Lawson 
   Greenville SC 
BJU Choirs & Symphony with Rivertree Singers
BJU’s choral program seeks to strengthen each participant’s technical and artistic potential within a developmental program that strives for the highest level of musical excellence for the glory of God. All students are welcome to audition and are placed according to their classification and ability. Singers are re-auditioned every year to determine their next placement in a system of six graded choirs. University Singers is an all-freshmen choir of nearly 100 voices, who recently made their Carnegie Hall debut under Eliezer Yanson Jr. Collegiate Choir is an all-sophomore choir; Lyric Choir is all women, and Concert Choir is upperclassmen. The top-tiered Chorale and Chamber Singers memberships consist of upperclassmen and graduate students. Follow the BJU choral program at www.facebook.com/bjuchoralarts.


3rd Place (there was a tie):
   BucsWorth Men's Choir   
   Alan Stevens 
   Johnson City TN
BucsWorth Men's Choir
BucsWorth Men’s Choir was formed in the early 1990s at East Tennessee State University as a primarily a cappella ensemble called “10 BucsWorth” – which referred to the number of guys in the ensemble and a play-on-words reference to the ETSU mascot, the Buccaneers. In 2013, the ensemble was expanded to a full men’s choir. BucsWorth is composed of men from all majors, and the choir performs a mix of traditional and contemporary music. BucsWorth annually hosts "Men in Song," a choral festival that draws over 200 men from the region to sing together and promote choral music. In 2016 BucsWorth performed at the Intercollegiate Men’s Choruses National Seminar on the University of Illinois campus. In 2014 BucsWorth was the featured ensemble at the “Young Men’s Power Sing” in Atlanta, hosted by the Atlanta Youth Singers and the Atlanta International School. You can find more information about BucsWorth Men’s Choir on their Facebook page: www.Facebook.com/BucsWorth


The American Prize in Choral Performance, 2017-18—community division

The American Prize winner:
   University Musical Society Choral Union
   Scott Hanoian 
  Ann Arbor MI
University Musical Society Choral Union
The 175-voice UMS Choral Union is known for its definitive performances of large-scale works for chorus and orchestra. Formed by a group of local university and townspeople who gathered together for the study of Handel’s Messiah in 1879, the UMS Choral Union has performed with many of the world’s distinguished orchestras and conductors in its 137-year history, including the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, Budapest Festival Orchestra, and the Mariinsky Orchestra. Notably, in 2006, the UMS Choral Union won three Grammy Awards for their Naxos recording of William Bolcom’s Songs of Innocence and of Experience (“Best Choral Performance,” “Best Contemporary Classical Composition,” and “Best Classical Album”). The UMS Choral Union is led by music director and conductor Scott Hanoian. For more information visit ums.org/choralunion.


2nd Place and Special Judges' Citation: "Quality, and Joyful Music-Making in Abundance"
   Vox Femina Los Angeles   
   Karen Hart 
   Los Angeles CA
Vox Femina Los Angeles
Founded in January 1997, VOX Femina Los Angeles gives women voice through the performance of quality choral literature. Diverse in culture, age, race, belief, and sexual identity, we are dedicated to commissioning new works and raising awareness about issues that affect us as a family of women. Through our music, we seek to create a world which affirms the worth and dignity of every person. Since our debut in April 1997, VOX has performed a catalogue of music exemplifying diverse musical styles and repertoire. In keeping with our mission, VOX has commissioned over 40 new works for women’s voices, and collaborated with over 35 contemporary composers. In addition to our season schedule, VOX has been active in community outreach, performing and participating in over 200 community events and collaborating with other arts organizations such as the LA Philharmonic, LA Master Chorale, Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles, CONTRA –TIEMPO, and the Los Angeles Women’s Shakespeare Company. VOX has released three recordings: “Taking Shape” (1999) and “Still I Rise,” (2002) are collections of live performances. Our studio CD entitled “Simply… VOX Femina Los Angeles” (2006) was awarded Best Recording by a Choir by OutMusic.


The American Prize in Choral Performance, 2017-18—school and youth division

The American Prize winner:
   Arvada West HS Vocal Showcase   
   Chris Maunu
   Arvada CO
Arvada West HS Vocal Showcase
Since Chris Maunu took over Arvada West choirs in 2006, the department has grown from 120 to over 340 students. Under Maunu’s tutelage, the program has become one of the nation’s premier choral programs. AWHS’s mixed chorus, Vocal Showcase, performed at the 2017 National ACDA Conference in Minneapolis. He has also had choirs perform at Colorado CMEA conferences seven times since 2009. The ensembles consistently receive superior ratings and 1st place finishes at festivals and contests. Arvada West choirs have performed at Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, and High Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome and St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice. Mr. Maunu is a national quarterfinalist for the 2018 Grammy Music Educator Award. Away from AWHS, he is co-founder/director of the new 16-voice professional choir, Anima Chamber Ensemble. Chris currently serves as the Men’s Choir Repertoire and Resources Chair for Colorado ACDA and on the CMEA Vocal Council.

 
2nd Place:
   Indian Springs School Concert Choir
   Andrew Dibble 
   Pelham AL
Indian Springs School Concert Choir
Hailed as "the school's symbol of excellence," the Indian Springs School Concert Choir and smaller Chamber Choir perform across the country and around the world, delighting audiences of all ages and diverse backgrounds in cathedrals, universities, and arts centers from San Antonio, Chicago, and New York City to Beijing, Dijon, and Vienna, where they have performed with the Vienna Boys Choir.

The New York Times described the choir’s Lincoln Center debut as "a superb projection that would have done credit to any professional chorus." The choirs continue to garner critical praise for their sensitivity and "exciting, vibrant" singing. “The choir is disciplined, focused, and maturely expressive in a manner way beyond their young age,” says William Trafka, Music Director of St. Bartholomew’s Church in New York.

Led by Director of Choral Music Andrew Dibble, the groups sing an extraordinary range of music, including major Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and 20th-century works; Broadway tunes; Spirituals; arrangements of well-known pop hits; and traditional folk songs performed in up to 15 original languages.


3rd Place (there was a tie):
   The HS for the Performing and Visual Arts Madrigal Singers   
   Shannon K. Carter
   Houston TX
The HS for the Performing and Visual Arts Madrigal Singers
 The High School for the Performing and Visual Arts was established in 1971 and represented the first attempt by any national public high school to correlate academics and concentrated arts training.  The Madrigal Singers is one of three auditioned small ensembles for junior and senior vocal majors.  They are extremely active in the Houston Arts community.  In addition to performances on HSPVA fall, winter, and spring concerts, the ensemble performs throughout central Houston at holiday parties and community and corporate events.  In 2016, the ensemble won the American Classics Madrigal and Chamber Choir Festival and were also named the Mark of Excellence National Choral Honors National Winner. For more information on the HSPVA Vocal Department, visit www.hspvavocalmusic.com


3rd Place (there was a tie):
   Brearley B-Naturals  

   Karyn Joaquino
   New York NY
Brearley B-Naturals
The B-Naturals are the Upper School a cappella group of The Brearley School. The group was founded by students in 1986, and has performed under the direction of Karyn Joaquino since she joined the Brearley faculty in 2000.

The repertoire is intentionally broad, ranging from traditional choral pieces to vocal jazz and pop. Much of the repertoire is arranged by Ms. Joaquino, but every show or recording is likely to include student arrangements, and even original student compositions. Most members of the B-Naturals pursue their love of a cappella music during their college careers as well, often directing their own groups.

The B-Naturals have sung the national anthem before a Yankees game, entertained the King and Queen of Sweden, toured England and Wales, and performed twice at Jazz at Lincoln Center. In addition to live performances, the B-Naturals have recorded seven CDs, and have been recognized for their work by DownBeat Magazine, Best of High School A Cappella, and the Contemporary A Cappella Recording Awards (CARAs). In 2013 and 2015 the group won Third Place in The American Prize for Choral Performance, Youth/High School, a national recording competition.


Honorable Mention / Special Judges' Citation: "Exceptional Commitment to Great Repertoire, Most Improved"
   Olympia HS Concert Choir   
   Debbie Aurelius-Muir 
   Stanford IL 

Olympia HS Concert Choir
The Olympia High School Concert Choir is a mixed chorus of 62 students which draws from a school of about 530 students. The chorus is a non-auditioned group of dedicated musicians who hail from approximately eight small rural communities which comprise the Olympia Community School District #16 in Stanford, Illinois- www.olympiacusd16. This chorus is a curricular, elective class which meets every other day.  This is the only chorus at the high school and it is comprised of all four grade levels plus special needs students.  The Olympia Chorus has been a finalist in the American Prize competition, has sung in St. John the Divine Cathedral in New York City, and performed in the famed Casa Loma of Toronto, ON. This group consistently receives Superior ratings in the Illinois High School Association Organizational Competition.  The group is under the direction of Debbie Aurelius-Muir.


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Congratulations!

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

WINNING CONDUCTORS: Musical Theater, 2017-18


The American Prize is honored to announce the winner and runner-up of The American Prize in Conducting, Musical Theater Division, 2017-18. Congratulations!

Complete listings of finalists and semi-finalists in The American Prize competitions may be found elsewhere on this blog. Please use the chronological tool in the right-hand column to find specific results.

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

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


The American Prize in Conducting,  Musical Theater Division, 2017-18

The American Prize winner:  
   Hosun Moon
   Five Towns College
   Dix Hills NY 

In the Heights (Miranda)
Hosun Moon
Hosun Moon, winner of 1998 Bach International Competition at Berkeley,CA, studied harpsichord at S.U.N.Y. at Stony Brook, where she received her MM and DMA. She also holds a Master’s degree in accompanying from Manhattan School of Music and Bachelor’s in organ from Yon-Sei University (Seoul, Korea). Her chamber music performances with numerous ensembles have been heard in Carnegie Hall, 92nd St. Y, Merkin Concert Hall, The Riverside Church, St. John the Divine, LeFrak Concert Hall in The Aaron Copland School of Music, Columbia University, Hofstra Cultural Center, Union Square Park, Bryant Park, SUNY at Stony Brook, and various churches in New York area. She has worked as a conductor for numerous musicals. She also worked with the San Francisco Early Music Society Baroque Music Seminars, LIU Chamber Music Festival, and teaches at the USDAN Summer Camp and at Five Towns College in Dix Hills, NY.



2nd Place:
   Jo Lynn Burks
   Belmont University Musical Theatre
   Nashville TN
Parade (Uhry/Brown)

Jo Lynn Burks
Ms. Burks received a Bachelor of Performing Arts in Music from the University of Alabama (where she also won the title of Miss University of Alabama).  She then received a Master of Musical Theatre Degree from the University of Miami, FL (where she was also honored to hold the title of Miss University of Miami). Jo Lynn Burks now wears many hats as a Musical Director, Orchestrator, Singer, Pianist, and teacher. As a keyboard player/singer, Jo Lynn Burks has toured with Gladys Knight, Lead Singers of the TEMPTATIONS, a solo tour with Roger Daltrey of The Who, and with many Nashville touring artists including Laura Bell Bundy.  Solo pianist/singer engagements included New York City’s The Carlyle, the Waldorf-Astoria, The Plaza, and fun, Pat O’Brien’s in New Orleans. On Broadway, she originated a principal role in Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story.  Other Broadway credits include Smokey Joe’s Café, Hairspray, All Shook Up, and The Color Purple.  Jo Lynn’s national tours include Fame, Mamma Mia,  Smokey Joe’s Café,  Jesus Christ Superstar, Hair, and “Fred Waring & The Pennsylvanians.”


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Congratulations!

WINNERS: Musical Theater Performance, 2017-18


Marilyn Miller, Ziegfeld star
The American Prize is honored to announce the winners, runners-up and citation recipients of The American Prize in Musical Theater Performance, 2017-18. Congratulations!

Complete listings of finalists and semi-finalists in The American Prize competitions may be found elsewhere on this blog. Please use the chronological tool in the right-hand column to find specific results.

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

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


The American Prize in Musical Theater Performance, 2017-18

The American Prize winner:
   Belmont University Musical Theatre
   Nashville TN 

   Nancy Allen, department coordinator
   David Schamburger, stage director

   Jo Lynn Burks, conductor
Parade (Uhry/Brown)

Belmont University Musical Theatre
Belmont University Musical Theatre is an award winning musical theatre training program which rests in Nashville, TN, also known as "Musicl City”.  We are proud to boast many students on Broadway and in National Tours; including two students currently performing in Hamilton in Chicago. We believe in a classical voice tradition, hard work and striving for excellence in performance and in living life.  Belmont University is a faith based university which sends students out to find ways to serve our community through the arts and by being good human beings.  The experience preparing the show “Parade” was transformative in so many ways.  We learned a great deal exploring the complexities of Jason Robert Brown’s beautiful score and in striving to bring justice to light in the emotionally charged subject matter. Please find more information on our unique and excellent program at belmont.edu/musicaltheatre.


2nd Place:
   Arizona State University Lyric Opera Theatre
   Tempe AZ 

   Brian DeMaris  
Shrek the Musical
Arizona State University Lyric Opera Theatre
ASU's Lyric Opera Theatre program is distinctive in that it combines training in both opera and musical theatre. Serving approximately 100 undergraduate and graduate opera and musical theatre majors from the ASU School of Music, and open to all students throughout the university, LOT is committed to preparing outstanding opera and musical theatre artists for professional careers in the 21st century. The program features formal collaborations and professional performance and study/cover opportunities with Arizona Opera and the Phoenix Theatre. The quality and scope of our program is demonstrated by our professionally active faculty, as well as the success of our alumni who are performing in major opera houses, on Broadway, television and film, in national touring companies, regional theaters, and teaching in university programs throughout the United States and the world.


3rd Place:
   Taylor University Theatre and Lyric Theatre
   Upland IN
   Tracy Manning, artistic director

   Hugh Conor Angell, conductor
 Oklahoma!
Taylor University Theatre and Lyric Theatre
Taylor University Theatre and Taylor University Lyric Theatre are award-winning programs that collaborate annually to produce operas and musicals. These programs push students to artistic excellence as singers, dancers, actors, directors, set designers, stage managers, and scriptwriters. The Lyric Theatre program supports the liberal arts mission of Taylor University by providing a broad range of performance experiences that span historic and contemporary operatic and music theatre periods, genres, and styles.  Lyric Theatre is open to all students by audition.  Performances include fully-staged productions and semi-staged “scenes” productions.  The primary goal of the ensemble is to create live performances in which students demonstrate dramatic confidence, vocal ease, and aesthetic sensibility.  Recent productions have included Gianni Schicchi, Working, The Marriage of Figaro, I Love a Piano, Oklahoma!, Amahl and the Night Visitors, I Love a Piano, Kiss Me Kate, Dido and Aeneas.


Special Judges' Citation: "Illustrating the Vital Importance of Musical Theater Programs to Our Communities"
   Top Billing Entertainment
   Kristina Keener Ivy, executive director
   Glendora CA  
The Little Mermaid, jr.
Top Billing Entertainment
Top Billing Entertainment Performance Academy is a 501(c)3 nonprofit, "no cuts" group where each performer is treated with respect, given professional instruction, and given the opportunity for a featured solo. In January 2015, Top Billing opened a 4,000 square foot location in Glendora, CA where they now offer group and private classes in singing, dancing, acting, on-camera acting, fitness and instruments. In 2014 Top Billing won #1 Best Musical Theater Production and #2 Musical Theater Director in the American Prize Competition, Best Dance School in the San Gabriel Valley Tribune's Readers Choice Awards 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, and has received 39 National Youth Arts Nominations with 10 wins. We are successful because we believe each performer is vital and should be treated as if they have top billing.

Kristina Keener Ivy
Kristina Keener Ivy is the Executive Director and founder of Top Billing Entertainment Performance Academy. She has performed with various jazz bands, as a member of various church worship teams, on three film soundtracks, and in numerous musical theatre productions. In January 2015, Top Billing opened a 4,000 square foot location in Glendora, CA where they now offer group classes in singing, dancing, acting, on-camera acting, fitness and instruments. In 2014 Top Billing won Best Musical Theater Production and #2 Musical Theater Director in the American Prize National Competition, Best Dance School in the San Gabriel Valley Tribune's Readers Choice Awards 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and has received 39 National Youth Arts Nominations with 10 wins. She would like to thank Jesus for all the good gifts around us, her husband, David, for his unending love and patience, and her family, friends, and especially her students for their continued support.


Special Judges' Citation: "Excellent Middle School Production and Music Theater Program"
   Saint Patrick School
   Rodeo CA 

   Kelly Stevens, director
   Benjamin Stevens, conductor
The Lion King Jr.

Saint Patrick School
Saint Patrick School proudly presented The Lion King Jr. for the school's annual Middle School Spring Musical.  The cast is made up of 66 6-8th graders who worked together from October to March to hone their skills and their performances. Saint Patrick School is located in Rodeo, CA and serves 425 students in PK through 8th grade. The school's website can be found at www.stpatrickschoolrodeo.org.


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Congratulations!

Friday, June 1, 2018

ALL 2017-18 CONDUCTOR, DIRECTOR and ENSEMBLE FINALIST LINKS


Below are links that lead directly to all conductor, stage director, and ensemble FINALIST listings for 2017-18, for easy reference. Click on each link below to be taken to the published announcement on The American Prize blog. Winners will be announced in June.


ERNST BACON MEMORIAL AWARD for the PERFORMANCE of AMERICAN MUSIC, 2017-18, Finalists
http://theamericanprize.blogspot.com/2018/04/finalists-ernst-bacon-award-for.html

CHARLES NELSON REILLY PRIZE in STAGE DIRECTION, 2017-18, Finalists
http://theamericanprize.blogspot.com/2018/05/finalists-stage-directors-2017-18.html


CONDUCTOR FINALISTS, 2017-18


band conductors
http://theamericanprize.blogspot.com/2018/04/finalists-conductors-bandwind-ensemble.html

chorus conductors
http://theamericanprize.blogspot.com/2018/04/finalists-conductors-choral-divisions.html

opera conductors
http://theamericanprize.blogspot.com/2018/05/finalists-opera-conductors-2017-18.html

orchestra conductors
http://theamericanprize.blogspot.com/2018/05/finalists-orchestra-conductors-2017-18.html

musical theater conductors
http://theamericanprize.blogspot.com/2018/05/finalists-music-theater-divisions-2017.html

Vytautas Marijosius Memorial Award in Orchestral Programming
http://theamericanprize.blogspot.com/2018/04/finalists-conductorsorchestral.html


ENSEMBLE FINALISTS, 2017-18

bands
http://theamericanprize.blogspot.com/2018/04/finalists-bandwind-ensemble-divisions.html

choruses
http://theamericanprize.blogspot.com/2018/05/finalists-choral-ensembles-2017-18.html

orchestras
http://theamericanprize.blogspot.com/2018/05/finalist-orchestras-2017-18.html

opera companies
http://theamericanprize.blogspot.com/2018/05/finalists-opera-companies-2017-18.html

theater and musical theater companies
http://theamericanprize.blogspot.com/2018/05/finalists-music-theater-divisions-2017.html

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

WELCOMING two new JUDGES

The American Prize is honored to welcome two new judges to its distinguished panel of adjudicators.

CHRISTOPH PTACK (Chicago, IL) joins in the areas of voice, opera, and music theater.

JEREMIAH SELVEY (Santa Monica, CA) joins in the areas of chorus, choral composition, and choral conducting. 
 
Christoph Ptack   
Chicago IL
Christoph Ptack   
Chicago IL
Artistic Administrator Christoph Ptack (Voice/Opera/Musical Theater), was appointed to the Administration at Chicago’s 3,600 seat Civic Opera House eleven years ago where he provided casting, contracting and production planning leadership in support of the theater’s mission and artistic initiatives. This included preparing principal casting and negotiating artist/conductor/choreographer contracts for the main stage season, Lyric Unlimited “Presents”, the Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center, annual concerts at Millennium Park’s Pritzker Pavilion and the internationally acclaimed musical theater productions of Show Boat, Oklahoma, The Sound of Music and Carousel which featured stars from Broadway/Opera/Television and Film including Billy Zane, Ashley Brown, Steven Pasquale, Laura Osnes, Jenn Gambatese, Denyce Graves, Nathan Gunn, Christine Brewer, Jarrod Emick, John Cudia, Charlotte D’Amboise and Tony Roberts.
 
Prior to this, he worked in Artistic Administration at Chicago Opera Theatre, and as the Artistic Administrator for the Lake Forest Symphony Association, Inc. Mr. Ptack has adjudicated the final rounds of Classical Singer Magazine’s 2017/2018 National Vocal Competition, and continues to sit on multiple panels at the Miss America and Miss Universe Organizations. He currently works as an artistic and management consultant, and is honored to be joining The American Prize in this capacity to celebrate great achievement in the arts.

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Jeremiah Selvey   
Santa Monica, CA
Jeremiah Selvey   
Santa Monica, CA
Dr. Jeremiah Selvey is the Director of Choral Activities and Professor of Vocal Music at Santa Monica College in Santa Monica, California, where he conducts the SMC Concert Chorale and the SMC Chamber Choir. He also co-directs and sings professionally with Chorosynthesis Singers, a 12-voice, professional, project-based chamber ensemble in Seattle, Washington. Dr. Selvey has performed throughout North America, New Zealand, Australia, and Europe in world class venues, such as the Sydney Opera House, Symphony Hall in Chicago, The Vatican, Benaroya Hall and McCaw Hall in Seattle, and Peachtree United Methodist in Atlanta. Additionally, Dr. Selvey regularly guest conducts and teaches voice master classes and choir clinics at all levels. He was recently interviewed for feature articles in both The Choral Journal and The Voice for his entrepreneurship in and vision for professional choral music. He has also published in The Choral Scholar and the Bulletin of the Council for Research in Music Education.

Dr. Selvey was nationally recognized for his conducting and named The Winner of The American Prize in Conducting 2017, Professional Choir Division. He conducts music from all musical periods and specializes in modern choral music, especially championing the music of established and emerging living composers. Dr. Selvey is active in curating and performing music that is socially conscious with content that is relevant to today’s environment and socio-cultural climate. Since January of 2016, he has performed at least 16 choral premieres, some of which will be released in the double-CD Empowering Silenced Voices. Dr. Selvey is a co-artistic director, baritone, and post-production producer on this 2-CD album, which is scheduled for release in Spring 2018.
 
Dr. Selvey is a beloved vocal coach and private instructor for more than 15 years, including voice positions at Blackburn College, Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Thames Valley Music School, and Santa Monica College.