Friday, February 17, 2017

CONDUCTOR finalists: opera/music theater

The American Prize is pleased to announce 2016 FINALIST conductors in OPERA/MUSIC THEATER divisions. Congratulations! To know the exact date when winners and runners-up will be announced, please "like" our Facebook page or follow us on Twitter #AmericanPrize, where that information will be published first.

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

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

QUICKNOTES: Although The American Prize does not usually provide written evaluations to semi-finalists, some semi-finalist conductors will receive in their certificate packets short comments, suggestions or overall impressions made during the judging. All finalists receive written evaluations.

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

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

Warren Puffer Jones
    Arbor Opera Theater
    Ann Arbor MI
    La Traviata

Walter Morales
    Opera Theater of Pittsburgh Summer Fest
    Pittsburgh PA
    Figaro (redux)

Ryan Murray
    Fresno Grand Opera
    Fresno CA
    A Streetcar Named Desire (Previn)


FINALISTS: The American Prize in Conducting—opera/music theater (college/university division)

Kevin Class
    University Of Tennessee Opera Theatre
    Knoxville TN
    The Consul

Joshua Horsch
    University of Colorado-Boulder
    Eklund Opera Program
    Boulder CO
    The Tender Land

Chad Hutchinson
    University of Minnesota
    Minneapolis MN
    Susannah

Michael W. Moore
    Bob Jones University
    Greenville SC
    La Cenerentola 

Walter Morales
    Duquesne University
    Pittsburgh PA
    Rita (Donizetti)


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

Ezra Donner
    University of Michigan Gilbert and Sullivan Society
    Ann Arbor MI
    H.M.S. Pinafore

Dale Kruse
    Project Opera
    Minneapolis MN
    Memory Boy (Reynaldo Moya)

Eric Peterson
    Savoynet Performing Group
    Harrogate UK
    The Pirates of Penzance




***

We invite 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 finalists in my division soon. You can learn more about this prestigious national competition here: www.theamericanprize.org or follow the news on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-American-Prize-celebrating-American-excellence-in-the-arts/214320622728 or Twitter: https://twitter.com/americanprize "

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

Congratulations to all semi-finalists.


Monday, February 13, 2017

CONDUCTOR finalists: CHORUS, 2016

The American Prize is pleased to announce 2016 FINALIST conductors in all CHORAL divisions. Congratulations! To know the exact date when winners and runners-up will be announced, please "like" our Facebook page or follow us on Twitter #AmericanPrize, where that information will be published first.

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

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

QUICKNOTES: Although The American Prize does not usually provide written evaluations to semi-finalists, some semi-finalist conductors will receive in their certificate packets short comments, suggestions or overall impressions made during the judging. All finalists receive written evaluations.

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


FINALISTS: The American Prize in Conducting—professional chorus division

Wendy K. Moy
    Chorosynthesis Singers
    Seatlle WA

Brian A. Schmidt
    South Dakota Chorale  
    Sioux Falls SD

Jeremiah Selvey
    Chorosynthesis Singers
    Seattle WA


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

John Cuk
    Manhattanville College Choir & Women's Vocal Ensemble
    Purchase N

David Fryling
    Hofstra Chamber Choir & Hofstra Chorale
    Hempstead NY

Jaclyn Johnson
    Chamber & Concert Choirs
    Knoxville TN 

Michael Robert Patch
    UMKC Conser.of Music and Dance Conservatory Singers
    Kansas City MO

Catherine Sailer
    Univ. of Denver Lamont Chorale
    Denver CO

Beverly Taylor
    UW-Madison Choral Union
    Madison WI

Eliezer G. Yanson Jr.
    Bob Jones University Singers
    Greenville SC 


FINALISTS: The American Prize in Conducting—community chorus division

Douglas Buchanan
    Canticum Novum Chamber Chorus
    Baltimore MD

David Fryling   
    eVoco Mixed Ensemble & Women's Ensemble
    Lynbrook NY

Reginald M. Houze
    The Weddington UMC/First BC Worcester Choirs
    Charlotte NC

Alex Favazza
    Tallahassee Community Chorus
    Tallahassee FL

Sean Linfors
    Tallahassee Community Chorus
    Tallahassee FL 


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

William Bennett
    Cane Bay Choirs
    Summerville SC

Amy Johnston Blosser
    Bexley  Vocal Ensemble
    Bexley OH  

Philip Brown
    Concert Choir
    Minnetonka MN

Tatiana Kats
    Columbus International Children's Choir
    Columbus OH

Patrick Ryan
    Delphian Choir
    Great Falls MT  

***

We invite 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 finalists in my division soon. You can learn more about this prestigious national competition here: www.theamericanprize.org or follow the news on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-American-Prize-celebrating-American-excellence-in-the-arts/214320622728 or Twitter: https://twitter.com/americanprize "

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

Congratulations to all semi-finalists.


Friday, February 10, 2017

WELCOME our newest ARTIST-JUDGE

 
 THE AMERICAN PRIZE 
is proud to welcome internationally acclaimed    
Metropolitan Opera  mezzo-soprano
SUSANNE MENTZER  
to our judging panel, beginning with the 2017 contest year.
Susanne Mentzer

American mezzo-soprano Susanne Mentzer has established herself not only as an international singer but also as a writer, teacher and arts advocate.
 
She enjoys a significant opera, concert, chamber music and recital career of over thirty years appearing on four continents with nearly every great opera house and orchestra. She has been a guest artist at the Metropolitan Opera in leading roles since 1989, most recently as Marcellina in the new production of Le Nozze di Figaro in the fall of 2014. She returned to the Met in February and March of 2016.

Susanne recently added some new roles to her repertoire; as Mrs. Patrick DeRocher in Jake Heggie's Dead Man Walking, the Beggar Woman in Sweeney Todd with Opera Theatre St. Louis and Nellie in Carlisle Floyd's Wuthering Heights which has also been recorded for commercial release.

Operatically, Susanne specializes in music Mozart, Berlioz, Rossini and Richard Strauss and is widely admired as a specialist in trouser roles, most notably for her portrayals of Cherubino in Le Nozze di Figaro, Idamante in Idomeneo, der Komponist in Ariadne auf Naxos, and Octavian in Der Rosenkavalier. She has also appeared in many notable female roles - Dorabella, Despina, Rosina, Adalgisa, and Jane Seymour. 
 
Her extensive discography includes over 25 CDs of opera and oratorio and songs. Her most recent project is a recording of songs by American opera composer Carlisle Floyd to be released on GPR Records through Naxos. This project was funded by her successful Kickstarter campaign. She has recorded two other recitals she also performs in concert: The Eternal Feminine, a recital of music by women composers (Koch International Classics) which includes the premiere of Libby Larsen's Love After 1950 with her long-time pianist, Craig Rutenberg; and her personal favorite, Wayfaring Stranger - a collection of international folksongs arranged for voice and guitar with Grammy Award-winning Sharon Isbin. She also received a Grammy nomination for her work as Colombina in Busoni's Arlecchino.

Susanne may be heard on the recent releases of Jake Heggie's Dead Man Walking and Plump Jack by Gordon Getty. Susanne appears on DVDs of Les Contes d'Hoffmann (Opéra de Paris), Don Giovanni (La Scala), and Grammy nominated The First Emperor by Tan Dun (Metropolitan Opera), and Ariadne auf Naxos (Metropolitan Opera). She has appeared numerous times on PBS as part of the Live from Lincoln Center and Live from the Met programs and the Met Cinema broadcast.
 
 
As a recitalist Susanne has appeared in recital on the
Great Performer series at Alice Tully Hall, Carnegie's
Weill and Zankel halls, NY Festival of Song, Tisch Center for the Arts, Morgan Library, Town Hall, Tannery Pond, Schubert Club St. Paul, Kennedy Center, Vocal Arts Society- DC, Spivey Hall Atlanta, Schwartz Hall at Emory, Santa Fe Concert Association, Aspen Music Festival, Aspen Winter Music, Wyatt Artist in Residence Series-Calgary, Ravinia Festival, Ann Arbor University Music Society, Oberlin College, and others.

Welcome, Susanne! 
 

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

CONDUCTOR finalists: ORCHESTRA, 2016

The American Prize is pleased to announce 2016 FINALIST conductors in all orchestra divisions. Congratulations! To know the exact date when winners and runners-up will be announced, please "like" our Facebook page or follow us on Twitter #AmericanPrize, where that information will be published first.

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

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

QUICKNOTES: Although The American Prize does not usually provide written evaluations to semi-finalists, some semi-finalist conductors will receive in their certificate packets short comments, suggestions or overall impressions made during the judging. All finalists receive written evaluations.

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


FINALISTS: The American Prize in Conducting—professional orchestra division

Genevieve Leclair
    Boston Ballet Orchestra
    Boston MA

Jason Lim
    Odysseus N. Texas Chamber Orchestra
    McKinney TX

Paul Mauffray
    Hradec Kralove Philharmonic
    Czech Republic

Walter Morales
    Westmoreland Symphony Orchestra
    Greensburg PA


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

James Allen Anderson
    University of Delaware Symphony Orchestra
    Newark DE

Ricardo Averbach
    Miami U. Symphony Orchestra
    Oxford OH

Peter J. Folliard
    Eastman Philharmonia
    Rochester NY

Lev Ivanov
    IL Wesleyan Symphony Orchestra
    Bloomington IL 

Chris Younghoon Kim
    Cornell Chamber Orchestra
    Ithaca NY

Jeffrey Klefstad
    All University Orchestra
    Carnegie Mellon University
    Pittsburgh PA

Genevieve Leclair
    Syracuse University Symphony
    Syracuse NY

Kevin Sutterlin
    University of Memphis Symphony Orchestra
    Memphis TN


FINALISTS: The American Prize in Conducting—community orchestra division

Matthew Cody
    Oneota Valley Community Orchestra
    Decorah IA 

Lois Ferrari
    Austin Civic Orchestra
    Austin TX

Grant Harville
    Idaho State Civic Symphony
    Pocatello ID

Zachary D. McCoy
    Balmoral Chamber Orchestra
    Memphis TN


FINALISTS: The American Prize in Conducting—youth and school orchestra division

Because of their key influence as musicians and educators, youth orchestra music directors might be the most important conductors in the country. For that reason, all semi-finalists who met the minimum standard were advanced to finals this year. In this way, the importance of their work can be highlighted in their individual communities and each can receive a written evaluation—one which the competition hopes will prove of value in future endeavors. Bravi, tutti, and thanks.—DK

Orlando Cela
    North Carolina Governor's School Orchestra
    Winston-Salem NC

Cheung Chau
    Utah All-State Orchestra
    Salt Lake City UT

Alyze Dreiling
    YPO Soloists Ensemble
    San Diego CA 

Farkhad Khudyev
    Youth Music Monterey
    Monterey CA

Yutaka Kono
    Vermont Youth Philharmonia
    Burlington VT

Michael Webster
    Houston Youth Symphony
    Houston TX

Ryan Murray
    Modesto Symphony Youth Orchestra
    Modesto CA  YO  Yes

Ron Polomchak
    Schaumburg Youth Concert Orchestra
    Schaumburg IL

Carolyn Watson
    Interlochen Arts Academy Orchestra
    Interlochen MI

***

We invite 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 finalists in my division soon. You can learn more about this prestigious national competition here: www.theamericanprize.org or follow the news on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-American-Prize-celebrating-American-excellence-in-the-arts/214320622728 or Twitter: https://twitter.com/americanprize "

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

Congratulations to all semi-finalists.


Tuesday, January 31, 2017

COMPOSER WINNERS: orchestra

The American Prize is honored to announce the winners,  runners-up, citation recipients and honorable mentions of The American Prize in Composition, 2016, in the orchestra category, all divisions. Congratulations!

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

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

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

The American Prize in Composition—orchestra—professional division

The American Prize winner:
JENNIFER BELLOR    Las Vegas NV
for
Chase the Stars

JENNIFER BELLOR
Jennifer Bellor is a versatile composer whose works blend contemporary jazz, classical, and rock styles. Her works have been performed by national and international organizations such as Washington National Opera, Lviv Philharmonic, Seattle Women’s Jazz Orchestra, American Composers Orchestra, UNLV Wind Orchestra, ShoutHouse, Eastman New Jazz Ensemble, Mivos Quartet, and many others in the United States and abroad. She has been recognized for both her concert music and jazz, with awards including 2016 Elevate Ensemble Call for Scores winner, 2015 IAWM Judith Lang Zaimont prize for Skylark Lullaby, 2014 Seattle Women’s Jazz Composition prize, and a 2013 Downbeat Award for Midnight Swim.  

Jennifer’s debut album “Stay” (2016) was featured on NewMusicBox’s Staff Picks as an album displaying a “wonderful demonstration of how to maintain a highly individual compositional identity without needing to take refuge in pre-post-genre musical silos.” (Frank J. Oteri, NewMusicBox). The track “Chase the Stars” that was featured on the NewMusicBox playlist was commissioned by the ShoutHouse ensemble for premiere in December 2015, and was later recorded at UNLV featuring Jennifer Bellor, soprano; Rasar Amani, rapper; and UNLV students and faculty. The review by No Depression magazine praised the album for its stylistic diversity, considering both her compositions and vocals as “raw and wild with a beauty that’s so enchanting it is unforgettable.”  

Jennifer earned a PhD in music composition at Eastman School of Music, a Master of Music degree in composition at Syracuse University, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in music at Cornell University. She is currently Visiting Lecturer at University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where she teaches courses in music composition and theory. For more information, please visit www.jenniferbellor.com.   


2nd Place:
SHAWN E OKPEBHOLO    Wheaton IL
for
Kutimbua Kivumbi (Stomp the Dust)

SHAWN E OKPEBHOLO
Shawn E. Okpebholo (b.1981) is widely sought-after, award-winning, and versatile composer. His music has been performed on five continents, in over thirty states, and in almost every major U.S. city. He regularly receives commissions from noted soloists, chamber groups, and large ensembles—artists who have performed his music at some of the nation’s greatest venues, including the Kennedy Center. Dr. Okpebholo earned his masters and doctoral degrees in composition from the University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music (CCM), a bachelor’s degree in composition and music history from Asbury College, and additional studies at New York University. He has guest lectured and given master classes at numerous colleges and universities across the country as well as two universities in Nigeria. Currently, he is Associate Professor of Composition and Theory at Wheaton College Conservatory of Music, having previously taught at Union University, Northern Kentucky University, and CCM. For more information, visit: www.shawnokpebholo.com.


3rd Place:
JUDITH LANG ZAIMONT    Maricopa AZ
for
PURE, COOL (Water) - Symphony No. 4

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


JUDGE'S CITATION: "Grandly American"
MARK ARNEST   Colorado Springs CO
for
Ludlow: Four Scenes for Orchestra

MARK ARNEST
Mark Arnest (b. 1954) is a composer, pianist, and playwright. His compositions have been performed by the Colorado Springs Philharmonic, the Chamber Orchestra of the Springs, and the Veronika String Quartet. Major works include Ludlow: Four Scenes for Orchestra; All About Love, a musical adaptation of Plato's Symposium; Pike’s Dream, an opera commissioned for the 2006 Zebulon Pike bicentennial; Towards the Garden, commissioned to commemorate the centennial of the giving of the Garden of the Gods to the city of Colorado Springs; and The Notorious Nugget, a silly but smart melodrama. He and his wife Lauren are currently working on Iron & Gold, an opera/musical about railroads, robber barons, and labor in 19th Century America. Mark is music director at All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church, teaches at the Colorado Springs Conservatory, and is music director/pianist at the Iron Springs Chateau. There’s more about Mark and Lauren’s work at millionmonkeys.us. 


JUDGE'S CITATION: "Exceptional Concerto"
CHING-CHU HU    Newark OH
for
Violin Concerto No. 3—Water Spirit

CHING-CHU HU
Ching-chu Hu studied at Yale University, Freiburg Musikhochschule in Freiburg, Germany, The University of Iowa, and the University of Michigan. Honors includes composer-in-residence at the Piccolo Spoleto Festival, the American Music Week Festival in Sofia, Bulgaria, the Aspen and Bowdoin Music Festivals, The MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and the Banff Centre for the Arts.  He has received performances at various international festivals and venues, including the Alternativa Festival (Center “DOM”) in Moscow and Wigmore Hall in London, England. Ensembles performing his work include the Kiev Philharmonic, the National Dance and Opera Orchestra of China, the Charleston Symphony Orchestra, the Columbus Symphony Youth Orchestra, Moscow Conservatory’s Studio New Music Ensemble, Newark Granville Symphony, Brave New Works, the University of Iowa Center for New Music, ETHEL, Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, and Brooklyn Rider. His music can be found on Albany Records, ERM Media, Capstone Records, and online. He is the Richard Lucier Endowed Professor of Music at Denison University.  More information can be found: chingchuhu.com.


JUDGE'S CITATION: "Exceptional Concerto"
LUCAS RICHMAN    Bangor ME
for
Concerto for Piano and Orchestra: In Truth

LUCAS RICHMAN
Lucas Richman’s music has been performed by over two hundred orchestras across the United States including the New York Philharmonic and the Boston Pops. He has fulfilled commissions for numerous organizations including the symphonies of Pittsburgh, San Diego and Knoxville and, most recently, a work for the Organ Artists Series of Pittsburgh. Albany Records recently released a new CD featuring the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra performing his Concerto for Piano and Orchestra: In Truth. Mr. Richman has served as Music Director for the Bangor Symphony Orchestra since 2010 and Music Director for the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra from 2003-2015. Mr. Richman received a GRAMMY Award (2011) for Best Classical Crossover Album; he has appeared as guest conductor with numerous orchestras including the New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Baltimore Symphony, the Oslo Philharmonic and the Iceland Symphony Orchestra. For more information, visit www.lucasrichman.com and www.ledorgroup.com. 


JUDGE'S CITATION: "Exceptional Concerto"
MAX SIMONCIC    Stockton CA
for
Concerto for Saxophone

MAX SIMONCIC
Simoncic’s music has been performed throughout the USA and Europe. Some of the more recent performances include; Concerto for Accordion and Orchestra,  Tango for Strings, a Concerto for Guitar and Orchestra performed by the Adelphi Chamber Orchestra in New Jersey, Concerto for Marimba Piano and Symphonic Band, premiered at Carnegie Hall in New York, A Short Symphony and Violin Concerto premiered by the St. John's Chamber Orchestra. Fanfare for Wind Ensemble performed at Carnegie Hall, and Fanfare and March for the Lodi Community Band. Since the age of 8, when he wrote his first pieces and to this day, Simoncic finds composing both mysterious and exciting!


HONORABLE MENTION:
JEFFREY BERNSTEIN    La Canada/Flintridge CA
for
Dreams of Japan
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. Bernstein 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 three albums of original piano music, PianoJournals (2012) and Clear Mind Calm Water (2015), and The Desert House (2015). In 2015 he received honorable mention in the choral division of the American Prize for Composition. He holds music degrees from Harvard, Yale and UCLA and is a committed educator and advocate for young people.


HONORABLE MENTION:
EDGAR GIRTAIN     Riverdale NJ
for
Isolation: Day
EDGAR GIRTAIN
Edgar Girtain is an emerging american composer who writes concert music for vocal, orchestral, and chamber mediums.  With musical roots in New Jersey, his music is frequently performed at universities and concert halls around the world.  He is currently a music theory teacher, he holds a BM and MA in Music Education and Composition, respectively.  www.edgarfgirtainiv.com


HONORABLE MENTION:
BEN GOLDBERG    Brooklyn NY
for
Reconnecting
BEN GOLDBERG
Ben Goldberg is a New York-based composer who has received awards for his concert music, film music, and academic achievements. His orchestral works have been performed by the Central Ohio Symphony, Reno Philharmonic Youth Strings Symphonia, Susanville Symphony, and UC Davis Symphony Orchestra.  His composition Reconnecting, scored for drum circle and orchestra, has been featured in Symphony Magazine and at The League of American Orchestras and Percussive Arts Society national conferences.  He was the winner of the 2013 Susanville Symphony Composition Competition, and selected as the only orchestral Composer Fellow for the 2015 UC Davis Music and Words festival and Composition Workshop.  He was a finalist for Symphony Number One’s 2015 call for scores and has composed a new work to be performed at their Light City Baltimore concert.  Goldberg is one of three composers selected for the Lexington Philharmonic’s 2016 New Music Experiment. www.bengoldbergmusic.com


HONORABLE MENTION:
DANIEL REIN    Jersey City NJ
for
Improvisations on Misirlou
DANIEL REIN
Daniel Rein is a New York-based composer and pianist. Shaped by the cultural diversity of his native city - Jerusalem, he displays creativity and virtuosity across multiple musical genres. His compositions are characterized by blurring the boundaries between concert music, musical theater, pop songs and middle-eastern music. As a pianist, Daniel performed in international piano competitions, with the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra, and in the International Association for Jazz Education Conference in California. He is a graduate of the Jerusalem Academy of Music and the Royal Academy Of Music in London, and is a member of the prestigious BMI Lehman-Engel Musical Theatre Workshop. In Daniel’s words: “In the multicultural locale of Jerusalem, extreme tension resulting from political conflicts is part of the atmosphere. However, I have seen the possibility of dialogue between different cultures as a very powerful harmonic experience.”


The American Prize in Composition—orchestra—student division

The American Prize winner:
JIHYUN KIM    Ithaca NY
for
A Little Tramp Walking in the Assembly Line

JIHYUN KIM
Composer Jihyun Kim (b.1989)'s music has been performed in the prestigious venues around the world, including The Cloisters at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, DiMenna Center, Palazzo Medici Riccardi in Florence Italy, and Seoul Arts Center in Korea. Jihyun’s works were performed by such ensembles as JACK Quartet, PUBLIQuartet, Asciano Quartet, and Karien Ensemble, with upcoming engagements including a collaboration with the poet, Ishion Hutchinson, as a part of Ensemble X's concert “Songs of the Land: Poems of Ishion Hutchinson”. Jihyun's new song "Moved by the Beauty of Trees"  will be premiered by pianist Xak Bjerken with guest mezzo-soprano Rachel Calloway at Barnes Hall, Cornell University. In addition, Kim has been selected to participate at the Tanglewood Music Center 2017 as a composition fellow. Honors for Jihyun’s music include PUBLIQ Access, RedNote New Music Composition Competition, Florence String Quartet Competition, Juventas Ensemble Call for Scores, among many others. Kim's works were featured in the University of South Florida New Music Festival, Midwest Composers Symposium, Korean Music Expo. Recently, Kim’s music has been published by Editro Sconfinarte and XXI Century Archives. Kim is currently pursuing DMA in Composition at Cornell University as a Sage Fellowship recipient. Jihyun previously received her M.M. degree in Composition from Jacobs School of Music, Indiana University while serving as an Associate Instructor in Music Theory department, and B.M degree in Composition from Yonsei University in Seoul. Jihyun's composition teachers have included Kevin Ernste, Claude Baker, PQ Phan, Sunghyun Yun, and Texu Kim.


2nd Place:
PETER NEIL DAYTON    Terrace Park OH
for
From Sombre Lands

PETER NEIL DAYTON
Composer Peter Dayton writes music that appeals to diverse listeners through its remarkable combination of energy and intimacy. Described by The Baltimore Sun as having “a refined sense of melodic arcs and harmonic motion,” Dayton’s compositions have been performed across the North America and in Europe. His orchestral pieces have been recorded by the Brno Philharmonic for the Ablaze label; selections of his choral music have been recorded by Minneapolis’s First Reading’s Choir

Dayton often turns visual art or poetry to spark artistic responses. The works of Peruvian painter Fernando de Szyszlo have inspired a number of Dayton’s pieces. As a creator of choral works, he draws upon both modern and classic texts, and “expresses the essence of each text tellingly” (Baltimore Sun). Dayton is himself an active poet. He has written the libretto for his own one-act chamber opera about the poet Gertrude Stein’s first love affair. Website: peterdaytonmusic.com 


3rd Place:
CHRISTOPHER LOWRY    Antioch TN
for
Overture to a New Day, A Cypress Prelude

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

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Congratulations!

Thursday, January 26, 2017

COMPOSER FINALISTS: chamber music, all divisions, 2016

"Extraordinary encounters..." 

From a grand field of applicants representing a great divergence of styles and compositional approaches, from the most traditional to the highly experimental, The American Prize is honored to announce FINALIST composers of chamber music for 2016 in the professional and student divisions. Congratulations! To know the exact date when winners and runners-up will be announced, please "like" our Facebook page or follow us on Twitter #AmericanPrize, where that information will be published first.

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

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

QUICKNOTES: Although The American Prize does not usually provide written evaluations to semi-finalists, some semi-finalist composers will receive in their certificate packets short comments, suggestions or overall impressions made during the judging. All finalists receive written evaluations.

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

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

The American Prize in Composition—professional chamber music division

Finalists are listed by composer and community, and by the name of the work(s) advanced to the finals.


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

Matthew Burtner    Charlottesville VA
    The Ceiling Floats Away—for ensemble, poetry and audience interaction software

Daniel M. Cavanagh    Arlington TX
    Waves—for trumpet ensemble and drumset

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

Allen Cohen    New Providence NJ 
    Sculpture Garden Suite—for brass quintet

Ethan Cypress    Oneonta NY
    Toy Suite—for saxophone quartet

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

Justin N. Dello Joio    New York NY
    Due Per Due—for violoncello and piano
    The March of Folly—music for piano trio

Wallace DePue Sr.    Bowling Green OH
    Sonata Lycanthrope—for piano

Gregory Fritze    Daytona Beach Shores FL
    Petite Suite—for brass quintet

Kenneth Froelich    Fresno CA
    Sonata for Clarinet & Piano   

Ching-chu Hu    Newark OH
    Dragonfly—for marimba

Shawn Hundley    Port Orange FL
    Duoesque for Clarinet and Piano   

Dana Kaufman   Brookline MA   
    (application moved to correct category)
    Halcyon Disquiet—for flute, bass clarinet, alto saxophone, electric guitar and violin

Andrew List    Boston MA
    String Quarter No.5 "Time Cycles"   

Lansing D. McLoskey    Miami FL
    Rite—for 2 pianos, 2 percussion

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

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

Mark Petering    Kenosha WI
    Concerto for Clarinet and String Orchestra (string quartet)   

Emilio Solla    Brooklyn NY
    Llegara, Llegara, Llegara—for two violns, viola and piano

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

Kotoka Suzuki    Chicago IL
    In Praise of Shadows—Three Paper Players and Electronics
 
William Vollinger    Woodcliff Lake NJ 
    Stalin and the Little Girl (an icon)—for unaccompanied voice

Kirsten Volness    Providence RI
    Alone Together—for violin, stereo sound and live electronics

Judith Lang Zaimont    Maricopa AZ
    ZONES—Trio for Violin, 'Cello and Piano


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

Finalists are listed by composer and community, and by the name of the work(s) advanced to the finals.

Navid Bargrizan    Gainesville FL
    Tuning Exercise Nr. 1—for woodwind quintet


Jean-Patrick Besingrand    Pittsburgh PA
    Meandres—pour ensemble vocal et flute alto


Yihan Chen    Planifield IN
    spirits-river: a piano sonata


Daniel J. Choi    Centreville VA
    iota—for violin, muted trumpet, and piano


Daniel Despins    Wilmington DE
    Medusa—for wind quintet


Daniel Godsil    Monmouth IL
    Reinforced—for percussion ensemble and electronics


Ian Evans Guthrie    Fort Worth TX
    Journey Through Cascadia—for mezzo-soprano and piano


Joshua Hey    Philadelphia PA
    fissu/|rupT/t|eaR—for electric guitar


Sangwon Lee    Champaign IL
    String Quartet No. 1

Joungmin Lee    Columbus OH
    Vexatious—for string quartet


Christopher Lowry    Antioch TN    
    Romanza—for four violas
    Livewire!—for flute, clarinet, and horn

Aaron Mencher    Johns Creek GA
    Fast-Forward—for the Deviant Septet


Lara Poe    Chestnut Hill MA
    Divergence—for string quartet


Hilary Purrington    New Haven CT
    a sound soul in a sound body—for amplified harpsichord & percussion quartet


Justin Rito    Grand Rapids MI
    reaching/failing—for violin, vioa, cello and bass


Andrew M. Smith    Manorville NY
    Angel Oak—for clarinet and piano



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Congratulations to all finalists.

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 soon. You can learn more about this prestigious national competition here: www.theamericanprize.org or follow the news on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-American-Prize-celebrating-American-excellence-in-the-arts/214320622728 or Twitter: https://twitter.com/americanprize "

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

Monday, January 23, 2017

COMPOSER WINNERS: band/wind ensemble, 2016

The American Prize is honored to announce the winners, runners-up and honorable mention recipients of The American Prize in Composition, 2016, in the Band/Wind Ensemble category, all divisions. Congratulations!

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

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

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

The American Prize in Composition—band/wind ensemble, professional division

The American Prize winner:
MIGUEL A ROIG-FRANCOLI—Cincinnati OH
for
Perseus—for wind ensemble
MIGUEL A ROIG-FRANCOLI
Miguel A. Roig-Francolí (www.miguelroig-francoli.com), Distinguished Teaching Professor of Music Theory and Composition at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, has been recognized internationally for his work as a music theorist, composer, musicologist, and pedagogue.  His compositions have been widely performed in Spain, England, Germany, Mexico, Italy, Switzerland, Colombia, France, and the USA.  He is the author of Harmony in Context and Understanding Post-Tonal Music, as well as over twenty articles and reviews in leading scholarly journals in the USA and Europe.  Among his many honors are first prize at the National Composition Competition of the Spanish Jeunesses Musicales (1981) and second prize at the UNESCO International Rostrum of Composers (Paris, 1982); the University of Cincinnati’s A.B. "Dolly" Cohen Award for Excellence in Teaching (2007) and George Rieveschl Jr. Award for Creative and/or Scholarly Works (2009); and the Ramón Llull Prize from the Goverment of the Balearic Islands (2010).
 

2nd Place:
DAVID AVSHALOMOV—Santa Monica CA
for
Hill Dance—for concert band (featuring clarinet choir)
DAVID AVSHALOMOV
A third-generation American composer and conductor based in Santa Monica, David Avshalomov composes in an accessible neo-tonal, modern Romantic style that balances a lyric gift with characteristic rhythmic vitality and pungent harmonies. His influences include the great 20th-century tonal composers. He has written for forces ranging from solo instruments to full orchestra, band, and chorus, from songs and incidental pieces to full-length oratorio, often on commission. Currently he is writing an opera. His music has been performed professionally across the US, in Europe, Russia, and the Far East, and recorded on Albany and Naxos. He has won numerous grants and competitions. He earned his B.A in Music at Harvard and a D.M.A. in conducting at the University of Washington, studied at Aspen, and Tanglewood (Bernstein, Schuller, Ozawa), was music director of US orchestras and choruses on both coasts, guest conducted widely, toured in Europe and the Far East, and recorded orchestral music by his grandfather Aaron in Moscow for Naxos.
www.davidavshalomov.com


3rd Place:
JAMES YOUNG—Baltimore, MD
for
Shouting at the Gates to the Neon Wasteland—for wind ensemble
JAMES YOUNG
James Young is a composer of music. He has been read and performed by many groups across the US including the Baltimore Symphony, the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, the Talujon Percussion Quartet, Waco Symphony Orchestra, and the avant-garde music troupe, Bonecrusher.

Continuing to work in and around Baltimore, James has enjoyed a growing connection with the city, helping to foster a young, growing art community. He has enjoyed a diverse compositional career in Charm City, scoring music for the Occasional Symphony to accompany horror films of the silent era and working with Maryland Institute College of Art students as part of the Synesthesia concert series. He has underscored the work of videogame designers and has improvised via laptop accompanying voice as a part of the personally curated concert series, outerspaces.

James has received a doctorate in music composition from the Peabody Institute under the guidance of Michael Hersch.



Honorable Mention:
HARRY BULOW—West Lafayette IN
for
Rapid City Overture
HARRY BULOW
Harry Bulow was born in Des Moines, Iowa, in 1951. He received his B.A. with distinction in music from San Diego State University (1975), and his M.A. and Ph.D. in music theory and composition from UCLA (1978, 1983).  Bulow also holds a Performer’s Diploma in Saxophone Performance from Trinity College of Music, London, England. His principal composition teachers include Aaron Copland, Peter Mennin, Henri Lazarof, Roy Travis, David Ward-Steinman and Henry Mancini.
His works have received numerous awards including 1st Prize at the International Composers Competition in Trieste, Italy, the “Oscar Espla” Prize from the city of Alicante, Spain, a National Endowment for the Arts Composer Fellowship, and 33 consecutive ASCAP/Plus Awards from the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers. Bulow’s compositions have been performed by the Omaha Symphony, San Antonio Symphony, Honolulu Symphony, Eastman Wind Ensemble, New England Conservatory of Music Wind Ensemble and the Moscow National Symphonic Band. His music is published by Alfred Publications, Northeastern Music Publications, Imagine Music and Silver Mace Publications. Recording are available on Nonesuch Records, North/South Consonance Records, Society of Composers, Inc. and Crest Records. He has held positions at the University of Hawaii, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and Lamar University in Beaumont, TX.  He is Professor of Music and Head of the Patti and Rusty Rueff School of Visual and Performing Arts at Purdue University in West Lafayette, IN.


Honorable Mention:
JOSEPH SPANIOLA—Pensacola FL
for
Escapade
JOSEPH SPANIOLA
Joseph T. Spaniola (b. May 7, 1963) is a composer on a passionate quest to engage the hearts and minds of audiences and performers through the communicative powers of music.  Dr. Spaniola is active as a composer, arranger, educator, conductor, lecturer, producer, clinician, and adjudicator.  He has composed works for band, orchestra, chamber ensembles, solo instruments, voice, choir, and electronic tape.  His award-winning compositions have been performed and recorded by ensembles in the North America, Europe, Japan, South America, Israel, China, Australia, Taiwan and Singapore.  He is a faculty member at the University of West Florida.  Prior to joining UWF, Dr. Spaniola was the Chief Composer/Arranger for The US Air Force Academy Band.  Works by the composer are available through Musica Propria, Kagarice Brass Editions, Tuba Euphonium Press, and directly from the composer at www.josephspaniola.com. He studied music at the University of North Texas, Michigan State University and Boston University.



The American Prize in Composition—band/wind ensemble—student division

The American Prize winner:
DEREK JENKINS—Kansas City MO
for
We Seven—for wind ensemble
DEREK JENKINS
Derek M. Jenkins (b. 1986, Frankfurt am Main, Germany) has received performances of his music throughout the United States, Europe, and Canada including performances by the Fountain City Brass Band, U.S. Army Materiel Command Band; and university and college bands at the Univeristy of Missouri-Kansas City, Florida, Northern Arizona, Arkansas, Arizona State, Iowa State, and Western Michigan. Jenkins has received recognition from the National Band Association, MMTA/MTNA, MACRO, ASCAP, UMKC, and at conferences and festivals across the U.S. and abroad. He has been commissioned by the Mid America Freedom Band and wind ensembles at UT-Martin, UMKC, and Bethel College.

Jenkins is currently studying at UMKC, and he holds degrees from Rice University and UMKC. Additionally, he has received further instruction at the Kärntner Landeskonservatorium and the Alpen-Adria Universität Klagenfurt.

In his spare time, Jenkins is an amateur scuba diver and daydreams of becoming an astronaut. For more information, visit www.derekmjenkins.com.



2nd Place:
DINAH BIANCHI—Belleville MI
for
The Jackal's Palace

DINAH BIANCHI
Composer Dinah Bianchi is currently a student at Wayne State University, located in downtown Detroit.  Her composition style is both aurally descriptive as well as colorfully imaginative.  Dinah is Principal Horn in the International Symphony Orchestra, Third Horn in the Jackson Symphony Orchestra, and performs regularly with many other orchestras and ensembles located within the Metro-Detroit area.  Her extensive performance experience has allowed her an intimate appreciation for a rich palate of instrumental color, which she uses to develop her own creative style. 


3rd Place:
AARON MENCHER—Johns Creek GA
for
New—for wind ensemble
AARON MENCHER
Aaron Mencher is a composer that has done a variety of work ranging from contemporary classical music to film scores to incidental music. In February, the Deviant Septet recorded his piece Fast-Forward. Also, he recently finished scoring the film Maggephah directed by Brad McGaughey.

Aaron’s New for Wind Ensemble won the 2015 NAfME Student Composers Competition. This piece was premiered by the All-National Concert Band. It is now distributed through Murphy Music Press. In The Forest won the 2014 Third Millennium Ensemble Prize Pre-College Division.

Until 2015, he was the composer for The Dancing Goat Theater for many shows including A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Twelfth Night.

He is currently attending University of Missouri on a full tuition music composition scholarship where he is studying under Stephen Freund and William Lackey. More information about Aaron and his music can be found at menchermusic.com.


Finalist—Honorable Mention:
ZACHARY PLOEGER—Pipestone MN
for
Poem—for symphonic band
ZACHARY PLOEGER
Composer, Conductor, and Trumpeter, Zachary Ploeger is a promising up and coming musician. He currently attends Western Michigan University where he studies composition with Dr. Richard Adams, trumpet with Professor Scott Thornburg, and orchestral conducting with Maestro Bruce Uchimura.

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. Last year, the Mivos String Quartet read a composition he wrote specifically for them. He also just finished writing a commission for the WMU Premiere Brass Quintet, who premiered the piece in late March 2015. Additionally, his woodwind quintet “Galactic Voyage” was given an honorable mention and was a semi-finalist for the “American Prize” in chamber music composition. 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 is a member of the Society of Composers Inc. www.zacharyploeger.com


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Congratulations!

COMPOSER WINNERS: Opera/Theater/Film, 2016

The American Prize is honored to announce the winners, runners-up and honorable mention recipients of The American Prize in Composition, 2016, in the Opera/Theater/Film category, all divisions. Congratulations!

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

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

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

The American Prize in Composition—opera, theater, film—professional division

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

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


2nd Place:
CURTIS BRYANT—Union City GA
for
Zabette
CURTIS BRYANT
Atlanta native Curtis Bryant (b. 1949) has composed music for a wide variety of genres including orchestral, chamber, choral, art song, and grand opera.  A seven-time Emmy Award nominee, Bryant has also composed music for film, television, and video games.

Bryant's first opera, ZABETTE, a collaboration with librettist and historian Mary R. Bullard, is based on the true story of a Georgia plantation owner and his mixed-race mistress during the turbulent Civil War era.  The world premiere production in 1999 combined the vocal talents of Georgia State University with those of Morehouse and Spellman Colleges, as well as other area universities.

Bryant’s second opera, THE SECRET AGENT, based upon a libretto by forensic psychiatrist Allen Reichman, is an adaptation of the dark 1907 novel by Joseph Conrad.  The world premiere was given in 2013 by Atlanta’s Capitol City Opera Company directed by Micheal Nutter.

http://www.curtisbryantmusic.com 


3rd Place:
DOUGLAS BUCHANAN—Cockeysville, MD
for
Prospero Variations
DOUGLAS BUCHANAN
Douglas Buchanan’s (b. 1984) music has been lauded for its “sense of creative imperative” (The Philadelphia Inquirer) and being “filled with terrific orchestral color and weight, not to mention feeling” (The Baltimore Sun), leading to grants and awards from the Presser Foundation, New Music USA, the Symphony in C, and the ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composers Awards. An active scholar, performer, and conductor noted for the “ability to get under the skin of [the music’s] core material” (The Scotsman), Buchanan teaches at the Peabody Conservatory and Dickinson College. As pianist and organist he has performed concerts throughout the country, including at the Fort Worth Museum of Modern Art and the National Cathedral. In addition to serving as director of the Maryland Choral Society and Organist and Choirmaster at St. David’s, Baltimore, he enjoys interspecies microtonal improvisation with his black lab, Grover. You are invited to visit www.dbcomposer.com to learn more. 


Finalist—Honorable Mention:
ALLEN SHEARER—Oakland, CA
for
Middlemarch in Spring
ALLEN SHEARER
Allen Shearer has been honored with the Rome Prize Fellowship, a Charles Ives Scholarship, the Aaron Copland Award, and the Silvia Goldstein Award for a vocal work written at the Copland House. The National Endowment for the Arts has funded many of his works. His choral music has been performed widely in the U.S. and abroad. His opera The Dawn Makers, produced in San Francisco in 2009, was a finalist in the National Opera Association’s Dominick Argento Chamber Opera Competition. The 2015 premiere of his opera Middlemarch in Spring was named one of the Top Ten Operatic Events of 2015 by the San Francisco Chronicle. He composes in many media, with recent emphasis on opera. His current project is a new opera Howards End. Also a singer, he has performed and recorded in many styles, including his own works. He holds a PhD from the University of California at Berkeley. 


Finalist—Honorable Mention:
JUDITH LYNN STILLMAN—Providence, RI
for
When the Music Stopped
JUDITH LYNN STILLMAN
Judith Lynn Stillman holds Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctoral degrees from Juilliard.  Hailed by Wynton Marsalis as “remarkable, a consummate artist," winner of 18 competitions, Pell Award in the Arts, Stillman is Artist-in-Residence/Professor of Music at Rhode Island College, and an internationally-renowned composer, pianist, choral conductor.

Stillman's "When the Music Stopped" received national media coverage: "a breathtaking masterpiece," "Stillman's true genius shines as she catapults the audience through a multi-layered, artistically-complex presentation exploring injustice, survival and hope," "Stillman reaches for the stars and succeeds brilliantly in transporting us through darkness toward life and growth," "startlingly beautiful musical score."

Featured in world premieres at Lincoln Center; at Grammy's honoring Rostropovich; film scores for CBC-TV and Films JAD; Artist-in-Residence in China, Russia, Czech Republic, Beijing's Central Conservatory; Marlboro, Tanglewood, RI-PBS-TV, NPR. Collaborators: Wynton Marsalis (duo album, SONY), Mark O'Connor, Richard Stoltzman, Herbie Hancock (BOSE commercial), members of NY Philharmonic, Boston Symphony, Borromeo, Cassatt, Shanghai Quartets.
www.judithlynnstillman.com


The American Prize in Composition—opera, theater, film—student division

The American Prize winner:
GEORGI DIMITROV—Los Angeles, CA
for
Maximus—An Opera in One Act
GEORGI DIMITROV
Georgi writes acoustic music that explores the relationships between distinctive sound molds and the ways in which they relate, mix, and complement each other in order to create a viable sense of form. His pieces occasionally enjoy the high-definition purr that results from the inclusion of intervals tuned in just intonation. He takes great joy in, in conjunction with the above or not, further using humor in his music: from a vulgar slapstick to an elegant eruditeness. His 2014 one-act, one-hour chamber opera Maximus was premiered at the University of Southern California and performed further in Los Angeles. The opera, conducted by the composer, takes place in the near future and concerns a parking ticket that utterly destroys its protagonist’s life. It is scored for clarinet, violin, viola, cello; and a soprano, baritone, and bass who all portray multiple characters.

Active as a performer, Georgi is also a proficient string player who began practicing violin at the age of 6. He currently plays in all three of Los Angeles’ youth orchestras and is principal viola at the YMF Debut Orchestra, assistant principal viola at the newly-formed Young Artists Symphony Orchestra, and third principal viola at the American Youth Symphony. He is a member of Che-Yen Chen’s viola studio at the Thornton School of Music. 


2nd Place:
DAYTON KINNEY—Durham, NC
for
Cold Hands
DAYTON KINNEY
Dayton Kinney creates music that has won and has been recognized for numerous competitions at the international, national, and state levels. Performed in the U.S. and abroad, Dayton’s music has had notable performances by Deviant Septet, ICE, the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, Rela Percussion, Zodiac Trio, the Serpili Sisters, and at Pittsburgh Opera.  Dayton’s eclectic style is inspired from neo-romantic-ideals, juxtapositions, and accessibility. Her current compositional obsession explores the concept of the “in-between” grey-area of “tonality” and “atonality” through shapes, patterns, direction, sectional comparisons, and repetition, all found throughout her works. Dayton is a doctoral student for a Ph.D. in Music - Composition at Duke University, studying with John Supko. Dayton earned her Masters of Music in Composition at Carnegie Mellon University. Dayton also holds a Bachelor of Arts, Cum Laude with Honors in Music from Smith College. Her previous composition teachers include Leonardo Balada, Salvatore Macchia, Melinda Wagner, and Alla Elana Cohen. 


3rd Place:
HARRIET STEINKE—Grosse Pointe, MI
for
Somewhere in Europe
HARRIET STEINKE
Harriet Steinke (b.1994) is a composer of contemporary classical music. Harriet’s works have been premiered within dance, art, and theatre productions involving professional and student artists as well as collaborations through youth programs in the Indianapolis area. In 2015, the Butler Community Arts School commissioned a collaborative piece for Butler University’s ArtsFest, which was premiered by several of their youth orchestras. Most of Harriet’s recent work is driven by not only artistic collaborations but also academic research. During the 2014-2015 academic year, Harriet was awarded a grant from the Undergraduate Research Scholarship Program at Butler University. She conducted research surrounding the experiences of World War II soldiers to aid to the composition of a narrative piece focused on the physical and emotional experiences of the American soldier. Harriet is currently earning her B.M. at Butler where she has studied with Frank Felice, Ronald Caltabiano, and Michael Schelle. www.HarrietSteinke.com 


Honorable Mention:
DOUGLAS BROWN—Morgantown WV
for
The Problem with This German
DOUGLAS BROWN
Douglas Brown is currently studying for a doctorate in music composition at West Virginia University.  He has a Master of Music in composition from Houghton College in New York and received Music Theory Honors at Wayland Baptist University where he completed his bachelor’s degree in theory and composition.  He has studied composition under John Beall, Gary D. Belshaw, David H. Davies, and Sun Mi Ro.

As publisher for Three Candles Music, Mr. Brown provides an avenue of promotion for the new music of living composers.  In his own compositions he uses his combined background in instrumental and vocal music to draw on a broad spectrum for writing in the postminimal style.  He also currently serves as adjunct professor in music for Wayland Baptist University in their online degree program.

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Congratulations!