Friday, April 14, 2017

ORCHESTRA winners, 2016-17, all divisions

 
The American Prize is honored to announce the winners, runners-up and honorable mention of The American Prize in ORCHESTRAL PERFORMANCE, 2016-17, in all divisions. Congratulations!

All applicants finalist or higher receive written evaluations from a member of The American Prize judging panel; the competitions reserve the right to award additional citations for merit up until the final announcement of results for 2016-17 has been made.

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.

Please make us aware of any misprints: theamericanprize@gmail.com
  
The American Prize in Orchestral Performance, 2017—professional division

The American Prize winner:
River Oaks Chamber Orchestra
    Alecia Lawyer, artistic director    Houston TX
River Oaks Chamber Orchestra
The River Oaks Chamber Orchestra (ROCO) is a forty-piece professional chamber orchestra that was founded in 2005 by Alecia Lawyer. A Juilliard-trained musician with an eclectic background as a performer, recording artist, adjunct professor and radio host, Ms. Lawyer had a vision to reimagine the orchestral experience for both audience and musicians. The result is ROCO: an orchestra of all-star musicians, distinguished conductors and contemporary composers who come together from all over the world to present unexpected classics, original compositions and delightful performances that dissolve the barriers between audience and orchestra. www.roco.org


2nd Place:
Michigan Philharmonic
    Nan Washburn, music director    Plymouth MI
Michigan Philharmonic
The Michigan Philharmonic, one of the most innovative and dynamic professional orchestras in Southeast Michigan, was recently awarded the prestigious Knight Foundation Arts Challenge Grant and received 2nd and 3rd Place honors from The American Prize, professional orchestra division. Nan Washburn, Music Director and Conductor since 1999, was the TAP Professional Conducting Winner in 2013 and has won 19 ASCAP Awards for Adventuresome Programming of Contemporary Music from the League of American Orchestras. Michigan Phil is bringing its events into an ever-expanding roster of Michigan communities, including Plymouth, Canton, Birmingham-Bloomfield, Brighton, Downtown Detroit, and many others. The organization is committed to reaching out to a broad and diverse array of audiences. Currently in its 70th Season, the orchestra plays a full season of concerts throughout the year including pops, outdoor, Bollywood and Fusion Festivals. The Philharmonic also has an extensive education program that includes the Michigan Philharmonic Youth Orchestra.


3rd Place:
Odysseus North Texas Chamber Orchestra
    Jason Lim, music director    McKinney TX
Odysseus North Texas Chamber Orchestra
Founded in Denton in 2012, Odysseus North Texas Chamber Orchestra consists of  professional classical musicians from the DFW area. In May 2012, Odysseus launched a successful inaugural performance featuring local soloists, performed with Christopher Deane, Professor of Percussion at the University of North Texas and gave the world premiere of Breathe by Brad Robin, a work commissioned by Artistic Director, Jason Lim. Innovative in its programs under the direction of Jason Lim, OCO collaborated with the Denton City Contemporary Ballet  staging a full ballet performance of Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf and in 2014 staged the premiere performance of the full production of Igor Stravinsky’s A Soldier’s Tale. In 2014 OCO collaborated with world renowned double bassist, Jeff  Bradetich featuring the Tango music of Astor Piazzolla. In its short history, the Odysseus Chamber Orchestra has gained a growing national reputation as an emerging ensemble, winning third prize in the 2015 American Prize Competition for professional orchestras, 2nd prize in the 2014 and 3rd prize the year before. OCO has supported local service clubs like the Denton Breakfast Kiwanis Club, the Robson Ranch Kiwanis Club, sponsoring events such as the Eliminate Project Cruise and the Passing of the Banner Dinner. The outreach programs of Odysseus has expanded in the last two year, providing free chamber music series concerts, free amenity concerts in neighborhoods, educational school performances and collaborating with the Arts and Music Guild to organize the Summer Music Intensives.  Furthermore, OCO pioneered the Mentorship Program created by Artistic Director Jason Lim. This program provides high school orchestra students the opportunity to rehearse and perform side-by-side with members of OCO.  In 2014, OCO relocated from Denton and began planting new roots to become the resident professional orchestra of McKinney. www.odysseusorchestra.com 



The American Prize in Orchestral Performance, 2016-17—college/university division

The American Prize winner:
Baylor Symphony Orchestra
    Stephen Heyde, conductor    Waco TX
Baylor Symphony Orchestra
Founded in 1946, the Baylor Symphony has had only two resident conductors, Daniel Sternberg and, since 1984, Stephen Heyde. In a typical year 95 students from two dozen states and several foreign countries are selected to perform in the ensemble. The orchestra has performed at the Piccolo Spoleto Festival, national conventions of the American String Teachers Association and the College Orchestra Directors Association and multiple times at the Texas Music Educators Convention. In 2003 the Symphony was featured in a PBS Special that aired nationally to an estimated audience of six million viewers. The orchestra has performed with many distinguished performers including Josef Gingold and Robert Shaw among many others and taken international tours of Costa Rica in 2004 and Belgium in 2010. The Baylor Symphony also presents annual concerts for 6000 school children, an unbroken tradition of 70 years and won The American Prize in 2014 and 2015.


2nd Place:
Peabody Symphony Orchestra
    Hajime Teri Murai, conductor    Baltimore MD
Peabody Symphony Orchestra
The Peabody Symphony Orchestra is the senior of the two full symphonic orchestras at the Peabody Conservatory of Music.  The members of the orchestra are primarily upper division and graduate students.  The Peabody Symphony Orchestra performs five to six symphonic concerts and a major opera production each season. Programming for the orchestra is designed to provide its members with a rich and diverse performance experience, centered around the standard repertoire, but including contemporary music, American works, and premiere performances.  Peabody orchestras have regularly won ASCAP Awards for Adventurous Programming.  The Peabody Symphony Orchestra has been praised by the Baltimore Sun and provides its audiences with committed, energetic, and heartfelt performances.


3rd Place: 
Cornell Chamber Orchestra
    Chris Younghoon Kim, conductor   Ithaca NY
Cornell Chamber Orchestra
Cornell Chamber Orchestra under the direction of Chris Younghoon Kim, present multiple concerts during each academic school year.  The membership of the orchestra is formed from students of all colleges and departments across the university-wide community.  It is the only non-music major orchestra to win first place among collegiate orchestras the ASCAP award for Adventurous Programming of Contemporary music during the 2008-2009 season. It has won the Adventurous awards for 6 years in a row from 2008-2014. For the last seven seasons Cornell Orchestras have been jointly producing the Ithaca International conducting masterclasses with Ithaca College Symphony Orchestra.  



The American Prize in Orchestral Performance, 2016-17—community orchestra division

The American Prize winner: 
Texas Medical Center Orchestra
    Libi Lebel, conductor    Houston TX
Texas Medical Center Orchestra
Established in November 2000, Texas Medical Center Orchestra (TMCO) is one of very few community orchestras in the United States and the world with its origin in the health professions. It includes physicians, dentists, nurses, medical students, biomedical scientists, social workers and other allied health professionals who are dedicated to making music. Part of the orchestra’s mission is to provide health care professionals a creative outlet; offer affordable concerts to a diverse public audience; and bring public attention and support for, medically related and/or educational charities. Russian-born conductor Libi Lebel, founder and artistic director of TMCO, has a strong and growing reputation in the music world. Ms. Lebel has been listed as one of the 50 most influential women in Houston, (population over 2 million). She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Julliard School of Music and Westminster Choir College, in piano performance and conducting. Conducting appearances in New Jersey, New York, Texas, Russia and Romania have been met with high praise. In 2013, conductor Lebel led the TMCO in a well-received program at Carnegie Hall.
 As to her passion about music, Ms. Lebel says: “What inspires me is to make music come alive. To feel the love, pride, joy, sadness. To help it unfold in the most convincing and compelling way. With it, we connect to the very essence of our humanity, we then come into contact with that part of ourselves that expresses our most profound creativity. I am so lucky to have music in my life.”   



2nd Place (there was a tie):
Austin Civic Orchestra
    Lois Ferrari, conductor    Austin TX
Austin Civic Orchestra
Among the oldest community orchestras in the country, the Austin Civic Orchestra was founded in 1977 as a small group of string players which has since grown and evolved into the full 80-piece symphonic orchestra it is today. The ACO is committed to bringing high quality classical music to Austin area communities and to supporting young musicians in particular. To this end, the Orchestra offers free admittance to all students under the age of 18. In addition, the ACO sponsors the annual Pearl Amster Chamber Music Festival and co-sponsors (with the University of Texas) the annual Texas Rising Stars Concerto Contest. A champion of new music, ACO Music Director Lois Ferrari founded the Composition Contest in 2005. The ACO's illustrious list of guest artists include: Anton Nel, Lauren Lane, David Amram, David Whitwell, Peter Bay, and Hai Zheng. The ACO is proud to announce that all of its 2015-16 season concerts were underwritten by donors. http://www.austincivicorchestra.org


2nd Place (there was a tie):
Dudley House Orchestra
    Aaron Kuan, conductor    Cambridge MA
Dudley House Orchestra
The Dudley House Orchestra is affiliated with the Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences in Cambridge, MA. It's mission is to provide artistic enrichment by providing opportunities for qualified students, scholars, and community members to rehearse together and perform in public concerts. The orchestra aims to perform at a high level of artistic excellence while maintaining a rehearsal environment amenable to full-time students, scholars and professionals and making every reasonable effort to include musicians of varying levels of artistic experience. During the academic year, the orchestra presents a fall concert in Paine Hall and a spring concert in Sanders Theatre as part the Harvard Arts First Festival.


3rd Place:
Midwest Chamber Ensemble
    Steve Nelson Lewis Jr., conductor Prairie Village KS
Midwest Chamber Ensemble
The Midwest Chamber Ensemble is a Kansas City-based organization dedicated to the performance of chamber orchestra and chamber ensemble music. Ensemble members are primarily young professional musicians and exceptional music students. The Midwest Chamber Ensemble prepares its members for future career opportunities by creating a professional environment and providing audiences with quality performances. Joseph Kern is the Composer-in-Residence with the Midwest Chamber Ensemble.  Prior to college, he was surrounded by rural and small town living, church activities, American Rust Belt history, and traveling the northeast United States; these things have and continue to influence his musical life. Steve N. Lewis Jr. is the Music Director of the Midwest Chamber Ensemble where he conducts orchestra concerts and performs chamber music.  He has conducted the Missouri Symphony, the Wilson Symphony (NC), Classical Revolution-Kansas City, OvreArts (PA) and the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory Orchestra and Chamber Orchestra. www.midwestchamberensemble.org 



The American Prize in Orchestral Performance, 2016-17—youth orchestra division 

The American Prize winner:
Houston Youth Symphony
    Michael Webster, conductor   Houston TX

Houston Youth Symphony
Celebrating its 70th season, Houston Youth Symphony (HYS) is the recipient of national acclaim including the 2015 first prize winner of the Mark of Excellence Award from The Foundation for Music Education and the 2015 American Prize in Orchestral Performance – Youth Orchestra Division. Each season approximately 350 musicians between the ages of seven and 19 come from across the greater Houston area to perform in one of four HYS orchestras. In addition to the core orchestra program, HYS offers advanced musicians a chamber music training program and an annual concerto competition. In the community, HYS provides free private music lessons for talented youth in select economically disadvantaged communities through the Melody Program. In January 2015, HYS launched the Coda Music Program, an after-school effort modeled after El Sistema that brings graduated, intensive string instruction to two elementary schools using classical music and group instruction to build community and social transformation.


2nd Place:
Interlochen Arts Academy Orchestra
    Carolyn Watson, conductor   Interlochen MI

Interlochen Arts Academy Orchestra
Winner of the 2015 American Prize in Orchestral Performance and Runner-up for the American Prize in Conducting, Australian conductor Carolyn Watson is Director of Orchestral Studies at Texas State University. From 2013-15 she held the position of Conductor of the Interlochen Arts Academy Orchestra, having also conducted the World Youth Symphony Orchestra and Detroit Symphony Youth Orchestra. Prior to moving to the US Carolyn enjoyed a successful tenure as the inaugural Conductor-in-Residence at Sydney's Conservatorium High School from 2011-2013. A Fellow of the American Academy of Conducting at the Aspen Music Festival, Carolyn was a major prizewinner at the 2012 Emmerich Kálmán International Operetta Conducting Competition in Budapest. She is the recipient of the Brian Stacey Award for Emerging Australian Conductors, Charles Mackerras Conducting Prize, Nelly Apt Scholarship and Opera Foundation Australia’s Bayreuth Opera Award and Berlin New Music Opera Award. Dr. Watson holds a PhD in Performance (Conducting) from the University of Sydney where the subject of her doctoral thesis was Gesture as Communication: The Art of Carlos Kleiber. www.carolyn-watson.com



The American Prize in Orchestral Performance, 2016-17—high school orchestra division

The American Prize winner:
Plano West Chamber Orchestra
    Ryan Ross, director   Plano TX
Plano West Chamber Orchestra
The Plano West Orchestra is proud to be recognized as one of the most accomplished orchestra programs in America. Plano West is a grade 11 and 12 campus in Plano, TX, a Dallas suburb. The orchestra program currently serves shy of 200 students in four orchestras. Since its inception, Plano West has been recognized as the Texas String Honor Orchestra six times, most recently in 2016. Nationally, it has been recognized as an invited orchestra at the Midwest Clinic and been named a National Winner in the Mark of Excellence National Orchestra Honors.  The program as a whole routinely earns sweepstakes awards at the annual UIL competition.  The program is led by Director of Orchestras, Ryan Ross.  And for many years, Associate Director Amy Gross has been a key player in helping the program grow and thrive.  


2nd Place: 
Arlington HS Philharmonia
    Jon Handman, director    LeGrangeville NY
Arlington HS Philharmonia
Arlington High School's Philharmonia is the most advanced of five orchestras and has been selected to perform at the 2015 NY State School Boards Convention, the 2014 NYSSMA Winter Conference and was the Grand Champion of the ASTA National Orchestra Festival in March 2012. The program consists of two ninth grade string orchestra and three symphonic orchestras for students in grades 10-12, of which Ms. Elizabeth Handman and  Mr. Jonathan Handman are the directors.  In total, the program has over 250 string students and 70 wind/percussion members that join the strings every other day as their second ensemble in addition to the band program that they are members of.  Arlington Central School District’s High School Principal is Mr. Paul Fanuele and Music Coordinator is Mr. Richard Guillen. 


3rd Place:
Allen HS Symphony Orchestra
    David DeVoto, director    Allen TX

Allen HS Symphony Orchestra
The Allen ISD Orchestra program began in 1997 at the 6th grade level with approximately 50 students. By 2002, the 30 member Allen High School orchestra began performing in their first concerts and festivals and earned their first “sweepstakes” UIL award.  Since 2002, the HS orchestra program grew to 300+ students, placed in the finals of the Texas Honor Orchestra Competition in 2004, 2006, 2007,  2015, and 2016 and was accepted to the Midwest Clinic in 2006.  Today, there are over 1,300 orchestra students in Allen ISD: seventeen elementary orchestras, three middle school orchestra programs with 4 or 5 orchestras each, a freshman center orchestra program with a full orchestra and four string orchestras, and the high school orchestra program with a full orchestra and six string orchestras. Students in the AISD orchestra program participate in UIL Region XXV Solo & Concert Contests and the Texas Music Educators Association All-State Orchestras and Bands.


Honorable Mention:
Reagan Chamber Orchestra
    Sixto Elizondo IV, director   San Antonio TX
Reagan Chamber Orchestra
The Ronald Reagan orchestra program comprises of seven performing ensembles with a total enrollment of 245. The musicians in the Chamber Orchestra serve as the string section of the RRSO. The Reagan Orchestra performs six major concerts a year, including a young people’s concert which serves 1700 elementary and middle school students in the Reagan Cluster.  Members of the orchestra also serve the greater Stone Oak community by performing at events, nursing homes and in our cluster schools. The Reagan Orchestra has a long standing tradition of excellence in performance and service, and this tradition has continued under the direction of their Director, Sixto Elizondo IV.


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Congratulations!


 

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

OPERA PRODUCTION winners, runners-up, citations

 
The American Prize is honored to announce the winners,  runners-up and citation recipients of The American Prize in OPERA Performance, 2016-17. Congratulations!

All applicants finalist or higher receive written evaluations from a member of The American Prize judging panel.

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

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

The American Prize in OPERA Performance, 2016-17

The American Prize winner:
University of Michigan Opera
    Kathleen Kelly    Ann Arbor MI
    Ravel—L'heure espagnole / Puccini—Gianni Schicchi
University of Michigan Opera—Gianni Schicchi
The Opera Program at the University of Michigan is a cornerstone program in the School of Music, Theatre, and Dance. Students develop skills in an environment that oversees careful skill building yet encourages adventurous risk. Here they find world-class coaching in music, languages, and stagecraft. University Productions, a unique collaboration of faculty, staff, and students, designs and executes all scenery, costumes, properties, and lighting. Two mainstage productions and two workshop productions each year provide myriad performances opportunities for both undergraduates and graduates. Last but not least, the incomparable academic resources of the University of Michigan are at the program’s disposal.


2nd Place (there was a tie):
University of South Dakota Opera
    Tracelyn Gesteland    Vermillion SD
    Copland—The Tender Land
University of South Dakota Opera—The Tender Land
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 2014, USD Opera was honored to have been selected as a Finalist for The American Prize in Opera Performance.  In 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 convention in 2011.


2nd Place (there was a tie):
Messiah College Opera
    Damian Savarino    Mechanicsburg PA
    Copland—The Tender Land
Messiah College Opera—The Tender Land
The Messiah College Opera Workshop recently collaborated with the Department of Theatre and Dance at Messiah College to present Aaron Copland’s opera, The Tender Land the first ever student opera production in the college’s 100+ year history.  Previous offerings by the Opera Workshop ensemble have been Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi, Menotti’s The Medium and The Old Maid and the Thief, Gilbert and Sullivan’s Trial By Jury, as well as opera scenes programs with scenes representing various time periods, composers, and languages.  The Messiah College Opera Workshop was founded and currently directed (music and stage direction) by Dr. Damian Savarino.  Dr. Savarino’s production of The Medium won 1st Prize in the 2013-2014 National Opera Association Opera Production Competition.  www.damiansavarino.com


3rd Place:
Conservatory Opera of Music (SUNY—Purchase)—The Crucible    Jacque Trussel    Purchase NY
    Ward—The Crucible
Conservatory Opera of Music (SUNY—Purchase)—The Crucible
The Purchase Opera, performing arm of The Opera Performance/Vocal Studies Area in the Conservatory of Music/S.U.N.Y., has received critical acclaim, collecting eleven National Opera Association - Best Opera of the Year awards, including the American East Coast premiere of Lee Hoiby’s The Tempest. Working with the composer the company later recorded one of the only existing recordings of the piece (Albany Records). The company also presented the World Premiere of Raphael Lucas’ Confession, winning National Opera Association’s International competition for Best Chamber Opera, 2011/12 (also recorded for Albany Records). This past March (2016) they presented Robert Ward’s The Crucible, which will be recorded in September 2016.
 

                         
FINALIST—CITATION: "Exceptional Production Values"

Bob Jones University Opera    Darren P. Lawson    Greenville SC
    Verdi—Aida
Bob Jones University Opera—Aida
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/


FINALIST—CITATION: "Ensemble Excellence"

FSU Student Opera Society—The Mikado
    Justin John Moniz    Tallahassee FL
    Gilbert & Sullivan—The Mikado
FSU Student Opera Society—The Mikado
The Student Opera Society at Florida State University mission is to serve the diverse student body within the College of Music and beyond by providing unique performance and professional development opportunities in opera. The productions chosen are aimed at complementing Florida State Opera’s mainstage programming while also being relevant and meaningful to the development of student singers. Additionally, workshops, fundraisers, socials, and other enrichment events are hosted to encourage the enjoyment and appreciation of opera among the greater Florida State University community.
 


FINALIST—CITATION: "Exceptional Commitment to New Music"


Texas State University Opera
    Samuel Mungo    San Marcos TX
    Mollicone—Lady Bird, First Lady of the Land

Texas State University Opera—Lady Bird, First Lady of the Land
The Award Winning Texas State Opera Theatre is dedicated to training the whole Opera performer. Voice, Acting, Dance and Theater Tech professionals training strictly in their fields join Director Samuel Mungo, Conductor Carolyn Watson and Collaborative Artist Kristin Roach to give Texas State possibly the most comprehensive undergraduate opera program in the country. 2 full Productions, Scenes Programs, Masterclasses with names like Jill Grove, Margaret Lattimore, Nicholas Carthy, and Margo Garrett, and access to professional summer programs, draw students from across the country. Recent productions include Don Giovanni, Candide, Turn of the Screw and Dialogues of the Carmelites. In May of 2016 TSOT produced the World Premiere of Lady Bird: First Lady of the Land, composed by Henry Mollicone with libretto by Sheldon Harnick.


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Congratulations!


 

Monday, April 3, 2017

STAGE DIRECTORS winner, runners-up, 2016-17

 
The American Prize is honored to announce the winner and runners-up of The American Prize in DIRECTING, 2016-17. Congratulations!

All applicants finalist or higher receive written evaluations from a member of The American Prize judging panel.

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

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


The American Prize in DIRECTING, 2016-17.

The American Prize winner:
Jacque Trussel
    Purchase Opera—SUNY Purchase
    Purchase NY
Jacque Trussel
Jacque Trussel, directed throughout his internationally renowned career as a tenor, winning acclaim for productions of Merry Widow (Indiana), Tales of Hoffman and Koenigskinder (Sarasota Opera) Salome (Opera Nantes) and Don Giovanni (Univ. Illinois, Urbana/Champaign). In 1999 he become the Head of Opera Performance/Vocal Studies and Stage Director of Purchase Opera at the Conservatory of Music/S.U.NY. He was named Stage Director of the Year by Classical Singer Magazine/2005 and has led the Purchase Opera to eleven National Opera Association awards for Best Opera Production of the Year and received glowing reviews by the New York Times and Opera News.  The Award winning productions included the American East Coast premiere of Lee Hoiby’s The Tempest (in which he was the original Caliban), and the World premiere of Raphael Lucas’ Confession for which he co-authored the libretto. Confession was later named Best Chamber Opera of the Year by the NOA.


2nd Place (there was a tie):
Darren P. Lawson
    Bob Jones University
    Greenville, SC
Verdi: Aida
Darren P. Lawson
Dr. Darren P. Lawson is dean of the School of Fine Arts and Communication at Bob Jones University in Greenville, SC.  He has a BA in Rhetoric and Public Address from Bob Jones University, an MA in Platform Arts from Bob Jones University, and PhD in Communication Studies from the University of Kansas.  He is a member of the University Classic Players and has portrayed such roles as Cyrano in Cyrano de Bergerac, Leontes in The Winter’s Tale, Henry in King Henry IV, Duke of Buckingham in Richard III: The Terrible Reign, Bottom the Weaver in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Macduff in Macbeth, Jaques in As You Like It, Feste in Twelfth Night, and many others.  He also serves as one of the stage directors for the Bob Jones University Opera Association with productions including Aida, Samson et Dalila, Andrea Chenier, Mefistofele, L’Elisir d’Amore, Rigoletto, Il Trovatore, and Simeon. http://www.bju.edu/events/fine-arts/concert-opera-drama/archive/


2nd Place (there was a tie):
Samuel Mungo
    Texas State University
    San Marcos TX
Mollicone: Lady Bird, First Lady of the Land
Samuel Mungo
Dr. Samuel Mungo has directed professionally across the country and around the world. His honors include Classical Performance of the Year for Rigoletto in San Antonio, and Opera Production of the Year from the National Opera Association.  Professional directing credits include Die Entführung aus dem Serail for Florida Grand Opera, Suor Angelica for Opera Plovdiv, Gianni Schicchi at Stara Zagora Opera, Il Trovatore for San Antonio Opera, Pirates of Penzance for Colorado Light Opera.

As Director of Opera Studies at Texas State University, he has created perhaps the most comprehensive undergraduate opera training program in the country. Recently he has produced Die Fledermaus, Don Giovanni, The Student Prince, The Turn of the Screw and Candide.  He conceived and produced the World Premiere of Mollicone’s Lady Bird in May.

He received his Doctorate from the University of Colorado at Boulder, and his Masters in Vocal Performance from the New England Conservatory.


3rd Place:
Justin John Moniz
    Florida State University Student Opera Society
    Tallahassee FL
Gilbert & Sullivan: The Mikado
Justin John Moniz
Justin John Moniz is a director, singer, actor, and teacher in high demand. He is currently a member of the faculty at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, where he teaches courses in opera and performing techniques. Moniz has previously directed productions and scenes programs for the Oberlin Conservatory, Florida State University, Cleveland Opera Theatre, and the Hawaii Performing Arts Festival, where he currently serves as Assistant Artistic Director. His ongoing research on redefining singer training in the 21st century has been presented at the National Opera Association, and is slated for publication this fall. As a critically acclaimed singer/actor, he has previously sung roles with Opera Grand Rapids, Utah Festival Opera, Sarasota Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Opera Company of Middlebury, and DreamCatcher Theatre/Adrienne Arsht Center, among many others. This fall, Moniz joins the voice faculty at Millikin University, where he will also serve as Voice Area Coordinator. For more information, please visit: www.justinjohnmoniz.com.





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Congratulations!


 

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

MUSIC THEATER & THEATER winners, 2016-17

 
The Ziegfeld star, Marilyn Miller
The American Prize is honored to announce the winners,  runners-up and citation recipients of The American Prize in MUSIC THEATER and THEATER Performance, 2016-17. Congratulations!

All applicants finalist or higher receive written evaluations from a member of The American Prize judging panel.

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

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


The American Prize in MUSIC THEATER and THEATER Performance, 2016-17.
"Each in their own way very fine productions..."

The American Prize winner:
AZ State University Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts
    Brian DeMaris
    Tempe AZ
Sondheim—Company
AZ State University Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts
Established in 1964, ASU's flagship 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 School of Music, as well as students from the School of Film, Dance and Theatre, LOT is committed to preparing outstanding operatic and musical theatre performers for professional careers in the 21st Century.

LOT currently produces five fully staged and costumed opera and musical theatre productions each year in its own 450–seat Evelyn Smith Music Theater, all supported with full orchestras from ASU's nationally renowned instrumental ensemble program. It boasts a significant team of faculty directors, conductors, designers, voice teachers, coaches and support staff, along with regular guest artists and other faculty from the School of Music and the School of Film, Dance and Theatre. The program also features formal collaborations and professional performance and study/cover opportunities with Arizona Opera and the Phoenix Theatre.


2nd Place:
Belmont University
    Nancy Allen
    Nashville TN
Berlin, et al—White Christmas
Belmont University
Belmont University has been producing excellence in Musical Theatre for almost 20 years.  Located in the heart of Nashville, Belmont is a premier training ground for talented students who wish to experience a rigorous conservatory style education in a liberal arts atmosphere.  Belmont students graduate to become top tier talent in the theatre industry and are employed in Broadway shows, Off Broadway shows, in National Tours and in excellent equity theatre around the country. To learn more about this incredible university, please visit www.belmont.edu/music.


3rd Place:
Bob Jones University
    Darren P. Lawson
    Greenville SC
Shakespeare—Richard III
Bob Jones University
The Bob Jones University Classic Players was founded in 1929 as part of its commitment to liberal arts training for all of its students, who are provided free tickets to the productions.  It has grown into one of the outstanding college Shakespearean repertoire groups in the world. Membership is open to students who show the requisite ability in public tryouts. Faculty and staff also participate as cast members.  Major productions are presented each year, including such great plays as Hamlet, Julius Caesar, Macbeth, The Merchant of Venice, Twelfth Night, As You Like It, Richard III, and other plays covering the great majority of the Shakespearean repertoire. In addition to the Shakespearean plays, the Classic Players have also mounted other great classics including Cyrano de Bergerac, Pride and Prejudice, and Great Expectations. http://www.bju.edu/events/fine-arts/concert-opera-drama/archive/
                         

FINALIST—CITATION: "Exceptional energy and wonderful special effects"

Top Billing Entertainment
    Kristina Keener Ivy
    Glendora CA
Baum, et al—The Wizard of Oz
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, 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, and has received 23 National Youth Arts Nominations with six 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.


FINALIST—CITATION: "Youthful Exuberance and Educational Excellence in Theater Performance"

Royal Oak Middle School
    Nicole Pedroche
    Covina CA
Brown, et al—13, The Musical
Royal Oak Middle School
Royal Oak Middle school, located in Covina, California, has an incredible history in Theater Art excellence and community. It should be noted that though ROMS is competing in the high school division, we are a public middle school theater troupe in the truest sense. The entire cast and technical crew is comprised of only 7th and 8th grade students. Students pay zero fees to participate, instead funding the program through fantastic ticket sales and small refreshment fundraisers. The program in fiercely loved by the community and has produced several successful actors, writers, film producers, theater educators and other industry types. Students are also expected to learn technical theater and handle costume pulls, scenic work, set changes, stage management, audio engineering, lighting, front of house business, and program writing. This is the fourth ROMS musical for the new program director, Nicole Pedroche. romsdrama.weebly.com




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Congratulations!


 

Monday, March 27, 2017

CONDUCTOR WINNERS: chorus: professional, community, school divisions

The American Prize is honored to announce the winners and runners-up of The American Prize in Conducting—chorus—in the professional, community and school divisions, 2016-17. Congratulations! (Results in the COLLEGE/UNIVERSITY division have been delayed and will be announced as soon as they are available.)

All applicants finalist or higher receive written evaluations from a member of The American Prize judging panel.

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

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


The American Prize in Conducting—chorus, 2016-17,  professional division:

The American Prize winner:
Jeremiah Selvey 
    Chorosynthesis Singers
    Seattle WA
Jeremiah Selvey
DR. JEREMIAH SELVEY currently serves as Visiting Director of Choral Activities of Connecticut College and Co-Artistic Director of Chorosynthesis Singers, a professional, project-based chamber ensemble in Seattle. He has performed throughout North America, New Zealand, Australia, and Europe and regularly teaches voice master classes and clinics choirs of all levels. Jeremiah’s compositions have been performed on four continents, and his research on choral expressivity has been presented in Asia, Europe, and throughout the North America. He is most recently published by The Choral Scholar and the Bulletin of the Council for Research in Music Education. A Southern California resident, Jeremiah has taught applied voice majors, group voice class, conducting, choral methods, theory, music history, aural skills, and diction. He holds advanced degrees from the University of Washington and Emory University. www.jeremiahselvey.com


2nd Place:
Brian A. Schmidt
    South Dakota Chorale  
    Sioux Falls SD
Brian A. Schmidt
Brian Schmidt is a choral conductor at Duke University in Durham, NC, where he serves as conductor of the Duke Vespers Ensemble and Duke Divinity School Choir, and conductor of the Duke Chapel Bach Cantata Series. With the Duke Vespers Ensemble, Schmidt leads the highly-auditioned chamber choir in a weekly candlelit Choral Vespers service, as well as concerts and recording projects specializing in early music. He is also Founder and Artistic Director of the South Dakota Chorale, a professional choral organization in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. His leadership has guided them to rapid growth as well as the release of two commercial albums and the signing of an international recording contract with Pentatone, a Dutch classical music label.


3rd Place:
Wendy K. Moy
    Chorosynthesis Singers
    Seatlle WA
Wendy K. Moy
Wendy K. Moy is the Co-Artistic Director of Chorosynthesis Singers and the Director of Choral Activities and Music Education at Connecticut College. She is frequently sought as a guest conductor and clinician for orchestral and choral ensembles at all levels. Dr. Moy continues to perform as a soprano soloist and is currently singing in the professional ensemble CONCORA. Dr. Moy has presented at national conferences on her research on the culture of singing communities and the factors that contribute to successful choral organizations. She serves on the Connecticut American Choral Directors Association Board and is the Co-Founder/President of Chorosynthesis, a national nonprofit organization whose mission is to transform the culture of American choral music through collaboration, sustainability, innovation, and excellence. Dr. Moy holds a BA in Music Education from Seattle Pacific University, a MME from Westminster Choir College, and a DMA in Choral Conducting from the University of Washington. www.wendymoy.com



The American Prize in Conducting—chorus, 2016-17,  community division:

The American Prize winner:
David Fryling   
    eVoco Mixed Ensemble & Women's Ensemble
    Lynbrook NY
David Fryling
Dr. David Fryling (www.davidfryling.org) is Professor of Music and Director of Choral Studies at Hofstra University, where he conducts the select Chorale and Chamber Choir, teaches beginning through graduate-level studies in Choral Conducting and Literature, and supervises choral student teachers during their field placements. Recent professional engagements include various all-state and regional honor choirs, master classes, workshops, and adjudications in over a dozen states. From 2007 to 2013 he served as conductor of the World Youth Honors Choir and Festival Choir at the Interlochen Arts Camp, and since 2014 has been a guest conducting artist at the NYSSSA Choral program. He is the founding conductor and artistic director of eVoco Voice Collective, serves as president of the Eastern Division of ACDA, and was inducted in the fall of 2014 into the Long Island Music Hall of Fame as “Educator of Note.”  


2nd Place:
Douglas Buchanan
    Canticum Novum Chamber Chorus
    Baltimore MD
Douglas Buchanan
Douglas Buchanan (b. 1984) has been lauded for his “sense of creative imperative” (The Philadelphia Inquirer) and for creating music “filled with terrific orchestral color and weight, not to mention feeling” (The Baltimore Sun). An active conductor, composer, and educator noted for his “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.dbconductor.com to learn more.  


3rd Place:
Reginald M. Houze
    The Weddington UMC/First BC Worcester Choirs
    Charlotte NC
Reginald M. Houze
Dr. Reginald M. Houze has experience and education conducting ensembles of all types. Previously, Houze was conductor of The Wind Ensemble at Tarleton State University in Texas and served on the conducting faculties at Clemson University, the University of Southern Mississippi, and Anna Maria College. He has taught both instrumental and vocal music in the schools of Tennessee, Florida, and Mississippi. Dr. Houze holds music degrees from the University of Southern Mississippi and New York University. He holds the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in conducting from the University of South Carolina. He has done additional conducting study at the Eastman School of Music, the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and The Hartt School of Music. Houze made his conducting debut at Carnegie Hall with The Overton Wind Ensemble featuring Grammy-winning saxophonist Kirk Whalum. Currently, he is Director of Music and Arts at Weddington United Methodist Church in Charlotte, North Carolina.



The American Prize in Conducting—chorus, 2016-17,  school division:

The American Prize winner: 
Philip Brown
    Hopkins High School Concert Choir
    Minnetonka MN
Philip Brown
Philip Brown is the director of choral activities at Hopkins High School and conductor of the Cantanti Singers with Angelica Cantanti Youth Choirs. He graduated summa cum laude from Bethany College (KS) and received his M.M. degree from Northern Arizona University. He has taught at the high school level in Colorado and Minnesota, coaching tennis and directing musicals in addition. Philip’s choral groups have performed with many college and professional choirs at festivals or special concert events. His choirs have received top awards at FAME Festivals, Heritage Festivals, and Festival Disney. His teaching has been recognized with awards given by ACDA-MN, Choral Director Magazine, and his alma maters. Philip is an active clinician and professionally affiliated with ACDA and NAfME.  


2nd Place:
Amy Johnston Blosser 
    Bexley Vocal Ensemble
    Bexley OH
Amy Johnston Blosser
Amy Johnston Blosser is the National Chair for Repertoire and Resources for ACDA.  As National Chair, Blosser has been active in planning National Conferences in Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami, Oklahoma City, Dallas and Salt Lake City.  Prior to this position she served as the National R&R Chair for Senior High School choirs. In her thirteenth year as Director at Bexley High School, Blosser conducts six choirs in grades 7-12. Under her direction, the Bexley High School Vocal Ensemble has performed at state conferences of OMEA and ACDA and for Central Division conferences in 2012 and 2016. Ms. Blosser was named Educator of the Year for Bexley City Schools in 2011. She was selected to serve as one of 14 Conducting Fellows for the International Conductors Exchange Program to Sweden in 2015. Amy Blosser is the Artistic Director of the Bexley Choral Society and the Director of Music at Bexley UMC.     


3rd Place (there was a tie):
Tatiana Kats
    Columbus International Children's Choir
    Columbus OH
Tatiana Kats
Tatiana Kats earned her Master degrees in choral conducting and piano pedagogy from the Ohio State University where she studied with Dr. Hilary Apfelstadt and Mr. James Gallagher. Mrs. Kats is the founder of Columbus Music and Art Academy, Columbus International Children’s Choir (CICC) and Central Ohio Singing Competition.  Since 2003, she has been serving as the Executive Director of the academy, Artistic Director of the choir, and Conductor of CICC’s top choirs. Mrs. Kats also holds a very successful piano studio. Her advanced students have been winners in many Ohio piano competitions. She was recognized by the National Music Certificate Program as "Founding Teacher ... instrumental in establishing a national standard for developing musicians in the United States of America".  


3rd Place (there was a tie):
Patrick Ryan
    Great Falls High School Delphian Choir
    Great Falls MT
Patrick Ryan
Patrick Ryan is the lead choral director at Great Falls High School in Great Falls, Montana.  Patrick is currently President of the American Choral Directors Association Northwest Division.  In 2012 he directed the inaugural Korean International Music Education Association National Honor Choir in Seoul, South Korea.  His choirs have commissioned and premiered works by John Muehleisen and Timothy Takach, and have performed on two NAfME Northwest Conferences.


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Congratulations!


 

Monday, March 20, 2017

CONDUCTOR WINNERS: opera/music theater, 2016-17

The American Prize is honored to announce the winners, runners-up and honorable mentions of The American Prize in Conducting—opera/music theater divisions, 2016-17. Congratulations!

All applicants finalist or higher receive written evaluations from a member of The American Prize judging panel.

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

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


The American Prize in Conducting—opera/music theater, 2016-17,  professional division:

The American Prize winner:
Ryan Murray
    Fresno Grand Opera
    Fresno CA
    A Streetcar Named Desire (Previn)
Ryan Murray
The newly appointed Artistic Director of Townsend Opera, Ryan Murray’s dynamic conducting, engaging persona and deeply held passion for the arts have allowed him to steadily build a robust career since his professional debut at the age of just 22. Ryan is a past winner of the Vienna Philharmonic’s Ansbacher Fellowship for Young Conductors and previously studied at the Eastman School of Music's Summer Conducting Institute featuring the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra; he has attended the Aurora Conducting Seminar with Kurt Masur, as well as the Lucerne Festival Academy Conducting Masterclass. Ryan is currently the Associate Conductor for the Modesto Symphony Orchestra, Music Director for the Modesto Symphony Youth Orchestra and Resident Conductor of the Music in the Mountains Summer Festival. As part of a unique artistic partnership, Ryan has served as the Music Director of Fresno Grand Opera's main stage productions of contemporary American operatic works for the past two seasons. Ryan also previously served as a conductor for BASOTI, and the Opera Academy of California. Visit www.ryanjmurray.com for news and upcoming engagements.


2nd Place:
Walter Morales
    Pittsburgh Festival Opera
    Pittsburgh PA
    Figaro (redux)
Walter Morales
Walter Morales is the Music Director of the Edgewood Symphony Orchestra. His previous positions include Music Director of Undercroft Opera, Music Director of the Carnegie Mellon University Contemporary Ensemble, Head of Music of Opera Theater of Pittsburgh, Principal Guest Conductor of the Pittsburgh Philharmonic, Assistant Director of Orchestral Studies at Carnegie Mellon University and Assistant Conductor of the Carnegie Mellon Philharmonic. He has been a guest conductor with the National Symphony Orchestra of Costa Rica, Westmoreland Symphony Orchestra, Butler County Symphony Orchestra, McKeesport Symphony Orchestra, University of Costa Rica Symphony Orchestra, University of Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Duquesne University Opera & Orchestra, Pittsburgh Youth Chamber Orchestra and Rutgers Chamber Orchestra.  He has also served as cover conductor for the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. For more information please visit: www.waltermoralesmusic.com 


3rd Place:
Warren Puffer Jones
    Arbor Opera Theater
    Ann Arbor MI
    La Traviata
Warren Puffer Jones
Warren Puffer Jones is in his tenth year as Music Director of Arbor Opera Theater. For his performance of The Sound of Music with Arbor Opera Theater he received the 2014 Wilde Award for best Music Director in the state of Michigan. In 2012 he was the winner of the 4x4 Prize, a national competition for conducting new music.

Mr. Jones is also the Music Director of TACTUS, a professional chamber orchestra and vocal ensemble in Oklahoma City. He has led TACTUS in groundbreaking performances that re-envision the concert experience, pairing thousand-year-old music with brand new compositions. Mr. Jones did his undergraduate work at Yale University and received a Master's degree in choral conducting from Indiana University, with further study at the Conductor's Institute at Bard. He received a DMA in conducting from the University of Michigan, where he studied with Kenneth Kiesler. www.warrenpufferjones.com


The American Prize in Conducting—opera/music theater, 2016-17,  college/university division:

The American Prize winner:
Joshua Horsch
    University of Colorado-Boulder
    Eklund Opera Program
    Boulder CO
    The Tender Land
Joshua Horsch
Joshua Horsch is a conductor, coach, and pianist equally comfortable in opera, orchestra, and recital settings.  Joshua’s upcoming engagements include work with Tri-Cities Opera, North Carolina Opera, and Opera Columbus.  During the 2016-2017 season at Pensacola Opera, Joshua served as Music Director/Conductor for Glory Denied, Assistant Conductor for Aida and Dead Man Walking, and Music Director/Coach/Pianist for the Artist in Residence program.  Joshua’s recent positions include Assistant Conductor/Pianist/Vocal Coach for Opera Saratoga’s 2015, 2016, and 2017 seasons, Assistant Conductor/Rehearsal Pianist for Fort Worth Opera, and Assistant/Cover Conductor for the Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra.  Additionally, Joshua has served as Music Director/Conductor for Copland’s The Tender Land at the University of Colorado Boulder, Music Director/Conductor of the University of Colorado Boulder Campus Orchestra, Conductor/Pianist for the CU New Opera Workshop, Conductor for the Colorado New Music Ensemble, Assistant Chorus Master for the Colorado Music Festival, Conductor/Pianist for the Newport Music Festival, and Staff Conductor for the Boston Opera Collaborative. Joshua’s guest and workshop conducting includes work with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, the Omaha Symphony, the Oregon Bach Festival Orchestra and Chorus, the Bohuslav Martinu Philharmonic, Lyatoshinsky Chamber Orchestra, Orquestra Filharmonica de Chihuahua, Boulder Bach Festival, PENDULUM New Music Ensemble, Greater Boulder Youth Orchestras, and the Cabrillo Festival Orchestra.  Joshua holds degrees in conducting and piano from the University of Colorado Boulder, Penn State University, and Ithaca College. 


2nd Place:
Michael W. Moore
    Bob Jones University
    Greenville SC
    La Cenerentola
Michael W. Moore
Conductor Michael W. Moore is in his fifth season at the helm of the Bob Jones University Symphony Orchestra in Greenville, SC. Under his baton, the BJUSO received Honorable Mention in the 2015 American Prize for Orchestral Performance--college/university division. In his recent opera conducting debut (Rossini’s La Cenerentola), Moore garnered praise for his “tight performance,” “clear and spirited” reading, and “polished sound” (Greenville News, 3/10/16). Steven White (assistant conductor, Metropolitan Opera) noted “from beginning to end [Moore showed] a genuine comfort level with the style and demands of the music... a result of obvious preparation along with natural instinct… Always clear, always expressive… He breathed and moved with [the singers], leading and following at the same time with the kind of coordination that is the sine qua non of good opera conducting.” Moore holds degrees in music education and instrumental conducting and studied with William Moody (USC-Columbia).


3rd Place:
Chad Hutchinson
    University of Minnesota
    Minneapolis MN
    Susannah
Chad Hutchinson
Chad Hutchinson is the Assistant Conductor of the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra and Music Director of the South Dakota Symphony Youth Orchestra.  He is conducting 5 concerts for the SDSO this season including two Pops Concerts, Link Up, a new partnership with the Sioux Falls Public Schools, and will lead three youth symphonies in the SDSYO program.

Away from the symphony, Mr. Hutchinson is a James Sample Fellow and DMA candidate in orchestral conducting at the University of Minnesota.  A student of Mark Russell Smith, he conducts three campus orchestras and assists with the University Symphony Orchestra and Opera Theater programs.  Prior to his time in Minnesota, he served as director of Northwestern College's(IA) Chamber Orchestra and Women's Choir, was the Coordinator/Music Director for the Siouxland Youth Orchestras and taught in the public schools for nine years.   Hutchinson resides in Sioux Falls with his wife Karen and their two daughters.  


The American Prize in Conducting—opera/music theater, 2016-17,  community division:

The American Prize winner:
Dale Kruse
    Project Opera
    Minneapolis MN
    Memory Boy (Reynaldo Moya)
Dale Kruse
Dale Kruse resides in Hopkins, MN and holds degrees from Luther College (B.A.), Drake University (M.M.) and the University of Minnesota (D.M.A.). Prior to joining the voice faculty at St. Olaf College, he conducted the Augsburg College Cedar Singers Men's Choir, taught choral music at Armstrong High School and Wayzata High School and served on the voice faculty of Gustavus Adolphus College.  Since 2004, he has been the Music Director for the Minnesota Opera: Project Opera education program, Summer Camp and Children's Chorus Master.  He is currently serving as Past-President/Membership Chair of the Minnesota NATS Chapter.  With students, he has travelled twice to England, Scotland (American High School Theatre Festival) and Wales with Music Theater and Opera productions.


2nd Place:
Ezra Donner
    University of Michigan Gilbert and Sullivan Society
    Ann Arbor MI
    H.M.S. Pinafore
Ezra Donner
Ezra Donner is an American composer, conductor, pianist, and educator. Based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, he holds a Doctor of Music Degree from Indiana University and a Bachelor of Music Degree with High Honors from the University of Michigan. He has served as Music Director with the University of Michigan Gilbert and Sullivan Society since 2015. EzraDonner.com 


3rd Place:
Eric Peterson
    Savoynet Performing Group
    Harrogate UK
    The Pirates of Penzance
Eric Peterson
Eric Peterson is a theater conductor based in New York City, music-directing musicals and operettas with the Blue Hill Troupe in Manhattan, Troupers Light Opera in Connecticut and the Savoynet Performing Group at the annual International Gilbert & Sullivan festival in England. He is a graduate of William & Mary and Peabody Conservatory, where he studied horn. For many years, he was a band director for LGBT community bands: his final concert with NYC's Big Apple Corps was declared “Maestro Eric Peterson Day” in the borough of Manhattan. He was a 2013 American Prize opera conducting finalist, and received a special judge's citation for excellence in conducting Gilbert & Sullivan. He is currently the concerts and choral music director with the Blue Hill Troupe.



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Congratulations!