Wednesday, September 24, 2014

COMPOSITION WINNERS, RUNNERS-UP: chamber music


The American Prize is honored to announce the winners and runners-up in the chamber music divisions of The American Prize in Composition, 2014. Congratulations! It was an extremely competitive contest this year, with many excellent candidates and works. We expect to announce additional HONORABLE MENTIONS and/or CITATION recipients in this category prior to the end of TAP competitions this fall.

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

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

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

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

The American Prize winner:
PIOTR SZEWCZYK for "Piano Trio No. 1 " and 
"Twisted Dances" (ob, vl, vc, pno)
Jacksonville  FL
Piotr Szewczyk
PIOTR SZEWCZYK is a violinist in the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra and the Composer-In–Residence at the Florida Chamber Music Project. He holds the degrees of B.M. and double M.M. in violin and compo­sition from University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and is currently pursuing Doctorate at Florida State University.

He has received many awards including those from Rapido! Composition Contest, American Modern Ensemble, Third Millennium Ensemble, American Composers Forum, JSO Fresh Ink and many others.

His music has been performed by numerous ensembles and was featured on NPR Performance Today and CBS Early Show. His piece Apparitions was recently released on Navona records NOVA CD and was called “magical” in a review in Gramophone Magazine.
                                                                
As a violinist Szewczyk is the creator and performer of the Violin Futura Project, a series of recitals of solo violin pieces written for  him by renowned composers from around the world. More at: www.VeryNewMusic.com

Among judges' comments: "...organic, exhilarating, and fresh..."


2nd Place:
ROBERT J. BRADSHAW for "At the Root of Identity" (laptop and ensemble)
Gloucester  MA

Robert J. Bradshaw
Robert J. Bradshaw’s music is frequently heard in concert halls around the world from New York to Australia.  Commissions and recordings of his works have been supported by leading arts organizations such as the National Endowment for the Arts, The Aaron Copland Fund for Music and New England’s Music Drives Us Foundation.  Bradshaw’s music explores and expresses emotions associated with social, historic and contemporary issues and events, and includes operas, ballets, symphonies and a long list of chamber and solo compositions.  In addition to the high demand for his music, Bradshaw devotes time to teaching and advocating for music education for all children and runs a record label dedicated to releasing compositions by contemporary composers.  Website: www.robertjbradshaw.com

Among judges' comments: "...consummate skill, control, and flair..."


3rd Place (there was a tie):
BURTON GOLDSTEIN 
for "String Quartet No. 2—Kwasi's Revenge"
Santa Monica  CA

Burton Goldstein

Awards include:  National Academy of Music Prize, Borromeo String Quartet Contest, Brandenburg Chamber Music Prize,  Aaron Copland Award,  Ettelson Award from Composers Inc., AMC CAP Grants, Fellowships at the Aspen Institute under Druckman, NEH Award at Schoenberg Institute.

Albany Records CD - Arditti Quartet recorded Aspen Quartet.

Composed for trailers for: Mirror, Mirror; X-Men 3; Elizabeth; The Closer; Herbie Fully Loaded; Aliens in the Attic; Sleeping Beauty; 21; Veggie Tales and many others.

Taught composition, electronic music and music theory at: UC Santa Barbara,, UCLA, El Camino College; Scripps; and the CSU Campuses at Long Beach and Los Angeles.
Past President of the Independent Composers Association.  www.burtgoldstein.com

Among judges' comments: "...the composer handles the self-imposed task with great skill, sophistication..."


3rd Place (there was a tie):
HAINU TAN for "Hunting Fireflies" (Version I: fl, cl; Version II: duet for mallet percussion)
Boston  MA

Hainu Tan
Hainu Tan is a Chinese-born composer whose work fuses a multitude of global aesthetic styles to contribute to a responsible globalization of civilizations through universal love and music. Her journey includes a Bachelor of Arts degree from the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, a Master of Music degree from the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, and summer semesters studying at the Freie Universität Berlin under Professor Samuel Adler of The Juilliard School of Music. Her dream is to discover her own identity in the universe according to God's original specific purpose, respond to God's unique calling for her life, and let Jesus Christ's love and light shine forth throughout the whole world. Through her music, she hopes to convey the way, truth, and life to poor, hungry, weak, sick, disabled, mentally ill, brokenhearted, desperate, dispossessed, marginalized, unemployed, and homeless people around the world. Learn more at: www.tanhainu.com.

Among judges' comments:  "(both versions)...filled with their own individual and collective luminescence..."


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

The American Prize winner:
RODRIGO BUSSAD for "Loin" 
for amplified chamber ensemble
Miami  FL
Rodrigo Bussad
Bussad’s music has been described: “Roaring at a rapid pace through sections, with dark textures and a fantastic use of the instruments and their less conventional techniques. -- Paolo Griffin, New Music Toronto. He is the winner of the 2013 Frost Symphony Orchestra Concerto Composition Competition and was awarded second place on the 2014 American Prize in Composition: Orchestral Music Student Division and 2013 American Prize in Composition: Chamber Music Student Division. Bussad was selected as a one of the composers featured in the Festival Miami for three years in a row. He was selected as one of the four composers (worldwide) to participate at the II Bienal Musica Hoje, a prestigious international festival in Curitiba (Brazil.) This year, he worked with the Ensemble Paramirabo (Montreal), in a commission “Loin” and had its USA debut in NYC during the Mise-en festival of New Music this June and recently was a guest composer at the Curto-Circuito Internacional de Saxofone Brasil/Canada with the saxophonist Allison Balcetis (Sao Paulo-Brazil.) Recently he is a guest composer at the Curto-Circuito Internacional de Saxofone Brasil/Canada with the saxophonist Allison Balcetis (Sao Paulo-Brazil) where he also had the premiere of his piece, Kundalini. Also will be working with the Greek pianist Ermis Theodorakis during the festival SiMN 2014 (Curitiba-Brazil.) Bussad is also a forming member and artistic director of the Ensemble Gaoshan Liushui, the first South American ensemble that researches and performs traditional Chinese music.

Among judges' comments: "...a complete range of techniques is exploited to advantage..."


2nd Place (there was a tie):
SHUYING LI for "For Lutoslawski" (string quartet)
Ann Arbor  MI

Shuying Li
Composer Shuying Li has received prizes and recognition from the Seattle Symphony’s Celebrate Asia Composition Competition, the International Alliance for Women in Music, the Florence String Quartet Call for Scores, the Foundation for Modern Music’s International Robert Avalon Composition Competition, The American Prize, the MacDowell Club of Milwaukee Young Composer Competition, the International J. Dorfman Composition Competition, the Chinese New Performing Arts Start Competition, and the Qingdao City Piano Competition, among others.

Shuying studied at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music and the Hartt School. She is currently pursuing her master’s degree at the University of Michigan where she studies composition with Michael Daugherty. Upcoming performances of her works include those given by the Seattle Symphony Orchestra, the Hartt Wind Ensemble, the orkest de ereprijs (Netherlands), the Cecilia Quartet (Canada) and the Avanti! Chamber Orchestra (Finland). Her prior composition teachers include Ye Guohui, Robert Carl and Larry Alan Smith. For more information, please visit http://shuyingli.com.

Among judges' comments: "...sophisticated writing for strings...a clear tribute. "


2nd Place (there was a tie):
IAN NG for "Grand Jete on a Violin" (violin and piano)
Long Island City  NY

Ian Ng
Ian Ng is an award-winning composer based in New York City. He is currently finishing his fully sponsored Master's Degree in Music Composition at New York University. As the winner of the 2012 NYU Composition Competition,  his commissioned composition, Cité en l’air, had its premiere in February 2012 at Symphony Space in New York City. He won First Prize at the 2012 Robert Avalon International Music Composition Competition, and the ASCAP young composer’s award for his Grand Jeté on a Violin, which had its US premiere as a dance piece choreographed by Marcelo Gomes, principal dancer of the American Ballet Theatre, in April 2012 at Lincoln Center.  He has also conceived, composed and co-directed two theatre pieces: Pas d'Electronique and Bang.

Mr. Ng has composed music for different music groups and dance companies. A new ballet set to an original score by Mr Ng, featuring dancers from NYC Ballet and American Ballet Theatre, will have its premiere in NYC in the Spring of 2014. website Ianng.instantencore.com

Among judges' comments: "...beautiful integration of the instruments and great rhythmic variety..."


3rd Place:
SIMON FRISCH for "Provost" (string quartet) 
and "Red Book" (cl, b cl, vl, vc)
New York  NY
Simon Frisch
Simon Frisch is New York-based composer. This year his music is appearing in numerous New York venues and on screen nationally in the short film "Dream Girl" (IFQ's "Best Comedy" of 2013), as well as on pianist David Aladashvili's New York Times-acclaimed debut solo recording. Recent performances of note include the Juilliard premiere of his string quartet, Provost; Madrid, for choir and organ, on war texts of Pablo Neruda, commissioned by the Amor Artis Chamber Choir; and the 'Red Book' Variations for mixed quartet. A proponent of new music, he co-founded the Brittany-based Festival Daniou chamber music residency to offer compelling programs of 20th and 21st-century music to the north-western region of France. Born in 1990, Simon is the recent recipient of an ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer award, as well as the Richard-Wagner-Stipendienstiftung, and is pursuing graduate studies at Juilliard under the Georgia Shreve and Richard Rodgers scholarships.

Among judges' comments: "...rhythmic excitement and energy..."

***
Congratulations!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

COMPOSITION WINNERS, RUNNERS-UP: choral music


The American Prize is honored to announce the winners and runners-up in the choral divisions of The American Prize in Composition, 2014. Congratulations! The competition also expects to announce Honorable Mention and/or Citation recipients in this category in a separate posting, at a later date.

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

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

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

The American Prize in Composition—Chorus (professional division)

The American Prize winner:
DOMINICK DIORIO  selected works
Bloomington  IN
Dominick DiOrio
Called "a forward-thinking young composer filled with new ideas, ready to tackle anything," conductor and composer Dominick DiOrio was recently named Best Composer 2011 by HoustonPress for Klytemnestra, his opera with Divergence Vocal Theater. His second opera, The Little Blue One, will have its premiere in April 2014 with Juventas New Music Ensemble. He has been awarded prizes in composition ASCAP and ACDA, among others. His work is published with Alliance, Boosey & Hawkes, Éditions à Couer-Joie, Edition Peters, G. Schirmer, Lorenz, Mark Foster, Oxford and Santa Barbara.

DiOrio is assistant professor of choral conducting at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, where he directs NOTUS: IU Contemporary Vocal Ensemble. He earned the DMA degree in conducting from the Yale School of Music and the BM in composition from Ithaca College. He currently serves as Treasurer on the Executive Board for the National Collegiate Choral Organization (NCCO). http://www.dominickdiorio.com/

Among judges' comments: "His depth of vision, mastery of compositional technique and unique style, set him in a category by himself."


2nd Place:
DANIEL ELDER for "Three Themes of Life and Love"
Nashville  TN

Daniel Elder

As a writer of choral, vocal, and instrumental music, Daniel Elder (b. 1986) ties these genres together to create forms and aesthetics that are at once lyrical and textural, with impressionistic leanings. Critics have hailed his works as “deeply affecting,” with emotional evocations ranging from lush lyricism to jagged polyphony. Domestically, Elder’s compositions have been extensively performed by high school All-State and regional honors choirs as well as renowned college ensembles at both regional and national conferences. Internationally, he has been performed at festivals in Italy, Spain, and a recent recording in London by the Grammy Award-winning Eric Whitacre Singers.  The first major recording of Daniel's choral works, "The Heart's Reflection - Music of Daniel Elder" was released in October 2013 by the renowned Westminster Choir and Naxos of America.  Daniel is currently published by GIA Publications, Inc. and Imagine Music.  Learn more at www.danieleldermusic.com.

Among judges' comments: "His compositions represent some of the finest examples of the current generation of American choral composers."


3rd Place:
JOCELYN HAGEN for "Sanctus"
Minneapolis  MN

Jocelyn Hagen

Jocelyn Hagen (b.1980), a native of Valley City, North Dakota, composes music that has been described as “dramatic and deeply moving” (Star Tribune, Minneapolis/St. Paul). Her first forays into composition were via songwriting, and this is very evident in her work. The majority of her compositional output is for voice: solo, chamber and choral. In 2012 she collaborated with choreographer Penelope Freeh to create Slippery Fish, a quartet for 2 dancers, soprano and viola, and the piece was reviewed as "completely original in all respects." (Star Tribune, Minneapolis/St. Paul).  Currently she is Artist-in-Residence at the North Dakota State University School of Music, where she teaches, writes curriculum and brings in collaborators to perform her work.

Jocelyn holds degrees in Theory, Composition, and Vocal Music Education from St. Olaf College, as well as a Masters degree in Composition from the University of Minnesota.  Her training also includes summer study at the European American Musical Alliance in Paris, France, where she studied with Philip Lasser of the Juilliard School of Music. Other former teachers include Judith Lang Zaimont, Peter Hamlin, David Maslanka, Mary Ellen Childs, and Timothy Mahr.

Among judges' comments: "I suspect that Jocelyn Hagen’s work will soon become a fixture in the programming of top-notch choirs."


The American Prize in Composition—Chorus (student division)

The American Prize winner:
SAUNDER CHOI selected works
Cambridge  MA

Saunder Choi
Saunder Choi (b. 1988) is an emerging Filipino composer who has written a wide variety of works, from contemporary classical instrumental, vocal and choral works to jazz charts and popular music arrangements. His works have been performed in various concert halls, including Merkin Hall at the Lincoln Center in NY, the UNESCO headquarters in Paris, the world famous Teatro Colon opera house in Buenos Aires, the National Center for the Performing Arts in Beijing, and in different international goodwill tours and concerts, such as the Philippine Madrigal Singers’ 2009 UNESCO Artists for Peace awarding ceremony, the 2010 Guido d’Arezzo Polifonico Choral Competition in Italy, the 2011 World Choral Symposium in Argentina, the 2012 World Choir Games in Ohio and the 2013 Oregon Bach Festival Composers Symposium. Select works have also been performed, recorded and read by the Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra, the Philippine Madrigal Singers, the Peninsula Women’s Chorus, the Salt Lake Choral Artists, the Kalistos Chamber Orchestra and the Oregon Bach Festival Composers Symposium Chorus.

In 2007, his arrangement of Malinac Lay Labi was chosen as one of the 15 winning, published entries in Awiting Bayan para sa Korong Pilipino, a national Philippine folksong choral arranging competition sponsored by the National Commission for Culture and Arts in the Philippines. He was a 2012 ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Award finalist and received the 2013 Leroy Southers Award from the Berklee College of Music Composition Department. He was also one of the composers selected for the 1st Young Composers Initiative call for scores by the Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra.

Born in Manila, Philippines, he holds a Bachelor of Arts major in Communication Arts degree from the De La Salle University-Manila and a Bachelor of Music in Composition, minor in Conducting, summa cum laude, from the Berklee College of Music. He is currently pursuing his Master of Music in Composition at the USC Thornton School of Music, studying with Donald Crockett. He studied composition with Andrew List, Marti Epstein and Vuk Kulenovic, and had master classes with Stephen Hartke, Chen Yi, Robert Kyr and Adam Gorb. He studied conducting with Isaiah Jackson and Francisco Noya. His works are published with Santa Barbara Music Publishing and Earthsongs.

Among judges' comments: "...his work is thoughtful, well crafted, stylistically interesting and full of joyousness."


2nd Place:
EDWARD F. DAVIS for "My Sun and Song and Spring," "Silver Bells," Requiem Aeternam
Chicago  IL

Edward F. Davis
Edward F. Davis (b. 1989) is a Chicago-based, English-American composer and bass-baritone. He graduated with Honors in music composition from Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois, and is currently pursuing a Master of Music in composition at Roosevelt University's Chicago College of the Performing Arts. His music has been performed throughout the United States, including at the IMEA All-State Conference in 2011, as well as in the Catalunya region of Spain.

Davis has studied composition with Drs. Bruce Polay, Thomas Benjamin, Marta Ptaszyńska, Rob Deemer, and Stephen Andrew Taylor, and currently studies with Drs. Stacy Garrop and Kyong Mee Choi. He works as a sound designer and composer of original music at Rare Terra Theatre, and proudly serves as Composer-in-Residence for the Chicago Chamber Choir. He also works as a freelance professional singer in the Chicagoland area, performing with groups such as Bella Voce, Chicago Choral Artists, and Peregrine Vocal Ensemble (of which he is a founding member).

Among judges' comments: "...demonstrates a refreshing concern for melding text with musical idea."


3rd Place:
ZACHARY J. MOORE for "I Will Lift My Eyes"
Wind Lake  WI
Zachary J. Moore
Zachary J. Moore (b. 1992) is an American composer and arranger currently studying Music Education at the University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire.

Moore, who is a native resident of Wisconsin, attended Muskego High School and began composing at the age of fifteen. In 2010, he sent in his first composition to the Wisconsin State Music Association’s young composer contest, earning third place.

Moore has since had the opportunity to receive composition lessons from Ethan Wickman, Ola Gjeilo and Eric Barnum. Over the past year and a half he has received an increasing amount of commissions from choral groups and societies all over the nation including a commissioned work by the North Central American Choral Directors Association for their 2014 conference. Moore’s choral works have recently been published through Colla Voce. For more information on Moore: http://zacharyjmoore.com

Among judges' comments: "a lyrical setting of the 121st Psalm that shows great sensitivity to its textual meaning."

***
At a later date, The American Prize expects to award Honorable Mentions and/or Citations in one or more of the Choral Divisions.

Congratulations!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

COMPOSITION WINNER, RUNNERS-UP, MORE: theater division


The American Prize is honored to announce the winner, runners-up, citation recipient and honorable mention in the theater division of The American Prize in Composition, 2014. Congratulations!

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

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

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

The American Prize in Composition—Theater Division

The American Prize winner:
TODD GOODMAN 
for "Night of the Living Dead: the opera"
Midland  PA
Todd Goodman
TODD GOODMAN has been described as “one of America’s promising young composers.” His works are performed all over the world by a wide variety of players, including principal members of many major symphony orchestras—Chicago, Pittsburgh, Boston, Singapore, Florida, Iceland, and Seattle. Goodman currently serves as the resident composer for the Lincoln Park Performing Arts Center (LPPACenter.org) located outside Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. His works have won international praise from the British Trombone Society [Trombone Concerto]; the Tuba Repertoire Initiative and the International Tuba Euphonium Association [Tuba Concerto]; the International Project Piccolo Rebirth [Echos: prelude and dance]; the Center for Contemporary Opera [Night of the Living Dead: the opera]; and The American Prize [Bass Clarinet Concerto]; He holds degrees from the University of Colorado [B.M.], Duquesne University [M.M], and Kent State University [Ph.D. ABD]. Also, Mr. Goodman in 2014, was selected from over 30,000 applicants, as a quarter-finalist for the first ever Grammy Award for Music Education.

Among judges' comments: "...audacious, scary, sometimes campy—but always dead serious..."


2nd Place:
PETER VAN ZANDT LANE for "HackPolitik—a ballet in two acts for chamber ensemble and electronics"
Belmont  MA

Peter Van Zandt Lane
Peter Van Zandt Lane (b. 1985) is an American composer of instrumental and electroacoustic music. His works have been critically praised for their “appeal to musicians and audiences, no matter their personal musical aesthetic” (Asymmetry Music Magazine). His recent full-length ballet, HackPolitik, was hailed as "angular, jarring, and sophisticated...very compelling...ballet needs live music, and this one offered it at the highest level." (Boston Musical Intelligencer). Peter has received fellowships from Yaddo, MacDowell Colony, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and has received commissions from the Barlow Endowment, the Wellesley Composers Conference, and Dinosaur Annex, among others. His music has been played by top-tier ensembles such as the Cleveland Orchestra, International Contemporary Ensemble, the New York Virtuoso Singers, and the Lydian String Quartet. Peter holds degrees from Brandeis University and the University of Miami. He studied composition with Melinda Wagner, Eric Chasalow, and David Rakowski, and bassoon with Luciano Magnanini.

Among judges' comments: "rhythmically energized...in the moment...aurally and visually stunning..."


3rd Place:
ERIC SAWYER for "The Garden of Martyrs"
Amherst  MA

Eric Sawyer
The music of Eric Sawyer receives frequent performances on both coasts, including at New York’s Weill and Merkin concert halls and at Tanglewood, as well as in England, France, and Germany.  Many of his larger works connect to American historical subjects.  Sawyer’s first opera "Our American Cousin." was premiered in 2008 by the Boston Modern Orchestra Project and released on the BMOP/sound label.  A second opera, "The Garden of Martyrs", received its premiere from the Springfield Symphony in September 2013.  Other recent works including Fantasy Concerto: "Concord Conversations", composed for the piano trio Triple Helix and the Concord Orchestra. A chamber collection, String Works, and the cantata "The Humble Heart" are available on CD from Albany Records.  Mr. Sawyer has received the Joseph Bearns Prize, awards from the Tanglewood Music Center and the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He is on the music faculty at Amherst College.

Among judges' comments: "strong and grand...a stage-worthy descendant of Ward's 'The Crucible.'"


The American Prize in Composition—Theater Division
Special Judge's Citation: 
"Extraordinary Use of Technology to Expand the Boundaries of Performance"

MATTHEW BURTNER for "Auksalaq"
Charlottesville  VA

Matthew Burtner
Matthew Burtner (www.matthewburtner.com) is an Alaskan-born composer and sound artist specializing in chamber music and interactive new media. His work explores ecoacoustics, embodiment and multimedia. First Prize Winner of the Musica Nova International Electroacoustic Music Competition (Czech Republic), a 2011 IDEA Award Winner (USA), and a recipient of the Howard Brown Foundation Fellowship of Brown University, Burtner’s music has also received honors and awards from Bourges (France), Gaudeamus (Netherlands), Darmstadt (Germany) and The Russolo (Italy) international competitions. He is the composer of three evening-length multimedia opera/theater works — Ukiuq Tulugaq (Winter Raven), Kuik, and Auksalaq. He is a professor of Composition and Computer Technologies in the Department of Music at the University of Virginia where he Directs the Interactive Media Research Group (IMRG) and the VCCM Computer Music Center.

Among judges' comments: "through sound and picture...one is immersed in the beauty—and recognizes the fragility—of the natural world."


HONORABLE MENTION:

ROBERT FRUEHWALD for "Double Blind Sided"
Cape Girardeau  MO

Robert Fruehwald
Composer and teacher, Robert Fruehwald, grew up in Louisville, Kentucky where he played flute in the Louisville Youth Orchestra. He attended the University of Louisville receiving a Bachelor of Music in Composition (with honors). While in Louisville, he studied composition with Claude Baker, and Dan Welcher. He earned his Master of Fine Arts degree at the California Institute of the Arts studying with Mel Powell, Morton Subotnick, and Leonard Rosenman. He returned to the midwest to work on a Ph.D. at Washington University in St. Louis. There, he studied under Robert Wykes and finished his doctorate in 1985. Before accepting a teaching position in the late 1980s, Dr. Fruehwald developed a series of programs to print musical examples for scholarly journals and books. In 1989 he took a teaching position at Southeast Missouri State University. For more information see: http://www6.semo.edu/fruehwald/fruehwaldhome.htm

Among judges' comments: "often mesmerizing and thought provoking—always engaging."

***

Congratulations!

Friday, September 12, 2014

COMPOSITION WINNERS, RUNNERS-UP: orchestra division



The American Prize is honored to announce the winners and runners-up in the orchestra division of The American Prize in Composition, 2014. Congratulations!

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

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

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

The American Prize in Composition—Orchestra (professional division)

The American Prize winner:
GREGG WRAMAGE for "La tristesse durera"
Atlantic Highlands NJ
Gregg Wramage
Widely recognized as one of the leading composers of his generation, Gregg Wramage has been both a finalist for the Rome Prize and a two-time semi-finalist for Opera Philadelphia's Composer-in-Residence program. “The Sea-longing”, a chamber concerto commissioned by The Barlow Endowment for violist Brett Deubner will be premiered in 2015 by conductor Renee Baker and Chicago Modern Orchestra Project—the culmination of a two-year residency with the ensemble that will also feature the Chicago premieres of Mr. Wramage’s first symphony, and as part of a New Music USA/League of American Orchestras Music Alive: New Partnerships residency grant, “in shadows, in silence.” “La tristesse durera,” an orchestral work premiered by the Minnesota Orchestra, received both the 2007 Copland House Sylvia Goldstein Award and the 2008 international EAMA Prize. Mr. Wramage resides in Atlantic Highlands, NJ, and serves on the faculties of Eugene Lang College and Montclair State University.

Among judges' comments: "...lovely timbral combinations and many interesting instrumental effects."


2nd Place:
KENNETH A. JACOBS for "Approaching Northern Darkness"
Knoxville  TN


Kenneth A. Jacobs
Kenneth A. Jacobs (DMA University of Texas Austin) has received International New Music Composers Award, Bergen Festival Award, City College of New York Electro-Acoustic Prize, Brown University Choral Prize, Tennessee Orchestral Prize, the Texas Music Educators Association Prize, two from Tennessee Music Teachers Association, and Phi Kappa Phi Outstanding Artist Award. Over 100 presentations of his dozen multimedia works have occurred.  These feature his artwork and photography and soon will be available on DVD. Directing the composition program at the University of Tennessee, he is published by Boosey and Hawkes, Seesaw Music, and North/South Editions.  17 solo compact discs have been released on the Opus One, Impact, ERM, and Zyode labels.  His music, artwork, and photography are featured at www.kennethajacobs.com

Among judges' comments: "...a distinct individual voice."


3rd Place:
PAUL LOMBARDI for his Piano Concerto
Vermillion  SD

Paul Lombardi

Paul Lombardi (Ph.D., University of Oregon) is an assistant professor of music theory and composition at the University of South Dakota. His music has been performed in more than 20 states across the US, as well as in other areas in North America, South America, and Europe. Recordings of hismusic are available from Capstone Records, Zerx Records, and ERMMedia. Dr. Lombardi's theoretical work focuses on mathematics and music, and is published in the Music Theory Spectrum, Indiana Theory Review, and Mathematics and Computers in Simulation, among other places.

Among judges' comments: "...a true piano concerto, with a big and dramatic part for the soloist."


The American Prize in Composition—Orchestra (student division)

The American Prize winner:
TEXU KIM for "Monastic Sceneries"
Bloomington  IN

Texu Kim
Texu Kim’s works have been performed by Ensemble Modern, Ensemble Intercontemporain, Alarm Will Sound, Ensemble Reconsil Vienna, Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra, in the Aspen Music Festival and School, Tongyeong International Music Festival, AGO National Convention, ACDA Regional Conference, among others. His music has earned awards and honors from SCI/ASCAP Commission Competition, OSSIA NEW MUSIC Composition Competition, C4 Commissioning Competition, Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institute, Isang Yun International Composition Prize, etc. Recently appointed Composer-in-Residence at Korean Symphony Orchestra, he will get premiered two of his orchestral pieces in 2015. Texu’s principal teachers include Claude Baker, Unsuk Chin, Sven-David Sandström, David Dzubay, and Sangjick Jun. He is pursuing a doctorate in composition at Indiana University and holds a master’s degree in music composition and a bachelor’s in composition and chemistry from Seoul National University. For more information on Texu Kim and his music, please visit www.texukim.com.

Among judges' comments: "Immensely developed technique in handling non-fat instrumental combinations across the orchestral choirs."

2nd Place:
RODRIGO BUSSAD for "Depois da Chuva (after the rain)"
Miami  FL

Rodrigo Bussad
Rodrigo Bussad is a highly active composer in the Miami New Music scene. His music has been premiered and performed in several local concert halls, Biennals and art galleries. He is the winner of the 2013 Frost Symphony Orchestra Concerto Composition Competition and was awarded second place in the 2013 American Prize for Composition: Chamber Music Student Division. In both 2012 and 2013, Bussad was selected as a one of the composers featured in the Emerging Composers Concert —Festival Miami. Recently, he was selected as one of the four composers (worldwide) to participate at the II Bienal Musica Hoje, a prestigious international festival in Curitiba (Brazil) where he received lessons and master classes with the composer in residence, Marcos Balter (Columbia College Chicago.) His piece: La Couleur de L’invible was commissioned by the II Bienal Musica Hoje and premiered by the ensemble Cross.art (Stuttgart.) Bussad was a participant in the SoundSCAPE Festival in both 2011 and 2012 (Italy) having three of his pieces premiered there, and also received private lessons and master classes with the composers Lei Liang (UCSD), Josh Levine (Oberlin), Brian Hulse (College of William & Mary) and Marcela Pavia (National University of Rosario.) Currently, Bussad is worked with the Ensemble Paramirabo (Montreal), in a new commission “Loin” that was performed in London, Toronto and Montreal during January of 2014 and is now working the percussionist Svet Stoyanov in a new commission for this spring. He is actively pursuing his Masters Degree in Composition at the University of Miami Frost School of Music, under the tutelage of Lansing McLoskey. Bussad is also a forming member and artistic director of the Ensemble Gaoshan Liushui, the first South American ensemble that researches and performs traditional Chinese music.

Among judges' comments: "a composer quite comfortable in his own skin; order and balance are clearly important in his musical universe."

3rd Place:
PATRICK O'MALLEY for "Superimpose"
Auburn  IN

Patrick O'Malley
Patrick O’Malley is a composer whose works explore both the cinematic and concert mediums. O’Malley’s works include pieces for large orchestras, chamber ensembles, electronics, and solo and duo performers. His love of music’s storytelling and atmospheric qualities also spur his passion for composing film, theater, and video game music.

Pieces for the concert stage have featured collaborations with the East Coast Contemporary Ensemble, Northwestern Contemporary Music Ensemble, Northwestern University Symphony Orchestra, American Academy of Conducting at Aspen, Northwestern University’s Symphonic Wind Ensemble, Fulcrum Point New Music Project, and Fifth House Ensemble. In 2010 Patrick was announced as the winner of Northwestern’s Student Composition Competition for his orchestral work Superimpose, was a finalist for ASCAP’s Morton Gould prize in 2012, and was featured on Fulcrum Point New Music Project’s Discoveries series for emerging composers in 2013. O’Malley currently studies at the University of Southern California with Frank Ticheli.

Among judges' comments: "...very good use of the orchestra as a complete resource."

***
Congratulations!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

COMPOSITION WINNERS, RUNNERS-UP: band/wind ensemble

The American Prize is honored to announce the winners and runners-up in the band/wind ensemble division of The American Prize in Composition, 2014. Congratulations!

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

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

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

The American Prize in Composition—Band/Wind Ensemble (professional division)

The American Prize winner:
LAURENCE BITENSKY for "Fearsome Critters"
Lancaster  KY
Laurence Bitensky
Known for music described as "extraordinarily sensitive and beautiful" and "speaking directly to the heart,” composer and pianist Laurence Bitensky has been hailed for works that are satisfying for performers and communicative to audiences.  With their emotional intensity, directness, lyrical and sinuous melodies, and funky, polyrhythmic grooves, his works range from wistfully nostalgic, deeply sad, and evocative, to exuberant, playful and ecstatic.

Born in 1966 in New York, and educated at Skidmore College, the New England Conservatory of Music, Ithaca College, and Cornell University, Bitensky’s works have been recognized by numerous foundations and institutions.  His music has been performed by numerous ensembles and at various festivals around North America, Europe, and Asia.

Bitensky is an Associate Professor of Music at Centre College where he teaches composition, music theory, musicianship, and world music.  For more info see www.laurencebitensky.com.

Among judges' comments: "A very engaging piece, with clever orchestrations and original sonic colors."


2nd Place:
KYLE KINDRED for "Variations on a Tango"
Humble  TX

Kyle Kindred
Kyle Kindred (b.1978) is Associate Professor of Music and Director of Composition Studies at Sam Houston State University.  Kindred holds degrees in composition from Wichita State University and The University of Texas at Austin where his teachers were Walter Mays, Dean Roush, Donald Grantham and 2012 Pulitzer Prize winner Kevin Puts.  His witty, lyrical and occasionally theatrical works for winds and percussion have been performed by the North Texas Wind Symphony, the Lone Star Wind Orchestra, the Florida State University Wind Orchestra, the San Jose State University Wind Ensemble, the St. Louis Wind Symphony, the United States Navy Band, the Indiana University of Pennsylvania Wind Ensemble, the TAD Wind Symphony of Japan and the Showa University of Music Wind Ensemble in Kawasaki City, Japan.  Kindred is a contributing author for GIA Publications’ Composers on Composing for Band, Volume 4, edited by Mark Camphouse.  For more information, visit http://kylekindred.com.

Among judges' comments: "Very endearing tango theme...the orchestration is exemplary in all sections."


3rd Place:
DAVID AVSHALOMOV for "The Last Stand"
Santa Monica  CA

David Avshalomov
A third-generation composer and conductor based in Santa Monica, David Avshalomov  www.davidavshalomov.com is also an accomplished bass vocalist. He 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 (plus his father Jacob and grandfather Aaron). He has written for forces ranging from solo instruments to full orchestra, band, and chorus, from songs and incidental pieces to full-length oratorio. Currently he focuses on vocal and band music, with an increasing number of regional commissions. 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 prestigious grants and competitions, including a 2012 citation from the American Prize for Orchestral Composition, and a 2013 ACDA Silver Platter Award for Choral Composition.

He earned his B.A in Music at Harvard and a D.M.A. in conducting (Krachmalnick) and composition (Bergsma, Verrall, Suderberg) at the University of Washington, studied at Aspen (Morel, Blomstedt, Torkanowsky), 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. His conducting work has garnered frequent listings in Who's Who in Music and Who's Who in the West.

Among judges' comments: "VERY well written…it is an effective, brooding piece."


The American Prize in Composition—Band/Wind Ensemble (student division)

The American Prize winner:
WEIJUN CHEN for "Distance"
Buffalo  NY
Weijun Chen
Weijun Chen (b. 1990) is a Chinese-American composer of contemporary concert music. His music has been performed and read by ensembles such as Eastman Wind Ensemble, Arditti Quartet (UK), Uusinta Ensemble (Finland), Freya String Quartet, Cuong Vu Trio, Ensemble Son (Sweden), Either/OR, Sound ExChange, Drum Joy Ensemble, and Birch Crescent Duo, among others. Currently, Weijun is pursuing his PhD at State University of New York at Buffalo with Presidential Fellowship, where he studies composition with David Felder. He has studied composition with Ricardo Zohn-Muldoon, Lisa Bielawa, David Liptak, Carlos Sanchez-Gutierrez, and Robert Morris. Weijun holds two BMs from the Eastman School of Music in both composition and music theory (Highest Distinction), as well as an Arts Leadership Certificate. He is also a member of Pi Kappa Lambda, a national music honor society. For more information, please visit http://www.weijunchen.com

Among judges' comments: "stunning use of hymn tune fragments in a thoroughly contemporary sound world…deeply affecting."

2nd Place:
MATT LAROCCA for "Arctic Voices"
Sommerville MA
Matt LaRocca
Matt LaRocca (b. 1980, NJ) is a composer, performer and educator from Somerville, MA.  He holds a B.A. from Middlebury College in chemistry and music, a M.Mus. from Carnegie Mellon University in music composition, and is currently a doctoral candidate at Boston University.  After spending several years as a chemist after college, he switched professions so he could focus on music.  As a composer, much of his inspiration is drawn from the natural world, the environment, and historic events.  In addition to composing, Matt is an active performer in many different genres of music on both the guitar and viola. www.mattlarocca.com

Among judges' comments: "haunting, eerie, evocative of the title…well-scored."

3rd Place:
TED KING-SMITH for "Manhattan"
Kansas City  MO
Ted King-Smith
Ted King-Smith's music is a hybrid of vernacular and contemporary music, exploring the vast sonic space between an energetic drive and a surreal stillness. Hailing from the Hudson Valley of New York, Ted began his studies in music on the saxophone at age 8, and then went on to attend and graduate from the Hartt School of Music in 2010, and Washington State University in 2012. He is currently pursuing his DMA in composition at the University of Missouri – Kansas City where his current teachers include Chen Yi and James Mobberley.

Awards for Ted’s music include the 2012 Washington-Idaho Symphony Young Artist Competition and 2011 Sinfonian Saxes Composition Competition, as well as selected performances at College Music Society Conferences in Vancouver, British Columbia and Knoxville, Tennessee. Notable performers and ensembles include the Saxophilia Saxophone Quartet, University of Tennessee Symphony Band, and others. For more information visit http://www.tedkingsmith.com

Among judges' comments: "off-beat, jazzy, humorous and…convincing."

***
Congratulations!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Internationally acclaimed mezzo-soprano SUSANNE MENTZER receives a Special Judges' Citation from The American Prize




The American Prize in Vocal Performance
Friedrich & Virginia Schorr Memorial Award
SPECIAL JUDGES' CITATION: 
"Championing the Songs of Carlisle Floyd"
SUSANNE MENTZER, mezzo-soprano

Susanne Mentzer
Among judges' comments: "First, one must praise the disc for the performer. Ms. Mentzer sings Carlisle Floyd's settings of the poems of Emily Dickinson with such depth of feeling, variety of tone color and expression, and with such a clear understanding of the nuance available to her in the studio, the disc is practically a masterclass in the art of the recorded song. Next of course, are the songs themselves. Floyd, the master of the opera stage, brings a dramatist's ear to Dickinson's heartfelt stanzas, adding a theatrical passion and intensity wholly appropriate...these are wonderful songs to have..." 

Congratulations!

***

American mezzo-soprano Susanne Mentzer has an international operatic, concert, chamber music and recital career of over thirty years. She has appeared on four continents at nearly every great opera house and orchestra, and at the Metropolitan Opera since 1989.  Susanne is also a proponent of song, chamber music and new music and debuted 2 song cycles by Libby Larsen. Susanne produced and sings on a world premiere recording of songs by Carlisle Floyd on GPR Records entitled “Letter to the World” which she funded via kickstarter. Her discography includes over 25 CDs and DVDs of opera and oratorio and song. Susanne contributes regularly to the Huffington Post. Her outspokenness about vocal health has earned her the VERA Award 2013 (Voice Education Research Awareness) from The Voice Foundation. She teaches privately in the San Francisco area after twelve years in academia at DePaul University and Rice University. Read more at susannementzer.com


Wednesday, September 3, 2014

VOCAL WINNERS: women in art song & oratorio

Friedrich Schorr as Wotan, Bayreuth
The American Prize is honored to announce the winners and runners-up in the women's art song/oratorio divisions of The American Prize in Vocal Performance—Friedrich & Virginia Schorr Memorial Awards, 2014. 

In addition, the competition recognizes internationally acclaimed mezzo-soprano, Susanne Mentzer, with a Special Judge's Citation for Championing the Song Repertoire of Carlisle Floyd.

Congratulations!

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

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

The American Prize 
in Vocal Performance
Friedrich & Virginia Schorr Memorial Award
PROFESSIONAL ART SONG/ORATORIO DIVISION

The American Prize winner:
SARAH DAVIS
Seattle  WA
Sarah Davis
Hailed by the New York Times as "a voice with considerable warmth," lyric-soprano, Sarah Davis, has been recognized as a gifted performer on both the recital and operatic stage. Ms. Davis has debuted as a soloist with the Cleveland Orchestra,  Carnegie Hall, Kennedy Center and was honored to premiere Elliott Carter's song cycle for soprano and chamber orchestra, "What are years" at Tanglewood Music Center. Notable concert and operatic credits include:  Orff Carmina Burana, Mozart Exsultate Jubilate, Haydn Lord Nelson Mass, Mozart Grand Mass, Barber Knoxville: Summer of 1915, Brahms Requiem, Beethoven 9th Symphony, Fiordiligi, Contessa, Donna Anna, Pamina, Gilda, Anne Trulove, and Cendrillon (Massenet’s Cinderella). Future engagements include Verdi Requiem and a John Harbison premiere chamber song cycle. Ms. Davis holds degrees from Trinity University in Texas and the Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. www.sarahjoannedavis.com

Among judges' comments: "She sings with an expressive flair and wonderful musical phrasing."


2nd Place:
SONJA TENGBLAD
Jamaica Plain  MA
Sonja Tengblad
Praised by the Boston Globe for her “crystalline tone and graceful musicality”, recent highlights for soprano Sonja Tengblad include her Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center solo debuts, both with the New York Civic Orchestra, and appearances with the Haydn Society in Purcell's King Arthur (Cupid) and Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, and the Oregon Bach Festival for many of Helmuth Rilling’s performances of Bach.

Other solo highlights include performances with the Boston Modern Orchestra Project in Oliver Knussen’s Symphony No. 2 for high soprano and orchestra, as well Kati Agocs’ Vessel for three solo voices and chamber orchestra, and the American premiere of Siegfried Matthus’ Te Deum at the American Guild of Organists National Convention in 2008. Ms. Tengblad sings with Conspirare, the 5-time Grammy nominated ensemble out of Austin, Texas; as well as Boston's Blue Heron, Handel and Haydn Society, and Lorelei Ensemble, an 8-voice women's ensemble specializing in early and new music.  www.sonjatengblad.com

Among judges' comments: "She has a beautiful, pure sound that radiates through the recording."


3rd Place:
CHRISTINE STEYER
Oak Park  IL
Christine Steyer
Soprano Christine Steyer was recently announced as a winner of the 2013 Hawaii Art Song Competition.  She has sung numerous small roles with Lyric Opera of Chicago and has performed major roles including the Marschallin, Violetta and Butterfly with several companies.  She has been highly praised for her artistry and her voice has been described as “an international-calibre voice of size and color used to reach an audience's emotional core.”  She recently sang the title role in Verismo Opera’s La Traviata, and performed multiple roles in Chamber Opera Chicago’s musical adaptation of Jane Austen’s Persuasion which toured in England in 2013.  To date she performed for over 16,000 schoolchildren with Bellissima Opera Outreach, an organization she founded in 2009.  She frequently performs her 1-woman show So, You Want to be a Diva? which combines singing various genres of music with storytelling.  Upcoming engagements include Carmina Burana with the Billings Symphony. Ms. Steyer is a past winner of The American Prize and the Chicago Opera Award.

Among judges' comments: "...she sings with beautiful legato lines, musical phrases, and artistic approach to all the poetry."




The American Prize 
in Vocal Performance
Friedrich & Virginia Schorr Memorial Award
SPECIAL CITATION: Championing the Songs of Carlisle Floyd

SUSANNE MENTZER, mezzo-soprano
Susanne Mentzer
American mezzo-soprano Susanne Mentzer has an international operatic, concert, chamber music and recital career of over thirty years. She has appeared on four continents at nearly every great opera house and orchestra, and at the Metropolitan Opera since 1989.  Susanne is also a proponent of song, chamber music and new music and debuted 2 song cycles by Libby Larsen. Susanne produced and sings on a world premiere recording of songs by Carlisle Floyd on GPR Records entitled “Letter to the World” which she funded via kickstarter. Her discography includes over 25 CDs and DVDs of opera and oratorio and song. Susanne contributes regularly to the Huffington Post. Her outspokenness about vocal health has earned her the VERA Award 2013 (Voice Education Research Awareness) from The Voice Foundation. She teaches privately in the San Francisco area after twelve years in academia at DePaul University and Rice University. Read more at susannementzer.com

Among judges' comments: "First, one must praise the disc for the performer. Ms. Mentzer sings Carlisle Floyd's settings of the poems of Emily Dickinson with such depth of feeling, variety of tone color and expression, and with such a clear understanding of the nuance available to her in the studio, the disc is practically a masterclass in the art of the recorded song. Next of course, are the songs themselves. Floyd, the master of the opera stage, brings a dramatist's ear to Dickinson's heartfelt stanzas, adding a theatrical passion and intensity wholly appropriate...these are wonderful songs to have..." 


The American Prize 
in Vocal Performance
Friedrich & Virginia Schorr Memorial Award
COLLEGE/UNIVERSITY ART SONG/ORATORIO DIVISION

The American Prize winner:
CLAUDIA DAWON OH
Los Angeles  CA
Claudia Dawon Oh
Claudia is a freshman at Harvard University. She graduated from Juilliard Pre-College for classical voice. She was the 1st place winner in the Hal Leonard Vocal Competition in 2012 and in the NYSMTA Empire State Competition, youngest recipient of the Distinguished Musicians Award & Special Mention Prize for Young Talent in IBLA Grand Prize International Music Competition, and 2nd place winner in the Barry Alexander International Vocal Competition and Schmidt Youth Vocal competition. She made her Carnegie Hall debut in a solo benefit concert and performed at Alice Tully Hall of Lincoln Center, at the press conference of Sumi Jo & Tomomi Nishmoto sponsored by UNICEF, at a Piazza Pola Public Concert in Sicily, Italy and at Sonidos Latin Jazz Festival as a soloist for the world premiere of “A Still Small Voice” by Arturo O’Farrill. This coming March, she will perform the title role in Gilbert and Sullivan’s “Patience” at Harvard.

Among judges' comments: "has the capacity to carry great power into the top without it sounding  effortful."


2nd Place:
TARA CURTIS
Prairie Village  KS
Tara Curtis
Mezzo-soprano Tara Curtis is currently the mezzo-soprano apprentice at the Lyric Opera of Kansas City.  In the 2013-2014 season, she sang the roles of Berta in Rossini's Il Barbiere di Siviglia with Maestro David Stern at the Crested Butte Music Festival, Third Lady in Mozart's The Magic Flute at the Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Lucretia in Britten's The Rape of Lucretia with KU Opera and was the alto soloist in Beethoven's Mass in C Major and Choral Fantasy with the University of Missouri Concert Series.

Tara is a winner of the Metropolitan National Council Auditions in the Kansas City District, a semi-finalist in the Opera Birmingham Competition and the New Hampshire Opera Idol Vocal Competition, and the Polsky Award from the Lyric Opera of Kansas City. Tara has also performed: Verdi's Missa di Requiem, Bach's B Minor Mass, Handel's Messiah, Mendelssohn's Elijah, and Brahms' Liebeslieder Waltzes. www.taracurtis.com

Among judges' comments: "She carries a gentleness to the top of the vocal line that is quite effective..."


3rd Place:
ABIGAIL DOCK
Medford  OR
Abigail Dock
Mezzo-soprano Abigail Dock, originally from Medford, Oregon, holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Rice University in Houston, where she studied with Kathleen Kaun.  Currently, she is a graduate student in Opera Performance at The Boston Conservatory, in the studio of Rebecca Folsom.

In 2013 Abigail appeared as Olga in Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin at the Seagle Music Colony in Schroon Lake, New York.  Calling her “the best actor in the show,” the Daily Gazette (Schenectady) said “she bubbled, she sang wonderfully, and she acted with a believable naturalness. Her facial expressions especially supported her projected emotions.”  She recently performed the role of Third Lady in The Boston Conservatory’s production of Die Zauberflöte.

This past January, the 21-year-old singer received the Encouragement Award at the New England Regional division of the Metropolitan Opera’s National Council Auditions. She will join the Bel Canto Young Artists program at the Caramoor festival in New York this summer.

Among judges' comments: "the energy and vibrancy of the voice in these selections are striking and compelling."


The American Prize 
in Vocal Performance
Friedrich & Virginia Schorr Memorial Award
HIGH SCHOOL DIVISION

The American Prize winner: 
KRESLEY FIGUEROA
Flagstaff  AZ
Kresley Figueroa
Kresley Figueroa was named a National Young Arts Foundation Finalist in Classical Voice. At age 12, she sang the 2nd spirit in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte with Flagstaff in Fidenza.  She made a guest appearance to perform a solo as well as sing with Hugh Panaro, the Broadway Phantom, and Jodi Benson, the voice of The Little Mermaid, with the Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra. She was invited to perform with Juilliard in a televised concert in Puerto Rico in the Teatro Tapia. Kresley studies with Deborah Raymond at Northern Arizona University. Admitted to the Juilliard Pre-College Program in New York City at age 13, she studied there with Lorraine Nubar, head of the voice faculty and receives vocal coaching from Jorge Parodi. Adam Guettel, composer, lyricist and Tony Award Winner for the Broadway musical, Light in the Piazza, also teaches Kresley. She studies in Nice, France during the summers with Dalton Baldwin and has entered the Juilliard college division, where she is a student of Marlena Malas.

Among judges' comments: "What maturity for a high school student!"


2nd Place:
MADISON WILLIAMS
Dublin  OH
Madison Williams
Madison is 16 years old and a junior at Dublin Jerome High School in Ohio.  She is a member of Women’s Chorale at her High School as well as the Columbus International Children’s Choir.  She studies voice privately with Stephanie Henkle.  Madison has participated in the American Choir Directors’ Association National Honor Choir and in the Ohio Music Education Association All-State Choir.  She has also attended the Summer Voice Intensive at the Eastman School of Music and has previously won the Central Ohio Singing Competition.
Among judges' comments: "A lovely instrument with clear tone and consistent air flow."


3rd Place:
EMILY ROSE PERRY
Powell  OH
Emily Perry
Emily Perry, 17, is a Junior at The Olentangy Liberty High School in Powell, Ohio and a member of several of its choirs. Additionally, Emily is a member of the Columbus International Children's Choir and a private student of Yvonne Shapiro-Mazo. Emily Perry has placed first in Columbus Teacher Music Association and placed second in the classical division of the Central Ohio Singing competition. Emily received a Superior rating all four years of Ohio Music Education Association Competition and was a member of the All State Choir.  Emily’s proudest moment was placing third in the American Prize in Vocal Performance (Opera/Operetta) Division in 2013. Emily has attended Indiana University Summer Program and Baldwin Wallace University's Summer Intensive Camp. When not pursuing her love for singing Emily enjoys working with autistic children, reading, spending time with her family and friends, working on mission trips, and writing.


Among judges' comments: "a lovely, resonant instrument..."

***
Congratulations!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

VOCAL WINNERS: women in opera

Friedrich Schorr as Wotan, Bayreuth
The American Prize is honored to announce the winners and runners-up in the women's opera divisions of The American Prize in Vocal Performance—Friedrich & Virginia Schorr Memorial Awards, 2014.  In addition, the competition honored one additional artist with a Citation for Vocal and Instrumental Excellence and selected four contestants to receive Career Encouragement Citations. The voice teacher of three of the four will also receive a special citation for inspirational teaching. Congratulations!

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

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

The American Prize 
in Vocal Performance
Friedrich & Virginia Schorr Memorial Award
PROFESSIONAL OPERA DIVISION

The American Prize winner:
MEGAN MARINO
New York  NY
Megan Marino
Hailed for her “considerable range and confidence, navigating lower notes with impressive, clarity yet also managing considerable leaps into the higher range as well, exhibiting a warm, plummy tone throughout,” Megan Marino debuts at the Metropolitan Opera as an Unborn Child in Die Frau ohne Schatten in 2013-14. She also joins the company for Rusalka, Werther, and Rigoletto and sings Handel’s Messiah with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. Upcoming engagements include Angelina in La Cenerentola with Green Mountain Opera, Varvara in Káťa Kabanová at the Spoleto Festival U.S.A. In coming seasons, she will join the roster of the Lyric Opera of Chicago.

Ms. Marino received The Katharine M. Mayer Apprentice Award from Santa Fe Opera, is a 2nd place winner of Ft. Worth Opera’s McCammon Competition and 3rd place winner of the Lotte Lenya Competition. She has been a regional finalist of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and has placed multiple times at the Denver Lyric Opera Guild Competition.

Among judges' comments: "A consummate singer-actor, with all the elements for an international career in place."


2nd Place:
MEGHAN PICERNO
New York NY
Meghan Picerno
American Soprano, Meghan Picerno was last seen making her Carnegie Hall debut in recital with Metropolitan Opera’s Bass’s Hao Jiang Tian. Last year she made her Alice Tully Hall debut singing with the New York City Opera Orchestra under the baton of Maestro Paul Nadler, and the National Center for Performing Arts in Beijing, China as a young artist of I Sing Beijing. As Zerlina in Martina Arroyo’s Prelude to Performance Program’s production of Don Giovanni, she was praised by the New York Times for her “attractive soprano” voice. She received both her Masters and Professional Studies degrees from The Manhattan School of Music. During her time at MSM, she performed in many productions such as Marissa in Henry’s Wife with American Opera Projects, La Princesse et Le Feu in L’enfant et les Sortileges, soprano soloist in September Songs, The Legacy Of Kurt Weill, as well as various performances with the Contemporary Opera Ensemble. She also made her Off Broadway debut as Liza in the musical revue, Falling in Love with Love. This Spring she was selected as a semifinalist in the Lotte Lenya Competition, as well as receiving 2nd place in the 5 Towns Music Awards in the Opera division.

Among judges' comments: "A worldclass coloratura talent, with gripping acting and musical abilities."


3rd Place (There was a tie):
JESSICA ROSE CAMBIO
Modena  ITALY
Jessica Rose Cambio
Italian-American Soprano Jessica Rose Cambio recently made her UK debut as Mimì in the Francesca Zambello production of La Boheme at the Royal Albert Hall after performances in Como, Brescia, Pavia, Cremona, Tel Aviv, and in concert with the LA Philharmonic. She will reprise the role and debut Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni this Fall in Macedonia, Thailand, and China. Other recent engagements include Beatriz in Catán's La Hija de Rappaccini with Gotham Chamber Opera. Her repertoire has included Violetta in La Traviata, Alice in Falstaff, Giselda in I Lombardi, Magda in La Rondine, Liù in Turandot, Nedda in Pagliacci, Micaëla in Carmen, and the title roles in Maria Stuarda, Anna Bolena, and Lucia di Lammermoor.

Ms. Cambio is an avid recitalist, having sung concerts in Italy at the homes of Giuseppe Verdi and Luciano Pavarotti, Helsinki with the Finnish-Italian Association, Moscow at the Galina Vishnevskaya Opera Centre, NY at Carnegie Hall and Rose Hall at Jazz at Lincoln Center; with the Festival Puccini Torre del Lago Orchestra at the Teatro Comunale di Modena, the Orchestra Filarmonica di Torino, the Israeli Philharmonic in Tel Aviv, and the Saint Petersburg Philharmonic at the Shostakovich Grand Hall for Elena Obratzsova’s 70th Birthday. She made her oratorio debut as the Soprano soloist in Bach's Magnificat at the Duomo di Modena.

Cambio has prevailed in an astounding number of vocal competitions worldwide, winning prizes in the Marie Kraja in Albania, Leyla Gencer in Istanbul, As.Li.Co. in Como, and the Gerda Lissner, Licia Albanese Puccini, Giulio Gari, George London, and Loren Zachary Competitions in the US. She was also a finalist in the Julián Gayarre in Spain, and the Voci Verdiane, Marcello Giordani, Ottavio Ziino, and Fondazione Arena di Verona Competitions in Italy, and a semi-finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and Placido Domingo’s Operalia in Quebec and Verona. She was awarded grants from the Richard Tucker, Gerda Lissner, and Georg Solti Foundations, and she completed her musical studies in the US and Italy working with world renowned sopranos Renata Scotto and Mirella Freni.

Among judges' comments: "...a singing actress par excellence."


3rd Place (There was a tie):
SUSAN NELSON
Chicago  IL
Susan Nelson
Equally at home on the operatic stage or in concert repertoire, American lyric soprano Susan Nelson has been praised by critics for her “full, powerful voice – agile and pliant” as well as her interpretations, called both “sensitive and moving” and “full of life and vigor.” She showcases versatility and vocal beauty in repertoire from Bach and Mozart to verismo and contemporary opera.  She has been a seen on the stages of Lyric Opera of Chicago, Opera Delaware, Sarasota Opera, Kentucky Opera, Opera Illinois, and The Savoyaires, and has performed as a soloist with Music of the Baroque, Access Contemporary Music, Elmhurst Choral Union, and Illinois Valley Symphony Orchestra.  In December 2014, she will return to the South Bend Symphony Orchestra for their Holiday Pops Concerts.

Among judges' comments: "A very exciting talent."

SPECIAL CITATION: Vocal and Instrumental Excellence
ZOE VANDERMEER
Gaylordsville  CT
Zoe Vandermeer
Zoe Vandermeer specializes in the music of Mozart and Baroque Music as a soprano soloist and also as a recitalist in which she accompanies her singing on triple harp.  On the roster of the Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism, she is a prize-winning graduate of the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, a recipient of the Dame Joan Sutherland Fund, winner of the Bay Area Vocal Arts Competition, finalist of the London Young Artists Early Music Competition, and finalist of the Laurier Concert Aria Competition Canada.  Ms. Vandermeer has given solo performances at International Festival de Deia Spain, Glasgow International Early Music Festival, HarpCon2003 Convention, Bloomington Early Music Festival, Festival Opera, DiMenna Center New York City, Davies Symphony Hall San Francisco, and ABC Center Los Angeles.  Her CD 'Angel's Wine, Songs of John Dowland' won second place for Best Classical Album.  www.zoevandermeer.com

Among judges' comments:"many artistic and expressive risks in this performance, making for an exciting and strong musical statement."



The American Prize 
in Vocal Performance
Friedrich & Virginia Schorr Memorial Award
COLLEGE/UNIVERSITY OPERA DIVISION

The American Prize winner:
MONICA DEWEY
Stone Mountain  GA
Monica Dewey
Monica Dewey, soprano, was born in Atlanta, Georgia and began her studies at the University of Kentucky. She received a full scholarship award from the Alltech Vocal Scholarship Competition and studied with Dr. Everett McCorvey and Cynthia Lawrence. She now continues as a student of Elizbeth Nohe Colson in Atlanta, Georgia. She was a semi-finalist in the International Competition “Dr. Luis Sigall” in Viña del Mar, Chile and the Orpheus Vocal Competition in Tennessee. This summer she will be a young artist at the Chautauqua Institute for Music.

Recent opera engagements include: Pamina Die Zauberflöte with Lyric Opera Studio Weimar, Rose Street Scene with Harrower Opera Workshop, and Christine Phantom of the Opera with University of Kentucky Opera Theatre. She has been a featured soloist with Thüringer Symphony in Germany, University of Kentucky Symphony Orchestra, and Atlanta Community Symphony Orchestra. Monica has recently begun graduate school at Indiana University where she studies with Carol Vaness.

Among judges' comments: "a superb, rich instrument that is capable of such a range of colors...along with superb breath control and release of onset."


2nd Place:
LAUREN K. FREY
Pittsburgh  PA
Lauren Frey
Lauren Frey was recently commended for her performance as Musetta in Opera Western Reserve's production of La Boheme.  She "brilliantly negotiated the intricacies of her bel canto role with sparkling ease."  In her famous "Musetta's Waltz" aria, Frey "depicted Musetta beautifully," while her ensemble vocals were "absolutely stunning." (The Classical Cleveland)

In 2014, Lauren received 3rd place in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Regional Auditions, after winning 1st place in her MONC District.  In 2013, Lauren placed second in the Senior Division and first in the Vocal Division with the Philadelphia Orchestra's Albert M. Greenfield Competition.  In 2012, Lauren won 1st place in the MONC District Auditions, and won Westminster Choir College's Voice Scholarship Competition in 2011.  

Lauren performed Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni with Lyric Opera Studio Weimar in Germany in 2013.  She originated the role of Grace in the world premiere of Daron Hagen’s The George Washington Suite with Opera Theater Pittsburgh.  Credits include Coaxer in Kurt Weill’s Threepenny Opera, Tina in Jonathan Dove's Flight, the title role in Handel's Alcina, Die Erste Dame in Die Zauberflöte, and Fiordiligi in Cosi fan tutte.

Among judges' comments: "a vibrant voice, rich yet flexible, showing much floridity through resonance."


3rd Place:
JULIA WOLCOTT
State College  PA
Julia Wolcott
Soprano Julia Wolcott made her operatic debut as a college freshman in the role of Marcellina in Penn State Opera Theatre’s production of The Marriage of Figaro. Subsequent roles included Fiordiligi in Mozart’s Così fan tutte and Ottavia in Monteverdi’s The Coronation of Poppea. Julia attended the SOARS Program (Summer Opera, Art Song, Recording Seminar) in Bayview, Michigan as well as OperaNEO, an opera festival and workshop in San Diego, California. Julia graduated from Penn State in December 2013 with her bachelor's degree in voice performance, where she was a student of Jennifer Trost. In January, she was named as a finalist in the National Opera Association's Caroline and Dominick Argento Vocal Competition held at the National Opera Center in New York City. This summer she will participate in the Artists Training Seminar of the Castleton Festival where she will work with renowned conductor Lorin Maazel. www.juliawolcott.com

Among judges' comments: "a rich, beautiful timbre that is both refined and refreshing. "


The American Prize 
in Vocal Performance
Friedrich & Virginia Schorr Memorial Award
SPECIAL CITATIONS, 2014

The American Prize selected four contestants in the College/University category to receive Career Encouragement Citations. Three of the four study with the same teacher at Southwestern University in Georgetown, TX. Their teacher will also receive a special citation for Inspiration in Teaching. Congratulations!

Career Encouragement Citation:
LILLIAN BAILEY-BRODERICK
Plainfield  VT
Lillian Bailey-Broderick
20 year old Vermont native soprano, Lillian Bailey-Broderick, is going into her junior of undergraduate studies at the University of Vermont. After her debut in 2010 as Lady Ella in G&S's Patience, Miss Bailey-Broderick has gone on to perform other Gilbert & Sullivan roles including Mabel, Josephine, and Patience. At school, she has performed partial roles, such as Fiordiligi and Countess. Last summer, the soprano sang the title role in Princess Ida "beautifully and dramatically" (VT Times Argus). She also made her role debut as Konstanze in an English version of The Abduction from the Seraglio.  This summer she attended the Accademia Vocale Lorenzo Malfatti in Lucca, Italy.


Career Encouragement Citation:
KELSEY DEBNER
Austin  TX
Kelsey Debner
Kelsey Debner is a sophomore at Southwestern University pursuing a Bachelor’s of Music in Vocal Performance.  She grew up in Austin, Texas, and was homeschooled through high school.  In addition to studying voice since 8th grade, she has studied violin since 2nd grade.  She is a member of the music fraternity Delta Omicron.  

Career Encouragement Citation:
ABIGAIL JACKSON
Dallas  TX
Abigail Jackson
Abigail Jackson is a junior Vocal Performance Major pursuing a Bachelor of Music degree at Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas. She's currently preparing the role of Fiordiligi in Mozart's Cosí fan tutte to perform with the opera theatre class at Southwestern University. She is also preparing for her junior recital as part of the BM degree. This past January she was cast in the Austin Lyric Opera chorus for Tosca. Her debut opera theatre role with Southwestern University was the Plaintiff in Gilbert and Sullivan’s Trial by Jury in April 2013.

Career Encouragement Citation:
MELISSA KRUEGER
Kingwood  TX
Melissa Krueger
Mezzo-Soprano, Melissa Krueger is a Junior Vocal Performance major at Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas. She currently studies with Dana Zenobi, a noted soprano in the Austin area. Although new to the opera world, she has already performed in productions with organizations such as Opera in the Ozarks and Austin Lyric Opera. Southwestern has blessed her with the opportunity to sing several leading roles such as Dorabella in Cosi fan Tutte, the Counsel in Trial By Jury, and Polly in The Beggar's Opera. Melissa also works as the Alto Section Leader at United University Methodist Church under the direction of Marc Erck.


SPECIAL CITATION: Inspiration in Teaching
DANA ZENOBI
Southwestern University  Georgetown  TX
A versatile performer who embraces both traditional repertoire and new music, Dana Zenobi appeared in the American Premiere of Philip Glass' Waiting for the Barbarians with Austin Lyric Opera, and performed with Lyric Opera Cleveland in the first production of Mark Adamo's Little Women directed by the composer.  The Cleveland Plain Dealer praised her "dazzling coloratura" and "irresitible phrasing" as Mabel in The Pirates of Penzance, and she has garnered similar success in roles ranging from Mozart heroines Konstanze and Donna Elvira to Verdi's Violetta Valéry.  She is also an active concert soloist, and teaches voice, pedagogy, song literature, and diction at Southwestern University (Georgetown, TX).  Dr. Zenobi is founder of BELTÀ, a nonprofit that supports emerging artists (www.BELTA.org).  She earned her DMA in Voice Performance and Pedagogy at The University of Texas at Austin.  She also holds an MM from UT, and a BA from Duke University.  www.danazenobi.com

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Congratulations!