Wednesday, June 30, 2010

GARY SHELDON wins The American Prize

Maestro Gary Sheldon, of Lancaster, OH, has won The American Prize in Conducting in the professional orchestra division, one several conducting award-winners to be announced this week by The American Prize. Congratulations.

Gary Sheldon conducts the Lancaster Festival Orchestra which he founded in 1988. He is also principal conductor at the Festival at Sandpoint and he was recently appointed principal conductor of the Miami City Ballet. He is former music director of the Marin Symphony where he established the orchestra’s first educational concerts, symphony chorus, composers competition and annual composers symposium. He is a native of Bay Shore, New York and a graduate of the Juilliard School.

RICARDO AVERBACH wins The American Prize

Maestro Ricardo Averbach, of Oxford, OH, has won The American Prize in Conducting in the college/university orchestra division, one several conducting award-winners to be announced this week by The American Prize. Congratulations.

Ricardo Averbach, DMA is Director of Orchestral Studies at Miami University and President of the College Orchestra Directors Association, Northeast Division. Previously he was Music Director of the Echternach Festival Orchestra in Luxembourg, the University of Pennsylvania Symphony Orchestra and Wind Ensemble and the São Paulo Municipal Symphony Orchestra in Brazil. His discography includes several world premiere recordings, which have already sold more than half a million copies around the globe.

Additional conducting awards will be announced shortly.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

AWAITING ACCEPTANCES from Conducting Winners

We are awaiting acceptances from winners of The American Prize spring competitions in conducting (choral and orchestral) and are contacting additional winners today and tomorrow. As always, we will let you know when the announcements will be made, first via our twitter connection: americanprize

Saturday, June 26, 2010

"PHOTO FINISH" for CHORAL ARTS in the COMMUNITY CHORUS DIVISION

In a tightly contested race among some of the finest community choruses in the country, where the top three finishers were separated by mere percentage points and the top five by just inches, The American Prize is pleased to announce that Choral Arts, Robert Bode, conductor, of Seattle, WA, is the 2010 winner of The American Prize in Choral Performance (community division.) Congratulations.

Seattle Pro Musica, Karen Thomas, conductor
and the Atlanta Sacred Chorale, Eric Nelson, conductor, tied for second.

Sacramento Choral Society, Donald Kendrick, conductor,
and the Calvin College Alumni Choir, Pearl Shangkuan, conductor, tied for third.

The American Prize judging panel commented on Choral Art's performance: "first-rate...great colors and impeccable intonation." 

Choral Arts was founded in 1993 and since then, has received local, national and international acclaim for its mastery of style, language, and genre. The ensemble performs up to four concert series each season in the Seattle area. Guest appearances have included: Mark Morris Dance Company, International Music Festival of Seattle, Northwest Sinfonietta’s 5th Anniversary Gala Concert, Arts West Music Series, Puget Sound Music Society, and Seattle Symphony’s Christmas Singalong Concert at Benaroya Hall. The choir participated in the International Chamber Choir Competition in Marktoberdorf Germany, where they placed fourth overall out of 300 international choirs and received a special recognition award. Choral Arts has four recordings available through the Loft/Gothic label. www.choral-arts.org

Congratulations to all five contestants: Choral Arts, Seattle Pro Musica, Atlanta Sacred Chorale, Sacramento Choral Society and Calvin College Alumni Choir for spirited, impassioned singing and for outstanding achievement, ranked among the finest community choirs in the country.

Bravi, tutti.

WASHINGTON & JEFFERSON COLLEGE CAMERATA SINGERS win THE AMERICAN PRIZE

The American Prize is pleased to announce that the WASHINGTON & JEFFERSON COLLEGE CAMERATA SINGERS, of Washington, PA, Susan Medley, conductor, is the 2010 winner of The American Prize in Choral Performance (college/university division.) Congratulations.

The Re-Choired Element Chamber Choir of Albany, OR, placed second.
The NW Oklahoma University Chorale, of Alva, OK placed third.

The American Prize judging panel commented on selections by the Washington & Jefferson College Camerata Singers: "choir has a lovely sound...excellent sense of shaping and phrase in this performance."

The Washington & Jefferson College Camerata Singers is the premiere vocal ensemble at W&J.  The group is comprised of sixteen singers who, in the liberal arts tradition, represent a wide range of majors including biochemistry, psychology, biology, chemistry, economics, English, German, music, and theater.  The Camerata Singers have appeared at the state conference of the Pennsylvania Music Education Association, the MENC Eastern Division Conference, and as featured performers at Carnegie Hall's Weill Recital Hall.
 
Congratulations to the Washington & Jefferson College Camerata Singers, the Re-Choired Element Chamber Choir and the NW Oklahoma University Chorale for their outstanding achievement, ranked among the finest college/university choirs in the country.

Bravo.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Finally! COMMUNITY CHORUS and COLLEGE/UNIVERSITY CHORUS winners to be announced tomorrow.

Finally! Winners and runners-up of The American Prize in Choral Performance—Community Chorus division and College/University division will be posted to our blog by noon Saturday.

Congratulations to all winners, runners-up, finalists and semi-finalists.

IMPORTANT UPDATE: FRIDAY

1. We still await acceptances from the titular winners of The American Prize in Choral Performance (community chorus division) and The American Prize in Choral Performance (college/university division.) We will redouble our effort to make contact with these organizations today, the last two ensemble prizes outstanding, so winners and runners-up can be announced.

2. Conducting winners have been chosen and will be announced shortly.

3. We are in the midst of a major overhaul of our website (www.theamericanprize.org), adding new contests, revising returning contests, and creating our Winners pages. We will let you know when the update is completed.

Many thanks.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

TEXAS CHAMBER GROUP ORCHESTRA wins THE AMERICAN PRIZE

The American Prize is pleased to announce that the TEXAS CHAMBER GROUP ORCHESTRA, of Austin, TX, Wesley Schulz, conductor, is the 2010 winner of The American Prize in Orchestral Performance (college/university orchestra division.) Congratulations.

The Oxford Chamber Orchestra of Oxford, OH, placed second.
The Cornell Symphony Orchestra of Ithaca, NY, placed third.

Other finalists are not ranked in order, but will receive official certificates and adjudicated comments.

In making their decision, the judging panel praised the TEXAS CHAMBER GROUP ORCHESTRA for a performance of Rite of Spring "excellent...astonishingly good...extremely impressive in almost every detail."

The Texas Chamber Group was founded in 2007 by conductor Wesley Schulz for the purpose of giving chamber sized orchestral concerts to the community of Austin, Texas. Featuring works from across the orchestral spectrum the ensemble has given successful performances of Mozart’s Symphony No. 41, Milhaud’s Creation of the World, Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring, Torke’s Adjustable Wrench, and Stephen Frost’s Concerto for Bassoon, among others.
 

Congratulations to the Texas Chamber Group Orchestra, the Oxford Chamber Orchestra and the
Cornell Symphony Orchestra for their outstanding achievement, ranked among the finest college/university orchestras in the country.

Bravo.

AWAITING ACCEPTANCES

We are awaiting more acceptances and hope to have completed the announcement of The American Prize winning performances in our spring 2010 competitions as soon as possible.

Prizes, certificates and written evaluations will follow to contestants in the days ahead.

Thank you for a very stimulating and musically rewarding first round of The American Prize.

We anticipate that new competitions will be posted to website by the end of the month. www.theamericanprize.org

Monday, June 21, 2010

HSPVA MADRIGAL SINGERS win THE AMERICAN PRIZE

The American Prize is pleased to announce that the HSPVA MADRIGAL SINGERS, of Houston, TX, Rob Seible, conductor, is the 2010 winner of The American Prize in Choral Performance (high school division.) Congratulations.

The Traverse City West Senior High School Chorale, of Traverse City, MI, placed second.
The Burley Middle School Young Women's Chorus of Charlottesville, VA, placed third.
The Olympia High School Chorale of Stanford, IL, placed fourth.

Among the Madrigal Singers' outstanding qualities to receive comment by The American Prize judging panel were "good core of well-trained voices...diction is almost always natural and well-controlled...good listening...attention to details..." 

The Madrigal Singers has been a top vocal ensemble at The High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Houston, Texas, since the school's inception 38 years ago. The 16 singers, all juniors and seniors, perform acapella music from all periods and are versatile in many musical styles. The Madrigal Singers are best known as representatives of the school during the Christmas season, when they perform innumerable concerts throughout Houston, dressed in Renaissance costume. http://hspva.org/dhtml/

Congratulations to the HSPVA Madrigal Singers, the Traverse City West Senior High School Chorale, the Burley Middle School Young Women's Chorus and the Olympia High School Chorale of Stanford, IL for their outstanding achievement, ranked among the finest high school choirs in the country.

Bravo.

NEW WORLD SINGERS win THE AMERICAN PRIZE

The American Prize is pleased to announce that the NEW WORLD SINGERS, of Columbus, OH, Sandra Mathias, music director, is the 2010 winner of The American Prize in Choral Performance (youth choir division.) Congratulations.

The Rhode Island Children's Chorus Chamber Choir placed second.
The Salem Youth Chorus of Salem, OH, placed third.

The American Prize judging panel commented on selections by the New World Singers: "most impressed with the choir’s intonation...with the uniformity of tone quality...diction is very clear...exceptional repertoire."

The New World Singers is the top ensemble of the Columbus and Central Ohio Children’s Chorus Foundation, formed as a non-profit foundation in 1995. The choir has toured in the U.S., Russia, Eastern Europe, and Canada. They have performed with the National Repertory Orchestra, Chautauqua Symphony, and the Columbus Symphony Orchestra. In 2007 they were selected to perform at the national conferences of the American Choral Directors’ Association and the Organization of American Kodály Educators. www.columbuschildrenschoir.org

Congratulations to the New World Singers, the Rhode Island Children's Chorus Chamber Choir and the Salem Youth Chorus for their outstanding achievement, ranked among the finest youth choirs in the country.

Bravo.

LANCASTER FESTIVAL ORCHESTRA wins THE AMERICAN PRIZE

The American Prize is pleased to announce that the LANCASTER FESTIVAL ORCHESTRA, of Lancaster, OH, Gary Sheldon, music director, is the 2010 winner of The American Prize in Orchestral Performance (professional orchestra division.) Congratulations.

The Annapolis Symphony of Annapolis, MD, placed second.
The Western Piedmont Symphony of Hickory, NC, placed third.

Other finalists are not ranked in order, but will receive official certificates and adjudicated comments.

In making their decision, the judging panel praised the LANCASTER FESTIVAL ORCHESTRA for performances "excellently prepared interpretively and very well executed."  

The Lancaster Festival Orchestra was founded by conductor Gary Sheldon in 1988. With sixty musicians from around the world, the orchestra members perform symphony, opera, ballet and chamber music at Ohio University and other venues in Lancaster, Ohio every summer. Distinguished American composers in residence at the festival have included William Bolcom, Leslie Burrs, Kirke Mechem, Gang Situ, Augusta Reade Thomas and Joan Tower. www.lancasterfestival.org

Congratulations to the Lancaster Festival Orchestra, the Annapolis Symphony and the
Western Piedmont Symphony for their outstanding achievement, ranked among the finest professional orchestras in the country.

Bravo.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

MORE WINNERS MONDAY

The American Prize will announce additional winners of its 2010 competitions on Monday.

The Professional Orchestra winner and runners-up will be announced here at 10 am.
The Youth Choir winner and runners-up will be announced here at 12 noon.

We continue to wait on some acceptances and may announce additional winners as the day progresses. (See previous post entitled "How winners will be announced" for more details.)


Congratulations to all winners and runners up.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

LONGMEADOW HIGH SCHOOL SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA wins THE AMERICAN PRIZE

The American Prize is pleased to announce that the LONGMEADOW HIGH SCHOOL SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA, of Longmeadow, MA, Michael Mucci, conductor, is the 2010 winner of The American Prize in Orchestral Performance (secondary school division.) Congratulations.

The Stevenson High School Patriot Orchestra of Lincolnshire, IL, placed second.

In making their decision, the judging panel praised the Longmeadow High School Orchestra: "strings play with confidence and beautiful sonority...intonation is extraordinarily good...an exciting, cohesive sound."

The Longmeadow High School Symphony Orchestra is comprised of the 55 strings of the String Orchestra and the 44 wind players of the select Wind Ensemble. The Symphony Orchestra has been invited to perform, on three occasions, at the National Orchestra Festival, held at Carnegie Hall in New York City. The Symphony Orchestra has also performed at the National Orchestra Gold Festival at Boston Symphony Hall and has appeared numerous times at the Massachusetts Music Educators All State Convention. The Longmeadow High School Music Department has recently received three Grammy Signature Awards from the National Association of Recording Arts and Sciences.


Congratulations to the Longmeadow High School Symphony Orchestra and the Stevenson High School Patriot Orchestra for their outstanding achievement, ranked among the finest high school orchestras in the country.

Bravo.

Friday, June 18, 2010

MERCURY ORCHESTRA wins THE AMERICAN PRIZE

The American Prize is pleased to announce that the MERCURY ORCHESTRA, of Cambridge, MA, Channing Yu, music director and conductor, is the 2010 winner of The American Prize in Orchestral Performance (community orchestra division.) Congratulations.

The Bravura Philharmonic Orchestra of West Windsor, NJ, placed second.
The Auburn University/Community Orchestra of Auburn, AL, placed third.

Other finalists are not ranked in order, but will receive official certificates and adjudicated comments.

In making their decision, the judging panel praised the Mercury Orchestra for "obviously careful and thoughtful preparation...excellent interpretations."


Founded in 2008, the 97-member Mercury Orchestra (Channing Yu, Music Director and Conductor; Justin Albstein, General Manager) has a mission to bring great works of the symphony orchestra repertoire to Cambridge, Massachusetts, in live performances of the highest quality; to bring amateur orchestral musicians together in the Cambridge area to play challenging repertoire; and to educate new audiences about the rich traditions of classical music.
www.mercuryorchestra.org

Congratulations to the Mercury Orchestra, the Bravura Philharmonic and the Auburn University/Community Orchestra for their outstanding achievement, ranked among the finest community orchestras in the country.

Bravo.

More winners will be announced this weekend.

ROOMFUL OF TEETH wins THE AMERICAN PRIZE

The American Prize is pleased to announce that ROOMFUL OF TEETH,  of Williamstown, MA, Brad Wells, founder and director, is the 2010 winner of The American Prize in Choral Performance (professional division). Congratulations.

VOX: The Rob Seible Singers, of Houston, Texas, placed second.

In making their decision, the judging panel commented that ROOMFUL OF TEETH exhibited "accurate pitch/intonation...with seamless transitions...really unique...stunning."

Roomful of Teeth is an eight-voice vocal ensemble that embraces the full spectrum of vocal practices and, through an on-going commissioning project, develops new compositions using the fullest possible range of vocal techniques. Launched in 2009, the ensemble of young, classically-trained singers studies with international experts in vocal techniques ranging from Tuvan throat singing to yodeling. The ensemble commissions composers to write music utilizing their ever-expanding palette of vocal colors.
www.roomfulofteeth.org
 
Congratulations to both ROOMFUL OF TEETH and the VOX: The Rob Seible Singers, for their outstanding achievement, ranked among the finest professional choruses in the country.

Bravo.

The winner of The American Prize in Orchestral Performance (community division) will be announced at 5 pm today.

HOUSTON YOUTH SYMPHONY WINS THE AMERICAN PRIZE

The American Prize is pleased to announce that HOUSTON YOUTH SYMPHONY, Michael Webster, artistic director, is the 2010 winner of The American Prize in Orchestral Performance (youth orchestra division.) Congratulations.

The Rockford Symphony Youth Orchestra of Rockford, IL, placed second.

In making their decision, the judging panel commented that Houston Youth Orchestra's "strings have gorgeous tone and excellent musicality...an outstanding performance of Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 5."

Houston Youth Symphony was founded in 1947 and now serves over 300 student musicians in four orchestras. Michael Webster has been the Artistic Director since 1997, and has led the Symphony, its most advanced orchestra, at the inauguration of mayor Lee Brown, the 2002 National Youth Orchestra Festival, and at Carnegie Hall. HYS has been named the national first prize winner of Choice Music Events Mark of Excellence competition in both 2008 and 2009. http://www.houstonyouthsymphony.com/

Congratulations to both Houston Youth Symphony and the Rockford Symphony Youth Orchestra for their outstanding achievement, ranked among the finest youth orchestras in the country.

Bravo.

The winner of The American Prize in Choral Performance (professional division) will be announced at 2 pm today.

The winner of The American Prize in Orchestral Performance (community division) will be announced at 5 pm today.

THREE WINNERS TO BE ANNOUNCED TODAY

The American Prize will announce three winners of its 2010 competitions today.

The Youth Orchestra winner and runners-up will be announced here at 11:15 pm.
The Professional Chorus winner and runners-up will be announced here at 2 pm.
The Community Orchestra winner and runners-up will be announced here at 5 pm.

Congratulations to all winners and runners up.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

AWAITING ACCEPTANCES in SIX COMPETITIONS

We are awaiting acceptances from winners in six categories, then public announcements will be made. Additional winners will be contacted tomorrow. To learn exactly when the winner in a particular category will be announced publicly, please subscribe to our twitter feed: @americanprize. Of course, each winner will also be announced on our blog and facebook pages, as it happens. Congratulations to all contestants for a terrific competition.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The JUDGES have spoken...

The office has now received rankings and evaluations from all the judges for the 2010 spring competitions of The American Prize. We have begun the process of collating the results and will start to contact winners shortly.

As I wrote previously, here is the how the winners will be announced:

Before any public announcement, we will contact the winner in each category to invite them to accept The American Prize for their achievement.

After they accept, the official, public announcement will then be made about the winner, as well as 2nd and any 3rd place finishers. (Other finalists will not be ranked.) The announcement will appear first on our blog, twitter and facebook pages, then will be sent to all finalists, followed by the media.

Prizes, certificates and evaluations will be sent to each winner later in the month; certificates and evaluations will then go out to all other contestants. Winners will be profiled on our website.

We plan to space out the public announcement of winners over a series of days, instead of announcing all the winners at once, to give each ensemble and musician their due, after we receive notice of acceptances.

To learn exactly when the winner in a particular category will be announced publicly, please subscribe to our twitter feed: @americanprize. Of course, each winner will also be announced on our blog and facebook pages, as it happens.

Thanks to all contestants for a wonderfully exciting and stimulating competition.

New 2010 competitions for wind ensembles/concert bands, music theater and opera companies and their conductors, for pianists, vocalists and composers, will be posted to our website later in the month. 2011 competitions for choruses, orchestras and their conductors will be posted to the site a short time later.

All good wishes,
David Katz, chief judge

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Important update: HOW WINNERS will be ANNOUNCED:

Congratulations to all finalists for the spring competitions of The American Prize!

Here's the how the winners will be announced:

1. After we hear from the last of the judges this week, final decisions will be made.

2. Before any public announcement, we will contact the winner in each category to invite them to accept The American Prize for their achievement.

3. The official, public announcement will then be made about the winner, as well as 2nd and any 3rd place finishers. (Other finalists will not be ranked.) The announcement will appear first on our blog, twitter and facebook pages, then will be sent to all finalists, followed by the media.

4. Prizes, certificates and evaluations will be sent to each winner later in the month; certificates and evaluations will go to all other contestants. Winners will then be profiled on our website.

5. We plan to space out the public announcement of winners over a series of days, instead of announcing all the winners at once, to give each ensemble and musician their due.

To learn exactly when the winner in a particular category will be announced publicly, please subscribe to our twitter feed: @americanprize. Of course, each winner will also be announced on our blog and facebook pages, as it happens.

Thanks to all contestants for a wonderfully exciting and stimulating competition.

New 2010 competitions for wind ensembles/concert bands, music theater and opera companies and their conductors, for pianists, vocalists and composers, will be posted to our website later in the month. 2011 competitions for choruses, orchestras and their conductors will be posted to the site a short time later.

All good wishes,
David Katz, chief judge