Saturday, December 31, 2011

PIANISTS WEIGH in on the VALUE of The American Prize

How valuable is The American Prize in Piano Performance to those who participate? We have received unsolicited emails from several laureates we are proud to share.

In the welter of media "noise" every day,  it is sometimes difficult for artists to get the recognition they so clearly deserve: we are pleased that the value of The American Prize is getting through, even after only one year.

From Sarah Chan, winner of The American Prize in Piano Performance, 2011, professional division, concerto:

"I thank you for the objectives of your organization in encouraging many fine artists in their development. I am very thankful for the honor of The American Prize and am grateful for your continued support of excellence in music across this nation....Through The American Prize, your...efforts to encourage excellence in the arts at all levels nationally remain inspirational as a model of generosity, expressing the very soul of art."
  
—Sarah Chan, Assistant Professor of Music and Director of Keyboard Studies / Music Theory
Northwestern Oklahoma State University

From Catharine Dornin, The American Prize in Piano Performance
3rd place, 2011, professional division, concerto

"I am so thrilled to have been a part of this competition and all the wonderful opportunities it offers to its finalists and winners. I'm delighted to have my picture on your website and to have won third place in the Concerto Performance Category in the Professional Division. I definitely saw the press release that the Concord Monitor, our local newspaper, ran in August concerning my award and I appreciate this recognition so very much. It is wonderfully helpful to me both as a performer and music teacher. 

I've received so many congratulations from friends and acquaintances. I've tried to explain to them how The American Prize is a new and wonderful award opportunity for artists who've been laboring in relative obscurity for years to have their performances listened to and adjudicated by highly qualified judges and to give those performers professional recognition that is just invaluable and is so very affirming.
 

It's so helpful to my musical career to have all this great support and recognition. It is just a wonderful idea! We are all so very grateful." 

—Catharine Dornin, faculty
St Paul's School and Concord Community Music School, Concord, NH

And this, from a member of the national judging panel for The American Prize in Piano Performance:

"you've created a new type of art music competition.  Fantastic!"

Michael Benson
Assistant Professor of Music, Coordinator of Keyboard Studies and Education, Malone University, Canton, OH

*****

The American Prize is unique. A non-profit organization that focuses on recognizing and rewarding artists solely based on their recorded performances, contestants avoid the hassle and expense of traveling to competitions. Our distinguished panel of nationally recognized judges provides every contestant, from finalist to winner, with unbiased written evaluations. With no age limits and few repertoire restrictions and separate divisions for professional, college/university, high school and amateur artists, we assist artists in building careers, audiences and visibility.

 The postmark deadline for The American Prize in Piano Performance, 2012, which includes separate competitions in solo performance and in concerto, is Monday, January 23, 2012.  Visit the The American Prize website for complete information, application forms, bios and photos of past winners, and more.

Friday, December 30, 2011

COMPOSER Q&A #2: rights, recordings and more

Some additional questions from composers.
(To read the first composer Q&A, follow this LINK.)

1. Does the composer retain all rights to his/her music if he applies (or wins)?

Without question. The composer relinquishes no rights whatsoever. We only ask to publish photos and bios of runners-up and winners, which may be posted to our website and blog. We do expect The American Prize channel on YouTube to go live this season and hope to post excerpts of winning compositions on the site, but only with the permission of the composer. (Sometimes, union rules or other contracted limitations prevent this from being possible.) The composer makes the final call.

 2.  In the choral contest, is there any limitation to the number of choral works that may be submitted to fill 30 minutes on the tape? May the recordings be by different ensembles?

There is no limit to the number of pieces represented within the 30 minutes, and no restrictions on the number or type of groups performing them, provided they are all identified. The focus in the composition contests is on the works themselves, rather on the performers, though of course, the performances that do the best justice to the music (in the opinion of the composer) are the ones to send.  

3. Whose links get selected for the NEWS highlights on your Facebook page?

Practically every week, The American Prize shares news links from competition laureates on our Facebook page, including the latest information from individual performing artists, ensembles and composers. The links help to highlight some of the many different ways contestants have shared their success in the competitions, as well as focusing on their ongoing achievements.

To submit a link of your own, or if you have additional questions, simply email theamericanprize@gmail.com.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Singers Q&A: MEZZOS REJOICE! (and other good news)

Here are some answers to a few questions we have received from classical vocalists about The American Prize in Vocal Performance, which has a postmark deadline of Monday, January 23, 2012.

1. Are mezzo-sopranos prohibited from applying for the Chicago Opera Award?

Of course not! All voice types and fachs are welcome to apply. We have clarified the requirements on the application form and on the website. (If you already downloaded the older application, don't worry—you can still use it!)

The CHICAGO OPERA AWARD is a special opportunity in 2012.

In addition to the national competitions of The American Prize listed on the website in opera/operetta and in art song, three $500 prizes will be awarded as performance fees to opera soloists selected to appear under Maestro David Katz's baton in concert with the Chicago Bar Association Symphony Orchestra & Chorus in May 2012. The Chicago Opera Award is geared primarily to those who live within comfortable travel distance of Chicago and can make their own housing arrangements.

The selection process for the Chicago Opera Award is separate from The American Prize judging. Winning one competition does not preclude the possibility of winning the other. Maestro Katz expects to select the winners of the Chicago Opera Award by March 1, 2012.

For more information about this opportunity, please follow this LINK to reach the application form and the specific webpage, which includes additional important information about the Chicago Opera Award.

2. The American Prize competition honors the memory of Friedrich Schorr, who was a great Wagner singer. I don't sing Wagner. Isn't that really what you are looking for? 

Absolutely not. Schorr was a great Wagnerian, yes, but he sang Mozart and Beethoven, and was a brilliant lieder and oratorio singer. (In fact, he credited his success and longevity in Bayreuth and at the MET to the fact that he said he sang Wagner like it was Mozart!)

The American Prize seeks to recognize and reward the finest vocalists in America at professional, college/university and amateur levels through the evaluation of your recorded performances. Wagner singers have no special advantage nor disadvantage: we seek excellence in any repertoire and at all levels of endeavor.

3. I don't live in the US and my recordings were made elsewhere. May I still apply?

Yes. The competitions of The American Prize are open to all U.S. citizens, whether living in this country or abroad, and to others currently living, working and/or studying in the United States of America, its protectorates and territories. You need not prepare a special tape for The American Prize. A previous recording, whether of a performance made in front of an audience or one created in a recording session without an audience, is perfectly acceptable. Neither the location nor the repertoire of any qualified individual limits eligibility, provided the general guidelines have been met. Excellence within categories is the primary criteria for the selection of finalists and winners. 

4. Who gets to be selected for The American Prize Winning Links?

The American Prize Winning Links is our new blog devoted to links of winners, runners-up, finalists and semi-finalists for The American Prize. Use the site to see some of the many different ways contestants have shared their success in the competitions, or to learn more about The American Prize laureates. We will update the site regularly, and will include 2012 laureates, when selected.

To submit a link or if you have additional questions, simply email theamericanprize@gmail.com.

Monday, December 19, 2011

THE AMERICAN PRIZE-winning CHORUS performs at WHITE HOUSE Tuesday

The New World Singers, winner in 2010 of The American Prize in Choral Performance in the youth choir division, performs at the White House in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday morning.  The New World Singers is the top ensemble of the Columbus and Central Ohio Children’s Chorus Foundation, Sandra Mathias, conductor, formed as a non-profit foundation in 1995. 

Quoting from Zanesville (OH) Times-Reporter:

“Dr. Mara Gross, the choir's managing director, said the group officially was contacted in September by the (White House’s) Social Affairs office.

"It's unique because groups usually request to sing but they got the call to go there," said Susan Hankinson, (parent.) "It's an honor, and to be there at Christmastime is exciting. I know it will be a wonderful experience for the kids..."

The group will...give a two-hour performance Tuesday morning in the Grand Foyer, the formal entrance of the White House...”


The New World Singers 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.

This past summer, the New World Singers performed at the Lancaster Festival at the personal invitation of Maestro Gary Sheldon, festival music director, and winner, with his Lancaster Festival Orchestra, of The American Prize in Orchestral Performance and Conducting, also in 2010. 

Friday, December 16, 2011

New! PRIZE-WINNING LINKS site now LIVE!

We are very excited to announce that a new blog has joined our family of The American Prize websites. The American Prize Winning Links, is now live, featuring 2011 laureates of our piano, composition, and vocal competitions.

WINNING LINKS features websites and news stories from winners, runners-up and finalists for The American Prize. Use the new site to track how others share their success in the competitions, or to learn more about some of The American Prize laureates.

Whether semi-finalist, finalist or winner, participants in The American Prize are utilizing their success in the contests to bolster careers, build resumes and improve visibility.  

We plan to add many more links in the coming days, including from choruses, orchestras and conductors. If you have a link you think we should highlight, please email us the URL address at theamericanprize@gmail.com

Friday, December 9, 2011

COMPOSER Q&A—what style of music is most likely to win The American Prize? The answer may surprise you...


Answers by David Katz, chief judge of The American Prize.

Q: Aren't so-called "romantic" or "accessible" works more likely to win The American Prize?

A: I hate those terms as much as you probably do, and the short answer is a resounding "NO."  

"Challenging" music, whatever that means, elegantly crafted, performed at a level of accomplishment where its merits are clearly discernible, is every bit as likely to win The American Prize as more conventional works. 

We have no compositional axe to grind here—other than to bring to the larger musical community information about valuable pieces with which it may not be familiar. I charge my fellow judges to favor no style over another as a matter of policy, make every effort to avoid bias and conflict of interest (the judges' guidelines are particularly clear on this last point) and try to provide well-considered evaluation at every stage of the audition process. The best music, in the opinion of the judges—the work that most closely fulfills its artistic intent, regardless of style—should win.

(It strikes me with a certain irony, as someone who has "been in the business" longer than I care to admit, that it used to be the composers of "romantic" or "accessible" music who worried about being frozen out of the running—at least in competitions sponsored by elite performing and educational institutions...Times have changed.)

Anything we at The American Prize can do to raise the profile of the art of musical composition through the winning works we select, helps regain for American composers some of the attention and respect they once had, and still deserve.

Here are answers to other questions we have received from composers about The American Prize in Composition.

Q: Why must composers send recordings? Why don't you just accept the scores? And why not mp3 or other online files?
A: The recorded component is key to the philosophy of The American Prize—central to what makes it unique. Different from many composition contests which require that only new, unperformed works be submitted, The American Prize in Composition seeks to evaluate and reward composers of works which have already been performed and recorded. Here's why we think that's important: 

In an age when second hearings are sometimes more difficult to obtain than premieres, TAP provides a forum for the composer who has already accomplished thousands of hours of toil—shepherding a work from conception through to performance. By being previously performed—whether by a student, community or professional ensemble—submitted works have, to a certain extent, already been vetted. The scores (and parts) are more likely to be free of errors (and therefore more attractive to conductors interested in additional performances); the recording also helps provide the judges with more than a mind's ear conception: music being an aural art, they can hear (as well as see) the extent to which the composer seems to have satisfied his or her intended artistic aims, taking into consideration who is performing, of course. 

As for recordings sent via the internet, not everyone has exceptional audio playback on their computers, but most musicians have excellent systems to listen to cds and dvds. Internet connections are not yet all created equal—some are prone to failure, others may be exceptionally slow. Besides, there is something tangible about a recording in the hand. Having a physical recording requires a commitment to the act of audition; it requires the musician to say "now I will focus on listening to this new work by Composer X," an act which still feels very different from clicking on an MP3 link.

Likewise, printed scores. Of course many composers have their music available as PDFs, but speaking as a conductor, I like to have the score open before me: I like to easily turn the pages, turn back quickly, check a fact, confirm a hunch, observe on the printed page the geography of the work. Music is far easier to read on paper than on a computer screen, where the monitor may be too small to see the whole page, or too small to read the notes. 

II. What type of composers does The American Prize attract?
A: Serious ones, both professionals and students. A number of composers we have heard from generated additional performances of works directly as a result of their placement in the competitions.

We are told that The American Prize helps give its laureates a way to cut through the welter of "noise" in the marketplace, to derive local, regional and national attention for their work, while seeking to provide contestants at various stages of the selection process—whether they win or not—with visibility and feedback far beyond the modest application fee.

Click on the WINNERS button on the homepage of The American Prize website to see our composer laureates.

Q: I am an American citizen living outside the U.S. May I still apply? What about recordings by foreign ensembles?
A: Perfectly fine. The competitions of The American Prize are open to all U.S. citizens, whether living in this country or abroad, and to others currently living, working and/or studying in the United States of America, its protectorates and territories. All application fees must be remitted in U.S. funds. Recordings by student, community or professional ensembles from anywhere in the world are acceptable.

David Katz, chief judge
The American Prize
www.theamericanprize.org 

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

CHICAGO OPERA AWARD is Additional Opportunity in 2012

In 2012, in addition to national voice competitions in opera and art song outlined on The American Prize website, contestants for The American Prize in Vocal Performance (opera/operetta division), 2012, may also apply to be considered for the Chicago Opera Award, three $500 prizes (any voice type or fach is eligible) to be awarded as performance fees to opera soloists selected to appear under Maestro David Katz’s baton in concert with the Chicago Bar Association Symphony Orchestra & Chorus.

The postmark deadline for The American Prize and the Chicago Opera Award is Monday, January 23, 2012. 

WHO is ELIGIBLE: Applicants for The American Prize in Vocal Performance (opera/operetta division), 2012, in the professional and college/university categories, only.

WHAT is the PRIZE:
Winners will be featured in a concert of opera selections under the baton of Maestro David Katz and the Chicago Bar Association Symphony Orchestra and Chorus at St James Episcopal Cathedral, Wabash at Huron Streets, Chicago, on Wednesday evening May 16, 2012. (Dress rehearsal Tuesday evening, May 15, 2012, same location.) Each winner will receive a $500 all-inclusive fee (no additional housing, travel or per diem), payment to be made on the day of the performance.

The selection process for the Chicago Opera Award is separate from The American Prize judging. Winning one competition does not preclude the possibility of winning the other. Maestro Katz expects to select the winners of the Chicago Opera Award by about March 20, 2012. The decisions of the judges are final.

There is no additional application fee for the Chicago Opera Award beyond the $35 fee to apply for The American Prize in Vocal Performance (opera/operetta division).

Although the Chicago Opera Award is an additional contest open to all professional and college/university applicants for The American Prize in Vocal Performance (opera/operetta division), 2012, it is geared primarily to those who live within comfortable travel distance of Chicago and who can make their own housing arrangements.

For more about the 25 year history of the CBASO & Chorus, Chicago's unique ensemble of attorneys and judges, click this link.
Recent CBASO & Chorus vocal soloists have included sopranos Patrice Michaels and Kathleen Van de Graaff, tenors William Chamberlain and Ian McEuen, baritone Jacob Lassetter, and bass-baritone Peter van de Graaff.

Monday, November 28, 2011

VOCAL COMPETITION updated to numerous online listings.

The American Prize has updated its listing of the 2012 Vocal Performance competition and Chicago Opera Award on Singer's Link, YAP Tracker, the Vocalist, Classical Singer and the New Forum for Classical Singers. If you are aware of other online sites where the competition should be listed, we would appreciate an email to theamericanprize@gmail.com

The postmark deadline for 2012 is Monday, January 23, 2012. Full information at theamericanprize.org

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

DEADLINE for VOCALISTS, PIANISTS, COMPOSERS is JANUARY 23, 2012

The published postmark deadline for The American Prize in Vocal Performance, in Piano Performance, and for Composers has been changed to Monday, January 23, 2012. Because of two recent storms that uprooted our office for multiple days, the additional time will allow us to "get the word out" and provide a better opportunity for us to answer questions from applicants. PDFs of the revised applications are available on our website but we will of course accept applications that contain the older date. Questions? Email theamericanprz@aol.com or theamericanprize@gmail.com. We are always happy to help.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

OFFICE to REOPEN MONDAY

Thanks to an Ameren line crew that drove through the night all the way from north-central Missouri to help the citizens of Connecticut following last week's devastating winter storm, power has now been restored to the offices of The American Prize. We will open on Monday on a normal schedule.

Look for website and blog updates coming this week about 2012 competitions.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

OFFICE RELOCATED TEMPORARILY

We have relocated The American Prize office to temporary quarters while we wait for electrical service to be restored at our building—following the devastating pre-winter snow storm this past weekend. Other than a slight delay in responding to emails, we should be able to handle all duties now more or less as usual. Thanks for your patience.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

OPERA and MUSICAL THEATER companies and CONDUCTORS—2012

The American Prize is pleased to announce 2012 competitions for OPERA and MUSICAL THEATER COMPANIES and their CONDUCTORS. The postmark deadline for these competitions is Thursday, March 15, 2012. Complete information and application forms may be found on The American Prize website, where recent winners are profiled. Additional competitions, including those for classical vocalists in art song and opera, are outlined below.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

PIANISTS, VOCALISTS, COMPOSERS—2012

The American Prize is pleased to announce 2012 competitions for PIANISTS (in both solo and concerto performance), classical VOCALISTS (in both opera/operetta and art song performance), and COMPOSERS (in both choral and orchestral music.) The postmark deadline for these competitions is Thursday, December 15, 2011. Complete information and application forms may be found on The American Prize website, where recent winners are profiled.

More updates shortly.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

WINNERS PAGES are now updated

The WINNERS pages on The American Prize website are now updated with all 2011 winners, runners-up and citation recipients, including choruses, orchestras and conductors. Please let us know of any misprints. (Listings of all semi-finalists and finalists in the various competitions may always be found on this blog, using the archive tool in the right-hand column. More updates here and on our facebook page throughout the week.)

Monday, October 3, 2011

Response to editorial in USA Today about choruses, orchestras, music education

We will be sharing many updates about The American Prize all this week, but before we do:

A student from Oberlin College has a big bully pulpit in today's issue of USA Today concerning high school music education and classical music. His opinion is, in my view, so well-meaningly misguided that I had to respond. I wanted to share my comments on The American Prize blog, whether the newspaper prints my letter or not.

Here's the article: http://www.usatoday.com/news/opinion/forum/story/2011-10-02/high-school-music-programs/50635878/1

And my response:

I agree with David Sall that music education in America needs to better embrace technology in an effort to broaden its appeal and its offerings—but not to the exclusion of classical music.

To imply that Shostakovich (and by extension Beethoven and Mozart, choruses and orchestras) are now irrelevant because people can create their own music through Garage Band means students are not learning the fundamental value and importance of art. Music education in high schools is not, nor should be, primarily vocational, nor recreational. The greatest classical music (of any period—and from any culture) contains nothing less than the emotional history of mankind.

To not know Shostakovich, Beethoven, Mozart, (or Villa-Lobos, Revueltas or Ginastera, for that matter) means to be that much more ignorant of empathy—to understand less about how hope, oppression, joy, beauty, fear, love have molded humankind since the beginning. I would not wish that on any young person. In a world where interconnectedness is more about electrons than personal interaction, we downgrade the teaching of the classical performing arts at our peril.

David Katz, chief judge
The American Prize
www.theamericanprize.org
www.museoffireplay.squarespace.com

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

THE AMERICAN PRIZE GIFTS—free shipping code on FACEBOOK Sept 16.


To semi-finalists, finalists & winners of The American Prize:

You're invited to celebrate your achievement with exclusive 2011 The American Prize Gifts available only to you, family and friends, (and to ensemble members and their families) and only for a limited time. 

Our new catalog of The American Prize Gifts  is now online. Popular with conductors, choir and orchestra members, board members, parents and individual contestants, our catalog features specially-designed The American Prize polos, tees, tote bags, mugs, lapel and dress pins, and signature conducting batons, available nowhere else. Proceeds from the sale of The American Prize Gifts directly support the non-profit competitions. Show you're Prizeworthy!

A FREE SHIPPING code will be posted on our Facebook page on September 16th—good on all orders postmarked, emailed or faxed by October 17, 2012, which will ship in plenty of time for the holidays.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

OPERA PERFORMANCE WINNERS' PAGE

The winners' pages for The American Prize in Opera Performance and Conducting is now uploaded. Please email us about any misprints. (For winners of The American Prize in Vocal Performance—Opera Division click here.

Visit The American Prize to see our updated home page which includes banner photos of winners, top and bottom. (A sample of one of the banner images illustrates this post, above.) The banners will be rotated periodically to feature additional winners of The American Prize.

For important updates,  please scroll down:

THE AMERICAN PRIZE in VOCAL PERFORMANCE, 2012
UPDATE: Press Releases and Publicity
UPDATE: Certificates and Prizes
UPDATE: Winner Pages and Website

Friday, September 9, 2011

ADVANCE ANNOUNCEMENT: The American Prize in Vocal Performance, 2012

The American Prize in Vocal Performance: Friedrich and Virginia Schorr Memorial Awards & Chicago Opera Awards. Although official announcement of the 2012 contests of The American Prize in Vocal Performance (opera/operetta and art song) will not be made until next week, information and application forms may be downloaded now from our website. The postmark deadline for applications is Thursday, December 15, 2011.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

PIANO and COMPOSITION WINNERS' PAGES uploaded, plus HOME PAGE UPDATE

Visit The American Prize to see our updated home page which includes banner photos of winners, top and bottom. These banners will be rotated periodically to feature additional winners of The American Prize (although not ensemble photos, which would, needless to say, be much too small.)

Also, the winners' pages for The American Prize in Composition and The American Prize in Piano, 2011, have been uploaded. Winners and runners-up of The American Prize are featured. Please email us about any misprints.

For three important updates about recent contests, please scroll down:
UPDATE: Press Releases and Publicity
UPDATE: Certificates and Prizes
UPDATE: Winner Pages and Website

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

HOME PAGE update / WINNERS' PAGES

Visit The American Prize to see our updated home page which includes banner photos of winners, top and bottom. These banners will be rotated periodically to feature additional winners of The American Prize (although not ensemble photos, which would, needless to say, be much too small.)

Also, the winners' pages for The American Prize in Vocal Performance—Friedrich and Virginia Schorr Memorial Award, 2011, have been uploaded. Winners and runners-up of The American Prize are featured. Please email us about any misprints.

For three important updates about recent contests, please scroll down:
UPDATE: Press Releases and Publicity
UPDATE: Certificates and Prizes
UPDATE: Winner Pages and Website

Thursday, September 1, 2011

TAP UPDATES: September 1, 2011

With power restored, The American Prize can get back to business.

Below, please find three separate blogpost updates about the competitions of The American Prize.

UPDATE: Press Releases and Publicity
UPDATE: Certificates and Prizes
UPDATE: Winner Pages and Website

Thanks for your good wishes post-Hurricane Irene.

TAP UPDATE: Press Releases and Publicity

PUBLICITY: Publicity announcing The American Prize finalists, runners-up, winners (and in some cases, semi-finalists) has been recently featured in a number of national publications, especially online. Not every competition is found on every site (many are content-specific, others make an editorial choice about what to publicize) but among online resources where stories about The American Prize contestants have appeared are Musical America, ChoralNet, League of American Orchestras, OrchestraList, National Forum for the Classical Singer, SingersLink, VocalList, and many more. Names of all winners, finalists and semi-finalists may always be found on this blog (use the archive feature in the right-hand column to search for a specific competition.)


If you know of additional national online resources to whom we can send finalist and winner information, especially in the areas of voice, composition and piano, we will add them to the list. Please email us: theamericanprize@gmail.com

PRESS RELEASES: Personalized press releases about winners and runners-up (and in some cases, finalists and semi-finalists) have been sent to the literally hundreds of local media contacts provided by The American Prize contestants. We are delighted that these announcements have generated tens of thousands of webpages about the success of our applicants. Within about a week, a copy of each personalized press release will be forwarded to the contestant. Feel free to share it with more contacts with whom you wish to share your news. We do always recommend you contact your personal media list to be sure the information we sent was received (and did not find its way to a spam folder.)


If you need a generic press release to create your own announcement, we are happy to provide one, please email us.

OFFICIAL LOGO and SEAL:
Although many contestants have already downloaded our logo and official seal for use in programs, publicity and online, each contestant at the semi-final level or higher will receive these materials via email.

THE AMERICAN PRIZE GIFTS: Our new catalog of The American Prize gifts (popular with individual contestants as well as with conductors and members of ensembles) is available on our website and will soon be emailed. Featuring specially-designed The American Prize polos, tees, tote bags, mugs, lapel and dress pins, signature batons, all available nowhere else, proceeds from the sale of The American Prize gifts directly support the non-profit competitions. Look for a FREE SHIPPING code to be posted on our Facebook page soon—but good for only a limited time.

TAP UPDATE: Certificates and Prizes

With Hurricane Irene behind us, we now begin to prepare packets of certificates, evaluations (and for winners, cash prizes). They will be sent to the address found in the applications, in this order: all winners, then all runners-up, all citation recipients, all remaining finalists, then all remaining semi-finalists. Please be patient with this process as each packet is prepared individually.

TAP UPDATE: Winner Pages and Website

WINNERS PAGES: Winners pages in all 2011 competitions will be going live on our website in the coming days. As each one is uploaded, we will announce it on our facebook page and by tweet. We make every effort to be correct and comprehensive, but if you find a mistake or misprint in your information, please email us and we will make the fix. Look for photos of all winners and runner-ups to be added to our Facebook albums soon, as well.

NEW COMPETITIONS:
We have been updating all national competitions for 2012 with revised applications forms and in some cases, revised descriptions.

Contests with December 15, 2011 deadlines (voice, piano, composition) go live first. We will announce on Facebook and by Tweet as each one becomes available.

NEW BLOG: In the coming weeks, a new The American Prize blog will come online. Called The American Prize Winning Links, it will catalog websites and press reports about The American Prize laureates in all contests and at all levels of achievement. Look for more about Winning Links soon.

As always, we welcome comments and suggestions: theamericanprize@gmail.com

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

POWER has RETURNED!

Power has returned (but not for 10s of thousands of others still waiting.) We will publish an update about all competitions tomorrow. Thanks for your patience.

Monday, August 29, 2011

TWATAP—but first Hurricane Irene

We plan to publish an update this week about The American Prize, with lots of information for semi-finalists, finalists and winners, but at the moment, no electricity—I'm sitting outside a (closed) McDs just to email everyone that we lost power during Irene and it may be several days before it is on again. TAP info as soon as we can! Thanks for your patience.

DK

Monday, August 22, 2011

THREE CHORUSES receive CITATIONS from THE AMERICAN PRIZE

In the highly competitive annual contest for The American Prize in Choral Performance, The American Prize has singled out three choruses for special citations in 2011. Although the citations carry with them no monetary award, they are awards of distinction, acknowledging unique organizations, performances or musical contributions that might otherwise go unrecognized.

Two choirs will receive citations for Unique Choral Programming in 2011:

Cantori New York, Mark Shapiro, music director—for their March 2011 concert at Church of the Holy Trinity, New York City, featuring Romancero Gitano by Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco, the world premiere of Night Keeps its Promise, by Frank Ezra Levy, and selections by John Dowland.

Currently in its 27th season, three-time recipient ASCAP Programming Award recipient Cantori New York has been praised by The New York Times for its “spirit of exploration” and “virtuosity,” winning acclaim for its artistic excellence and innovative programming. Cantori’s collaborators have included Tony winner Maryann Plunkett, the Cassatt String Quartet, and the Prism Saxophone Quartet; Cantori has been presented by Zankel Hall, Lincoln Center, and GEMS and MATA at Le Poisson Rouge. 

Milwaukee Choral Artists, Sharon Hansen, director—for their 10th Anniversary compact disc on the Clarion label made up entirely of commissions and world premieres.
The Milwaukee Choral Artists is Wisconsin's premiere professional choral ensemble, and one of only a handful of professional women’s choral ensembles in the country. With its signature lush sound, MCA brings a distinctive repertory of choral and vocal masterworks— including well-known pieces, new music, and seldom-performed works—to concert audiences throughout the region. Committed to presenting music from diverse cultures, the ensemble has performed music in twenty-eight languages from more than forty world cultures. 

***  

Sistrum—Lansing Women's Chorus, Meredith Bowen, music director will received a Joy of Music citation, honoring the ensemble for the depth of its artistic vision and its infectious performances in "an exuberant and delightful recording entitled Dancing Naked at the Edge of Dawn."

Sistrum is an inclusive women's chorus committed to creating music together that Inspires, Empowers, and Entertains. We strive to provide a musical haven where women may find their voices and enjoy the camaraderie offered by the Sistrum community.  We further endeavor to create a choral instrument by which our members can use their voices to raise beautiful music and powerful energy.  It is our intent to challenge and entertain our audiences and ourselves, such that all are moved to emotion, thought and action. We believe in the magic and joy of raising our voices together.  In doing so, we lend our spark to the worldwide struggle for peace, equality and freedom for all people.

Congratulations!
To view recent winners of The American Prize in Choral Performance, as well as winners in other categories, please scroll down or use the archive feature to the right.

TWO CONDUCTORS AWARDED CITATIONS from THE AMERICAN PRIZE

A veteran music director and a young conductor have been singled out by The American Prize for special citations in 2011. Although the citations carry with them no monetary award, they are special distinctions, acknowledging important musical skills or unique contributions of certain Prize applicants which might otherwise go unrecognized.

The two conductors receiving citations in 2011 are:

Robert Butts, music director of the Baroque Orchestra of New Jersey and Opera at Florham, will be recognized for Excellence in Music Education, Enrichment and Outreach. 
The citation recipient provided this short bio: Maestro Butts brings musicology and conducting skills together with the Baroque Orchestra of New Jersey.  His concerts are the most varied in the state, featuring concertos for flute, oboe and bassoon as well as for violin and piano.   His concerts feature music from the 17th through the 21st centuries.   Maestro Butts edits oratorios and concertos by Baroque and Classical composers for modern day premieres, composes music for the ensemble, and interprets the great works of orchestral literature.

In acknowledging Maestro Butt's contributions, the competition wrote:  "As your work demonstrates, excellence in music education, enrichment and outreach is not confined to the classroom or to the applied music studio. Conductors, whether leading school ensembles, community or professional organizations, have a major role in education, teaching not only the performers they lead, but also audiences of all ages, boards, donors, media, parents, and the community at large. In fact, everyone who comes in contact with an ensemble and its musical leadership benefits from the learning the conductor facilitates. As we witness more and more music programs in peril, as the study of (and the knowledge of) music becomes more and more of an afterthought in many communities, it is conductors such as you who assume a greater role than ever before in bringing the value of this great art to the attention of American society...Congratulations."

***

Jason Lim will receive a special Young Conductor citation, recognizing his burgeoning leadership skills, in evidence both in rehearsal and performance in a broad array of repertoire.
The citation recipient provided this short bio: Jason Lim born in Malaysia, received his formal training in conducting in Canberra, Australia, serving as apprentice with the Canberra Youth Orchestra and assistant conductor with the Ku Ring Gai Philharmonic Orchestra in Sydney. Jason added to his awards and achievements the New South Wales Ministry of Arts Conducting Scholarship. In 2000 Jason led the NOVA Ensemble in its first commercial recording in under the auspices of the “Equilibrum” label, conducting the world premier performance of Brian Bavelander’s Distant Visions for orchestra and pre recorded tape. Jason was Music Director and Conductor for two years. In 2005, Jason conducted the Abilene Philharmonic Orchestra Classical subscription concert and conducted the Abilene premier of Michael Remson’s opera, Sibanda with  Hardin Simmons University Opera.

Congratulations!
To view recent winners of The American Prize in Conducting, as well as winners in other categories, please scroll down or use the archive feature to the right.


Thursday, August 18, 2011

WHILE WE TRANSITION TO NEW WINNERS PAGES...

We are currently in the process of updating the winners' pages on The American Prize website to reflect 2011 results in all competitions and categories. We will announce when the conversion is complete. During the transition, winners and runners-up from all competitions in 2010 and 2011 may still be found here on our blog. Use the archive feature to the right to find what you are looking for. Many thanks.

Monday, August 1, 2011

TWATAP: August 1, 2011

This week at The American Prize we continue to contact national media about winners, runners-up and honorable mentions. We will also email local media with press releases tailored to those individual contestants. (Copies of press releases will be forwarded.)

We also hope to announce several citation recipients later in the week who deserve additional recognition for their work.

The American Prize office will be closed from August 8-21. We will have limited access to email during that time.

The office reopens August 22 at which time we will begin to send packets to orchestral, choral, opera and conducting contestants, including prizes, evaluations and certificates to winners; evaluations and certificates to runners-up and finalists; certificates to semi-finalists.

All contestants (semi-finalist or higher) will receive The American Prize logo and official seal, to use in print and online publicity, as well as our catalog of The American Prize signature gifts. Look for a “free shipping” code to appear on our facebook page later in the month to use for orders placed before the deadline. (Proceeds from the sale of The American Prize merchandise directly support the non-profit competitions.)

The Winners page on the website will be updated to reflect the results of 2011 competitions and applications and information about 2012 competitions will soon be available on the website.

All judges will be contacted later in the month concerning their participation.

Many thanks.

Friday, July 29, 2011

THE VYTAUTAS MARIJOSIUS MEMORIAL AWARD / THE AMERICAN PRIZE in ORCHESTRAL PROGRAMMING

The American Prize is pleased to announce the winner of The American Prize in Orchestral Programming—Vytautas Marijosius Memorial Award.

Among a field of very strong contenders that included many who program new music on a regular basis (especially within college and university music departments), the focus fell to conductors who take courageous chances, giving over large portions of their programs to unusual (but not necessarily new) repertoire, while balancing it with standard works or composers in ways that appear natural on the page, or who include less common names or pieces on their concerts as a matter of course, or who seem to make “adventure” part of the regular experience for their orchestras and audiences. All these approaches honor the memory of Maestro Vytautas Marijosius, for whom the prize is awarded.

From David Katz, chief judge: “For nearly thirty five years Director of Orchestral Activities at the Hartt School, Vytautas Marijosius programmed concerts that were alive in every sense—not programming for novelty’s sake alone, nor neglecting the great masters of the past—but always bringing to the awareness of his students and his audience great composers of the current time and potential masters of the future. I believe he would be pleased in different ways with each of the four honorees listed below.”

For more about Maestro Marijosius, please visit the companion blog here.

(Additional information about the programs and programming philosophies of the 2011 winner and runners-up will be published soon.) 

The American Prize in Orchestral Programming—Vytautas Marijosius Memorial Award:

Donald L. Appert, music director/conductor, Oregon Sinfonietta, Portland, OR
Donald Appert has been Music Director/Conductor of the Clark College Orchestra since 1990. He has guest conducted orchestras in Europe, Central America, Japan and Australia. Currently he is a Professor of Music and Head of the Music Department at Clark College in Vancouver, Washington. In addition he is the Music Director/Conductor of the Oregon Sinfonietta in Portland, Oregon and the Sanctuary Choir Director for the First United Methodist Church of Vancouver, Washington.

David Leibowitz, music director of the New York Repertory Orchestra, New York, NY, placed second.

Jeffery Meyer, director of orchestral activities of the Ithaca College Orchestras, Ithaca, NY,  placed third. 

Peter Freisinger, music director and conductor of the Freisinger Chamber Orchestra, Boston, MA, received an Honorable Mention. 

Congratulations!

WINNER in CHORAL PERFORMANCE (Professional)

The American Prize is pleased to announce the winner of The American Prize in Choral Performance (professional division), 2011. 

Washington Bach Consort, J. Reilly Lewis, music director, Washington, D.C.
Founded in 1977 by J. Reilly Lewis, the Washington Bach Consort is a professional chorus and orchestra noted for its performance of 18th-Century music on period instruments. The Consort has appeared at numerous festivals and has made three European tours and four recordings. The Consort completed Bach’s entire 215-cantata cycle in 2006 with a second cycle now underway at the Consort’s free Noontime Cantata series. www.bachconsort.org

Sinfonia Voci, Daniel Abraham, music director, Washington, D.C., placed second.

The Princeton Singers,  Steven Sametz, artistic director, Princeton, NJ placed third.



Thursday, July 28, 2011

WINNER in ORCHESTRAL PERFORMANCE (high school orchestra) announced

The American Prize is pleased to announce the winner of The American Prize in Orchestral Performance (high school orchestra division), 2011.

Arlington High School Philharmonia, Jonathan Handman, conductor, LaGrangeville, NY 
Arlington High School is located in LaGrangeville, NY and Philharmonia is the most advanced of the four orchestras in the school.  The program consists of one ninth grade string orchestra and three symphonic orchestras for students in grades 10-12, of which Ms. Elizabeth Handman and Mr. Jonathan Handman are the directors.  In total, the program has over 250 string students and 75 wind/percussion members that join the strings every other day as their second ensemble in addition to the band program that they are members of.  Arlington Central School District’s Music Coordinator is Mr. Joseph Szabo and the High School Principal is Dr. Brendan Lyons.

Horace Mann High School String Sinfonietta, Darin Lewis, conductor, of Bronx, NY, placed second. 

Congratulations!




WINNER in ORCHESTRAL PERFORMANCE/CONDUCTING (youth orchestra) announced

The American Prize is pleased to announce the winner of The American Prize in Orchestral Performance (youth orchestra division), 2011.

Houston Youth Symphony, Michael Webster, artistic director, Houston, TX 
Houston Youth Symphony was founded in 1947 and now serves over 300 student in four orchestras.  Michael Webster has been Artistic Director since 1997, and has led the Symphony, its most advanced orchestra, at the inauguration of Houston mayor Lee Brown, the 2002 National Youth Orchestra Festival and at Carnegie Hall.  HYS is the national first prize winner of Choice Music Events' Mark of Excellence competition in 2008/9/10 and The American Prize in 2010.

Maestro Webster wrote on accepting The American Prize for the Houston Youth Symphony: It is an honor for HYS to be selected for The American Prize, and I accept the  award on behalf of our organization, which consists of 300 students, 5 conductors, 3 office personnel, and a coaching staff of about 25 dedicated professionals.  I also must thank the dedicated public school music teachers of the Houston area who give their hearts and souls to their students in the face of continued budgetary pressures of extreme severity.  Without them or without the wonderful private teachers in the area, HYS could not achieve the standard that it has.

Vivace of the Stringendo Orchestra School of the Hudson Valley, Jonathan Handman, conductor and artistic director, of LaGrangeville, NY, placed second.

Philharmonic String Orchestra and Soloist Ensemble, Alyze Dreiling, conductor, San Diego, CA, placed third.
  

Congratulations!

*****
The American Prize is pleased to announce the winner of The American Prize in Conducting (youth orchestra division), 2011.

Michael Webster, Houston, TX 
Michael Webster is professor of clarinet at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music and artistic director of the Houston Youth Symphony. Formerly principal clarinetist with the Rochester Philharmonic and the San Francisco Symphony, Webster has appeared with many orchestras, string quartets and festivals spanning North America, South and Central America, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Japan.  He been on the clarinet and conducting faculties of Eastman, New England Conservatory, and the University of Michigan.

Alyze Dreiling of San Diego, CA, placed second.
Nathaniel Meyer of Belmont, MA, placed third.

Congratulations!




Tuesday, July 26, 2011

LANCASTER FESTIVAL CELEBRATES THREE WINNERS of THE AMERICAN PRIZE

On Thursday evening, July 28th, the Lancaster Festival of Lancaster, OH celebrates three winners of The American Prize with a special concert called "And the Winner Is" at 8 pm in Faith Memorial Church.

Music Director Gary Sheldon, winner of The American Prize in Conducting, 2010 conducts his Lancaster Festival Orchestra, the 2010 winner of The American Prize in Orchestral Performance, and welcomes to the stage the New World Singers of the Columbus Children's Choir, winners of The American Prize in Choral Performance, 2010, under the direction of Dr. Sandra Mathias. The celebratory concert features music by Brahms, Faure and Rimski-Korsakov.


"I was delighted when Maestro Sheldon contacted me after his selection as winner of The American Prize inquiring about other Prize winners who might be appropriate to appear in concert at the annual Lancaster summer festival," commented chief judge David Katz. "I was even more delighted to learn of the special concert and the addition of the New World Singers."

"From the moment of the announcement of the Lancaster Festival Orchestra as winners of The American Prize, the organization has utilized the recognition they received in a true spirit of celebration. The American Prize seal and logo are prominent on their website (along with announcement of their wins); the Festival and Maestro Sheldon have ordered numerous The American Prize gifts to raffle or present to donors or special guests. I congratulate them once again on their win, and for what I'm sure will be a terrific winners concert this week. I only wish I could attend."


For more information, visit LancasterFestival.org