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

Saturday, July 23, 2011

WINNER in CHORAL PERFORMANCE/CONDUCTING (community chorus) announced

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

Pacific Lutheran (University) Choral Union, Richard Nance, conductor, Tacoma, WA

The Pacific Lutheran University Choral Union was established in 1984 to create an ensemble that would bring together singers from the surrounding community, PLU faculty and staff, alumni and students. The 80-voice ensemble performs three or four concerts each academic year, singing both major choral works and programs of shorter works.  Choral Union has performed for regional and national conventions of the American Choral Directors Association, and has performed four European tours.

There was a tie for second place: 
Peninsula Women's Chorus, Martín Benvenuto, artistic director, Palo Alto, CA 
Seattle Pro Musica, Karen P. Thomas, artistic director, Seattle, WA

Peninsula Women's Chorus

Seattle Pro Musica

Cathedral Choral Society, J. Reilly Lewis, director, Washington National Cathedral, Washington, D.C. placed third. 

*****

The American Prize is pleased to announce the winner of The American Prize in Conducting (community chorus division), 2011. 

Richard Nance, director, Pacific Lutheran (University) Choral Union, Tacoma, WA
Dr. Richard Nance is currently associate professor of music and conductor of The Choir of the West and the Choral Union at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington USA. Nance holds bachelors and masters degrees from West Texas A&M (then West Texas State University) and the DMA degree from Arizona State University. Dr. Nance has studied conducting with Hugh Sanders, Douglas McEwen and David Stocker and studied composition with Joseph Nelson and Randall Shinn.

Daniel Hughes, Conductor of The Choral Project, San Jose, CA, placed second.
J. Reilly Lewis, director of the Washington National Cathedral Choral Society, Washington, D.C., placed third.  

Congratulations!

WINNERS in CHORAL PERFORMANCE (high school chorus) announced

The American Prize is pleased to announce the winners of The American Prize in Choral Performance (high school division), 2011. There was a tie between the top two finishers for the Prize this year.

Longmeadow High School Lyrics, Kayla Werlin, conductor, Longmeadow, MA
Jr. Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh, Susan Medley, conductor, Pittsburgh, PA 


Lyrics is the honors SATB choral ensemble at Longmeadow High School. Each April, approximately 100 students in grades 8-11 audition for a place in the choir for the following year. This year’s ensemble numbers 45 singers, grades 10-12. Lyrics meets as a class 3-4 hours weekly. Additionally, student section leaders run weekly rehearsals outside of school. Lyrics has consistently earned gold medals in state festivals, and has toured in Europe and the US.
The Junior Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh is an educational outreach program of the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh. Founded by Robert Page and Christine Jordanoff, the Jr. Mendelssohn Choir will celebrate its 25th anniversary this season.  High school students from throughout the greater Pittsburgh area are eligible to audition. During its ten-week season, a portion of each Jr. Mendelssohn rehearsal is spent in coaching sessions with singers from the professional core of the Mendelssohn Choir. The season culminates in a concert featuring a major choral/orchestral work and a variety of a cappella repertoire.

The Huron High School A Cappella Choir, Richard Ingram, conductor, Ann Arbor, MI, placed second.

Congratulations!

Friday, July 22, 2011

WINNER in ORCHESTRAL PERFORMANCE/CONDUCTING (professional orchestra) announced

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

Pensacola Symphony Orchestra, Peter Rubardt, music director, Pensacola, FL 
Founded in 1926, the Pensacola Symphony Orchestra (PSO) is the longest continually-operating professional orchestra in Florida.  Under the direction of Maestro Peter Rubardt since 1997, PSO has continued to achieve artistic excellence in bringing live symphonic music to the Pensacola community. To fulfill its mission today, the Symphony performs Masterworks and Pops concerts in the historic Saenger Theatre, has open dress rehearsals, free family concerts, and extensive music education programs in partnership with public schools.


Edison Symphony, Judith Morse, music director, Edison, NJ, placed second.

Western Piedmont Symphony, John Ross, music director, placed third.

 *****

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

Christopher Zimmerman, music director Fairfax Symphony Orchestra, Fairfax, VA 
Christopher Zimmerman is currently in his 2nd year as Music Director of the Fairfax Symphony Orchestra, having been appointed from an international pool of over 250 applicants.  Previous posts include the Music Directorships of the Symphony of Southeast Texas, Bangor Symphony and the City of London Chamber Orchestra.  Mr. Zimmerman has also served on the conducting faculty at the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and at the Hartt School as Head of Orchestral Studies.

Travis Jürgens, Music Director/Conductor, Philharmonia of Greater Kansas City, MO, placed second.

Benjamin Rous, Associate Conductor of the Virginia Symphony Orchestra, Portsmouth, VA placed third.  

Congratulations.

WINNER in ORCHESTRAL PERFORMANCE/CONDUCTING (college/university) announced

The American Prize is pleased to announce the winner of The American Prize in Orchestral Performance (college/university), 2011.

From the Chief Judge: As the rules governing The American Prize judges require, because I have a “professional relationship with one or more of the candidates” in these particular competitions, I recused myself from ranking or evaluating finalists or assisting in the selection of winners, who were chosen separately by judges working independently in different parts of the country. —DK

 
 

University of Michigan Symphony Orchestra, Kenneth Kiesler, conductor, Ann Arbor, MI
The University of Michigan Symphony Orchestra, one of the world’s leading student orchestras, has recently won two ASCAP Awards for Adventurous Programming, and the Grammy Award for Best Classical CD. Led by Kenneth Kiesler since 1995, the USO presents a wide repertoire in eight programs and opera annually, and has recordings on Naxos, Equilibrium, and Dorian. The 2008 tour included music of Mahler and Evan Chambers at Oberlin, Cornell, University of Pittsburgh and
Carnegie Hall.


University of Memphis Symphony Orchestra, Pu-Qi Jiang, conductor, Memphis, TN, placed second.

Ithaca College Symphony Orchestra, Jeffery Meyer, director of orchestras, Ithaca, NY, placed third.
 

*****

The American Prize is pleased to announce the winner of The American Prize in Conducting (college/university orchestra), 2011.

From the Chief Judge: As the rules governing The American Prize judges require, because I have a “professional relationship with one or more of the candidates” in these particular competitions, I recused myself from ranking or evaluating finalists or assisting in the selection of winners, who were chosen separately by judges working independently in different parts of the country. —DK

Kenneth Kiesler, University of Michigan Symphony Orchestra, Ann Arbor, MI
 
Kenneth Kiesler is an inspiring mentor to generations of conductors, through his teaching in Berlin, Moscow, Paris, England’s Royal Academy of Music, and his positions as Professor at University of Michigan, and Director of Canada’s National Arts Centre Conducting Program and Conductors Retreat at Medomak.  He has conducted a dozen acclaimedrecordings, many premieres by major composers and leading orchestras including the Chicago, Detroit, Utah, New Jersey, Jerusalem, Ensemble
Orchestral de Paris and many others.

Jeffery Meyer, Director of Orchestras, Ithaca College, Ithaca, NY, placed second.

Taeyoung Lee, Mannes College of Music, New York, NY, placed third.


Congratulations!











WINNER in OPERA PERFORMANCE and CONDUCTING announced

The American Prize is pleased to announce the winner of The American Prize in Opera Performance, 2011.

Crane Opera Ensemble, SUNY-Potsdam, NY, Carleen Graham, director
for Ravel: L'enfant et les sortileges
The award-winning Crane Opera Ensemble is a significant source for opera and music theatre in the North Country region of New York State. The ensemble is unique as it integrates the College mission of teaching, scholarship and public service, into its fully staged production each semester.  The Crane Opera Ensemble was the winner of the 2003 (Division 3) and co-winner of the 2009 (Division 2) National Opera Association Collegiate Production Competition.  We are proud of our opera education outreach program which brings North Country school children to campus to experience opera performances and post-performance activities. To date, over 4,000 children have had the opportunity to experience opera, most for the very first time. The Crane Opera Ensemble regularly collaborates in many ways with the SUNY Potsdam Department of Theatre & Dance. A collaborative musical is produced every three years which has included such productions as Cabaret, Urinetown and On The Town.


Astoria Music Festival, Astoria, OR, Keith Clark, artistic director, placed second with Berg's Wozzeck.
Lowell House Opera, Cambridge, MA, Channing Yu music director, Michael Yashinsky, stage director, placed third with Puccini's Tosca.
*****

The American Prize is pleased to announce the winner of The American Prize in Opera Conducting, 2011.

Keith Clark, artistic director, Astoria Music Festival,  Astoria, OR
Founding Music Director, Portland SummerFest Opera and Oregon's Astoria Music Festival (where he recently conducted the Northwest premiere of Wozzeck); Producing Artistic Director of the Globus Theater in Novosibirsk (where he recently conducted the Russian premiere of West Side Story) , Principal Guest Conductor, Siberian State Philharmonic; Founding Conductor Laureate of California's Pacific Symphony: former conductor, Amadeus Opernensemble, Salzburg.  Many recordings with the London Philharmonic, Slovak State Philharmonic, Vienna Chamber Orchestra, Czechoslovak Radio Symphony, Les Concerts du Monde Baroque Orchestra, Pacific Symphony, Korean Symphony: Grammy Nomination, CD Hall of Fame, and other awards.



Channing Yu, music director, Lowell House Opera, Cambridge, MA, placed second.

Michael Sakir, music director of the Boston Opera Collaborative, placed third.

Congratulations.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

WINNER in CHORAL PERFORMANCE and CONDUCTING (College/University) Announced

The American Prize is pleased to announce the winner of The American Prize in Choral Performance (College/University Division), 2011.

Mansfield University Concert Choir, Peggy Dettwiler, conductor, Mansfield, PA
The Mansfield University Concert Choir, Mansfield, Pennsylvania, has achieved an impressive reputation of excellence, having been chosen each of the last nineteen years to perform at MENC, ACDA, or NCCO conventions across the country and for international festivals around the world. In 2008, they won the Championship in the Gospel & Spiritual Category and placed second among 36 choirs in the Mixed Youth Choir Category at the World Choir Games in Graz, Austria.



Pacific Lutheran University Choir of the West, Richard Nance, conductor, Tacoma, WA, placed second.


University of Arizona Symphonic Choir, Elizabeth Schauer, conductor, Tucson, AZ, placed third. 


*****

The American Prize is pleased to announce the winners of The American Prize in Cconducting (College/University Choral Division), 2011.


Carole J. Ott, assistant professor of choral music, University Chorale and and Chamber Singers, Greensboro, NC
Carole Ott, conductor, is Assistant Professor of Choral Music at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. At UNCG, she directs the Chorale and teaches undergraduate and graduate level conducting. Additionally, she is the director of the Winston-Salem Symphony Chorale. Ott recently joined the faculty of Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp where she serves as director of the International Choir and Alumni Choir. Her degrees include an MM and DMA from the University of Michigan.

Peggy Dettwiler, conductor of the Mansfield University Concert Choir, Mansfield, PA, placed second.

David DeVenney, conductor of the West Chester University Concert Choir, West Chester, PA, placed third. 

Congratulations!