Thursday, May 31, 2012


The American Prize is very pleased to announce the winners of The American Prize in Composition, 2012, in the orchestral division. (For choral winners, please scroll down.)

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

Information about The American Prize in Composition, 2013, will be posted to our website in several weeks. In addition to competitions in orchestral and choral composition, there will be new categories for band or wind ensemble, and in chamber music (unconducted works for solo performer or multiple groupings, vocal or instrumental, in all styles.)

Please make us aware of any misprints in the listings below:

The American Prize in Composition (ORCHESTRAL), 2012—PROFESSIONAL DIVISION:

The American Prize winner:
The Whispering Wind
performed by the Cabrillo Festival Orchestra, Marin Alsop, conductor

The music of Michael Gatonska has been performed by the Minnesota Orchestra, the Cabrillo Festival Orchestra, the American Composers Orchestra, the Pacific Symphony, the Hartford Symphony, the Ossia Symphony Orchestra, the Chicago Chamber Musicians, the LOCRIAN Chamber Players, the Talea Ensemble, and string quartet DAFO (Poland) among others. He has received numerous awards for his compositions, including fellowship and grant awards from the Civitella Ranieri Center, the Kosciuszko Foundation, ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Awards, the American Music Center, Meet the Composer, the American Composers Forum, the Roberts Foundation, the Paul Underwood/ ACO Commission, the MATA Festival Commission, the Connecticut Commission on the Arts, the Field, and he is a MacDowell Colony Fellow. His music has been recorded on the Albany Records, MajorWho Media, and Einstein Records labels. 

2nd Place:

Matthew Peterson (b. 1984, Grand Forks, ND) writes music for concerts and the stage. A composer of “considerable imagination and individuality” (Houston Chronicle), his music is “fresh and passionate…beautiful, challenging” (BBC Berkshire). His diverse music ranges from songs of criminals and outcasts, to modern settings of sacred texts, to stunning orchestral soundscapes. Matthew has received commissions from musicians and ensembles in the United States, England, and Sweden, and fifty of his works have been performed across North America and Europe. He has received the Fulbright Grant, and prestigious awards from BMI, ASCAP, Opera Vista, Indiana University, the Boston Choral Ensemble, the National Opera Association, Vocal Essence, ensemble Chanticleer, and others. 

3rd Place:
CONCERTO for Piano and Wind Orchestra:  "Solar Traveller"

Composer Judith Lang Zaimont (b. 1945) is internationally recognized for her distinctive style, characterized by its expressive strength and dynamism. Many of her 100 works are prize-winning compositions; these include three symphonies, chamber opera, oratorios and cantatas, music for wind ensemble, vocal-chamber pieces with varying accompanying ensembles, a wide variety of chamber works, and solo music for string and wind instruments, piano, organ, and voice. Many of Zaimont's musical compositions have been recorded and have won prizes in national and international competitions. Critics consistently praise her music, terming it "expressive and idiomatic" [CLAVIER], "colorful and commanding" [THE NEW RECORDS], and "exquisitely crafted, vividly characterized and wholly appealing" [NEW YORK TIMES].

The American Prize has also awarded two Special Judge's Citations in Orchestral Composition for 2012.

Trotzky's Train

Santa Monica composer & conductor David Avshalomov ( is also an accomplished vocalist. He writes in an accessible neo-Romantic tonal style, displaying a lyric gift and rhythmic vitality, creating works for choir, solo voice, chamber ensembles, band, and orchestra, earning regional commissions and national awards. His music is performed across the US and in Europe and Russia, and recorded on Albany and Naxos. Trained at Harvard, U. Washington, Aspen, and Tanglewood, he conducted orchestras and opera for 20 years, toured in Europe and the Far East, and recorded music by his grandfather Aaron in Moscow.  He now focuses on composing and singing.

Make Gentle the Life of This World

Raymond Horton (b. 1952, Jeffersontown, KY) has had a 40-year career as composer, arranger, performer (bass trombone, euphonium), conductor and church musician in his native Louisville, KY, and southern Indiana area since winning the position of Louisville Orchestra Bass Trombonist in 1971 at age 18. With advanced degrees in trombone, composition, and church music, he has made solo appearances locally and nationally, and has had compositions played by orchestras in Louisville, the US and abroad. Horton and wife Terry live in Floyds Knobs, IN, both serve as music staff at nearby Edwardsville United Methodist Church. Horton has a website:


The American Prize in Composition (ORCHESTRAL), 2012—STUDENT DIVISION:

The American Prize winner:
Mascaras for Orchestra

Mexican native Roberto Kalb is an active Composer, Conductor, and Pianist.  Kalb's music has been performed in Mexico, France, Germany and throughout the United States.  His piece Le Dormeur du Val (Winner of the 2nd Prize of the Washington International Composition Prize 2012) will be performed at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. this summer. Kalb holds a Bachelor's Degree in Composition from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, a Master's Degree in Composition from
the University of Michigan and is currently a Doctoral Candidate at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, Massachusetts.

2nd Place:
Berlin Songs

Jason Thorpe Buchanan (b. 1986) is an American composer.  His works have been described by critics and leading composers in the U.S. and Europe as “sharply-edged,” “shimmering,” “symphonic,” and “ambitious.”  Jason spent 2010-2011 in Hamburg, where he was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship at the Hochschule für Musik while conducting research in regard to compositional process and aesthetics.  In 2011 his Berlin Songs were premiered in Berlin, later recorded at the Melos New Music Festival in San Francisco, conducted by the composer.  Jason is a Ph.D. candidate at the Eastman School of Music,  director of the composer’s consortium Melos Music.

3rd Place:

Liza White's music has been featured at top venues including REDCAT, the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, the Bowdoin International Music Festival, and the Composers’ Conference at Wellesley College.  Liza's work has been performed by Alarm Will Sound, Fifth House Ensemble, the Charlestown Symphony Orchestra Brass Quintet, ALEAIII conducted by Gunther Schuller, and many other world-class musicians.  Liza has won the Craig and Janet Swan Prize, the Margaret Blackburn Composition Competition, and an Emil and Ruth Beyer Award.  She has held residencies at the MacDowell Colony, the Hambidge Center, and the Virginia Center for Creative Arts. Visit for more information.


Congratulations to all winners and runners-up.

No comments:

Post a Comment