Thursday, May 31, 2012

WINNERS in ORCHESTRAL COMPOSITION, 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: theamericanprize@gmail.com

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

The American Prize winner:
MICHAEL GATONSKA, CT
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, IN
Hyperborea

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. http://www.matthew-peterson.com 

3rd Place:
JUDITH LANG ZAIMONT, AZ
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.

SPECIAL JUDGE'S CITATION: UNIQUE ARTISTIC ACHIEVEMENT
DAVID AVSHALOMOV, CA
Trotzky's Train

Santa Monica composer & conductor David Avshalomov (www.davidavshalomov.com) 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.

SPECIAL JUDGE'S CITATION: UNIQUE ARTISTIC ACHIEVEMENT
RAYMOND HORTON, IN
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: www.rayhortonmusic.com


*****

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

The American Prize winner:
ROBERTO KALB, MA
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:
JASON THORPE BUCHANAN, NY
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.  www.jasonthorpebuchanan.com

3rd Place:
LIZA WHITE, IL
Step!

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 www.lizawhitemusic.com for more information.

*****

Congratulations to all winners and runners-up.

WINNERS in CHORAL COMPOSITION, 2012

The American Prize is very pleased to announce the winners of The American Prize in Composition, 2012, in the choral division. (Orchestral winners at 4pm.)

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: theamericanprize@gmail.com

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

The American Prize winner:
BRIAN HOLMES, CA
Amherst Requiem
words: missa pro defunctis and Emily Dickinson


Largely self-taught as a composer, Brian Holmes usually composes for chorus or solo voice.  His works include three operas, two musicals, a Requiem Mass, two extended works for chorus and orchestra, ten song cycles, over one hundred works for chorus, and a variety of works for orchestra, band, and chamber groups.  He has numerous commissions, composition prizes, recordings, and publications to his credit.  He has been composer in residence to four choruses in the San Francisco Bay area.  Holmes is a professor of Physics at San Jose State University, where he teaches a course on the physics of music.


2nd Place:
JENNI BRANDON, CA
selected choral works

Jenni Brandon (b. 1977) is an award-winning composer whose music has been featured by ensembles in venues across the world, including Carnegie Hall, as well as regularly on radio broadcasts across the United States.  Commissioned and recorded by many ensembles, her music is also published by Boosey & Hawkes, Graphite Publishing, Santa Barbara Music Publishing, as well as Jenni Brandon Music. Active also as a conductor, she frequently makes guest appearances and currently leads The Concert Singers in Los Angeles.  Her first self-produced CD, Songs of California: Music for Winds and Piano was released in 2010. Please visit www.jennibrandon.com.

3rd Place:
DAVID SARTOR, TN
Thy light has come

Composer and conductor David P. Sartor is Adjunct Professor of Composition at Trevecca Nazarene University.  He has received the prestigious Ostwald Award from the American Bandmasters Association, the National Fine Arts Award, and more than two dozen awards from New Music for Young Ensembles, Meet The Composer, Delta Omicron and ASCAP, among others.  In 2009, Sartor was inducted as a National Patron of Delta Omicron International Music Fraternity in recognition of his accomplishments as a composer and conductor.  His works are recorded on the ERM label and are published by E.C. Schirmer, Shawnee Press, and Metamorphic Music. Web site: http://davidsartor.com


***** 
The American Prize has also awarded a Special Judge's Citation in Choral Composition for 2012.

SPECIAL JUDGE'S CITATION: UNIQUE ARTISTIC ACHIEVEMENT
ANNE CAROL KILSTOFTE, AZ 
Soft Footfalls: Song of the Anasazi

Composer Anne Kilstofte has received awards and honors from ASCAP, the American Composers Forum, the Bush Artist Fellowship Foundation, the Jerome Foundation, several McKnight Fellowships and a Fulbright Senior Scholarship.  She continues to receive commissions from prominent national and international ensembles from Asia, Europe, and North America.  Her work has been heralded for its exceptional variety of tone color and atmospheric display of light and sound. She received her Ph.D. in Music Theory and Composition from the University of Minnesota, studying with Pulitzer prize-winning composer Dominick Argento.  Her website www.kilstofte.com offers listening and information about her works.

*****
 

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

The American Prize winner:
JOSHUA FISHBEIN, CA
selected choral works

An accomplished singer and pianist, Joshua Fishbein is a natural fit as a composer, choral conductor, and music teacher. A native of Baltimore, Maryland, Fishbein studied at The Peabody Preparatory. He won the orchestra prize from Carnegie Mellon University as an undergraduate. Fishbein completed his Master’s degree at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, where he won the art song competition. Fishbein has also won competitions sponsored by the Baltimore Choral Arts Society, Shalshelet, WomenSing, The Esoterics, the National Lutheran Choir, the Guild of Temple Musicians, and the American Choral Directors Association. Currently, Fishbein is a PhD student at UCLA.
www.fishbeinmusic.com


2nd Place:
JASON MICHAEL SAUNDERS, WA
selected choral works

Jason Michael Saunders was born in 1989 and was raised in the Portland, Oregon area. In December 2011 he graduated from Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington, where he earned a Bachelor of Music Education degree. Saunders has composed since the age of 16, and has conducted the premiere performances of many of his works. His choral compositions have been performed by ensembles across the United States and in Europe. At Pacific Lutheran, Saunders studied composition with Dr. Gregory Youtz and choral conducting with Dr. Richard Nance and Dr. Brian Galante. For more information, please visit  www.jmichaelsaunders.com.
 

3rd Place:
COSTANTINOS DAFNIS, MI
Carmen Vocis

Costas Dafnis (b. 1989 in Athens, Greece) is a composer of modern concert music. He is a founding member of Noisi Paintr, a consortium of musicians dedicated to progressive sound. When not composing, Costas spends his time playing mandolin poorly and reading all of the strange, obscure poetry he pretends to like. www.CostasDafnis.com

*****

Congratulations to all winners and runners-up.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

BIG WEEK AHEAD for THE AMERICAN PRIZE contestants

Here is the latest news about all current competitions, as of Tuesday morning, May 29th:

COMPOSERS: Winners have been selected and are being contacted. After acceptances have been received in all categories, results will be announced on this blog.

VOCALISTS: Winners have been selected and are being contacted. After acceptances have been received in all categories, results will be announced on this blog.

CONDUCTORS & ENSEMBLES: Semi-finalists will be announced soon in all categories. Please refer to our facebook page for the exact schedule.

PIANISTS: Packets including certificates, evaluations (and prize money for winners) are being prepared. Please let us know of any address changes. Please be patient, as each packet is created with care.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

JUDGES in PIANO, VOICE added to our national panel

Margaret Astrup
The American Prize is pleased to welcome three additional judges to its national panel, distinguished performers and educators all: SARAH CHAN, piano, from Northwestern Oklahoma State University; MARGARET ASTRUP, voice, from Western Connecticut State University; and DONALD HARTMANN, voice, from the University of North Carolina Greensboro.

Donald Hartmann
You can read their bios on our newly revised JUDGES page on the website, where a profile of BRENDA LEWIS, our first Distinguished Judge Emerita, is also highlighted. Welcome and thanks.

Sarah Chan

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

ALL COMPETITION UPDATE

Here is an update on all current competitions as of Tuesday, May 22, 2012.

COMPOSERS—We still await results from two judges, expected within a few days. We will then contact the winners for acceptances. Results will be announced immediately when we hear back from winners, hopefully by the end of the weekend. As is our practice, the exact day and time of the public announcement will be posted to our facebook page and tweeted first.

VOCALISTS—Judges results are being received and tabulated. We expect an announcement of winners by early next week. As is our practice, the exact day and time of the public announcement will be posted to our facebook page and tweeted first.

CONDUCTORS & ENSEMBLES—We expect to announce semi-finalists soon. As is our practice, the exact day and time of the public announcement will be posted to our facebook page and tweeted first.

PIANISTS—winners have been announced. Congratulations. Scroll down for further information.

Friday, May 18, 2012

PIANO WINNERS, 2012


The American Prize is very pleased to announce the winners of The American Prize in Piano Performance, 2012.

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

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

The American Prize in Piano Performance (SOLO), 2012—PROFESSIONAL DIVISION:

The American Prize winner:
Nathanael May, MO


Pianist Nathanael May has performed recitals throughout the United States and Europe, presenting research on piano music of the modern era at the World Piano Conference and the Euro-Mediterranean Music Conference, with master classes in  Turkey, Serbia, the Netherlands, and Italy. May is also the Founder and Artistic Director of the Italian soundSCAPE festival, at which over 200 new works have been premiered. He is an assistant professor at Missouri Western State University.  www.NathanaelMay.com

2nd Place:
Lara Downes, CA
WWW.LARADOWNES.COM 

Ms. Downes also won a Special Citation from The American Prize. Please see below.




3rd Place:
Graciella Kowalczyk, KY

www.graciellakowalczyk.com








The American Prize in Piano Performance (SOLO), 2012—COLLEGE/UNIVERSITY DIVISION:

The American Prize winner:
Azariah Tan, MI

Straits Times music reviewer states, "Azariah will touch the lives of many people with his music  wherever he goes." The National Arts Council-Conservatory scholar, graduated from NUS with first-class honors. He holds multiple awards, has performed with world-class orchestras, in master-classes by renowned pianists like Murray Perahia, and gives back by performing for charity.
Azariah, 20, currently studies with Logan Skelton for a double Masters in Music degree at the University of Michigan under full-scholarship.

2nd Place:
Kevin Kwan Loucks, NY

www.kevinloucks.com








3rd Place:
Yuanchang Zhou, MI



 






The American Prize in Piano Performance (SOLO), 2012—HIGH SCHOOL DIVISION:

The American Prize winner:
Taide Ding, MS


Taide Ding is a junior at Oxford High School in Oxford, Miss. Taide began studying piano at age 4 in Tokyo, Japan, and since moving to Oxford in 2001, he has studied with Dr. Ian Hominick. In addition, Taide is a varsity athlete for the OHS swim team, an Intel International Science and Engineering Fair Grand Award recipient, as well as a columnist and reporter for OHS’s nationally acclaimed student newspaper, the Charger.

2nd Place:
T.J. Keanu Tario, NY







3rd Place:
Michael Davidman, NY


*****






The American Prize in Piano Performance (CONCERTO), 2012—COLLEGE/UNIVERSITY DIVISION:

The American Prize winner:
Azariah Tan, MI


Straits Times music reviewer states, "Azariah will touch the lives of many people with his music  wherever he goes." The National Arts Council-Conservatory scholar, graduated from NUS with first-class honors. He holds multiple awards, has performed with world-class orchestras, in master-classes by renowned pianists like Murray Perahia, and gives back by performing for charity.
Azariah, 20, currently studies with Logan Skelton for a double Masters in Music degree at the University of Michigan under full-scholarship.

2nd Place:
Azariah Tan, MI







3rd Place:
Kevin Kwan Loucks, MI

www.kevinloucks.com

  





The American Prize in Piano Performance (CONCERTO), 2012—HIGH SCHOOL DIVISION

The American Prize winner:
Jim Lu, UT

Jim Lu, age 16, is currently a student of Dr. Irene Peery-Fox. He has won the Utah Valley Symphony Young Artist competition twice and soloed with the symphony when he was 9 and 11. At the age of 13, Jim won the Utah Symphony Salute to Youth competition and performed Franz Liszt's Totentanz with the symphony.  He was the state winner of the MTNA competition and placed 3rd at the regional MTNA in 2010.  Jim has also placed 1st twice at the Utah State Fair musical competition and is a winner of the 2012 AFAF International Competition.

2nd place:
Jing Luo, VA







3rd place:
Michael Davidman, NY











SPECIAL CITATION: UNIQUE ARTISTIC ACHIEVEMENT
Lara Downes

Lara Downes has been awarded a special Citation from The American Prize, recognizing Unique Artistic Achievement, for her compact disc, 13 Ways of Looking at the Goldberg. 

Praised by NPR as “a delightful artist with a unique blend of musicianship and showmanship” and praised by the Washington Post for performances “rendered with drama and nuance”, Lara Downes has appeared on many prestigious stages, including Queen Elizabeth Hall, the Vienna Konzerthaus, Carnegie Hall, Kennedy Center, and Lincoln Center. Downes’ six solo recordings have met with tremendous acclaim. Her latest CD, 13 Ways of Looking at the Goldberg was released in Fall 2011. WWW.LARADOWNES.COM

*****

Congratulations to all winners and runners-up.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Pianists, Composers, Vocalists: How and When Winners will be Announced

This week at The American Prize, we begin to announce winners of the 2012 Competitions in Piano Performance, Vocal Performance and Composition.

Here's the procedure:

1. After the judges weigh in with rankings in the various categories and results are collated, we contact the winner(s) by email and ask them to accept their prize designation(s).

2. Once we hear back positively from a winning individual, we post to Facebook and Tweet when the winners of that category will be announced. The official announcement will be made on this blog and will include photos and bios of the winners, photos of runners-up, and notification of any special Citations or Honorable Mentions the judges have awarded. Press releases concerning winners, runners-up and finalists are then sent to media contacts included in applications and to our national media list.

3. After all the winners have been announced, we send packets of awards, evaluations and certificates to winners, runners-up and finalists.

PIANO: We are awaiting results from several judges and will contact winners immediately when these results are known.

COMPOSITION: We expect to begin to announce winners late in the week of May 13.

VOICE: We expect to being to announce winners late in the week of May 20.

CONDUCTORS and ENSEMBLES: We expect to being to announce semi-finalists in these categories during the week of May 20.

Please “friend” our Facebook page for updates as they become available.


Thursday, May 10, 2012

Visiting FRIEDRICH SCHORR at the MET

Maestro David Katz, chief judge of The American Prize, the national, nonprofit competitions in the performing arts, attended the opening night of Benjamin Britten's Billy Budd at the Metropolitan Opera last weekend. During his visit, he viewed the extensive display of photographs of stars of past MET performances of Wagner's Ring Cycle in the MET Gallery, where he was not surprised to see portraits of the legendary baritone, Friedrich Schorr, namesake of The American Prize—Friedrich and Virginia Schorr Memorial Awards. Schorr is shown in two of his most famous roles, as Wotan (top) and disguised as the Wanderer (bottom.) 

Also prominently displayed in the MET lobby, and in pride of place (thanks to an accident of the alphabet) is a portrait of Brenda Lewis as Rosalinde in Die Fledermaus. (To her left is MET music director, James Levine.) Miss Lewis was recently announced as the first Distinguished Judge Emerita of The American Prize.

To read more about Miss Lewis's extraordinary career, follow this link. 

Friedrich Schorr is in the pantheon— universally recognized as the greatest Wagnerian baritone of his age.

Often teamed with dramatic soprano, Kirsten Flagstad, and heldentenor, Lauritz Melchior, (both also currently pictured in the MET galley) Schorr dominated the operatic stages between the wars, singing at the Bayreuth Festival from 1925-1931 and at the Metropolitan Opera for nineteen uninterrupted seasons, from 1924 until his final Siegfried Wanderer there on March 2, 1943. In retirement, Schorr headed the opera department at the Hartt School of Music in Hartford. He died in Farmington, Connecticut in 1953.

Maestro David Katz founded The Friedrich Schorr Memorial Performance Prize in Voice with the enthusiastic support of Mrs. Virginia Schorr, the singer's widow, herself an emeritus professor of voice at the Hartt School of Music of the University of Hartford, and a longtime member of the faculty at the Manhattan School of Music. Created in part as a memorial, the competition was the vehicle Katz ultimately used to select the casts for productions of professional opera companies he conducted in three states.

Beginning in 1990 and continuing for more than a dozen years, The Friedrich Schorr Memorial Performance Prize in Voice provided a proving ground for literally hundreds of professional singers from throughout the U.S., Canada, Mexico and the British Isles, who won major roles in fully-staged opera productions and oratorio soloist opportunities under Maestro Katz's baton with opera companies and orchestras in Michigan, Maine and Connecticut.

After a hiatus of several years, the Schorr Prize returned in 2010, now under the auspices of The American Prize competitions. Re-named the Friedrich and Virginia Schorr Memorial Award, the competition has been restructured to recognize and reward vocalists in art song as well as in opera through the evaluation of recorded performances.

Winners of the 2012 Friedrich and Virginia Schorr Memorial Awards will be announced later in May. For previous winners, visit the winners pages on The American Prize website.