Saturday, September 28, 2013


The American Prize  is pleased to announce 2013 ENSEMBLE winner/runners-up and citations in the college/university orchestra category.

Congratulations to all these fine orchestras.

To know the exact day and time when additional winners will be announced, please "like" our Facebook page, where the information will be posted. 

The judges reserve the right to award special citations and honorable mentions to any entrant at their discretion.

Please make us aware of any misprints:
The American Prize in Orchestral Performance—college/university orchestra

The American Prize winner: 
St Olaf Orchestra, Steven Amundson, music director, Northfield, MN

The 92-member St. Olaf Orchestra is one of the premier ensembles at St. Olaf College, a four-year liberal arts college known for its excellence in music, math, and the sciences.   The St. Olaf Orchestra has a 100-year plus history, and has been touring annually since 1949.  For the past three decades, Professor of Music Steven Amundson has led the Orchestra on tours throughout the U.S. and in a dozen countries, most recently in China. The ensemble has been featured on NPR, PBS, at regional and national MENC (NAfME) conventions, and on Garrison Keillor’s A Prairie Home Companion.   Recognized for its passionate and engaging performances, the St. Olaf Orchestra strives for the highest professional standards. The orchestra program at St. Olaf features two full symphonies and over 120 string students that take weekly private lessons.  65% of the students in St. Olaf Orchestra major in music. All members of this orchestra are full-time undergraduates, and they represent 25 of the 50 United States.

Among judges' comments: "Technically brilliant, exciting performances, full of life...Revueltas especially tight, with exceptional brass contributions."

2nd Place:
Ithaca College Symphony Orchestra, Jeffery Meyer, music director, Ithaca, NY 
Ithaca College Symphony Orchestra
Comprised of approximately 90 to 100 musicians, ICSO is dedicated to performing symphonic repertoire from the baroque through the twentieth century, as well as contemporary works of our time. The Symphony Orchestra is directed by Jeffery Meyer and presents 6 to 10 concerts per year.   The orchestra has collaborated with many of today's most prominent composers including Jennifer Higdon, Michael Gandofli, Steven Mackey, Steven Stucky, Joan Tower, and Chen Yi. Guest soloists who have appeared with the ICSO in recent seasons include Xak Bjerken (piano), Gilbert Kalish (piano) and Steven Mackey (electric guitar).   The ICSO has been distinguished with two consecutive ASCAP prizes for Adventurous Programming by the League of American Orchestras.  The ensemble has performed to high acclaim in Avery Fisher Hall and Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center in New York, the Ithaca "Light in Winter" Festival, the Troy Savings Bank Hall and New York University.

Among judges' comments: "Stunning Sacre, suave Daphnis, performed at a very high level of accomplishment."

3rd Place:
Mannes Orchestra, Taeyoung Lee, conductor, New York, NY

Mannes Orchestra
Praised by the New York Times for its “Youthful exuberance,” the Mannes Orchestra performs a comprehensive symphonic repertoire each year ranging from classical to modern, and collaborates with the Mannes Opera in two productions at the Kaye Playhouse. Guest conductors who have led concerts or readings in recent years include Kurt Masur, Philippe Entremont, Paul Nadler, Leonard Slatkin, and Mannes graduates Yves Abel and JoAnn Falletta. The Mannes Orchestra makes nine public performances every season with David Hayes, Director of Orchestral and Conducting Studies, appearing at Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall, Salvation Army’s Centennial Memorial Temple, Symphony Space, the Kaye Playhouse, and at Mannes College Concert Hall.

Among judges' comments: "Prokofiev 7 full of fire and wit, excellently played."


The field in the College/University Orchestra category was so strong this year that the judges have awarded Special Citations for Technical & Musical Excellence to the following three ensembles and their directors. In alphabetical order they are:

Special Judges' Citation for Technical & Musical Excellence, 2013
Baylor Symphony, Stephen Heyde, music director, Waco, TX

Baylor Symphony
Founded in 1946, the Baylor Symphony has been led by only two conductors, Daniel Sternberg and, since 1984, Stephen Heyde. In a typical year, 105 students from two dozen states and several foreign countries are selected by audition to perform in the ensemble. The orchestra has performed multiple times at the Texas Music Educators Convention and by invitation at the Piccolo Spoleto Festival and a national convention of the American String Teachers Association, among others.  In 2003, the Symphony was featured in a PBS Special that aired nationally to an estimated audience of six million viewers.  The orchestra has performed with many distinguished performers and composers including Josef Gingold and Robert Shaw among others and taken international tours of Costa Rica in 2004 and Belgium in 2010. The Baylor Symphony also presents annual children's concerts for 6000 Waco area school children, an unbroken tradition for 67 years.

Among judges' comments: "Remarkable Don Juan and La Mer, fluent, and confidently performed."

Special Judges' Citation for Technical & Musical Excellence, 2013
Kennesaw State University Symphony Orchestra, Michael Alexander, music director, Kennesaw, GA
Kennesaw State University Symphony Orchestra
The Kennesaw State University Symphony Orchestra began in the Fall of 2004. In its short history the orchestra has already performed with a long list of prestigious guest artists, conductors, and composers. In 2009 the KSU Orchestra was invited to perform at the Georgia Music Educators Association In-Service Conference and hosted and performed at the 2010 College Orchestra Directors Association National Conference. In January 2011, the KSU Orchestra completed a three-concert tour of Beijing and Xian, China. Recently the orchestra performed with the legendary rock band KANSAS and gave the first university orchestra performance of Peter Gabriel’s New Blood.  2012-2013 included the premiere of a new Tuba Concerto for Alan Baer, principal tuba of the New York Philharmonic, and a visit by renowned composer David Lang.  The 2013-2014 Season will feature the premiere of a new Violin Concerto by composer Chen Yi and a performance with pianist, Jeremy Denk.

Among judges' comments: "Beethoven's 9 a significant achievement. Scherzo is tight and full of drive; adagio lovingly shaped, finale has great forward motion."

Special Judges' Citation for Technical & Musical Excellence, 2013
West Virginia University Symphony Orchestra, Mitchell Arnold, music director,  Morgantown, WV
West Virginia University Symphony Orchestra
The WVUSO has been a major performing ensemble at WVU for many decades.  The orchestra not only serves the talented students of the WVU School of Music, but provides Morgantown with an important cultural treasure.  In 2012, WVUSO gave the US premiere of Sofia Gubaidulina's Flute Concerto and traveled on a 3-state tour.

Among judges' comments: "Daphnis stylish and well-wrought—impressively played by the full ensemble—soloists shine throughout."


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