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The American Prize in Conducting—Band/Wind Ensemble division
The American Prize winner:
Christopher Unger Eastman Wind Ensemble/Eastman Wind Orchestra Rochester, NY
Among judges' comments: "Good stick and energy. Good ensemble playing. Lovely hands and well shaped phrases."
Thanapol Setabrahmana CCM Wind Studies Cincinnati, OH
Originally from Bangkok, Thailand, Thanapol Setabrahmana holds a Master of Music degree in Wind Ensemble Conducting from the New England Conservatory and a Bachelor of Music degree in Composition from Mahidol University, Thailand. He has been invited to participate in several international conducting masterclasses and performances in Europe and the United States. He has worked with several conducting pedagogues such as Gustav Meier, Larry Rachleff, Leonid Kochmar, Donato Renzetti, Donald Hunsberger, H. Robert Reynolds, Mark Gibson, Neil Varon, and Donald Schleicher among others.
While studying in Thailand, Thanapol conducted Mahidol University Symphonic Band, Mahidol University Symphony Orchestra, Mahidol Young Artists Band, Assumption College Band, and ad hoc new music ensembles.
Thanapol is currently a doctoral conducting associate at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music where he regularly conducts ensembles under CCM Winds Studies, including CCM Wind Orchestra, Wind Ensemble, Chamber Winds, Chamber Players. He also guest conducts CCM Brass Choir and Cafè MoMus Contemporary Ensemble. His mentors include Christopher Hughes, Charles Peltz, and Glenn D. Price.
Among judges comments: "...this is a first class musician. Good control over his scores and very solid technique."
Joel Bein High Desert Winds Santa Fe, NM
Among judges comments: "Very solid pulse. Clear stick. Tempo changes handled well."
The American Prize in Conducting—Orchestra division, community
The American Prize winner:
David Bernard Park Avenue Chamber Symphony New York, NY
Among judges' comments: "How wonderful to watch a conductor with no score, who is so animated, present, and genuinely smiles! He dances, is jovial, cheerful, jeering, calm, and dramatic…. a great pleasure to watch and listen to him and his phenomenal ensemble."
Anna Edwards Seattle Collaborative Orchestra Seattle, WA
Anna Edwards, founder and music director of the Seattle Collaborative Orchestra, has been part of the vibrant Seattle classical music scene for 20 years. Ms. Edwards is currently a member of the Auburn Symphony and has been a freelance violinist in the Seattle Metro area playing with such groups as the Pacific Northwest Ballet, Northwest Sinfonietta, and multiple chamber ensembles. In addition to her responsibilities with the Seattle Collaborative Orchestra, Anna is the music director at Roosevelt High School where she has built the orchestra program over the past thirteen years into a nationally recognized program. For the past three years, Anna was selected to attend the prestigious Pierre Monteux School for Conductors and Orchestra Musicians where she studied conducting with music director Michael Jinbo. Currently, Anna is pursuing a Doctorate of Musical Arts in Conducting at the University of Washington.
Among judges comments: "a clear and concise beat which is easy to follow. You consistently look at soloists appropriately. Bravo on your ensemble’s excellent, crisp rhythm."
Tara Villa Keith Davidson College Symphony Orchestra Davidson, NC
|Tara Villa Keith|
Tara Villa Keith is in her tenth season as music director of the Davidson College Symphony Orchestra in Davidson, North Carolina, and in her fourth season with the Lee County Community Orchestra in Sanford, North Carolina. Keith has conducted various orchestras across the south, including the Union Symphony Orchestra, Macon Symphony Orchestra, and Hot Springs Music Festival Orchestra. Abroad, Keith has worked with several orchestras across Europe and in Brazil. She has won conducting competitions and contests in Bulgaria and Germany with the help of grants from the Global Partners Project and the League of American Orchestras, and won North Carolina’s Metrolina Theatre Association’s Award for Outstanding Musical Direction/Conducting in 2011.
Among judges comments: "you achieve what every conductor strives for: varying the conducting according to the music, an instructive left hand, clear and interesting beat and manner. "
The American Prize in Conducting
—Orchestra division, youth
The American Prize winner:
Jonathan Handman Vivace Arlington HS Philharmonia Poughkeepsie, NY
Among judges' comments: "Clear, clean conducting allowed the ensemble to produce every sound with confidence. He does not ‘get in the way’ but ‘shows the path."
Michael Webster Houston Youth Symphony Houston, TX
Among judges comments: "To be a conductor for a full-sized orchestra of capable young players is an exciting experience. Maestro Webster clearly shows confidence in his players both in action and in the choice of repertory. "
Alyze Dreiling YPO Soloist Ensemble San Diego, CA
Among judges comments: "It is always a pleasure to witness a fine, caring musician at work with a talented ensemble of young musicians. Far from ‘putting on a show’, the conductor was at one with the spirit of the music which was mirrored by the ensemble members."
Congratulations to all winners and runners-up.