Wednesday, September 11, 2013


The American Prize  is pleased to announce CONDUCTOR winners and runners-up for 2013 in the orchestra category.


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 Conducting—Professional Orchestra Division

The American Prize winner:  
Nan Harrison Washburn, Michigan Philharmonic, Plymouth, MI
Nan Washburn
Nan Washburn, winner of 17 ASCAP awards, is in her 14th season as Music Director and Conductor of the Michigan Philharmonic.  She has guest conducted the symphony orchestras of Richmond, Sacramento, Wyoming, Eugene, Berkeley, Marin, Cheyenne, Dubuque, Perrysburg, Stockton, Napa, El Dorado Opera Company and the University of Michigan Philharmonia Orchestra. Prior positions include Music Director of West Hollywood Orchestra, Orchestra Sonoma, Camellia Symphony, SF State University Orchestra and Channel Islands Symphony and the American Jazz Theater.  Ms. Washburn studied at the Music Academy of the West, U.C. Santa Barbara, New England Conservatory, Aspen Music Festival and the Conductors Institute. She has received the New York Women Composers’ Distinguished Service Award, the Sonoma County Independent Indy Award, the Girl Scout Role Model Award, KQED, San Francisco’s Outstanding Local Hero Award, Women in Leadership Award from the City of West Hollywood and recognized as an Sigma Alpha Iota National Arts Associate.

Among judges' comments: "These recordings confirm Nan Harrison Washburn's excellent reputation...Her performances are sensitive, thoughtful, serious, gracious—words that mark her self-evident musicality."

2nd Place:
Darin Lewis, Simpatico Chamber Ensemble, Stamford, CT
Darin Lewis
Darin Lewis has conducted at major venues throughout the Eastern United States, including performances at Alice Tully Hall, Columbia University, St. Bartholomew’s Church, Grace Church and at the Alliance Francais, with the Little Orchestra Society of New York.  He has toured England, France, Italy, Spain, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Austria, Argentina, Uruguay, and Germany with performances at major venues in Paris, Barcelona, Florence, Rome, Leipzig, Halle, London, Buenos Aires, and Berlin.  He has been a guest conductor with numerous ensembles and has been invited several times to conduct at the Music Educator’s Eastern Division Regional Conference.  He has led workshops in Massachusetts, New York, California and Connecticut. In addition to conducting, Mr. Lewis is a pianist and a commissioned composer. He is currently the Conductor of the Lafayette College Chamber Orchestra, Director of Music at St. Francis Episcopal Church in Stamford, CT., and Artistic Director of the Simpatico Chamber Ensemble.

Among judges' comments: "a very sensitive musician who listens intently as he carefully creates soundscapes with his players."

3rd Place:
Jason Lim, Odysseus Chamber Orchestra, Denton, TX
Jason Lim
Recipient of the 2011 American Prize "Young Conductor Citation Award”, Jason Lim was born in Penang, Malaysia received his formal training in viola performance at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts.

Jason Lim served as assistant conductor with the Ku Ring Gai Philharmonic Orchestra in Sydney, Australia. Jason added to his awards and achievements, winning the 1995 New South Wales Ministry of Arts Conducting Prize in Sydney, Australia and named Denton's most Fascinating people of 2012 by the Denton Record Chronicle. Jason Mentors includes distinguished conductors; Nicholas Braithwaite, Henryk Pisarek and Max McBride and John Farrer.

During his tenure as Music Director of the NOVA Ensemble, Jason led the NOVA Ensemble in its first commercial recording in 2000. Under the auspices of the “Equilibrum” label, conducting the world premier performance of Brian Bavelander’s Distant Visions for orchestra and pre recorded tape. Jason held the position of Artistic and Music Director and Conductor for two years. Jason is currently the Artistic Director of the Odysseus Chamber Orchestra.

Among judges' comments: "fine technique, clear intentions, spirited and energetic performances..." 


The American Prize in Conducting—Orchestra division, community
The American Prize winner:
David Bernard   Park Avenue Chamber Symphony   New York, NY
David Bernard
Founding Music Director of New York City’s famed Park Avenue Chamber Symphony, DAVID BERNARD has performed in more than 20 countries on four continents. His incisive performances have been heard in many of the city’s most prestigious venues, among them Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts’ Avery Fisher Hall and Alice Tully Hall and The Riverside Church, as well as on radio stations WNYC and WQXR and telecast on WCBS. He and his work have been profiled in Symphony Magazine,, The Juilliard Journal, New York’s Daily News, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. Bernard led the Park Avenue Chamber Symphony on a nine-city tour of the People’s Republic of China and has appeared as a guest conductor with the China Conservatory Orchestra, the China Conservatory/Ithaca College/Oberlin College Faculty Contemporary Ensemble, the New York Symphonic Arts Ensemble and the Putnam Symphony. Devoted to the music of our own time, Bernard has presented world premières of scores by Bruce Adolphe, Chris Caswell, John Mackey and Ted Rosenthal, while distinguished concert collaborators include Carter Brey, David Chan, Catherine Cho, Pedro Díaz, Bart Feller, Whoopi Goldberg, Judith Ingolfsson, Christina Jennings, Jessica Lee, Jon Manasse, Todd Phillips and James Archie Worley.


David Bernard’s discography includes 17 albums spanning music from Vivaldi to Copland, and released on, iTunes, Napster and Rhapsody.

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."

2nd Place:
Anna Edwards   Seattle Collaborative Orchestra     Seattle, WA
Anna Edwards

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."

3rd Place:
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—College/University Orchestra Division
The American Prize winner:  
Jeffery Meyer, Ithaca College Symphony Orchestra, Ithaca, NY
Jeffery Meyer
Jeffery Meyer began his musical studies as a pianist, and continued on to study composition and conducting. He is the Director of Orchestras at Ithaca College School of Music, as well the Artistic Director of the St. Petersburg Chamber Philharmonic in Russia. In recent seasons, he has been seen conducting, performing as piano soloist and chamber musician, as well as conducting from the keyboard in the United States, Canada, Russia, Italy, Spain, Germany and throughout Eastern and Southeastern Asia.

Called “one of the most interesting and creatively productive conductors working in St. Petersburg” by Sergei Slonimsky, his work with the St. Petersburg Chamber Philharmonic has been noted for its breadth and innovation. In 2010, he led the St. Petersburg Chamber Philharmonic in its United States debut with three performances at Symphony Space’s 2010 “Wall-to-Wall” Festival in New York City which the New York Times called “impressive”, “powerful”, “splendid”, and “blazing.”

Among judges' comments: Excellence in all areas. Exciting, persuasive performances and an admirably clean, expressive technique."

2nd Place:
Taeyoung Lee   Mannes Orchestra   New York, NY 

Taeyoung Lee
Taeyoung Lee won the First Prize of the Composition Award in the National Music Competition from the University of Seoul, The Best Player Award of The National Contemporary Music Festival of Taegu Music Association, the Best Conductor Award in the Chamber Music Society of the Korean Contemporary Music, the Third Place in the Orchestral Conducting Award at The American Prize in 2011, and The First Honor Diploma Award in the 31st Master Players International Music Competition in Lugano, Switzerland. He was an assistant conductor of HanYang University Orchestra & Opera, Seoul Metropolitan Opera, Mannes Opera. He is working with Buffalo Philharmonic as a Student Conductor-in-Residence with Maestra JoAnn Falletta. He has conducted the Mannes Orchestra, Lunatics at Large, You N Philharmonic, New York Academic Festival Orchestra, Mannes Repertoire Orchestra in New York, and ChungNam Philharmonic, JeonJu Symphony, JeJu Philharmonic, Halla Orchestra in Korea. Taeyoung is currently studying with David Hayes. He received a Master's degrees and he is a candidate for a Professional Studies Diploma as an orchestra conducting major at Mannes, where he is winner of the Alma Akin Scholarship and Milani Conducting Fellowship.

Among judges comments: "Good command, clear stick, plenty of energy and abundant musicality."

3rd Place: (There was a tie.)
Carlos Espinosa  University of Kansas Symphony Orchestra Lawrence, KS
Carlos Espinosa
Carlos Espinosa recently finished a Masters degree from Michigan State University, and is currently a doctoral student in Orchestral Conducting at the University of Kansas.  He serves as Conductor in Residence of the Taneycomo Music Festival.  His guest conducting appearances include the Hot Springs Festival Orchestra, Philharmonia of Greater Kansas City, Sherborne School of Music in England, the IES Chamber Orchestra in Vienna, Austria, and at the Eutiner Festpiele in Eutin, Germany.  In addition to the orchestral repertoire, Mr. Espinosa is also experienced as a conductor of musical theater, conducting performances of Stephen Sondheim's Merrily We Roll Along and Kurt Wiell's The Threepenny Opera in 2012.  Mr. Espinosa's teachers include Wolfgang Harrer of the Vienna Philharmonic, Nicholas Uljanov, Dr. John P. Lynch, Leon Gregorian, Dr. Raphael Jimenez, and David Neely. He has also conducted in masterclasses with David Lockington and Leonard Slatkin.

Among judges' comments: "Clear beat, clear intentions, good posture, musical. Youthful with lots of excellent potential." 

3rd Place: (There was a tie.)
Vlad Vizireanu   Arizona State University Symphony Orchestra   Tempe, AZ 
Vlad Vizireanu
Described as “a seasoned conductor with refined phrasing and sweeping, expressive gestures,” Vlad Vizireanu made his debut at the Athenaeum in Bucharest with the George Enescu Philharmonic in 2012. He was then invited to the 2012 Jeunesses Musicales Conducting Competition where he was a semifinalist with honorable mention. He was the first-prize winner of the 2010 St. Petersburg Chamber Philharmonic Competition and has attended masterclass throughout the United States and Europe with Marin Alsop, Franz Welser-Möst, Gustav Meier, James Depriest, and Horia Andreescu. He earned his Master’s degree with David Effron and Arthur Fagen at Indiana University Jacobs School of Music and is currently finishing his D.M.A at Arizona State University with Timothy Russell, where he serves as assistant conductor to ASU orchestras and recently directed a production of Die Fledermaus with the ASU Lyric Opera Theater. This year marks Mr. Vizireanu's second year as assistant conductor of the Arizona Pro Arte Ensemble.

Among judges comments: "La Forza most persuasive, the passion and emotion keenly presented, the conducting pitfalls negotiated with aplomb."

The American Prize in Conducting
—Youth Orchestra division

The American Prize winner:      
Jonathan Handman   Vivace Arlington HS Philharmonia   Poughkeepsie, NY
Jonathan Handman
Jonathan Handman, conductor and cellist, is a co-founder and Artistic Director of the Stringendo Orchestra School of the Hudson Valley and is an orchestra director at Arlington High School in Poughkeepsie, NY.   At Stringendo, he directs two orchestras, Vivace and Mazurka, and at Arlington he is the conductor of two symphony orchestras and directs an extensive chamber music program.  In each program, his orchestras have won the Grand Champion prize at the ASTA National Orchestra Festival (2009, 2012).   In 2012, Mr. Handman  received the Distinguished Alumni Award in Music Education from Oberlin Conservatory and in 2002 was Oberlin’s invited guest speaker representing the decade of the 1990’s, celebrating its 100th year anniversary of Music Education.  Jonathan’s studies include The Eastman School of Music (Trombone performance), The Oberlin Conservatory (B.A. in Music Education, Cello) and an M.A in orchestral conducting from SUNY Fredonia.

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."

2nd Place:
Michael Webster   Houston Youth Symphony   Houston, TX
Michael Webster
Michael Webster is Professor of Music at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music and Artistic Director of Houston Youth Symphony. Formerly Principal Clarinet with the Rochester Philharmonic and Acting Principal Clarinet of the San Francisco Symphony, Webster has been soloist with many orchestras including the Philadelphia Orchestra with Aaron Copland and the Boston Pops with John Williams.  A winner of Young Concert Artists International Auditions, he has performed with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the Tokyo, Cleveland, Ying, Muir, Chester, and Enso String Quartets, and festivals such as Marlboro, Santa Fe, Norfolk, Chamber Music Northwest, Victoria, Stratford, Domaine Forget, Angel Fire, Sitka, Maui, Steamboat Springs and Park City. He has also performed and taught in South and Central America, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and China.  Webster has been on the clarinet and conducting faculties of Eastman, the New England Conservatory, and the University of Michigan.

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. "

3rd Place:
Alyze Dreiling   YPO Soloist Ensemble   San Diego, CA
Alyze Dreiling
Presently Ms. Dreiling is on the adjunct faculty at University of San Diego and faculty for the USD Chamber Music Festival and is adjunct faculty at Grossmont College. She is the violinist with Trio Licenza, the piano trio, in residence at USD, she also performs as violist with Grossmont Symphony String Quartet, and she is the violinist with The California Consort, founded by legendary contrabassist, Bertram Turetzky. Violinis/Violist, Alyze Dreiling was born in Detroit, Michigan. She began her studies with Mischa Mischakoff. Ms. Dreiling graduated from Indiana University where she studied with Josef Gingold. Since then she has appeared as soloist with the Detroit Symphony, Philharmonica Hungarica at the Vienna Summer Festival, the Florida Chamber Orchestra, Knoxville Symphony, Knoxville Chamber Orchestra to name a few. Ms. Dreiling was founding Artistic Director/ Conductor of Classics for Kids. Alyze also served as the Violinist/Conductor of the International Chamber Players at USIU. She has played concertmaster for Donna Summers, Smoky Robinson, Dionne Warwick and Tom Scott, and for shows at the Old Globe, Civic Auditorium, LaJolla Playhouse, Lawrence Welk and Starlight Theater. She has also played with San Diego Symphony, San Diego Chamber Orchestra, and  Hutchins Consort.

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.

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