Saturday, September 14, 2013


The American Prize  is pleased to announce the 2013 ENSEMBLE winner, runners-up and citation recipient in the school 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 Orchestral Performance
—high school orchestra
The American Prize winner:

Jasper High School Legacy Orchestra, Ryan Ross, conductor, Plano, TX 
Jasper High School Legacy Orchestra
The Jasper High School Orchestra is proud to be one of the most accomplished orchestra programs in Texas. Jasper is a grade 9 and 10 campus in Plano, TX, a Dallas suburb. Their orchestra currently serves over 200 students in five orchestras. Since its inception in 1996, Jasper’s top ensemble, Legacy Orchestra, has repeatedly ranked as one of the top five string orchestras in Texas, competing alongside high schools that fill their orchestras with 9th through 12th graders.  Jasper’s orchestras have also repeatedly earned top commendation at UIL competition and festival competitions across Texas. Jasper feeds Plano West Senior High School and pulls from Rice and Robinson Middle Schools. Today, the Jasper Orchestra program is led by Ryan Ross and Assistant Director Amy Gross. The program was opened by Deborah Perkins, passed on to Mary Havenstrite, and developed to maturity by Julianne Booth.

Among judges comments: "an exceptional ensemble playing at a high level of accomplishment..."

2nd Place
Arlington High School Philharmonia, Jonathan Handman, conductor, LaGrangeville, NY 
Arlington High School Philharmonia
Arlington High School is located in LaGrangeville, NY and Philharmonia is the most advanced of the four orchestras in the school and was the Grand Champion of the ASTA National Orchestra Festival in March 2012.  The program consists of one ninth grade string orchestra and three symphonic orchestras for students in grades 10-12, of which Ms. Elizabeth Handman and Mr. Jonathan Handman are the directors.  In total, the program has over 250 string students and 75 wind/percussion members that join the strings every other day as their second ensemble in addition to the band program that they are members of.  Arlington Central School District’s High School Principal is Mr. Paul Fanuele and Music Coordinator is Mr. Richard Guillen.

Among judges comments: "well balanced sound, with good solo contributions and especially strong string sections."

3rd Place:
Interlake High School Chamber Orchestra, Shira Katsman, director, Bellevue, WA

The Interlake High School Chamber Orchestra, an advanced string orchestra from Bellevue, Washington under the direction of Dr. Shira Katsman, consists of 50 students in grades ten through twelve.  The group consistently receives superior ratings at the Eastshore Orchestra I Festival, and many orchestra members have placed at the State level in the Solo & Ensemble Festival, participated in the All-Northwest and All-State Orchestras, and performed at the NSO Summer Music Institute.  The orchestra has worked with the Lafayette String Quartet, Ani Kavafian, Dr. Chin Kim, Nicholas Canellakis, David Becker, Ron Patterson, and Eric Wilson and collaborated with the Academy of Music Northwest and violist Paul Colletti to premier Colletti’s transcription of  the long lost J.S. Bach Viola Concerto.  In 2013 the orchestra performed in the final round of the ASTA National Orchestra Festival competition in Providence, Rhode Island and received an excellent rating for their expressive and dynamic performance. 

Among judges comments: "generous depth of tone, good intonation...performances with a sense of direction and considerable expression."

Special Judges' Citation: Exceptional Accomplishment in String Education and Performance
Bridle Path/Montgomery Select String Ensemble,  Ralph T. Jackson, director, Lansdale, PA
Bridle Path/Montgomery Select String Ensemble
The Bridle Path/Montgomery Elementary Select String Ensemble is comprised of students in grades 3-6 who are auditioned from among the 120 members of the orchestra. The ensemble rehearses after school for one hour each week and has consistently earned Superior ratings at music festivals and invitations to perform at prestigious music conferences, including performances at Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, the Midwest Clinic International Band & Orchestra Conference, 5 performances for the National Association for Music, and 4 performances at the Pennsylvania Music Educators Annual Conference. The Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York City has commended the Select String Ensemble for "demonstrating a level of technical proficiency and musical sophistication that is most impressive" and has featured the ensemble on the "Live from Lincoln Center" website under "Outstanding Student Performances".

Among judges' comments: "a bell-weather group—showing what is possible when community, school and musical leadership are in apparent harmony."

Congratulations to all!


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