Monday, September 2, 2013

ENSEMBLE WINNERS: band, community orchestra, youth orchestra

The American Prize  is pleased to announce 2013 ENSEMBLE WINNERS in the following categories:
band/wind ensemble, youth orchestra, and community orchestra.


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 Band/Wind Ensemble Performance
The American Prize winner:  
Kennesaw State Univ. Wind Ensemble   David Thomas Kehler, director—Kennesaw, GA
Kennesaw State Univ. Wind Ensemble
Formed in 1996, the Kennesaw State University Wind Ensemble performs a diverse repertoire for winds and percussion encompassing chamber music, wind ensemble repertoire, and works for large bands. Advocating new music, the KSU Wind Ensemble has commissioned leading composers to write new works for wind ensemble, including Michael Markowski, Joel Puckett, James Stephenson, Christopher Theofanidis, Steven Bryant, and an upcoming commission by Pulitzer Prize winner, Joseph Schwantner. Because of KSU’s close relationship with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Georgia Symphony Orchestra and Atlanta Opera Orchestra, collaboration and performances have resulted with many of those principal players. Most recently, the KSU Wind Ensemble was invited and featured as an ensemble at the 2012 Southern Division College Band Directors National Association Association Conference.  The KSU Wind Ensemble continues to be an important cultural musical voice in Atlanta, and has been featured in several performances on 90.1 FM, WABE- Atlanta public radio.

Among judges' comments: "Great brass sound. Good pitch and style. This is a very well rehearsed group. All sections have excellent tone, including percussion. Precise ensemble throughout."

2nd Place:
Clear Creek High School Wind Ensemble   Stephen Meyer, director—League City, TX
Clear Creek High School Wind Ensemble
Clear Creek High School is located in League City, Texas, just south of Houston near the NASA Johnson Space Center. The Clear Creek Wind Ensemble is the top-performing group of three curricular concert ensembles and has had a long tradition of excellence in music performance and artistry, earning exclusively superior ratings at UIL Concert and Sight-Reading Contest for over twenty years. In 2012, the Wind Ensemble was a National Winner in the National Wind Band Honors competition. Members of this ensemble study privately and participate in the All-Region, All-Area, and All-State bands as well as Solo and Ensemble contest each year.

Among judges' comments: " is a very good of the top HS Wind Ensembles in the country, I would venture to say. Overall score 90."

3rd Place:
Frederick Fennell Wind Ensemble   Teren  Shaffer, director—Santa Ana, CA
Frederick Fennell Wind Ensemble
The Frederick Fennell Wind Studies Program was created in 2003 by a generous contribution in honor of legendary conductor Frederick Fennell. The Frederick Fennell Wind Studies Program offers a comprehensive wind studies education that allows students to enroll in masterclasses, work with an inspiring caliber of guest artists, and attend festivals/field trips. The program also provides students with the opportunity to perform in large ensembles, as well as chamber ensembles. The Frederick Fennell Wind Studies Program provides a focused, high-level, quality education to instrumental music students. The Wind Ensemble, conducted by Teren Shaffer, is recognized for high achievement throughout the country. Regularly earning unanimous superior ratings at festivals, the ensemble won second place in 2012 for The American Prize in Wind Ensemble Performance. In February 2013, the group was featured as the only high school band to represent the state in a performance at the California All-State Music Educators Conference. 

Among judges comments: "Excellent energy and ensemble...quite a good group. Appropriate rep was performed and done well."

The American Prize in Orchestral Performance—community orchestra 

The American Prize winner:
Park Avenue Chamber Symphony   David Bernard, music director—New York, NY
Park Avenue Chamber Symphony
Since its founding in 1999, the Park Avenue Chamber Symphony has built a loyal following, both in New York City and worldwide through its extensive catalog of recordings on iTunes, Naxos/ClassicsOnline, Amazon and Spotify.  In 2011 the orchestra toured the People's Republic of China performing in 9 cities including Beijing, Qingdao, Dalian, Chaoyang, Jinzhou, Shenzhen, Shenyang and Xi'an.

The Park Avenue Chamber Symphony’s performances have been acclaimed by critics nationwide.
·         “Highly polished and highly disciplined performances. These readings are interpretively probing and emotionally satisfying….unconditionally recommended.” – Fanfare Magazine
·         “The dynamic range and attention to detail surpass any performance of these works. The Park Avenue Chamber Symphony is a World-Class Orchestra” – Lucid Culture
·         “David Bernard brought raw, dramatic intensity to the urgent sections, while conducting the noble transfiguration theme with utmost tenderness and lovely, sustained pacing. Balances were unusually clear, bringing out woodwind details, while the brass shined with solid, blended playing…the orchestra plays with a strong sense of style and commitment…with the depth and fervor of the old school European orchestras…. a real triumph!” – New York Concert Review

The ensemble regularly features important soloists including Carter Brey (principal cellist, New York Philharmonic), David Chan (concertmaster, Metropolitan Opera Orchestra), Jon Manasse (clarinet soloist) and Whoopi Goldberg (Oscar Winning Actor and Entertainer), as well as emerging artists from Juilliard, Manhattan School of Music and Mannes. The Park Avenue Chamber Symphony performs at All Saints Church on the Upper East Side of NYC, with additional performances at Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall and Avery Fisher Hall.

Through its fundraising efforts, the Park Avenue Chamber Symphony has helped establish a new Scholarship Fund for students at the Juilliard School’s Pre-College Division, as well as support  The Harmony Program—a New York City organization that provides music lessons to economically disadvantaged children and is modeled after Venezuela's world-famous model of music education, "El Sistema".

Among judges' comments: "The Park Avenue Chamber Symphony exemplifies the epitome of the best of the current community orchestra scene: professional level performance of incredibly difficult repertoire."

2nd Place:
Seattle Collaborative Orchestra   Anna Edwards, music director—Seattle, WA
Seattle Collaborative Orchestra
The Seattle Collaborative Orchestra is a dynamic, multigenerational fusion of musicians from Seattle's classical music scene, including Seattle Symphony, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Northwest Sinfonietta, Auburn Symphony, University of Washington, and local high schools.

Seattle Collaborative Orchestra Mission Statement: Seattle Collaborative Orchestra is an intergenerational, semi-professional community orchestra with a strong educational component based in collaboration. Musicians of the Seattle Collaborative Orchestra largely consist of members or alumni of Seattle high schools and University of Washington music students, in addition to members of professional music ensembles in the Seattle area (i.e. Seattle Symphony and Pacific Northwest Ballet). It is our aspiration to spread musical enjoyment to our Seattle metropolitan community.

Among judges comments: "Prodigious achievement of style, rhythm, and articulation throughout. Bravo on your excellent, crisp rhythm."

3rd Place:
Clark College Orchestra   Donald L. Appert, music director—Vancouver, WA
Clark College Orchestra
Donald Appert has been Music Director/Conductor of the Clark College Orchestra since 1990. He has guest conducted orchestras in Europe, Central America, Japan and Australia. Currently he is a Professor of Music and Head of the Music Department at Clark College in Vancouver, Washington. In addition he is the Music Director/Conductor of the Oregon Sinfonietta and Artistic Director and Conductor of the Jewish Community Orchestra, both in Portland, Oregon.  He received The American Prize in Orchestral Programming—Vytautas Marijosius  Memorial Award in 2011 for his work with the Oregon Sinfonietta and an Honorable Mention in 2012. He has received the  ASCAPLUS Award numerous times. Videos of his conducting and his original compostions may be seen and heard via the internet on his web site at

Among judges comments: "The group really shines on the Fandango to the end: effective clean strings, great balance, wonderful dynamic contrasts, technique, and articulation."

The American Prize in Orchestral Performance—youth orchestra 

The American Prize winner:
Vivace   Jonathan Handman, music director—Poughkeepsie, NY
In 2001 Jon Handman and Emily Schaad launched Stringendo Orchestra School of the Hudson Valley as a year-round extension of their Summer Strings music camp. Today, over 200 students between second and twelfth grades participate in classes in orchestra and fiddling. These musical groups provide a community where students from all over the Hudson Valley can further develop their musical talents. Stringendo both supplements and enhances string education, and musicians in Stringendo are members of their school orchestra programs wherever possible.

Stringendo’s most advanced orchestra, Vivace, this year includes 25 high school students. Over the years the orchestra has performed a broad repertoire, including Serenades by Dvorak, Elgar, Suk and Tchaikovsky, Diamond’s Rounds,  Shostakovich’s Eighth Chamber Symphony, and Tchaikovsky’s Souvenir de Florence. Vivace participated in the ASTA National String Orchestra Festival, a competition for school and youth orchestras throughout the United States, and was named Grand Champion in 2009.

Among judges' comments: "Obvious trust, confidence and capability were coupled to stylistic assurance. The emotional content was always made clear to the audience who responded with highly merited applause."

2nd Place:
Houston Youth Symphony   Michael Webster, music director—Houston, TX
Houston Youth Symphony
Houston Youth Symphony was founded in 1946 and now serves more than 300 students in four orchestras.  Michael Webster has been Artistic Director since 1997 and has led the Symphony, its most advanced orchestra, at the inauguration of Houston Mayor Lee Brown, the 2002 National Youth Orchestra Festival at Carnegie Hall, and in 2012 on National Public Radio’s "From the Top." HYS is the national first prize winner of the Foundation for Music Education's Mark of Excellence competition for five consecutive years (2008-2012) and The American Prize in 2010 and 2011.  Our “Melody” program offers free private lessons to gifted students from disadvantaged districts and our chamber music program serves members of our two most advanced orchestras, the Philharmonia and the Symphony.

Among judges comments: "The performance of the chosen literature demonstrated the thrill of playing large orchestral repertory...the orchestra played with zest. It is good to perform major works that have moments of challenge and is an important aspect of development. Congratulations on undertaking those challenges. "

3rd Place:
Saratoga Springs Youth Orchestra   Gioacchino Longobardi, music director—Saratoga Springs, NY
Saratoga Springs Youth Orchestra
The Saratoga Springs Youth Orchestra is small string ensemble dedicated to fostering excellence in musical arts through structured rehearsal and community performances throughout the Saratoga region of upstate NY.  Founded in 1999, SSYO began with the single vision of developing a world-class youth orchestra.  SSYO works to expand the artistic and cultural horizons of young musicians, ages 13 to 25 years, through advanced training, peer collaboration and mentorship.

Conductor, Maestro Gioacchino Longobardi, with diplomas in Piano, Conducting and Composition from the Conservatorio San Pietro a Majella, in Naples, Italy, brings a European perspective to a new world endeavor. He has introduced SSYO to a unique and challenging repertoire comprised primarily of Early Baroque and Romantic period pieces.  The SSYO program offers young musicians the opportunity to perform orchestral masterworks directed by a professional musician/conductor, while pursuing their own personal aspirations and a lifelong love for music.

Among judges comments: "The playing was most compelling in the Fantasia as the melody of the hymn tune was passed around. The Piazzolla had some very warm moments...This is a program that should continue to build in the future."

Congratulations to all winners and runners-up.

No comments:

Post a Comment