Sunday, March 30, 2014

The American Prize: a competition for the rest of us

—by David Katz, chief judge of The American Prize

The American Prize honored our first Grammy Award-winning TAP laureate earlier this year. (The choral ensemble Roomful of Teeth won a Grammy in 2014 and The American Prize in 2010).

Although most of us may never win a Grammy, or a Pulitzer, a Tony or an Academy Award, or may never even be nominated, that does not mean that the music we make is unworthy of national recognition and reward. I am proud to be chief judge of the The American Prize—because it is the national competition for the rest of us.
We all know that excellence in the arts is not restricted to the famous names, or limited to a single city on either coast, or reserved only for the top graduates of the most prestigious schools. It is not necessary to be well-connected to achieve greatness. In America, it is not location nor pedigree, but talent, love of the art, hard work and commitment that makes the difference.

During my career, I have had the privilege of guest conducting orchestras, choruses, bands and opera companies all over the country—not just professionals, but school, church and community ensembles, and not only in big cities. Whether in the deep south, the far west, the heartland, or on the coasts, I have encountered inspiring artists entertaining audiences, educating young people, enriching communities and contributing to the quality of life.

Maybe you are one of them.

If only The American Prize had existed a little earlier in my career! When I was conducting a community orchestra and a church choir in Hartford, Connecticut, I would have applied. I would have wanted to know how my groups stacked up to similar ensembles elsewhere in the country. Were we really as good as I thought we were?

When I was leading a youth orchestra in Elgin, Illinois, and a community chorus in Libertyville, I would have applied. I thought some of my programming choices were inspired. Would conductors from across the country think so, too?

When I was music director of a professional orchestra in a tiny town in Southern Michigan, I would have applied. In Adrian, my symphony roared through some of the greatest pieces ever written, and the audiences roared back their approval. I wanted people all across the country to know what amazing things we were doing—how well—and where.

And for more than thirty years, I’ve also conducted an orchestra of lawyers in Chicago. Of course, I would have applied.

Because, what if we had won?

What if your audience, donors or membership woke up to the news that you had just won The American Prize, judged to be the finest in the country in your category, chosen by an impartial judges—experienced professionals from all across the United States? There would be prize money, of course, but more important would be the bragging rights, to be emblazoned next year on your brochure and on your website and social media, or printed in your church newsletter, or announced at the next faculty meeting. There would be the award certificate hanging proudly in your rehearsal room, office or auditorium lobby; there would be articles in newspapers and magazines pointing to your winning performances, all linked on The American Prize website.

If winning The American Prize might help you sell more tickets, or build your base of donors, or aid recruitment, or enhance your resume, or solidify your position, or add to your press coverage; if you have wished there were a way for your work to be recognized by someone in addition to your audience, board, parents or pastor; if winning might be the shot in the arm you and your group needs, reminding everyone in your community that what you do every day matters profoundly—then you should apply.

The American Prize is here to stay. It is an annual competition that is going to continue to grow in visibility and prestige.

Again this year, somebody (a group of somebodys) is going to win The American Prize and be recognized for artistic achievement. Why not you?

Complete information, including application forms, bios of judges and former winners at www.theamericanprize.org

David Katz is chief judge of the non-profit The American Prize. Professional conductor, playwright and actor, award-winning composer and arts advocate, he believes deeply in the mission of The American Prize to recognize and reward excellence in the arts wherever in America it is found. 

WEBSITE: www.theamericanprize.org
EMAIL: TheAmericanPrz@aol.com or: TheAmericanPrize@gmail.com

Friday, March 21, 2014

An INVITATION to STAGE DIRECTORS & THEATER COMPANIES

An invitation to STAGE DIRECTORS & THEATER COMPANIES to participate in The American Prize competitions, 2014, to earn the recognition and reward you have worked so hard to achieve.

AUTOMATIC POSTMARK EXTENSIONS to APRIL 7, 2014


If you're a stage director, you and your ensemble have recordings. 

The American Prize wants to see them.

Since 2010, The American Prize has provided evaluation, recognition and reward to America’s finest performing artists and composers. The American Prize is unique—the only national, nonprofit competitions in the performing arts based solely on the evaluation of commercial and noncommercial CD and DVD recordings. The American Prize has awarded more than $25,000 in prize money in all categories since 2010.
  • No live competition. The American Prize judges recorded performance only.
  • No age limits.
  • Separate divisions for professional, college/university, community, or high school age companies & their directors.
  • Few repertoire restrictions.
  • Written evaluations to all contestants who rank “finalist” or higher.
  • Personalized certificates to all participants.
  • Cash prizes.
  • Published timelines for the announcement of semi-finalists, finalists and winners.
  • 1-page application form.
  • Low application fees.
  • Not-for-profit organization.
Complete information, application forms, biographies of judges and past winners: www.theamericanprize.org

Winners of The American Prize receive cash awards, award certificates, and unbiased written evaluations from our national panel of distinguished judges, but more importantly, laureates of The American Prize at all levels of achievement derive local, regional and national recognition to help them generate jobs, build audiences and sustain careers. In an age when the performing arts are more marginalized than ever before and media coverage harder than ever to get, The American Prize provides its contestants with the visibility and recognition they need to stand out from the rest.

2014 National Competitions for Stage Directors & Theater Ensembles:
    The American Prize in Directing
    The American Prize in Theater Performance
        Three divisions:   

                    theater
                    music theater
                    opera

                                       
AUTOMATIC POSTMARK EXTENSIONS to APRIL 7, 2014


EASY:
1-page application form (on website—see "competitions" menu to download) www.theamericanprize.org
Send bio and photo by email.
Send CD, DVD or VHS tape by mail. All applications are acknowledged upon receipt.

ABOUT YOUR RECORDINGS:
You need not prepare a special recording for The American Prize. A previous recording, whether of a concert made in front of an audience or one created in a recording session without an audience, is perfectly acceptable. Neither the location nor the repertoire of any qualified individual or ensemble limits eligibility, provided the general guidelines have been met. Excellence within categories is the primary criteria for the selection of finalists and winners. The competitions are open to US citizens living in this country or abroad and others studying or working in the U.S. There is no restriction against previous winners re-applying.

Complete information: www.theamericanprize.org
Questions: please email theamericanprize@gmail.com

David Katz, chief judge
HCMT—The American Prize
25 Hamilton Drive, Suite 100
Danbury, CT  06811
203 746-2694

The American Prize is administered by Hat City Music Theater, Inc., a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.

An INVITATION to ARTS ADMINISTRATORS

An invitation to ARTS ADMINISTRATORS to participate in The American Prize competitions, 2014, to earn the recognition and reward you have worked so hard to achieve.

AUTOMATIC POSTMARK EXTENSIONS to APRIL 7, 2014

Automatic extensions (until April 1) are available to those who need more time. Simply email the office directly to let us know of your intention to apply: theamericanprize@gmail.com

If you're an arts administrator, you market your artist’s performances.

The American Prize wants to see your campaigns.

Since 2010, The American Prize has provided evaluation, recognition and reward to America’s finest performing artists and composers. The American Prize is unique—the only national, nonprofit competitions in the performing arts based solely on the evaluation of commercial and noncommercial CD and DVD recordings. The American Prize has awarded more than $25,000 in prize money in all categories since 2010.
  • Separate divisions for professional and community organizations.
  • Written evaluations to all contestants who rank “finalist” or higher.
  • Personalized certificates to all participants.
  • Cash prizes.
  • Published timelines for the announcement of semi-finalists, finalists and winners.
  • 1-page application form.
  • Low application fees.
  • Not-for-profit organization.
Complete information, application forms, biographies of judges and past winners: www.theamericanprize.org

Winners of The American Prize receive cash awards, award certificates, and unbiased written evaluations from our national panel of distinguished judges, but more importantly, laureates of The American Prize at all levels of achievement derive local, regional and national recognition to help them generate jobs, build audiences and sustain careers.

In an age when the performing arts are more marginalized than ever before and media coverage harder than ever to get, The American Prize provides its contestants with the visibility and recognition they need to stand out from the rest.

2014 National Competitions for Arts Administrators
    The American Prize in Arts Marketing

                   
AUTOMATIC POSTMARK EXTENSIONS to APRIL 7, 2014

EASY:
1-page application form (on website—see "competitions" menu to download) www.theamericanprize.org
Send bio and photo by email.
Send materials by mail. All applications are acknowledged upon receipt.

Complete information: www.theamericanprize.org
Questions: please email theamericanprize@gmail.com

David Katz, chief judge
HCMT—The American Prize
25 Hamilton Drive, Suite 100
Danbury, CT  06811
203 746-2694

The American Prize is administered by Hat City Music Theater, Inc., a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.

Friday, March 14, 2014

The American Prize: A Letter to MUSIC EDUCATORS at all levels

I have received emails from music teachers asking if applying to The American Prize might be worthwhile for their ensembles and for them. With about three weeks remaining to the extended postmark deadline for this spring’s competitions, my resounding “yes” is explained below.—DK
Dear Music Educator:

Those of us in arts education know we struggle as never before to gain for our students the recognition they deserve for a job well done. The media, even locally, often seem more interested in reporting about “popular culture” and sports than the performing arts, let alone featuring school and community music organizations in their stories. Newspapers, television and radio tell us they don’t have space or time; our concerts aren’t really news; “average people” wouldn’t be interested.

We know differently, but that lack of coverage can often affect the visibility and perceived importance of music and music education in our communities. It makes it harder for us to recruit players and students, to find volunteers, to raise money, to secure proper funding, even to hold on to our jobs, or to prove to the “powers that be” that what we do is central to the education of our young people and to the quality of life in our towns and cities.

What if there were a way for school, civic and professional ensembles (and their conductors) to be rewarded nationally for excellence, without having to worry about the expense and hassle of traveling to contests? Wouldn't that get the media's attention? Of course it would...and not just the media: the entire community would take notice, and that’s good for every music program.

Enter The American Prize. Like state festivals, where school ensembles go to receive rankings and adjudication, The American Prize is a national festival for the performing arts, but one that is non-profit and relies exclusively on recordings of contestants to select the winners.

The American Prize was founded to provide recognition to the finest music-makers in the nation, regardless of their location. Whether it is a wonderful string ensemble from the deep South, far West or in the heartland that some superintendent of schools wants to cut out of the budget, or a terrific community chorus that performs to but a handful of audience members in the Northwest or on the coasts; or a professional orchestra anywhere in the country that is struggling to find the donors it needs to remain in business, The American Prize can provide regional, national and international visibility and reward.

What if your students, parents, board of education, or supervisor woke up to the news that you had just won The American Prize, judged to be the finest in the country in your category, chosen by an impartial panel of experienced professionals from all across the United States? There would be prize money and adjudicated comments, but maybe more important might be the bragging rights, to be emblazoned next year on your school or department letterhead or recruitment poster, or announced at the next faculty meeting. There would be the award certificate hanging proudly in your rehearsal room, studio, office or auditorium lobby; and of course, suddenly, there would be articles in newspapers and magazines, and stories on radio and tv pointing to your winning performance, sent directly to your local media by The American Prize itself, all linked on The American Prize website.

Even if yours isn’t selected the top group, semi-finalists and finalists receive local, regional and national recognition as being among the best in the nation.

If winning The American Prize might help you recruit more members, or add to your ensemble’s perceived worth, or enhance your resume, or solidify your position; if you have wished there were a way for your work (or your group’s quality) to be recognized by someone in addition to your students, audience, board, parents or supervisor; if winning might be the shot in the arm you and your group needs, reminding everyone in your community that what you do every day matters profoundly—then I urge you to apply.

The American Prize is here to stay. It is a series of annual, non-profit competitions that is going to continue to grow in visibility and prestige.

This spring, somebody (a group of somebodys) is going to win The American Prize and be recognized for their artistic achievement. Why not you?

Full information, including application forms, all rules, judges’ bios and more, can be found at www.theamericanprize.org Downloadable under the NEWS button on the website is Principles of The American Prize, a set of rules the competition follows to help insure that The American Prize is fair and valuable to all contestants.

In recent weeks, The American Prize has received a fascinating array of applicants from coast to coast, and we anticipate many more. Perhaps yours will be among them. It would be a pleasure to sample your students’ (and your) excellent work. The deadline for the current round of competitions is April 7, 2014.

All good wishes,
David Katz, chief judge

The American Prize