Monday, October 20, 2014

CONDUCTOR WINNER, RUNNERS-UP: community orchestra

The American Prize is honored to announce the winner and runners-up of The American Prize in Conducting—community orchestra division. Congratulations! All finalists receive written evaluations from a member of The American Prize judging panel.

Complete listings of finalists and semi-finalists in The American Prize competitions may be found elsewhere on this blog.  

Please make us aware of any misprints:

The American Prize in Conducting
—community orchestra division

The American Prize winner:
ANNA EDWARDS, music director
Seattle Collaborative Orchestra
Seattle, WA
Anna Edwards, conductor, founder and music director of the Seattle Collaborative Orchestra, holds many positions as an artist/teacher in the Seattle area conducting the Seattle Festival Orchestra as interim Music Director and in the Spring of 2014, conducting the Saratoga Chamber Orchestra as one of three finalists in their Music Director search. Currently, Anna is a DMA conducting candidate at the University of Washington where she studies with Ludovic Morlot and David Rahbee. Previously, Edwards has studied conducting at the prestigious Pierre Monteux School for Conductors and Orchestra Musicians and the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music where she studied conducting with Michael Jinbo, Gustav Meier, and James Ross.  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 for the past 22 years.

Among judges' comments: "clear, musically and emotionally involved, expressive…Higdon especially impressive."

2nd Place:
DAVID BERNARD, music director
Park Avenue Chamber Symphony
New York, NY 
Known as the energetic and incisive Music Director of New York City’s Park Avenue Chamber Symphony, David Bernard has performed in more than 20 countries on four continents, including a nine-city tour of the People's Republic of China with the Park Avenue Chamber Symphony and guest conducting appearances with the China Conservatory Orchestra, the Long Island String Festival, the Massapequa Philharmonic, the New York Symphonic Arts Ensemble, the Putnam Symphony and the South Shore Symphony.   A two-time First Prize Winner of the Orchestral Conducting competition of The American Prize, David Bernard’s discography includes 17 albums spanning music from Vivaldi to Copland, including a recently released album of the Complete Beethoven Symphonies, available on, iTunes, Napster and Rhapsody.  Of these recordings, Fanfare Magazine reviewers acclaimed "David Bernard's interpretations are splendidly proportioned; from the first note to the last the listener feels that this is the way the whole work must go...balances are expertly judged and wonderfully blended...overall, distinguished and elegant music making."

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.

Prior to the 1999 founding of the Park Avenue Chamber Symphony, David Bernard served as Music Director of the Stony Brook University Orchestra, the Gilbert and Sullivan Light Opera Company of Long Island and Theater Three. He also held the post of Assistant Conductor of both the Jacksonville and Stamford symphony orchestras.

Bernard is an alumnus of The Juilliard School, Curtis Institute of Music, Stony Brook University, Tanglewood and Saratoga Performing Arts Center, and studied with Sergiu Celibdache, David Lawton, Roger Nierenberg and Arthur Weisberg.

Among judges' comments: "The entries of orchestral ‘solos’ were clear and their character was matched by the conductor who was able to ‘accompany’ the soloists and then take charge of new aspects of the work."

3rd Place:
The Chelsea Symphony
New York, NY 
In his first season as a conductor with The Chelsea Symphony, Reuben Blundell is in his fifth year at the City University’s prestigious Hunter College.  As the Hunter Symphony’s Music Director, he has launched new-music programs, worked with choreographers and museums, and raised the orchestra’s profile through performances in new spaces. Blundell is active as a freelance conductor: recent engagements include concerts with the South Orange Symphony (NJ) and the Lansdowne Symphony (PA).  In 2013 he also conducted the New World Symphony (FL) alongside Artistic Director Michael Tilson Thomas, and he also conducted and taught in Iraq during the summer, for American Voices in a project supported by the US State Department. Continuing to perform as a violinist, Reuben plays regularly in The Chelsea Symphony, and is a former fellow of the New World Symphony and Tanglewood Music Center, and received his DMA from the Eastman School of Music in 2010.

Among judges' comments: "Watching the conductor at rehearsal showed The Chelsea Symphony’s desire to get it right while in a respectful but ‘easy going’ manner."


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