Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Composer DAVID AVSHALOMOV named HONORED ARTIST of The American Prize

David Avshalomov, of Santa Monica, CA, is one of five American composers chosen as the first Honored Artists of The American Prize, the national nonprofit competitions in the performing arts.  Honored Artists are individuals who have proven themselves to be musicians of  “sustained excellence" over a number of seasons as contestants in the competitions.

The American Prize competitions are unique in scope and structure, designed to recognize and reward the best performing artists, ensembles and composers in the United States, based on submitted recordings. The American Prize is presented annually in many areas of the performing arts and has awarded nearly $35,000 in prize money since its founding in 2009.

Additional information about the competitions may be found on the website:

Earlier this fall, Maestro David Katz, chief judge of The American Prize, expressed a hope for the competitions "to do more" to advance the art. The creation of the Honored Artist designation is one way the competition seeks to bring additional recognition to laureates it deems especially worthy.

The five composers selected as Honored Artists of The American Prize for 2014 are:

Lee Actor, Monte Sereno CA
Second Place—Music for Orchestra, 2011
Finalist, 2012
Finalist, 2013
Finalist, 2014

David Avshalomov, Santa Monica CA
Special Judges' Citation—Orchestral Music, 2012
Finalist, 2013
Third Place—Music for Band, 2014

Jesse Ayers, Canton OH

Winner—Orchestral Music, 2011
Finalist, 2013
Finalist, 2014

Nancy Bloomer Deussen, Mountain View CA

Finalist, 2012
Second Place—Chamber Music, 2013
Finalist, 2014

David Sartor, Hermitage TN
Third Place—Music for Chorus, 2012
Third Place—Chamber Music, 2013
Finalist, 2014

“The American Prize has auditioned many works by these five composers over several seasons,” Katz said, “Each of the five exhibits a unique voice, a substantial catalog, multiple performances and serious intent. Each deserves every opportunity to be heard. We are delighted to bring added attention to their considerable gifts.”

David Avshalomov is a distinguished third-generation classical composer and orchestral conductor, and an accomplished vocalist. He was born in New York City in 1946, grew up in Oregon, and has long lived in Santa Monica, California. He represents a musical lineage whose story stretches from the Caucasus to Siberia, through China, to the US.

As a composer grounded in the traditions of Western classical music, David Avshalomov creates his works in an accessible modern romantic, neo-tonal style that balances a rich lyric gift with a characteristic rhythmic vitality and pungent harmonies. The forms he crafts are conservative and developmental, his compositional voice distinctive. The influences on his style include the great 20th-century European and American tonal composers, and both his late father Jacob and his paternal grandfather, Aaron Avshalomoff. In Avshalomov’s words, “Melody is the thread of my daily life. I still find new paths through traditional musical forms, and fresh expression based in folk idioms and drawing on old melodic, rhythmic, and harmonic roots. As a longtime outdoorsman, mountain man, and lover of nature and wilderness I am more and more impelled to write music that is about healing the Earth and social justice.”

He has composed original works for solo voice, choruses, orchestra, band, chamber ensembles, and solo instruments, in forms ranging from songs and incidental pieces to full-length oratorio. Recently he has written a lot of choral and band music; he is now focusing on his opera, “The Pearl”. He has had commissions from numerous ensembles, including the San Jose Chamber Orchestra, Mission Chamber Orchestra, Musica Bella Orchestra of NY, Western Plains Wind Consortium (20 bands), Avshalomov Bandwagon Consortium (26 bands), LA Flute Orchestra, LA Clarinet Orchestra, Odyssea Chorus of Lisbon, Anglican Chorale of Southern California, Camerata Singers of Long Beach, and Westwood United Methodist Church (LA). He has also been Resident Composer with the Anglican Chorale of S. California, Torrance Civic Chorale, and Cantori Domino of Santa Monica.

His compositions have been performed professionally across the U.S. and in Europe and Russia, and are recorded on the Albany and Naxos labels. He has earned grants from Meet the Composer, the American Music Center, the American Composer’s Forum, and the Durfee Foundation. His works have won prizes from the Aspen Festival, the Korg Competition, the Santa Monica Debut Concert series, American Prize 2014 for Band Composition (3rd Place), a Special Citation from the American Prize for Orchestral Composition 2012; Dual Finalist, American Prize 2013/Choral and Orchestral Composition, Polifonia (Lithuania) International Sacred Choral Music Competition 2013 (Second Prize) , an ACDA Silver Platter Award 2012 for Outstanding Choral Repertoire; Choral Work of Exceptional Merit 2013, PROJECT : ENCORE of Schola Cantorum on Hudson; TheC7Prize, Canada 2014 (2 choral works), Sul Ross State University, TX, Wind Ensemble Composition Contest 2013, Hillcrest Wind Ensemble (San Diego) Composition Contest 2013 (Second Prize), and three Vox Nova–Fifteen Minutes of Fame awards 2014.

Honored Artists will be highlighted in a separate section on The American Prize website and on the competition’s Facebook pages, will receive expanded listings on The American Prize blog, will be featured in individualized press releases sent to local, regional and national media, and receive a special, framed certificate. Honored Artists also receive an application fee waiver for a future competition.

The American Prize Honored Artists must meet these criteria:

  • May be nominated by any member of The American Prize national judging panel.
  • Will have reached finalist status or higher and/or received an Honorable Mention or Special Judge's Certificate in at least three different competition years, which need not be consecutive.
  • Will have won The American Prize (first place) no more than one time.
  • Will have consistently received exceptional evaluations in their chosen area of endeavor.
  • Will be honored during a season in which they are an active participant.
  • Accept the designation.
  • There is no minimum or maximum number that will be awarded each season.

"Honored Artists of The American Prize" are given in memory of David Katz’s father, Abraham R. Katz, a gifted amateur musician, who died in 1999.

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